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PeterTZ Jun 23rd, 2010 04:17 AM

Coastal New England Road trip
We're a healthy and adventure-some retired couple planning a driving tour of coastal New England: about ten days in mid-September starting and ending in Boston. More emphasis on good food, scenic towns & fishing villages, not so much on history unless its truly important. Have already surveyed the usual web sites and AAA tour books, but there are so many stops to choose from...would appreciate your first hand advice.

emalloy Jun 23rd, 2010 04:36 AM

The New England coast is not straight like California, it has many inlets, capes, etc and there is no one road that will take you along it. That said, CT, RI, MA, NH, and ME all have areas with scenic towns, fishing villages and good food,

Starting in Boston, you could go north and hit, Salem, Gloucester, Rockport in MA, Portsmouth in NH, Ogunquit, Kennybunkport, Portland, a hundred other towns north of Portland up to Acadia NP in Maine. Going south you could visit lots of towns on the south shore and Cape Cod in MA, Newport, Charlestown, Metunic, Point Judith, Block Island, and lots of other towns in RI, Stonington, Mystic, Essex, Saybrook, Clinton, and lots of other towns in CT.

All of these would involve getting off the interstate and driving on secondary roads to get to the areas of interest.

PeterTZ Jun 23rd, 2010 07:45 AM

thanks...there's just so many to choose from.

dfrostnh Jun 23rd, 2010 09:39 AM

It's hard to narrow things down. We usually spend a week in mid-coast Maine. Take a break from driving and consider a boat trip out of Portsmouth (good narration) or some place in Maine. We recently took the 3 hour mail boat ride around Casco Bay islands out of Portland ME. (Also new MDI Ice Cream shop on Exchange St in Portland with very unusual flavors.) Portsmouth is also one of the stars for good food in New England. Our recent long weekend in Ogunquit was nice and it will be hard to find better fried seafood than Mike's Clam Shack, I still prefer the mid-coast area where there are less people. Expect Camden to be busy even in mid-September on weekends but don't miss it because it probably has the most beautiful harbor in Maine. Rockland has a good name for restaurants. We've stayed in Wiscasset, quaint town, which is central for day trips to the aforementioned plus south to Bath and Brunswick. Check open hours for lobster shack type places. Some are weekends only after Labor Day. Southern Maine probably has the most well-known and expensive restaurants such as the White Barn.
Starting in Boston for food I would start with a culinary tour of either Boston's North End (Italian) or China Town (includes a dim sum lunch). Although a lot of history is included, the food samples are wonderful.
I haven't been to RI except for Providence on recent trips but have never enjoyed CT as much as I do Maine. See what others say.
If you are interested in fresh food, agricultural products and organic living you might consider Common Ground Fair in Unity ME. It's an easy day trip from Camden. It's a fair but not your usual kind of fair foods. Or you might visit some of the stores operated by well known brands such as Stonewall Kitchens (York ME). Flag Hill Winery & Distillery (General John Stark Vodka) in Lee NH is very close to Portsmouth.
We also like to picnic so we bring along bag chairs and picnic supplies that way we can test out crab meat sandwiches from a local store while enjoying the view. If you can still get local blueberries, a simple dessert is just berries and vanilla yogurt. A good picnic spot can help you enjoy a place. Sometimes we find a quiet area so we can just read and enjoy the view.

PeterTZ Jun 23rd, 2010 10:13 AM

thanks dfrostnh -- that was very helpful.

Kwoo Jul 7th, 2010 08:19 AM

I would head north from Boston if I were you because that is where I think you will find the most spectacular scenery. Cape Cod is beautiful, too, but you would be rushed if you try to do the Cape (south of Boston), & then head north.

I think it makes sense to drive from Boston to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park first (the most northern/furthest point of this itinerary) & then work your way south to Boston.

We stayed at Inn at Southwest Harbor, which we really enjoyed. It is quieter than Bar Harbor. You can take a cruise around Bar Harbor. There is hiking, biking, shopping & great seafood. Take a hike to Otter Point, go to Sand Beach. We missed Thunder HOle, which is another highlight of ANP. I recommend Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard. If you have time, drive to the Schoodic Peninsula, for beautiful breathtaking, & truly unspoiled scenery. It's about 1 1/2 hour drive from Bar Harbor.

Heading south, I recommend Camden and Rockland. If you like art, I recommend the art museum in Rockland

Then heading south again, I am partial to the Brunswick/Casco Bay area because my daughter graduated from Bowdoin. Brunswick is a lovely town with cute shops & restaurants; you should drive out to Harpswell, Bailey's & Orr's Islands (connected by a small bridge). Scenery is beautiful with great seafood, such as Estes I, II & III and Cook's. You can sit at a table right next to the water. I think they are open until Columbus Day weekend. Bath has a maritime museum.

Portland is a great seaport city with nice dining options, shopping, cobblestone streets, art museum. I know there is a lighthouse nearby but we never made it there. Also more shopping in Freeport at LL Bean if you like to shop.

Coastal southern Maine is pretty & scenic, such as Kennebunport, Oqunquit, etc. As other posters recommended, Portsmouth is a nice city, too.

Rockport, MA is beautiful (we were just there on Saturday) as is Gloucester. Pretty beaches on the North Shore of MA.

This itinerary gives you beautiful and spectacular coastal scenery, hiking, biking, delicious seafood, some history & art if you want it, & shopping.

dborland Jul 24th, 2014 04:49 PM

So have you taken your trip to New England yet. My husband and I leave on Monday to go to Boston. We plan on staying in Boston Monday and Tuesday night and then going to Salem. If you have travelled what did you enjoy most? We still do not have a set plan to follow. Like you we are most interested in food, quaint towns, beautiful scenery. Any suggestiones?
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cw Jul 24th, 2014 05:33 PM

Dborland, you might start a new thread. The OP took their trip four years ago.

Tell us how many days you have for touring.

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