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Driving from DC to Maine... how to break it up?

Driving from DC to Maine... how to break it up?

Old May 22nd, 2024, 09:48 AM
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Driving from DC to Maine... how to break it up?

Still cannot decide on my summer plans. I've enjoyed northern visits the last few years (Iceland in 2022, Denmark and Sweden in 2023) and so I'd like to keep that trend going.

Maybe Maine, then?

If you did a road trip to Maine from DC, where would you stay overnight on that drive to break it up a bit? Doesn't have to be half and half but I'd like to be north of New York City, at least on the way up. On the way back I could overnight somewhere else entirely. Something south of NYC, most likely...

Thanks!
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 10:21 AM
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Personally, I would keep going on north to Nova Scotia which means New Scotland and was primarily settled by Scots. Scottish Gaelic is still spoken in Iona, Mabou, Pugwash and St. Anns. Follow the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Highlands National Park which has stunning scenery. View iconic lighthouses and waterfalls such as Beulach Ban Falls. Hike the Skyline Trail and sunbathe at Ignonish Beach. Isle Madame was settled by French Acadians and their dialect of French is still spoken there.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 10:55 AM
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I have already thought through and discarded Nova Scotia for this trip. Too far. Maybe some other time...
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 12:28 PM
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Depending on the route you choose and how long you plan to drive each day, you could stop in CT, possibly in New Haven or further to Mystic. If you plan to head north and then East, you could stop in the Berkshires where there are many points of interest, depending what you are interested in seeing/doing. You do want to get out of the NY metropolitan area. Another thought might be to drive north past NY and if you've never been to West Point, you could stop there. If art aficionados and you've never been to DIA Beacon, that would be a good stopping point.Beacon is a hip town. There is also Storm King Mountain, south of West Point but also a worthy destination.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 02:10 PM
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New Paltz, NY is ahip college town east of the Catskill Mts. Huguenot Street, established in 1678 is considered the oldest street in America. It is just off I-87.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 04:04 PM
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We like Hyatt Place in Mystic. Right off the highway corporate so you know what you get, with plenty of local to check out.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 04:30 PM
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How far are you comfortable driving each day? The Berkshires as noted by madam397 is a fine stop along the way. But, where in the Berkshires? You seem to planning to travel during the Tanglewood festival season so if you enjoy concerts ranging from pop to classical take a look at the schedule to see if something appeals to you. People fill up Lenox, Mass when there is a Tanglewood event but there are plenty of charming hamlets nearby where lodging is easier to come by and lower in price. Stockbridge, Mass is popular and the Red Lion Inn is historic has loads of charm but Stockbridge can fill up quickly - not to worry. Look across the border to nearby NY. and consider Chatham, Spencertown (I once lived there) Ghent and most anywhere in Columbia county filled with villages with charm and history. All of these about a 7 hour drive from DC. The Taconic State Pkwy becomes increasingly scenic as you go north.

Last edited by basingstoke2; May 22nd, 2024 at 04:53 PM.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:31 AM
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A couple of times we Aberdeen MD to Concord NH area in 8 hours giving NYC a wide berth, enter CT and get past Hartford when it's not rush hour. Cut thru western MA aiming for I91 that goes along east side of VT. Then exit Brattleborough to Keene NH which is a college town. If you've maxed out your driving time, best to stay in Keene area. GPS will tell you to head toward Nashua and take rt 101 to Portsmouth traffic circle where you can connect with I95. More scenic route is to go Keene to Concord NH then Rt 4 to Portsmouth traffic circle. Used to be more scenic approach over Great Bay bridge but new traffic and sound barriers block a lot.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:35 AM
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When I did google maps DC to Portland, the I84 route thru PA option is similar timing to I95 but a lot more miles. Worth it.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 02:30 AM
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Are you looking for a place to actually spend time to visit, or simply a hotel for the night? If it’s the latter then there are countless chain hotels at interstate highway exits that will fit the bill.

If all you want is a bed then pick your route then drop a pin on a general region and we advise specifics

For example, I84 just east of the Hudson River at Fishkill NY there are 6-10 chain hotels. I’ve stayed in the Holiday Inn when I need to catch an early commuter train into NYC. Nothing special, but new, clean, comfortable, and easy off easy on the highway. Bunch of other similar hotels right in the same area.

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Old May 23rd, 2024, 03:11 AM
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Do you want to stop there for a day or two and see things?
If so, I'd pick Newport RI.
https://www.newportmansions.org/plan-a-visit/
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 04:05 AM
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Thank you, everyone!

I am thinking southern Maine as the base. Plunk for a week. Day trips within a radius that makes sense - alas that means no Bar Harbor for example.

The drive up - maybe two nights, maybe one night. The drive back definitely two nights.

I would want to be north of NYC before I stop for the first break. Whether I would drive the entire remainder the very next day OR add one more night before arriving at my destination, not sure.

I do know that I can stop at any old rest stop and find a hotel. That would be a backup if I just fail to plan.

It looks like I could get to New Haven in about 6 hours (although who knows with summer traffic). At that point, I could either take my time the whole next day and stay in one other location before heading to my destination after the second night stay over. New Haven looks like it's about 2/3 of the driving so I could also just head to the destination. Mystic isn't too far, I could get up the next morning, visit Mystic, then continue on my way. The only thing I know about Mystic is that there is a movie starring Julia Roberts.

Along the route which is north of NYC, but before New Haven, any other town of interest for a stay over?

As far as the Berkshires, guess it comes down to "do I want to hug the coast or go inland". I have not been but the photos are beautiful. I did visit the Hudson Valley with my Mom about ten years ago. We saw a fair number of things in our 4-5 days there. Also very pretty - we stayed in Hyde Park on Hudson, right across the road from one of the massive mansions on the river.

Starrs, I visited the mansions in Newport shortly after college. I especially wanted to see the "Great Gatsby" house used in the movie with Robert Redford. It's so pretty there, maybe I'll have time this visit coming or going.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 06:41 AM
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Flygirl, another thought is that in about the same 6 hour driving time you can go to the Finger Lake region of NY. The countryside is lovely and if you like visiting wineries then it is paradise with its numerous wine trails and well over 100 wineries many with lodging. Many of these offer tours and tastings and more. Our favorite is the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery where the original Vinifera grape was introduced to the US. Even though inland, the Finger Lakes provide water recreation as implied by the name.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 08:03 AM
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New Haven of course has the campus of Yale and their world-class art museums, as well as famous pizza places. Mystreic of course also has Mystic Pizza but also has a charming waterfront area and the aquarium. The only real problem is that both of these locations are I-95 so if you want to bypass I-95, not good places to plan to stop. CT south of New Haven has places like Stamford, Bridgeport, and along the coast Westport and Greenwich but no real sights to see. If it was me and I wanted to stay in southern Maine, I wouldn't drive I-95. I would likely head north on I-91 and pick up the Mass Pike and then bypass Boston. That is what our family always did when we would spend two weeks up in NH although other than Sturbridge, I can't rally think of a great stopping destination apart of course from the Berkshires that I had previously suggested but I think DC to the Berkshires is a long drive. The CT side of the Berkshires has lots of charming villages such as Litchfield and another town that is supposedly the model for Stars Hollow of Gilmore Girls fame. Can't suggest a place to stay as whenever we are there we are visiting friends who have a place in New Preston, CT , south of Litchfield.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Madam397
New Haven of course has the campus of Yale and their world-class art museums, as well as famous pizza places. Mystreic of course also has Mystic Pizza but also has a charming waterfront area and the aquarium. The only real problem is that both of these locations are I-95 so if you want to bypass I-95, not good places to plan to stop. CT south of New Haven has places like Stamford, Bridgeport, and along the coast Westport and Greenwich but no real sights to see. If it was me and I wanted to stay in southern Maine, I wouldn't drive I-95. I would likely head north on I-91 and pick up the Mass Pike and then bypass Boston. That is what our family always did when we would spend two weeks up in NH although other than Sturbridge, I can't rally think of a great stopping destination apart of course from the Berkshires that I had previously suggested but I think DC to the Berkshires is a long drive. The CT side of the Berkshires has lots of charming villages such as Litchfield and another town that is supposedly the model for Stars Hollow of Gilmore Girls fame. Can't suggest a place to stay as whenever we are there we are visiting friends who have a place in New Preston, CT , south of Litchfield.
From DC the Berkshires are about 7 hours using the Taconic Parkway if traffic isn't too horrible.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:21 PM
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Itís been a long time since I lived in the Northeast but when I lived in Branford we would take 91 to Mass pike to go to Maine as mentioned above. Pepeís in New Have should have their fabulous heirloom tomato pizza if you stop for a break.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 03:03 PM
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I do not recommend driving the Taconic Parkway after a long day drive. I’ve done it 100 or more times - between the narrow winding hilly road and the abundance of deer it’s a road that requires a lot of undivided, untired attention, and some occasional luck.

if your destination is the Mass Berkshires then take I-87 north to I-90 east.



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Old May 23rd, 2024, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by J62
I do not recommend driving the Taconic Parkway after a long day drive. Iíve done it 100 or more times - between the narrow winding hilly road and the abundance of deer itís a road that requires a lot of undivided, untired attention, and some occasional luck.

if your destination is the Mass Berkshires then take I-87 north to I-90 east.
I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks. I too have driven the Taconic many times having lived in Spencertown and New Lebanon for five years with family in Queens. The Taconic is the part of the trip that was actually enjoyable. The last thing I would want after hours on interstates is more hours on interstates.

Last edited by basingstoke2; May 23rd, 2024 at 03:56 PM.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 02:57 AM
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Thank you for these ideas! I will have to map them out. Good stuff, thanks. The Taconic Parkway sounds pretty. Is that also in the Hudson Valley? That name sounds familiar. When I took Mom, we left White Plains and drove up to Hyde Park on Hudson. That name rings a bell.

As I have your attention, any reason to choose a given town over another one, in the south? Ogunquit over Kennebunkport (or vice versa), etc?

Just checking hotel prices and they are eye watering - even the ones that require a good walk to the water or a short drive.

Last edited by flygirl; May 24th, 2024 at 03:20 AM.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 03:40 AM
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Yes, the Taconic parkway is in the Hudson Valley area - they are the mountains that form the eastern edge of the valley. Taconics are the name of the mountain ridge parallel to the Berkshires in NY State. Very similar terrain. The parkway is a pre-interstate era, cars only highway that runs from around White Plains north to I-90/NYS Thruway Berkshire spur. It and other roadways were built to provide an accessible & scenic car drive from places like NY City outwards to the countryside. Many other roadways in the area called "Parkway" are similar - cars only, with green buffers between directions and on the sides. Saw Mill River, Merrit, Bronx River, Garden State, and a few others. I agree that it is scenic, my only caution is beware after having driven a full day from DC...The deer come out en masse towards later afternoon, and car-deer encounters are not uncommon.

This map shows the various local ranges of the northease Appalachians, as well as the Adirondacks.
Driving from DC to Maine... how to break it up?-272px-northeastappalachiansmap.gif

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