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Family Road Trip to New England

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Mar 25th, 2012, 12:49 PM
  #1
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Family Road Trip to New England

My husband and I and our 7 yr old are planning an 12 day trip this June. We are driving to DC then to NYC, up the coast through Boston and Maine then over through the White Mountains and into Vermont and then home to Ohio. I need help with where to stop and stay and what we can just do for the day. I have got DC and NYC covered. Also, can anyone tell me approx toll cost and which routes are better to avoid sitting in traffic all day. I want to hit every state even if its just for 1 picture.

Thanks!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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It is entirely possible to do most of this trip by Amtrak train.
If you live in northern Ohio, get on the Capitol Limited to Washington DC either in Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Southern Ohio get on the Cardinal at Cincinatti and stop for a picture at the station in West Virginia. After Washington DC, take the Northeast Regional to NYC. After NYC take the NE Regional to Boston. Rent a car in Boston for Maine, NH and Vermont. Don't forget CT and RI.
If you chose Cleveland, You could take the Lakeshore Limited back from Boston.
Having your own car with you in some of these cities is more of a hassle than it is worth IMHO.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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From NY to Boston, you do go through CT and RI if you take the dreaded I-95. Right off 95 at exit 90 is Mystic, CT which has a very nice aquarium and Mystic Seaport (a maritime living museum, with tall ships and a small village with blacksmith, cooperage, etc to support the whaling industry) along with plenty of lodging and food options.

There is no coast road in New England from which you can see much of the coast. You have to get off the hwy and travel down small roads into the towns, many of which have a charm of their own.

North of Boston in MA I would look at the Salem/Gloucester/Rockport area then in NH a stop in Portsmouth. In Maine I would want to go to Acadia NP, but there is much to see south of there, some nice beaches south of Portland, Portland, beautiful little towns north of Portland.

I 95 has no tolls in CT and MA, but does have them in NH and ME. NY has tolls to get out. Do get a transponder so you can go through the "easy pass" "fast lane" at tolls. You can get one on line from the Massachusetts DOT which will be good for the whole east coast, even the part from DC to NYC. I have them fill it from a charge card when the balance gets low. It saves so much time and the need to have cash for tolls.

Have a nice trip.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Are you leaving from OH and the whole time is 12 days, covering DC, NYC, then up through New England? Or are the 12 days just for the New England portion?

If it's the former, that's a lot of ground to cover in 12 days. I think if it were me, I'd maybe hit Cape Cod after NYC. In June it won't be crowded there yet. But I'd recommend staying there for a few days, then maybe Boston for a night or two, and then leaving a good stopover point in between for your drive home to Ohio.

If it's the latter and you have a full 12 days to dedicate to New England, you can cover quite a bit. Is there anything in particular that is of interest to you? History, mountains, more rural, cities?
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Mar 25th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Its 12 days total. We are leaving from Ohio. 2 days in DC and 2 days in NYC are already booked. We love the ocean and cute little towns. I do want to see a lighthouse or too and also the White Mountains. I also like to visit a winery. Thanks for all the help!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 01:57 PM
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Five states in 12 days ... Here is a first pass, tossed out for comments. Except for the NY bridges, the only toll road I can think if is I-90, aka the Mass Pike, and you won't be needing it with the below plan.

From NYC to Newport RI (3 nights). Visit CT and Rhode Island sites: Newport mansions and cliff walk, lighthouses, beaches, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium. Although I-95 is the obvious route, it is crazy congested on the western CT end -- prefer I-84 or the Merritt Parkway.

Drive to Boston via Plymouth (see the Rock if you must) and Plimouth Plantation, or take a little beach time ...

Boston (4 nights). Whale trip, aquarium, science museum, freedom trail, USS Constitution. Take the ferry to Provincetown and spend a day on a nearby Nat'l Seashore beach. (Driving in Boston is awful -- consider parking the car for good and using public transporation during your stay).

Drive to Portland ME, stopping for lunch in Portsmouth, NH or maybe Salem or Cape Anne (2 nights). Watch the lobster boats and tour the waterfront; boat tours of the harbor, children's museum.

Now a longish drive to Burlington VT, via White Mountains NH, Lake Winnepesauke NH, etc. 3 nights in VT. Visit Ben&Jerrys', hike, enjoy the lake, and look at scenic views.

Then home!
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:01 PM
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Maine isnt crowded in June, except for maybe the last week of June, so you don't really need a reservation if you're not too picky...you can drive until you find an area where you want to spend a night.

Ship Ahoy Motel near Boothbay Harbor is often mentioned here, if you get that far up into Maine. In Maine you have to get "off the beaten path" as freeways and Route 1 don't get real close to the ocean. Look at Terrace by the Sea in Ogunquit, Fontenay Terrace Motel in Kennebunkport, Cape Porpoise Motel, or the Billowhouse on a miles-long stretch of beach south of Orchard. In New Hampshire you'll want to stay by a lake....Bayside Inn is nice. Watch "On Golden Pond" before you go, and "Mystic Pizza"!

Travel jams are more about what TIME of day you hit the road rather than the route that you take, so plan wisely.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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So, is that 12 days minus 4 days = 8 days? Recalculating....

Take 1 night from Newport. Visit Portland for the photo op, but don't stay overnight. Instead stay farther west near Lake Winnepesauke, say (3 nights). Skip Burlington, just drive through southern VT on your way home.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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The wineries will be found in upstate New York, on your way home. I can't think of any in New England.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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Is it better to stay out side of Boston and take the metro in? Found a place on North Hampton Beach.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:28 PM
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Do I really need to stay on Cape Cod or can that be a day visit?
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Mar 25th, 2012, 02:48 PM
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persoanlly I don't think there is any point to a day visit to Cape Cod, you'll not get a sense of it. If you want a beachy day trip from Boston better to go to Cape Ann.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Definitely do not get a sense of Cape Cod from just a day trip. I agree with Jubilada, a day trip to Gloucester, Rockport or Marblehead (all Cape Ann) from Boston would be easier.

No, do not stay in N. Hampton Beach if you are thinking of that as "outside of Boston". To really get a feel for Boston, I'd stay in the city itself. Cape Ann is more the New England beach "feel" than Hampton is, if you are looking for close to Boston. But maybe after DC & NYC you aren't all that interested in cities.

Honestly, I'd try to pick a few spots and stay two nights in each and avoid trying to hit all six New England states. I mean, you'll likely drive through most, if not all of them, on your journey, but I'd pick & choose a couple of key destinations, like two beach and then the White Mountains. It's a good long drive from N. NH back to Ohio.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Just an FYI: There are two wineries on Cape Cod. One in Falmouth and one in Truro. Both offer tours and tastings.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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I agree with skipping the cape and going to beaches north of Boston. Also, skip Hampton Beach and head up to Maine to the York, Ogunquit and Wells area. The lighthouse in York would be perfect for pictures, there are some fun little stores to look around in and Goldenrod's restaurant and ice cream parlor where you can watch them making taffy the old fashioned way. Oqunquit has the Marginal Way, which is a paved sidewalk along the rocks near the water (not as dangerous as it sounds!). Wells has one of my favorite beaches, Drakes Island Beach. Getting across to the White Mountains in NH is not hard at all from southern Maine, we did it many times - splitting our week between Maine and North Conway NH.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 09:00 PM
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Miss Cape Cod? Yikes. Don't miss Cape Cod. The National Seashore is world class. If you have the money, take the ferry from Boston to Provincetown on Cape Cod. You can sign up to take Art's Dune Tour there and enjoy one of his clam bakes. Or take a whale watch out of Provincetown. Provincetown is a gay enclave, very liberal and very lovely. Arguably, the Cape's best restaurants are here. You won't need a car in Provincetown and you can't take a car on that ferry anyway.

You might also consider taking a ferry to Martha's Vineyard from various locations on the East Coast. Google is your friend here.

There are vineyards and wineries all over New England including Newport, R.I., Long Island, Cape Cod and Connecticut. (again, google away).
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Mar 26th, 2012, 05:16 AM
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Don't get me wrong, I love Cape Cod, but I also love Cape Ann and Maine beaches. I think since the original poster said she wanted White Mountains also, she'd have to choose between Cape Cod and some other NE coastal area. I'm not sure if 8 days translates to 8 nights or if it's 7 nights/8 days. To me you need at a minimum 2 nights on the Cape to have enough time to really explore. And, yes further up the Cape is great, but unless you are taking the ferry from Boston, that isn't always easy to do driving if you have limited time. Too much time in the car is tiring for a 7yo. I'm not sure if this scenario is what you are looking for, but this would be my suggestion. I'm counting out the DC & NYC portion and assuming it's 7 nights/8 days, so if you have an extra night, then perfect!!

Day 1 - depart NYC, spend night in Mystic, CT or Newport, RI
Day 2 - drive to Cape Cod (or coastal Maine)
Day 3 - Cape Cod / Coastal Maine
Day 4 - Cape Cod / Coastal Maine
Day 5 - Drive to White Mountains
Day 6 - White Mountains
Day 7 - Drive to NY for overnight (Saratoga?) Since it's likely a 12-13 hour trip from northern NH to Ohio (not sure where, I was using Cleveland as a reference) I'm assuming you would want to break it in half. You'll drive through part of VT on way home.
Day 8 - home to Ohio

If you really have your heart set on Maine, you could always cut out that day en route between NYC and The Cape. As a frame of reference, it's a 5-6 or so hour drive from NYC to Provincetown, MA (tip of the Cape) without traffic. SO, totally doable in a day if needed. Then you could always shave a day off your Cape time if need be for 2 days in Maine, or just do a one night on your way to the White Mountains.

You may want to keep your plan somewhat flexible, as I'm not sure when you are traveling in June, but it can still be pretty chilly in Northern New England. You just don't know, we could have summer, or I've spent many a late June with 50 degree weather for a few days. If the forecast is looking that way, I'd definitely opt for more time someplace like Newport, or the Cape (where it will likely be warmer than N. New Hampshire) or throw in a night or two in Boston.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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I agree its unthinkable to come all this way from Ohio and not seeing Cape Cod. The problem is its kind of a long drive too far out of your way in the given time frame, and given that you want to see all 6 states. That's why I like the idea of a day trip, by ferry, from Boston to Provincetown (and then take a taxi, bikes, or the trolley/shuttle to the Nat'l seashore.)

Cape Anne is a reasonable, but not as awesome, substitute, if you really can't make it to the ``real'' cape. IMHO.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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How early in June? Lake areas are full of mosquitoes until later in the month.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Of course, I'd add a hearty thumbs-up for Cape Cod, too!

However, I'd also urge you to re-consider your idea of hitting every state "even if it's just for 1 picture". To me, that's a little like walking into a restaurant just for a whiff of the cuisine. (Just my opinion, of course!)

The New England states have so much to offer. My hubby and I have traveled them all, and I have to say - our best trips were the ones where we just got in the car and made our way in a general direction with no set itinerary.

For our honeymoon, we left Cape Cod and headed up the coast to Maine. We spent a couple days exploring little seaside villages and pigging out on lobster.

We ended our coastal trek around Kennebunkport ME (love it there!!), and then made our way into New Hampshire to Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains.

After that, we kept going west toward Vermont. We made it as far as Burlington and Lake Champlain before turning south again toward the Berkshire Mountains of MA, and then back to the Cape.

As I recall, we did all this in 7 or 8 days.

Not once did we feel rushed, like we "had to be" somewhere at a particular time. We met some wonderful people along the way (usually in small town restaurants and diners, which I adore!). And we got to see so many sights we never would have known about, if we hadn't chatted up the locals over breakfast or lunch.

And ... I have an album full of spectacular photos and memories from every state we visited!

I realize this "go where the spirit moves" approach to traveling isn't for everyone. But if you're so inclined - June is a good time to do it, before the tourist rush begins.

Just my 2 cents ...
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