Gloucester, Portsmouth , or Newport ?

Aug 8th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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Gloucester, Portsmouth , or Newport ?

I posted earlier that we would be in Boston Oct 22-24. We are looking for an easy trip in the surrounding area, coastal, which would give us a relaxed base from which to explore an interesting seaside location for 3 days or so before returning to Boston to fly out.

Each of these towns sound like good possibilities. Any reason to pick one or the other that time of the year ? Thanks for your help.
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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All nice choices - might even make your decision making more difficult and add Portland, ME to the mix. All are 2 hours or less from Boston - making tranportation easy.

Some general thoughts - you mentioned in earlier thread about perhaps wanting to see some foliage - and for that south is better, arguing for Newport.

Newport - you have the obvious mansions to look at and proximity to ocean. In immediate area there are several incredibly beautiful Rhode Island coastal towns with cute non-chain shops.

Portsmouth - shopping, ocean - also very close to Newburyport, MA which is also a nice town.

Gloucester - authentic New England fishing village - probably would pick Rockport over Gloucester as a place to stay. If you are into museums, about 20 minutes from Salem (Peabody Esex Museum) but your dates start to get close to Halloween - when Salem becomes an insane gridlock of all sorts of witch things.

An argument could be made for any of the 3 - and since you mentioned cost was somewhat of a factor, I might see what kind of lodging is available at what cost in each of the 3 and make that a big factor in your selection.

Make sure you have hotel reservations for 10/22 - it is popular Parents' Weekend at colleges and also Head of the Charles Regatta - a huge tourist and participant draw every year and might even be worth an hour or so of your time to watch depending on where you are staying.
gail is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 11:51 AM
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gail pretty much sums it up : none of them is a bad choice, and do consider Portland too.

You could do something like stop in Gloucester for lunch on your way to Portsmouth, to try and get two spots in. Or stay in Portsmouth and take a day trip to Portland.
capxxx is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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I would say that all three choices are seaside cities rather then seaside towns.

All three areas have a lot to offer. That time of year I might lean towards cape anne and gloucester, including rockport, essexs, ipswich and salem as points for exploration - if your into that Halloween witch thing, marshes and antiques.
LittleWing is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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The only hassle with Newport is there isn't a direct route to get there.

Portsmouth is a charm! It's very walkable, scenic, and historic. What I also like is that there are a lot of boutique shops and restaurants - it's not full of chain stores and eateries. It's an "artsy" town with a lot of interesting shops to stroll by and check out.

They have done a great job of preserving the older original houses and buildings from 200+ years ago.
Jaya is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 03:17 PM
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Agreed, all three are attractive destinations well worth a visit.

However, would strongly advise writing down the attractions in each city you want to visit, and then checking to see when these close for the season. As I had mentioned on an earlier thread you posted, a number of the historic houses in Portsmouth NH likely will have closed as of Columbus Day.
bachslunch is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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Thank you for the thoughtful responses.

It sounds like all these cities are walkable with interesting attractions.

My photographer husband will want to capture seascapes and ports.

We would enjoy walking and picnicking.

It was mentioned above that Newport has no direct route ? We would be driving a rental car which we would return to Logan.
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 04:43 PM
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I am not really sure what "no direct route" means driving anywhere. Perhaps the person who mentioned this meant that the final part of the trip from Boston would be on secondary roads instead of highway - but it is thru rather picturesque parts of RI, so I would not consider it a problem - it is easy to find and signage is good.

But that brings up another thought. I would suggest you bring, borrow or even rent with rental car a GPS for any of these locations - not because they are difficult to find but because I find a GPS gives me more freedom to wander thru unfamiliar territory. You can certainly use a map or mapping program to get from Boston to hotel - but if you are doing photography and want to just pick up some tiny side street in search of a photo, a GPS gives you more confidence you will eventually find your way back to hotel.

Coastal Maine (Portland) has several lovely lighthouses and ocean facing cliffs that make great photos. But RI towns in the Tiverton area are beautiful as well.

Picnicing in central New England in late October is not something I would count on.
gail is offline  
Aug 9th, 2010, 12:48 AM
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If it's too cold or rainy for picnicing, I think Portsmouth and/or Portland have the better reputations for restaurants. Both offer boat trips. If the weather is good, it can be fabulous to be outside. (Last year we went to a pumpkin carving event the sunday before Halloween.) If you stayed in Portsmouth, a day trip to Portland is easy. You could go on 3 different boat trips in 3 days. Agree with Jaya's description of Portsmouth but I also like Portland's Old Port area. You could stop in Gloucester on the way back to Boston.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 9th, 2010, 10:22 PM
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Thanks all for your input.

Portsmouth and Portland look a bit more urban than what I had in mind. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Gloucester/Rockport look more cozy- am I right ?

Maybe Newport is a good choice if we are hoping to to still see some fall colors the third week of October.

Am torn between driving up to Goucester for 2-3 days and coming back to Boston to fly out, versus driving through Gloucester, Portsmouth and Portland for a night in each.

Newport still possible for again 2-3 days and back to Boston.

From what all of you have said, cannot go wrong with any of these options.
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 12:07 AM
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2-3 days in Gloucester/Rockport only might be too long - you can see the ports/ships, shop, eat - but then you still have a day or so left. But Gloucester/Rockport as a base with day trip to Salem and day trip to Portsmouth is fine.

Some perspective - people in Boston drive to all 3 of your locations for a day trip or even dinner. (Portland is a bit further).
gail is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 03:14 AM
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Years ago we stayed in a nice motel type place on Cape Ann for our Rockport visit so yes, you will probably find cozier lodging accomodations in that area as opposed to city hotels. There is no need to stay a different place each night. Everything except Newport is pretty close together. But there are cozy places between Portsmouth and Portland.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the information. Interesting to hear that Bostonians do some of these towns as day trips.

On an entirely different topic, are there shops in the area that specialize in espresso machines ? This trip is an opportunity to eyeball actual equipments I cannot find where we live.

Williams-Sonoma here seems to have the biggest inventory yet even they do not satisfy. Thanks.
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 09:24 AM
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I don't think there is a good reason to spend separate nights in Portsmouth and Portland -- they're close enough to one another. They are bigger, yes, but the olde downtown areas are small, cozy and quaint, with cobblestone walkways and such.

Can't help you with the espresso question, sorry.
capxxx is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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There's a a Nespresso Boutique on Newbury St in Boston.
LittleWing is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Thanks for the advice about the different towns along the coast. It has given me a perspective that I lacked earlier.

Will look for that Nespresso Boutique on Newbury !
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 07:05 PM
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Apropos of the previous advice re GPS. We are in Rockport/Gloucester right now and ...Thank the Lord for the GPS. Maybe Mapquest...but GPS better.
sobster is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:59 PM
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I like all 3 cities that you mention but personally I would choose Newport. We were just there for a day & have also spent 2 nights there in the past. I love touring the mansions, & if you do go, I recommend the Breakers if you only see one, but if you have time for more, I also recommend Marble House & Rosecliff. Newport is a good choice if the weather is rainy, which is why we went there this past Monday with an out of town guest.

You can also walk along the Cliff Walk, which is beautiful!!! The downtown area & harbor is pretty, too. Also go to Fort Adams. The Newport Winery is located in the town next to Newport - can't think of the name, but only 20 minutes or so from downtown Newport. There are some small museums.

For lodging, I recommend the Viking HOtel. Have a meal at Benjamins & a hot coffee specialty drink at the Red Parrot.

Newport is not out of the way from Boston & is easy to get to. It's a lovely drive with great views going over the Jamestown & Newport bridges.

Let us know what you decide to do!
Kwoo is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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I am finding all your replies very helpful. It is becoming apparent that there are many good choices.

Since our trip is in late October I am wondering whether we should not go north.

Newport sounds pleasant for a day or two.

How about Nantucket for a few days ? I know its hurricane season, etc. We would not mind cold and gray. Will most businesses be open ?
okoshi2002 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 09:21 AM
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Hurricane season is effectively over then - although you can get storms. Could be cold and gray, could be glorious.
Cyanna is offline  

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