Help a Canadian with a New England Itinerary

Old Mar 17th, 2024, 01:39 PM
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Help a Canadian with a New England Itinerary

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some help or advice on planning what will likely be a two-week road trip in New England. I'm driving from Hamilton, Ontario. It will be me and my friend, both around age 40. We are very easy going and don't HAVE to see specific things, and we don't want to lounge around too much. I need help with timing and maybe choosing one place over another (for example, New Haven over Hartford, CT).

We like:
-historic buildings, old buildings, pretty buildings
-nice scenery
-bookstores, coffee shops, unique shopping (don't need chains)
-friend is into dinosaurs, we are both into home decor and pretty sights
-we are not huge foodies, I mean we like nice restaurants and bars but it's not our focus

I assume we would drive through New York state (any suggestions for a pit stop to stretch our legs for a couple hours? The drive from my house to Connecticut is about 7 hours). We would leave on a Saturday morning.
-for Connecticut, I'm thinking New Haven and Mystic. I don't know the timing of things, and I don't want to allocate more than two full days there (unless you think I really should)? We would arrive on a Saturday, so full day Sunday and full day Monday. Do you think I'd have time to stop anywhere else, or are these two days enough for both of those places?
-leave for Newport Rhode Island Tuesday morning. Spend whole day there. Is that enough? Too much? Wednesday morning head up to Providence, spend full day there. Too much? Not enough?
-Thursday morning head from Providence to Cape Cod. Full day in cape cod. Friday, go to Martha's Vineyard. Do I need a full day there?
-Saturday, head up to Boston. Spend Saturday and Sunday there. Too much? Not enough?
-Monday morning of week 2, stop by Salem. I'm assuming we don't need a full day there. This is where I'm a bit stumped on whether or not we need to stop in New Hampshire? If so, where should we go for two days max?
-assuming we skip New Hampshire and go straight to Portland Maine, we'd wind up there sometime on Monday. Spend all day Monday there? Then, head to Bar Harbor and spend all day Tuesday there. Is it worth visiting Bangor if you're a Stephen King fan, or nah?
-Wednesday (or Thursday?) morning drive to Burlington, Vermont. That's a pretty good drive. Any other suggestions for Vermont?
-drive back home on Saturday (a good 8 hour drive, any suggestions for pit stops along the way?)

I appreciate all and any advice or info - I've never been to this area of the States, and again, I'm not looking to lounge around and blob out, but I do want SOME chill time obviously. We like to walk and walk, not on cliffs per say but we can easily walk 20k steps a day to explore a town or city. I'll be using my car, very likely to go on this trip (renting seems too complicated).
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 11:31 AM
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Sounds like an awesome trip! Here’s a rough outline that might help:

Drive to Connecticut: Consider stopping in the Finger Lakes region in NY. Watkins Glen State Park has stunning gorges and waterfalls.

Connecticut: Two full days for New Haven and Mystic sounds solid. New Haven has Yale and great pizza (try Frank Pepe’s). Mystic is charming with the Seaport Museum and Aquarium.

Rhode Island: Newport is great for a day – explore the mansions and Cliff Walk. Providence can be done in a full day; check out WaterFire if it’s happening.

Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard: Cape Cod in a day is fine; maybe focus on one or two towns like Provincetown. A full day in Martha’s Vineyard should be enough – rent bikes to explore.

Boston: Two days is good. Lots to see – Freedom Trail, museums, and maybe a Red Sox game if you’re into baseball.

Salem: Half a day should be enough to explore the witch history and quaint downtown.

New Hampshire: If you go, Portsmouth is nice for a day. If not, Maine is great.

Maine: Portland for a day is perfect – lots of cool shops and scenery. Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are beautiful and worth a full day. Bangor is cool for Stephen King fans, but if you’re short on time, you can skip it.

Vermont: Burlington is lovely, and you can visit Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury.

Drive back: Consider stopping in Saratoga Springs, NY for a nice break.

Let me know if you need more details!
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 07:43 PM
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:20 AM
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Although you aren't focusing on food my friends and I habe found food tours to be fun and interesting usually includes history. Boston's North End was one of our first and one of the best. Last time in Boston we did the South End. You didn't say when you are coming. You might want to do a search for local garden tours. You can wander theu people's nackyards without getting arrested. I almost skipped one of the stops on a Concord NH tour necause it was close to downtown and difficult parking but another homeowner said it wasn't to be missed. Good thing I went back necause it was one of the best ever. They had converted a shed into an outdoor kitchen and reading area. There was a dining table outdoors. Herbs and veggies planted in adjacent beds.

Martha's Vineyard took us all day netween ferry ride, taking a van tour of the island and walking around the little Victorian cottage colony. One was open for touring, you have to take ferry to right town. Keep in mind parking for ferry is remote so you need to alot time to park and take shuttle bus.

Providence had a great food tour. Waterfire is interesting but extremely crowded. You can also walk around Federal Hill Italian neighborhood. We did two mansion tours in Newport. Since it was not our first visit we did Beneath the Breakers which might not be given anymore and then a servants quarters tour at another mansion.

Portsmouth has several good boat rides to choose from. Historic Strawbery Banke has lots old hoises to tour. We like to start at Prescott Park amd drive rt 1B thru New Castle. You can also drive coastal rt 1A to go by mansions maybe visit Fuller Gardens.

we haven't been to Acadia in years but will visit next week. Our son doesn't want to go near Acadia due to crowds he and family encountered a few years ago. We will not go to Bar Harbor but I want to see some gardens and we have a boat ride out of Northeast Harbor. We're staying closer to Ellsworth. Should you get there, second floor of Chicken Barn Antiques is all used books. Rt 1.

we usually vacation in midcoast area and love Exploring Harpswell area. Great friday farmers market in Brunswick which is a college town. Heritage Days in Bath for 4th of July is great fun.

skip NH? No! Stay in Concord NH and visit Canterbury Shaker Village. Concord has a walkable downtown. See League of NH Crafts store. Gibson's bookstore is excellent and has frequent author talks. Granite Staye Candy or Arnie's for homemade ice cream. Crust and Crumb Bakery or Bread and Chocolate or both. I think you can get coffee but there's also a coffee shop attached to the bookstore.

Drive up Center Street to see “mortgage hill”. Get over to Pleasant St and keep going. This is a very pleasant drive and will take you thru pretty towns of Hopkinton, Contookcook and Warner. Main Street Bookends is a small but charming bookstore. Gallery in back. After driving thru town you can get on I89 to VT. In VT, if you like cooking you will want to visit Norwich VT King Arthur Flour. Btw our son's favorite coffee shop in Warner is Cafe One East.

NH also has a lot of free outdoor concerts so check local news wherever you are. The Warner bookstore has a steep hill behind it with an amphitheater for outdoor concerts. We carry bag chairs and a snack kit so we can take a picnic supper or also good for sitting in some scenic spots
to enjoy the view. Mt Battie in Camden ME is one of the best places.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 12:05 PM
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When in Mystic stop in nearby Stonington Borough for well-preserved 19th and 18th century houses. The Dog Watch Cafe has good seafood. https://www.dogwatchcafe.com/cafe

Last edited by Fra_Diavolo; May 23rd, 2024 at 12:27 PM.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 03:25 PM
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Meant to add, avoid Mystic Pizza. Fun movie, mediocre pizza.
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