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Itinerary critique, please: Boston and Maine coast

Itinerary critique, please: Boston and Maine coast

Old Nov 22nd, 2019, 02:51 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Itinerary critique, please: Boston and Maine coast

Hello! My 14-year-old son and I are spending a few days in Boston and then heading up the Maine coast at the end of May/beginning of June. Below is the very rough itinerary I have sketched out. I would love any feedback and suggestions for things to swap around or add. I have been to Boston several times, but this will be my son's first visit. Ordinarily I would start with the Freedom Trail - since we're there over Memorial Day, though, I thought that might be a nice time to do some of those sites.

Our trip is in the middle of blackfly season too, so any advice for keeping the little buggers to a minimum would be welcome. Thanks in advance!

Saturday 5/23:
Arrive BOS midday
Uber to accommodations (Airbnb in Brookline Village - I wanted to stay a little farther out and away from the worst of the city noise, but with good access to the T).
Beacon Hill/Boston Common/Boston Public Garden
Dinner in the area or in Chinatown

Sunday 5/24:
Back Bay/Newbury Street
Charles River Esplanade (we may rent bikes if the weather is nice)
Red Sox game - they are in town during our whole stay so this could be moved

Monday 5/25 (Memorial Day)
Freedom Trail sites
Dinner in North End

Tuesday 5/26
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Afternoon open, depending on what we feel like doing

Wednesday 5/27
Pick up car at Logan airport and head for the Kennebunks via Portsmouth, NH. We might stop in Ogunquit too, if time allows.

Thursday 5/28
Morning in Kennebunkport
Windjammer sailing excursion

Friday 5/29
Day trip to Portland and Cape Elizabeth

Saturday 5/30
Depart the Kennebunks for Bar Harbor, with a stop or two along the mid-coast...Boothbay Harbor, Bath, Port Clyde and Rockland have all been recommended. Any favorites?

Sunday 5/31
Acadia NP - while we're in the park we'd like to see/experience points of interest like the carriage roads, Sand Beach, the Ocean Path, Bass Harbor Head Light and others. We may try to stay pretty close to the shore given the blackflies.

Monday 6/1
Morning in Bar Harbor
Schoodic Peninsula (Winter Harbor, Corea, Schoodic Point). Ferry from Bar Harbor or drive?

Tuesday 6/2
Acadia NP

Wednesday 6/3
Depart Bar Harbor for Bangor to fly home




bamafam is offline  
Old Nov 22nd, 2019, 04:41 PM
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Looks good but would include the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill and lunch at Warren's Tavern. Yay to the baseball game. I love Fenway.
Macross is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bamafam View Post
Our trip is in the middle of blackfly season too, so any advice for keeping the little buggers to a minimum would be welcome. Thanks in advance!
A friend who lives in Bar Harbor area claims they don't have black flies. She goes hiking with her daughter so should know. You won't have a problem in city areas probably only the woods. I'm in NH and garden. You didn't mention ticks but if you're hiking you should consider tucking pants in socks and doing body checks at end of day. I usually get 2-3 if I'm out in the yard for several hours but usually find them before they latch on.

Saturday 5/23:
Arrive BOS midday
Uber to accommodations (Airbnb in Brookline Village - I wanted to stay a little farther out and away from the worst of the city noise, but with good access to the T).
Beacon Hill/Boston Common/Boston Public Garden
Dinner in the area or in Chinatown
We did similar but I can't remember which town we stayed in. It was about 20 minutes into town and Uber was great. During our weekend we started the Greenway at Chinatown (there was a festival going on) and walked until we got to Quincy Market which is near the North End. You might want to do a dim sum lunch when you do the Greenway. I thought Quincy Market was horribly crowded and food we got was sub par. I have done food tours in Boston, loved them all. The one to Boston's North End is a great history narrative as well as food tasting. Michelle Topor's tours.
Sunday 5/24:
Back Bay/Newbury Street
Charles River Esplanade (we may rent bikes if the weather is nice)
Red Sox game - they are in town during our whole stay so this could be moved
Don't all 14 yo boys enjoy a Duckboat tour? It splashes into the Charles River. You might also consider a laser show at the Museum of Science and/or the Blue Man Group.

Monday 5/25 (Memorial Day)
Freedom Trail sites
Dinner in North End

Tuesday 5/26
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Afternoon open, depending on what we feel like doing

Wednesday 5/27
Pick up car at Logan airport and head for the Kennebunks via Portsmouth, NH. We might stop in Ogunquit too, if time allows.
Since you aren't returning to Logan, check into taking bus to Portsmouth and renting car there. It might be cheaper. I use Concord Coach lines which picks up at Logan but also Boston's South Station. Please consider boat tour of Portsmouth Harbor or Inland Rivers. The Portsmouth Navy Yard is across the harbor in Kittery ME. You can see the creepy abandoned Navy prison from Portsmouth - Prescott Park is good viewing spot if you don't take a tour.
I forgot that you can now sail on a gundalow but we haven't done that yet. (Portsmouth)

Thursday 5/28
Morning in Kennebunkport
Windjammer sailing excursion - I may have been on this sail. Given time of year, remember to wear warm jacket. It's cold out on the water.

Friday 5/29
Day trip to Portland and Cape Elizabeth
If Bite Into ME food truck is parked at Fort Williams Park and you want a lobster roll, this is a great place for a picnic. We carry bag chairs in the car so can set up any place but there are a few benches. Great view of Casco Bay. Mailboat cruise might be a little boring but we liked it.

Saturday 5/30
Depart the Kennebunks for Bar Harbor, with a stop or two along the mid-coast...Boothbay Harbor, Bath, Port Clyde and Rockland have all been recommended. Any favorites?
It's a good time of year to visit Boothbay but I go to Coastal Gardens for the flowers. For some reason I don't care for Port Clyde. We stayed near Rockland last summer because our favorite lobster shack is McLoon's (you'll see the best of Maine if they are open) and we like Claws drive in restaurant on Rt 1 in Rockland. Easy hike to Owls Head light but you have to walk up the stairs to see view. Husband loves Owls Head Transportation Museum. I prefer Farnsworth Art Museum. Check schedule at Transportation Museum because they have some interesting weekend events. Sometimes you get to see antique airplanes flying. One time we saw a Lombard Log Hauler and heard an elderly guy who used to work on one. Google it because it is unique to Maine's logging history. We like Bath but usually it's for their Heritage Days over Juy 4th. If you don't stop you will still get quite a view of the Bath Iron Works as you drive over the Rt 1 bridge. We saw them working on one of the new stealth destroyers.
You have to stop in Camden just because it's pretty. If you drive up the auto road to Mt Battie you will have a terrific view overlooking the beautiful harbor. It's another place where we like to sit awhile and enjoy the view. Don't forget binnoculars! It's a long drive to Acadia and can get boring. We like to stop at Chicken Barn Antiques and Used books in Ellsworth. Our family stopped at Fort Knox and the observation tower on the big bridge and posted some great photos but this is something dh and I haven't done.

Sunday 5/31
Acadia NP - while we're in the park we'd like to see/experience points of interest like the carriage roads, Sand Beach, the Ocean Path, Bass Harbor Head Light and others. We may try to stay pretty close to the shore given the blackflies.

Monday 6/1
Morning in Bar Harbor
Schoodic Peninsula (Winter Harbor, Corea, Schoodic Point). Ferry from Bar Harbor or drive?

Tuesday 6/2
Acadia NP

Wednesday 6/3
Depart Bar Harbor for Bangor to fly home
We liked the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor (and eating at Dysart's truck stop) but we had my FIL with us and he was familiar with a lot of the vehicles etc on display. This museum is about work vehicles not fancy classic cars so it's quite different from Owls Head.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 05:15 AM
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If he likes science, the Museum of Science in Boston is excellent – very hands on.https://www.mos.org/
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Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 07:35 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! Keep them coming!This is super helpful.

Last edited by bamafam; Nov 23rd, 2019 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Edited because I pressed Publish too soon
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Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 08:07 AM
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We loved the Museum of Science. We watched a demo with a guy standing in a steel cage when the cage was struck by lightning from a Van de Graff generator. There are two Van de Graff generators there which were built by Mr. Van de Graff himself.
Why do you want to fly out of Bangor? Will you have a large drop fee if you don't return where you rented the car? One possibility would be to take An Amtrak Downeaster train from Boston North station to Portland and renting a car in Portland. You should try to fly out of Portland if you don't want to go back to Boston.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 08:15 AM
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We're using miles, and the cost was the same to fly out of Bangor as backtracking to Portland or Boston. It was just easier. I thought about taking the Downeaster, but we both really wanted to stop in New Hampshire as we have never been there.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2019, 03:13 PM
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There are 3 or 4 Downeaster trains per day. The train has 3 stops in New Hampshire before entering Maine. I do understand visiting a state that you have never been in before. In 2018 we flew to Hawaii. In the past 14 years I have found at least one geocache in all 50 states.
While in Maine, you might want to visit the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport.
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Old Nov 24th, 2019, 09:02 AM
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You could spend a month or more on the Maine coast and not run out of things to see and do. We once owned a large inn in Camden and saw that as a common halfway point between Kennebunk and Bar Harbor. Camden was always considered the best stop-over in the midcoast, although Rockland, once a city some locals felt was unsafe, has made a great comeback in recent years. Boothbay is a bit out of the way and can be a bit touristy, tacky. It does offer some wonderful nearby spots, including a great botanical garden, for someone with more time than you have. Port Clyde out of the way as well. Stick with Rockland if you want to see its art scene or better still Camden, its beautiful harbor, and nearby ride up spectacular Mt. Battie.

Mt. Desert Island is one of our favorite places in the world. We have lived in Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor, two quieter places where you might bump into the rich and famous (not us). If you want more action (and more tourists), Bar Harbor is the place to stay. If the park is your focus, you might look at the few options in Northeast Harbor. The other possibility is the nice, but less posh “quiet side” which includes the quaint village of Southwest Harbor. Before we lived there, we did many one week vacations on the island and were always busy. I would scrap Winter Harbor/Schoodic, too far away.

You are traveling at a good time, when we provided the best lodging discounts. Weather can be cool and foggy in June, but tourism doesn’t usually pick up until schools get out. And, everything will be open and un crowded.



whitehall is offline  
Old Nov 24th, 2019, 10:54 AM
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I would scrap Schoodic, too, unless there is a big storm off the coast causing big waves, in which case it might be worth it. Lots to do/see in the main section of the park. Kayaking, and bike riding on the carriage roads might interest you.
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Old Nov 24th, 2019, 04:47 PM
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Thanks! Great info. We will eliminate Schoodic unless there's a reason for us to get off MDI for a day. We're staying at a sweet B&B just outside Bar Harbor proper - if it were just me, or me and my husband, I'd love the isolation of Northeast Harbor/Southwest Harbor but with a teenage boy a little more action is good.

I think we'll skip Boothbay too. Not so interested in touristy and tacky.

We love to kayak, so might look into that during our time in Acadia. Alternatively, I had thought about doing a puffin tour. Is it worth it that time of year and from that location?
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Old Nov 24th, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Late May/early June is probably too early for Puffins, the best chance is mid-summer, and might be more north than MDI area.
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Old Nov 25th, 2019, 09:41 AM
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Don't go out to the airport to rent a car, you'll pay the high airport fees/taxes. There should be an Alamo, Avis or Hertz within a short distance of your city hotel, and you can book the car to return at the airport location if that's what you prefer.

Don't book anything in Maine that has more than a 24 hr cancellation policy, you'll want to tweak your plans when you arrive in Boston and get a better grip on the next week's weather forecast. Late May early June can be iffy for sure.
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Old Nov 25th, 2019, 01:20 PM
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Thanks, everyone!
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