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Itinerary help:Driving Boston MA to Mid Coast Maine

Itinerary help:Driving Boston MA to Mid Coast Maine

Old Mar 9th, 2013, 06:52 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
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The toll for the Sumner Tunnel to Boston is $3.50.

That's all? For some reason I thought it was more than that. Maybe $7 is the cab surcharge? With EZPass, I guess I never see the price for the tolls.
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Old Mar 9th, 2013, 06:39 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
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If connections are available, flying into Manchester, NH is really close, and not so difficult.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 04:18 AM
  #23  
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Hi all,
dfrostnh, I've looked into your suggestion of bus to Portsmouth. Because of the length of my stay in Maine, 7 weeks, I need to make a one way car rental that I can return in Maine. Sadly, I've been unable to find one in Portsmouth. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Hi jeterray, Thanks for the suggestion. I've looked into it and, sadly, Manchester doesn't handle any international flights. It would mean flying to a hub in the USA and then getting a connecting f;ight to Manchester. I'm not sure that the benefits brought are worth the extra time and cost. Thanks again though

Travelgourmet, I don't think cash for the tolls is a problem, but it wouldn't be the first time I've found myself at a toll booth with the currency I need securely packed away in my baggage!!! Is the Sumner Tunnel the toll you mentioned I needed to pay leaving the airport, or is that another $7.

Here in France, all our toll areas accept bank cards (visa Amex, etc) and it takes away the worry about tolls. Our equivalent to EZPass is ok, but there is a hefty charge for using it so it's not very popular.

I'm increasingly moving towards staying overnight in Boston. I think I'll use the free hotel shuttle to get to the hotel and then, the following morning, return to Logan by shuttle and pick up my hire car as soon as the desk opens.

That will give me a full day to drive up to Camden.

Thanks again to everyone who helped.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 10:52 AM
  #24  
 
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Yes, UK and Aussie citizens get much better rates for car rentals, especially one-ways.

However, there is no Budget Car Rental office in Camden Maine so this is quite puzzling. Unless perhaps they are planning to open an office sometime between now and your date of arrival.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 11:29 AM
  #25  
 
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Is the Sumner Tunnel the toll you mentioned I needed to pay leaving the airport, or is that another $7.

Yes, the Sumner is the tunnel leaving the airport. There is a second one (Ted Williams), but for going either north or into the city, the Sumner is best.

Here in France, all our toll areas accept bank cards (visa Amex, etc) and it takes away the worry about tolls.

Yeah, but a) our tolls are a lot lower, b) less common, and c) they really want you to use EZPass. EZPass is actually free, but there is a $20 minimum and you can't buy them at the airport, so not overly useful to you.

I'm increasingly moving towards staying overnight in Boston. I think I'll use the free hotel shuttle to get to the hotel and then, the following morning, return to Logan by shuttle and pick up my hire car as soon as the desk opens.

Are you just staying at the airport hotel? If so, you might consider staying in the city proper since you will probably want to go into the city for dinner anyway, so the same amount of transit costs. If you do stay at the airport, the only good place for dinner nearby is Santarpio's (which is genuinely excellent - get the sausage): http://www.santarpiospizza.com/

If connections are available, flying into Manchester, NH is really close, and not so difficult.

You have the same problem as with Portland. You have to enter the US in Newark or Philly, which is a lot of backtracking.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 01:05 PM
  #26  
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Hi and thanks for your help everyone.

clarkgriswold. Budget are offering a one way rental to Knox County Regional Airport, which is in Rockland, just a few minutes drive from Camden.

Hi travelgourmet, Having now chosen this route I'm starting to look at hotels. I'll not be staying on the airport but will choose a hotel that offers a free shuttle. The first I have found is Four Points by Sheraton , which is in Revere. I now need to look at what other hotels are available in my budget area. I have occasionally stayed at hotels on an airport, but there have to be pretty serious reasons!

Thanks again to everyone for your help.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 01:48 PM
  #27  
 
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All the places you are contemplating have good art museums, several with new appendages.

If you have time in Boston, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has a marvelous new wing by Norman Foster, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner has a new wing, actually much better than I expected, by Renzo Piano. If you should have the time or inclination, maybe on the way back to Logan.

And I'd hate to think of you missing the new addition to the Bowdoin College Art Gallery, which I think is stunning.
Ackislander is correct that this is a very good town, with many good restaurants also.

Portland's Art Museum has some good American stuff.

And while I'm at it, might as well suggest you stop in Damariscotta for some non-pareils at the marvelous Weatherbird. Best chocolates in town! plus other good food!

I'm sending along this extraneous advice (you've already gotten good basic stuff from several others) since you will be in Maine for quite a while.

I love Maine in the winter. It's quieter with simply gorgeous clear weather (from time to time!)
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #28  
 
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Do not stay in Revere. Drive to New Hampshire before you stay in Revere. The only reason to ever go to Revere is to go to the original Kelly's. Don't be tempted by the "airport hotels" in Chelsea either.

If you give your budget and timeframe, I'm sure some of us could help narrow down to a good choice.

I would offer two other options (other than staying at one of the real airport hotels - Hyatt, Hilton, Embassy Suites)...

1) Book a room in one of the hotels in the "South Boston Waterfront" if you can get a decent deal. The Silver Line (basically a long bus with some dedicated lanes) offers free service from the airport to the area. The area is "emerging" but that largely means sparse development, nothing dangerous. There are a couple of decent bars in the area - Whiskey Priest, Atlantic Beer Garden, The Barking Crab, maybe even Remy's. For dinner within walking distance of the hotels, I actually think Legal Harborside is great for a chain (it is the flagship for a very successful, moderately upscale seafood chain - I like the first floor). For lobster in the raw, the Barking Crab manages to not screw it up. There is also a major lobster retailer that serves food in the front of the shop, but can't remember the name.

2) Eat the cost of the cab or the T (subway system) and stay in Boston proper or Kendall Square in Cambridge. Getting in at 4 would let you walk around and see a bit of your neighborhood on the way to dinner some place. If you bid on Priceline, you should be able to get a decent enough room for $85 or so. Bid for a 4* in any of the following neighborhoods - Quincy Market, Copley Square/Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Boston Harbor Front, or Cambridge East. You could drop down to 3.5* in any of those neighborhoods and you won't end up in a fleabag, but might end up in a smaller room at an unrenovated hotel (esp. the Park Plaza, which is partially redeemed by an awesome location).

Getting into the city from the airport via Public Transit is a bit of a hassle, but not terrible. You either take the Silver Line from your terminal and (if needed) transfer at South Station. Or you can take the airport bus to the Blue Line (a real subway) and transfer at State or Gov't Center.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 03:05 PM
  #29  
 
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I just typed a long reply that disappeared so will try again; apologies if both post...

Englishman, I commute often from the Portsmouth NH area to Boston. Public transportation in Boston is good, but no fun on vacation. If it were me, arriving mid-afternoon in December, I would get my rental car at Logan and hightail it out of Boston. You are not likely to hit bad traffic unless you arrive on a Friday when we have just had our first significant snow of the season, causing everyone to head north for a ski weekend. And even then, the worst traffic will be the local roads out of the city, for about 15 miles, until you hit 95 North. So maybe what should take 30 minutes might take 60. Once you hit 95 north, you shouldn't find much traffic thereafer.

Once north, I would drive to Portmouth, stay at one of the downtown hotels, and eat at one one of Portsmouth's many excellent restaurants. Off the top of my head, I would recommend Surf, Martingale Wharf, the Portsmouth Brewery or Agave. If you're not afraid of a driving another ten miles, head north on 95 to Kittery and enjoy an excellent meal at Robert's Maine Grille on Route 1.

Hope you have a great trip
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 03:32 PM
  #30  
 
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I'm not following the updates too well I guess, I thought you were booking a car and driving northward but now you need a hotel with an airport shuttle?

Anyway, wanted to note that Beverly Garden Suites is a nice spot to spend a night if you are looking for something close to the airport but still out of the city rush in the morning. It is about 15 miles further north past Revere.
Portsmouth would only be about 40 miles further than Beverly however.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 03:48 PM
  #31  
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Hi everyone, thanks for your contributions.

taconictraveler. Thanks for all you suggestions. I'm not sure I'll have time to visit all the places you mention before going up to Camden. However, I am hoping to have a few days during my stay to visit all these places. Portland is easy to do as a day trip from Camden and therefore places like Damariscotta and Portland will get visited.

travelgourmet: Thanks again. I'll avoid Revere then. Much appreciate the advice. I'm only staying for one night and was hoping to get a double room for between $80 and $120.

I'll finalise my travel plans and then bid on priceline.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 05:52 PM
  #32  
 
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Don't go to Barking Crab as tg suggests, and the term is 'lobster in the rough' not ' lobster in the raw'
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 07:10 PM
  #33  
 
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Don't go to Barking Crab as tg suggests

I stand by the Crab. It is a dump, but a lovable dump. I've enjoyed a lot of great after-work drinks there, It is better in the summer, but it is a good dive bar.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 08:58 AM
  #34  
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Hi everyone,
alley: Thanks for your contribution. I'm planning on travelling mid week, prpbably a Tuesday. I admit I'm vascillating a bit . My original intention was to do exactly as you suggest, pick up my rental car and head north straightaway, stopping for an overnight in NH somewhere.

However...

clarkgriswold: There has been a lot of talk about driving out of Boston immediately after the long flight. Although it would be mid afternoon, my body clock will still be 6 hours ahead and I will have travelled for about 14 hours, given the flight duration, time to travel to London Heathrow and then the "hanging around" time at both ends. This has led me to consider staying overnight in Boston. The advantage of the hotel with shuttle option is twofold. It allows me to catch a later flight out of London Heathrow giving me an easier morning, and secondly, the shuttle/taxi means I'm not driving until I've had a night's sleep.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 02:32 PM
  #35  
 
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If you don't want to pick up your rental at the airport and drive to Beverly or Portsmouth, then consider Holiday Inn Express in Saugus. The reviews are good and the advantage is that you could book your Budget pickup from the Sears Auto Center in Saugus. If you arrange with them ahead of time, Budget will even come and pick you up in the morning at the hotel. No backtracking to the airport to pick up a car.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 02:46 PM
  #36  
 
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...and the Residence Inn in Chelsea is a brand new hotel, like the Holiday Express it has airport shuttle and is within pickup distance from Budget CAr in Saugus.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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...and the Residence Inn in Chelsea is a brand new hotel

That happens to be in Chelsea...

There is nothing in Chelsea to see, do, or eat. I would only do it if you literally were planning to do nothing other than going to the hotel, going immediately to sleep, waking up, and immediately leaving. If you wanted to even grab dinner, you are looking at a cab ride somewhere. So why not stay somewhere nicer than Chelsea to begin with?

It is the same logic as to why I wouldn't stay in Revere, though even Revere is miles better than Chelsea.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 05:52 PM
  #38  
 
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You could use Priceline for a hotel downtown. I've gotten hotels between $99 and $129 in the Copley Square area. If it were me though, I'd drive to Portsmouth.
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 07:08 PM
  #39  
 
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Re Chelsea/Revere....if they're now taking a later flight, with two meals and a snack and lots of wine served onboard, and supposedly arriving too tired to even drive to Beverly, why wouldn't one assume that they are just going to shuttle to the hotel and get some much-needed shuteye?

Not sure what's wrong with pointing out various options other than trekking into the city on public transportation, going out to dinner with your eyes closed and hassling with the in-city rental car pickup in the morning, but apparently one would have to have SOME GALL not to follow travelgourmet's instructions!
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Old Mar 11th, 2013, 08:21 PM
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but apparently one would have to have SOME GALL not to follow travelgourmet's instructions!

I merely offered a dissenting opinion. You seem to be upset that your opinion is not met with universal agreement.

I'm sorry, but I'll repeat it - Chelsea is a dump. The city motto might as well be "at least we aren't Lawrence!" As I noted, if you have no interest in doing anything other than sleeping in the hotel, then go for it, but the city is an absolute dump and the particular location of the hotel is a no-mans land stuck between the highway and industrial land. If for some strange reason you didn't find the airplane food particularly satisfying, you would have to get in a cab to go anywhere to eat and unless you want it to be fast food, you will likely have to leave Chelsea to find it.

And to what end? Plugging in a random night in December (the 18th), the Residence Inn (which seems like a nice hotel, save for the location) comes in at $199. The Hilton at the airport (you can walk from the terminal) is only $140, the Westin on the Waterfront is $179, the Revere on Charles Street South is $140, the Park Plaza is $101 (admittedly an older hotel, but that location...), the Hilton in the Back Bay is $146, etc. My personal choice, though, would be a splurge on a room at the Eliot Hotel for $195 where you can stumble down to the bar at Clio (my choice for best restaurant in Boston) and get the best cocktails in Boston to wash down bites from the bar menu.

I would also note that you overstate the hassle aspect. Staying in some place like the South Boston Waterfront would entail no more hassle than dealing with a shuttle and would offer free transport to/from the airport as well. Plus you get a better neighborhood, easier access to Boston should you have enough energy, and the option of walking out your door to buy some food. Heck, the distance to most hotels in Boston is either shorter (Waterfront) or comparable (Back Bay) to the hotels in Revere or Chelsea. And, depending upon where you stay in Boston, the "hassle" of renting your car in the city might be as minimal as walking across the street from the Revere or Park Plaza and into the Hertz office.
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