Itinerary Review Please!


May 10th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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Itinerary Review Please!

Planning an 11 day trip to Newport R.I./Martha's Vineyard/Cape Cod/Salem, MA.

Flying into Providence, R.I. Plan to view mansions on afternoon of Day 1, and Day 2.

For Day 3, I need advice. We would like to go to M.Vineyard. We will have a rental car, of course, and I would like input as to what would be the best scenario for us to ferry over to MV, and back. We plan to visit the Cape in the days following the trip to MV. Should we ferry out of New Bedford, Falmouth or Hyannis? Is there any way to ferry over with the car from one town, and ferry back to a different town (to MV from New Bedford and away from MV to Hyannis, for example)? Might be cost prohibitive, and maybe the difference in drive time is not that much of a factor. Is seasickness a factor on some ferries/waterways, and not on others? Also, should we plan to stay over in MV if we have to catch the ferry half way into Day 3? Or is a half day enough time to be there?

Day 4 -6: Visit the Cape. Is the JFK Museum a must see?

Day 7: Drive to Plymouth, MA. What would you suggest we not miss here? Can Plimoth Plantation, Pilgrim Memorial SP, Myles Standish Monument, John Alden House all be done in a day or 1.5 days? Are all of these worthy stops?

Day 8: Finish sightseeing in Plymouth, if necessary. Drive to Salem, MA

Day 9-10: Sightsee in Salem.

Day 11: Drive to Logan International, Flight home mid-day. WHEW!
rksh is offline  
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May 10th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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You might be a little late to reserve a space for your car on the ferry to MV if you plan to go during tourist season. In any case, the last time I checked the New Bedford ferry is a high speed, passenger only ferry so taking the car is not an option from there. This means if you want your car there you have to go to Woods Hole (on Cape Cod). As to cost, google Martha's Vineyard Ferry and you can find all the fares there. There was a $14 a day parking fee in March when we went if you don't take your car, so if you will be there for an extended stay, figure that in when you do the costs and it might be more in the summer. As to seasickness, the steamships from Woods Hole are large and I've never experienced it on them.
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May 10th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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emalloy is right...the only car ferry is the one from Woods Hole.

You might do MV as a daytrip from Cape cod. Drive from Providence to where ever you are staying, and use one day from that part of the trip to take the passenger ferry from Hyannis. Leave the car behind and use the one of the tour buses to get around.

You haven't said when you are going, or what day of the week those days are. You cannot get an Martha's Vineyard ferry reservation for your car on a summer weekend, you are far, far too late for that. If its a weekday, and you do want to take the car you might have a shot at it. But I really think I would only take the car if you plan to spend the night.

The JFK Library is not on the Cape, its south of Boston. You could do it in between Plymouth and Salem, I guess.
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May 10th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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It depends on your interests of course, but I think devoting 2-3 days to Salem is too much.
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May 10th, 2011, 09:08 PM
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Thank you everyone! Our vacation is planned for the end of July, beginning of August. It sounds like I am way late in planning - hopefully I can still get lodging on the Cape at this late date? I had planned that we would be going to MV on a Friday, but I may take china cat's suggestion about picking a convenient spot on the Cape to stay, and do a day trip to MV from Hyannis, instead of trying to ferry out on our drive from Newport. So we could do MV either Fri, Sat, Sun or Monday.

I have misnamed the museum in Hyannis - I think it is called the "Kennedy" museum, not the JFK museum. Maybe it is not worth seeing since it is not the Presidential Library Museum.

I will re-think the time in Salem, too. I have read some of the museums are "hokey", but my husband has been wanting to see Salem. We were going to do the "touristy" places: House of 7 Gables, Salem Witch Museum, Cry Innocent, Salem Maritime NHS, Peabody Essex Museum. Do any of these have any substance to them? I am more of a history buff and would probably prefer going to Lexington and Concord. We have been to Boston once before, but only for a short visit. I am sure we can spend more time there if my itinerary is too spread out.
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May 11th, 2011, 04:32 AM
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Peabody Essex Museum is very good. If you have a car,it is a short trip up to Rockport, which has lots of artists, or if you want a nice place for a short hike Halibut Point State park is very nice. Otherwise, a few hours for PE, and a few for the house tours should be fine for Salem, perhaps a day and a half total.

Look for lodging in the Chatham to Welfleet area. You will be within a reasonable drive from most of the interesting (IMHO) sites and could still do a day trip to MV. There are busses on MV that make taking a car for one day not necessary.
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May 11th, 2011, 04:45 AM
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We did a day trip to MV last Sept. The ferry has remote parking areas so you need to plan your time to get to the parking lot, get on the shuttle bus and buy tickets. My friend called an ad for a one hour van tour which was a nice introduction to MV (we were the only passengers). I would definitely consider riding the bus around just for the scenery but a narrated van tour is worth the price. (I would do both.)

I agree with emalloy that the Peabody Essex Museum is very good. You may want to allow time to take the tour of the Chinese house. It is very interesting.

I hope you include the JFK library. You can park there, enjoy the library and then continue on to Salem (and not spend so much time in Salem). BTW we did the ghost tour and didn't care for it at all.
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May 11th, 2011, 07:13 AM
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You can easily take a day-trip to either MV or Nantucket, using the fast ferry out of Hyannis. As others have mentioned, I would not bother taking a car for a day-trip.
While on Cape Cod, if you have an interest in history you should visit the Salt Pond Visitor's Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham. There is great information there about free historic house tours, whaling history and the history of the first arrivers. The Fort Hill Area and the Captain Penniman House are worth the time and the scenic views/trails are spectacular. The rangers at the visitor's center are very helpful and will provide you with maps and times of event on the outer Cape so you can make the most of your short time on Cape Cod.

For planning purposes, Eastham is 5-10 minutes from Orleans and Wellfleet, 30 minutes from Hyannis, 45 minutes from the bridge, 20 minutes from Chatham and 30 minutes from Provincetown. It is a good central location with easy access to restaurants, entertainment etc as well as both ocean and bay beaches.

If you want the island experience, but decide against the hassle of going in to Hyannis to catch the ferry to MV, you might consider taking the fast ferry, Freedom Cruise, out of Harwich port to Nantucket. You can avoid the parking and shuttle issues that make going into Hyannis bothersome during the summer. In any event, check out this comprehensive transportation site for CC, MV and Nantucket.
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May 11th, 2011, 08:03 AM
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Thank you so much! Great advice. I love Fodor's Forums!
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May 11th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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Regarding Salem, like others said, PEM is well worth a visit, and make sure you don't miss the Chinese House (additional charge). You can easily spend half a day or more at PEM. PEM also offers tours for historic houses in the neighborhood, so check their website for tour times.

The Salem NPS is also worth visiting - check their website beforehand because there are many ranger-guided tours. Many of the historic bldgs can only be visited with a tour. I've taken a few tours with the rangers and enjoyed all of them.

There's also House of Seven Gables in Salem, you should visit if you are a Hawthorne fan.

For the witchy-stuff, I'm not a fan of it. But I think it's fine to stay in Salem for 2-3 nights, and just do day trips to other parts of N Shore, such as Gloucester and Rockport. Or even head north to New Hampshire to Portsmouth.

I live in the greater Boston area, and so we usually do day trips to the N Shore. Here's a trip report I posted in recent years (on Ipswich, Gloucester, & Salem)

Also, the annual Salem MARITIME festival is held the first w/e in August; not sure if you're still here at that time. We went once and there were tons of events and open houses.

Other useful websites for the North Shore include:
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May 23rd, 2011, 04:25 PM
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In Salem, I've been to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Maritime NHS, House of Seven Gables, and the Witch Museum. I liked them all, but if you must prioritize, I'd so do in this order. You can see all these things in a day, depending on how long you spend at the Peabody Essex. Agreed with yk that you can explore other towns (such as the ones mentioned in her post) with the extra day.

The Kennedy Museum in Hyannis you're referring to is separate from the JFK Presidential Library, which is in Boston. The latter is excellent. The former is just a bunch of mounted photos of the Kennedy family and for my taste not such a big deal, and that holds even when they add in the small Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame downstairs.

If you're looking for a must-see attraction on Cape Cod, I'd consider the Sandwich Glass Museum, which is excellent.
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