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Late September Trip to New England Coast - Reservations Needed?

Late September Trip to New England Coast - Reservations Needed?

Jun 5th, 2008, 05:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 137
Late September Trip to New England Coast - Reservations Needed?

I'm planning a trip to New England from September 20 through October 6, mostly concentrating on the coast between Maine and Rhode Island. Given the time of year, price of gas, and general economy, how critical is it to make advance reservations for hotels and whale-watching trips?

cslasor is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Typically, no, and you will find very favorable off season rates along the coasts - but it depends on the town. Portland, Me, Boston, Providence, etc., will be more difficult and have very high rates.

But, the summer destination seacoast towns will not be a problem.

I think gas prices and air fares will mean far more locals, but not fewer visitors.
djkbooks is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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It depends if you have a preference for where you want to stay! Your first choice might well be fully booked if you leave booking until the night before your arrival and at weekends you risk even more disappointment. Your time includes the start of leaf peeping season; usually a beautiful time with great weather and so this is a popular time for people to visit (but not many families on vacation).

Check out accommodation now. If you see something you like which mentions a minimum booking of 2-3 nights or places that are already booked up then you'll have a better idea of how busy the area will be come September.

I'd book most of my stay now and all weekend accommodation.
highflyer is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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I don't think you'll need to pre book your whale watching trip until arrival.
highflyer is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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The leaf peepers will be in the mountain destinations, not along the seacoasts...

And, whale watch cruises are far more popular in the hotter weather. It's ccccold on the water in the fall!
djkbooks is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I wouldn't call advance reservations 'critical' but they might be helpful, especially if you are traveling with more than two people, etc. As others have mentioned, your first choice might be booked, not to mention time spent searching. It may or may not be easy to find a nice place that you like at a price within your budget. Acadia/Bar Harbor/Bass Harbor will be busy with fall foliage and the approach of Columbus Day weekend, closer to the 6th. I'm not sure about the whale watches but the point about cold is well-taken. I would rather wait to reserve until I know about the forecast. They won't go if the weather is bad and you might want to check their schedule. Late September/early October are lovely with generally cool, crisp weather. Have a great time!
bassharborbaby is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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You won't have any problems staying at the coast. Bar Harbor is an awesome town (but 5 hrs out of Boston). Nantucket would be a great place to visit, and you'd get great prices in September. Stay at 7 Sea St.. awesome! You may not get great prices in Boston, as it is a big college town, so you never know when family wkds are scheduled. If you're staying at the coast, you won't have to worry about the leaf peepers. It's probably too cold for whale watching, but check with the companies.
beache is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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that is a great time to go.it might be warm enough on cape cod to even go to the beach!(my favorite is craigville beach in hyannis) in boston if you want a low key museum that is breathtaking go to the gardner museum right behind the fine arts museum. you are going late enough so that i think you are ok about hotels.
eslrachel is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 06:54 AM
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Eslrachel is right about making a stop on Cape Cod. That time of year is beautiful on the Cape. Less tourists, some pretty fall foliage, and the weather is usually fine for beach and nature walking.
bon100 is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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About 12 years ago we went to Cape Cod about Sept 18. We DID have a hard time getting reservations; they said it was a big wedding weekend. The weather can be really beautiful that time of year.
debsnj is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Debsnj you are right! We got married in MA 9/23 and it was gorgeous. Fall is very popular in New England for weddings!
bnbtraveler is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Thanks for all the advice! I didn't think about weddings, so maybe we'll try to figure out a place to make reservations for the middle weekend. The first weekend will be at my in-laws near Bangor and the last weekend will be with my sister in Rhode Island, so those are covered.

As for the rest of the time, we'll have to look a little closer at what we might want to do and decide if we want to stay in central locations and do day trips, or just stay a day or two here and there as we wander south along the coast. I'm usually a total planner when it comes to trips, and this time I just don't feel like doing much planning. I'll bring along the AAA tour books and info on various places and that will just have to do. I'm kind of looking forward to the "freedom" of not having to be any particular place at any particular time. Except for making it back to the airport to catch our flight, of course. [...smile...]
cslasor is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Given that you don't seem too set on certain hotels or locations, you will probably be fine. But do remember that you could spend a bit of time driving to find a place to stay if you totally "wing" it. Any chance you are bringing a laptop and could book places as you go? And Boston will DEFINITELY be busy at that time of year with college activities, etc. So if you are planning on staying there, I would book those dates and work around them.

Enjoy your trip! It's a great time of year to be in our neck of the woods.
ccrosner is offline  
Dec 18th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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I just realized I never followed up on this with a report of how our trip went. As it turned out I never regretted not having reservations, partly because we ended up spending more time with relatives than we originally expected. Hurricane Kyle came along and kind of forced us to change what plans we had, so it was a good thing we had plenty of flexibility.

Still it was a wonderful time of year to be in New England, not very crowded, mostly nice weather, and most things still open. The trees were just starting to change colors when we first arrived in Maine on Sep 20 and by the time we headed for Rhode Island on the 26th there was a lot more color. Down in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, though, there was much less color. But there was the occasional glorious red tree that was stunning and a treat for a Floridian.

For hotels, we stayed at a Howard Johnson's hotel in Portland twice and it was a nice, fairly new, hotel. We also stayed at an older motel out on Cape Cod (in Eastham) called Eagle Wing Motel that was very clean and comfortable and had a nice little back porch area with a swing out in the grass.

The sightseeing highlights were Acadia in Maine (including a little slice of the park that's east of the main park and not directly connected to it), Newport Cliff Walk, Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge just east of Newport, Mystic Seaport, and various beaches and drives along the way.

Sorry I'm a bit skimpy on details, but it's been a while. The bottom line is it's a great time of year to go to New England and if you're flexible then reservations aren't really a necessity.
cslasor is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I am grateful for your update. I am contemplating a trip to the east coast in late September of 09 and this really helps me to narrow in my selection of dates. My desire is to see the colors as living in Nevada that is something you kinda miss out on.
lvnative is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Glad you had a nice trip, cslasor. Acadia is special and it's been far too long since we've been there. Having a house on Cape Cod causes us to spend more time there, especially during the summer months.

As for fall colors, you will need to go up to NH/VT/Maine if you want color in late September. We don't usually peak in the Boston area until about the third week in October. Yes, you may get some maples turning in late September but to get an all out beautiful set of colors everywhere, it comes later.
ccrosner is offline  

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