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Need General Ideas For New England Trip Sept 2008

Need General Ideas For New England Trip Sept 2008

Old Nov 27th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Need General Ideas For New England Trip Sept 2008

I love to plan vacations, and I'm starting to think about next year's trip to New England. We were going to go to Alaska but decided to postpone that for $$$ reasons. Anyway, the plan is to fly into Boston (cheap, non-stop flights from Orlando), rent a car, spend a couple of days with family in Bristol, RI, and a couple of days with more family near Bangor, ME, and sightsee in between.

We'll be going in September, 2008, for about 2 weeks. The exact days and length of stay are flexible, but we want to avoid the summer tourists and the leafpeepers as much as possible.

So I'm looking for suggestions of places to go in the area of Rhode Island, Maine, and parts in between. We do NOT like big cities so even though I like history I probably would rather avoid Boston. We do like nature, parks, the coast, fishing boats, mountains, small towns, local food and crafts, and so on. Easy hiking would be good - rock climbing would not be good.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Sounds like the makings of a fun trip! I haven't been in a few years but the Common Ground Fair in Unity ME is held third weekend in Sept, I think. Great place for quality handmade crafts, organic foods, no commercial midway. We stayed in Camden for the weekend so it wouldn't be far from your Bangor relatives. The summer tourists are gone and it's too early for leaf peepers but keep in mind that Maine is a great weekend destination for a lot of people. There will be much more activity south of Portland but it may still be wise to plan accordingly. Don't miss Portsmouth NH, beautiful historic small city on the coast. You might wish to visit Strawbery Banke Historic area. Take a harbor or inland rivers cruise. Lovely downtown area with interesting shops and great restaurants. We tend to skip the southern coast of Maine and head directly to the mid-coast area. In Bangor, we enjoyed the Cole Transportation Museum but it's helpful to have a grand dad along to explain the equipment. If there's an event planned at Leonard's Mills Logging Museum (near Bangor) it's also an interesting place. We saw college teams compete in lumberjacking events and explored a beautiful restored saw mill. Would have been nice to see a Lombard Hauler which they were thinking of restoring. There are photos in the Cole Museum. September would also be a great time to visit orchards or farmers markets for apples. The Maine Visitors center has a list of farmers markets which I expect would be taking place thru the month. On our last visit to the coast we stayed in Wiscasset which I thought was a great area for exploring. We figure it takes most of the day to drive down roads and find an interesting place for lunch. Some lobster shack places will be open weekends.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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You might want to visit Portland, Maine for a day or part of a day. It is by no means a "big city," yet it has a lot of the comforts that big cities tend to offer (e.g. some of the best restaurants in the country, nice arts scene, good shopping in the Old Port area, etc.).
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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"You might want to visit Portland, Maine for a day or part of a day."

LOL! Sorry, but I forgot to mention that I spent about 2 years traveling to Portland every other week for work. My husband hasn't been there but I'm very familiar with it and do plan to take him there for a half day or so. Probably the same day we go to Freeport. Thanks for the reminder!

We've also been to Camden and drove from Camden down to Freeport and then back to Bangor a couple of summers ago. My husband wasn't real keen on going to Freeport since I kept telling him it had a lot of outlet stores - until we got there and he saw Timberland, L.L. Bean, and a bunch of other man-oriented stores. Then he was upset because by the time we got there pretty much everything had closed early because it was the 4th of July. So he wants to go back.
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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If you are staying in Bristol RI I assume you will be visiting Newport -- fabulous historic town. The harbor area offers lots of shops and good restaurants. The mansions are great fun to tour. Be careful of timing, though, as the Newport Boat Show is scheduled for September 11-14 and the town will be mobbed. If you have time and the weather is good, the ferry trip from Narragansett to Block Island for the day is fun, especially midweek when the tourists are gone.

Bangor ME is an easy drive from Mt. Desert/Bar Harbor area, which is great place to see off season. We try to visit there in early September, and the weather has always been beautiful. The best part of that time of year is that the tourists have gone home and you can easily navigate through Acadia National Park without bumper to bumper traffic. There are carriage roads through the park for bicycle riding and lots of hiking trails for all levels of experience. The Jordan Pond House is a great stop for lunch (incredible Lobster Stew!), but I am not sure when they close for the season. Be sure to visit Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach and Thunder Hole! You can stop at the entrance to the Park to pick up a map.

Other areas of Mt. Desert Island worth visiting are Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor.

Bar Harbor itself is a place to stay away from during the summer months, but after Labor Day it is left to the locals and is a charming town with lots of shops and good restaurants, plus an excellent selection of lodging opportunities. This is where to pick up the highspeed Bluenose ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia if you have time -- but there's a lot to see there too, so you might want to save that for another trip....

By the way, if you like lobster, this is the place to get it! On rt. #3 to Mt Dessert Island you will see several "Lobster Pounds", where they cook the lobsters to order, or ship them home for you. The Trenton Lobster Pound, on the right as you cross over the causeway to the island, has been there for years and years and is still owned by the same "old salt". My husband and I shared a 4 lb. lobster there in September and it was fabulous!

Another must-see on the coast of Maine is the town of Camden, about 1 1/2 hrs. south of Bar Harbor on Rt. #1. This is a wonderful little harbor town with a lovely main street and lots of beautiful old homes, many of which have been converted to B&B's. There are good hiking possibilities in this area too. An excellent restaurant in Camden is "Waterfront", which is downtown, overlooking the harbor.

Sounds like a wonderful trip -- have fun planning!

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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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I loved Ogunquit, ME, especially Perkins Cove. Picturesque village right at the coast. The lobster (and probably other food, too) in the restaurant www.mcperkinscove.com is to die for ...

I.
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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Newport RH.I.visit the Breakers.Cape Cod is also interesting ,Martha's Vineyard.Then further North; Plymouth and the Plimoth plantation.Portland,already mentioned.We loved Bar HARBOR lots to see Acadia n.Park,Bass harbor...I would think it a shame if you havent visited Boston before not to give it at least a few days and do the historical part.You could take the Old Town trolley.Paul
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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Anytime right after labor day should be fine, and the weather is usually the best of the year. Be sure to spend 3 nights near Moosehead Lake, sounds like a perfect fit for your interests.

Orlando has cheap flights into Providence RI and Manchester NH as well. Check car rental rates for all 3 cities before booking your air tickets. On a 2 week rental, Manchester can sometimes save $200 or more over car rental in Boston. (Check the total price though, because Manchester & Providence both tax the rentals to the roof).
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Old Nov 28th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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My boyfriend and I traveled through New England this September, and it was amazing. Visiting Acadia was one of our favorite parts, and if you havenít been it is a must. Cadillac Mountain in Acadia is the first place the sun rises on the eastern seaboard, and itís worth it to get up early one morning to see it. Then you can go to the Cottage Street Bakery for the best blueberry scones in the world. September is the best time to visit because the tourists are gone, but the weather is still perfect for hiking, sea kayaking or just strolling the streets of Bar Harbor. We had never been sea kayaking before, but we took a group excursion and it was great.
I also recommend visiting the fishing town of Gloucester, MA for the whale watching. We saw over 20 whales, and they were right up next to our boat. It was amazing.
Here are some pics from our trip if you arenít convinced yet!
Acadia: http://www.gypsymoments.com/?m=20070925
Gloucester: http://www.gypsymoments.com/?p=18
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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Awesome pics, Gypsy! I wanna see a whale! I've lived on the Atlantic coast of Florida all my life, made several trips to California, Seattle, and even Alaska, and I've never seen a whale. I think they're scared of me. I'm almost afraid to book a whale-watching trip 'cause I would jinx it and nobody would get to see one.....

But maybe New England whales are braver than Pacific whales so I'll add Gloucester to the itinerary. Thanks for the tip, and thanks to everybody for all the other great advice. I'll be printing this out so I can sit down with a map and do some planning.

I'll also look into the cost of flights and rental cars at other locations and try not to be seduced by the non-stop flights into Boston.
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Old Nov 29th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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If you love natural surroundings but enjoy all the advantages of gracious living you will love the outer-cape and the Cape Cod National Seashore Park which begins in Eastham on Cape Cod. September is an ideal time to visit because the big tourist rush is over yet the weather is still summer-like, everything is open, and the place is still lively without the heavy traffic going over the bridges you might encounter in July and August. The Cape seems like a natural destination on your way from RI to Maine and you should plan to spend at least 4 nights there to really experience the beaches (Coast Guard beach, Nauset Light and First Encounter beach -all in Eastham- are my favorites), theater (in Wellfleet and Orleans), museums (many all over the outer cape), small villages (Chatham, Brewster, Provincetown, Wellfleet), art galleries (many in Orleans, Wellfleet, Provincetown), fine dining (Orleans, Wellfleet, Chatham, Provincetown), whale-watching, history, walking (Fort Hill Area and many more trails in the park), biking (Cape Cod Rail Trail), birding (Fort Hill Area and Wellfleet Audubon) etc. that the outer cape is so dearly loved for.

For a real treat, stay on Fort Hill in Eastham at the Fort HIll Bed and Breakfast. It is the only lodging that is inside the National Seashore and although it is not inexpensive, you will find that it not as pricey as other fine inns...plus you can walk right out the door into the rest of the Fort Hill Area (Captain Penniman House museum and walking trails) and sweeping ocean views. I would be happy to give you some more places to see and things to do if you decide to visit the outer cape.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 06:01 AM
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Glad you liked the pics, cslasor!

I am sure the whales will be out for you. The charter company we used, Seven Seas, guarantees you will see whales.

While on the North Shore you might want to check out the quaint seaside town of Marblehead, and Salem for the witch history.

Enjoy!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 06:13 AM
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I definitely agree that you need to go to the Ogunquit / Perkins Cove areas.
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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I'd like to put in a word for my hometown, Concord, MA. We have a lot of history (Revolution started here, famous authors like Thoreau, Emerson & Louisa May Alcott), nature - terrific hikes in beautiful woods, & a nice small town feel. There is the Concord Museum, the houses of many of the authors, and Minuteman National Park. September is a great time, still usually warm & beautiful, but not crowded. You can stay at the Colonial Inn, or bed & breakfasts in town. We're 19 miles north & west of Boston (apparently Louisa May Alcott used to walk in - and back - in one day, not for me!) but it's easy to get her. Hope you'll consider Concord.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion! Concord is a great idea and I'll add it to the list. Have a great holiday.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2007, 07:31 PM
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If you are coming in September why not add Cape Cod, MA to your plans. September on the Cape is beautiful. The ocean, boats, cheap rates and history and scenery.

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