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New England/Canada - late October 2011 - am I too late in the season?

New England/Canada - late October 2011 - am I too late in the season?

Mar 30th, 2011, 01:33 AM
  #1  
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New England/Canada - late October 2011 - am I too late in the season?

Hello Everybody

I have the following itinerary lined up, and dates are concrete (this is the only time I can get away from work) - can you tell me am I too late in the season for things to be open, and will the leaves have dropped by then? Also, do you think Bar Harbor could be dropped, I am not sure what I would be missing, as I have copied this itinerary from a tour brochure which is light on detail.

OCTOBER

TUESDAY 25 NEW YORK
WEDNESDAY 26 CAPE COD
THURSDAY 27 BOSTON
FRIDAY 28 BAR HARBOR
SATURDAY 29 QUEBEC
SUNDAY 30 MONTREAL
MONDAY 31 OTTOWA

NOVEMBER

TUESDAY 1 TORONTO
WEDNESDAY 2 NIAGARA FALLS
THURSDAY 3 HARRISBURG
FRIDAY 4 WILLIAMSBURG
SATURDAY 5 WASHINGTON
SUNDAY 6 WASHINGTON
MONDAY 7 to 15 NEW YORK
WEDNESDAY 16 FLY HOME 22:00pm

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Len from OZ (Australia)
len1962 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 01:48 AM
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You might see the last of foliage on Cape Cod. I have seen some decent but sparse late color in RI as late as Oct 23. Part of it will depend on how much heavy rain we get which knocks the last of the leaves off early. Generally, trees are bare (I live in NH) by Halloween, Oct 31.

If you can change this itinerary, I would cover far less miles. You'll be spending all your time getting someplace and not have time to enjoy being there. You might look to attend a pumpkin festival (I don't think Keene NH is having their famous festival anymore, it got too big.) Lobster shacks in Maine will be closed but there will still be plenty of lobster at traditional restaurants.

Bar Harbor is beautiful but if you don't hike or bike, you might be fine with only going as far as Camden ME where there are terrific views from the top of Mt Battie (take the auto road). That's just the thing about the tour brochure, there are lots of wonderful places between Boston and Bar Harbor. If you are interested in historic places, Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth NH should be on that list.

When we visit Maine, we generally spend a week in one area although have also split a week in VT so we can explore both northern and central parts of the state.

If you're interested in food you could spend half a day in Boston on a culinary tour. You could do a wine and cheese trail in VT. Tell us your interests and maybe Fodorites can suggest places in one area - New England, Canada, or mid-Atlantic. Since you have 2 weeks you could choose two areas but I would never take a whirlwind tour that you suggest.
dfrostnh is online now  
Mar 30th, 2011, 03:53 AM
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You will see leaves in Central Park in NYC - other than that it will most probably be too late - esp for the northern part of your trip.

Separately, while a tour bus can cover this type of territory for someone to do it driving on their own really isn;t possible. (On the tour the members either watch or nap while the driver drives - you can;t do the driving and watch and cover all of this territory. And it can't be done by train at all. If you are planning on doing this by tour - you need to ask them what will be open or not. Also, realize that due to the time change the days will be very short - so you'll have less time to see anything.)

If you really want to see the eastern US in such a limited time you will have to pick 3 or at the most 4 hotels, see those cities and possibly do a day trip. There is no way you can cover this territory on your own - you will be doing nothing but sitting in a car/bus.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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How did HARRISBURG get into this thing anyway????
Dukey1 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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Len:
I think this is way too ambitious an itinerary. I live in mid-NH and typically the foliage is pretty much shot after Columbus Day. Further south,like in Boston, you might catch some for another couple of weeks.
Which airport are you flying into? It seems to me that you could stay in the general vicinity of whichever city you fly into for a few days, then branch out. For example, if you're flying into Logan (Boston) you could easily have tons of things to see and do for a few days, then maybe head out to southern Maine, or for more temperate weather, down to DC for a few more days. I don't know when Daily Savings Time changes this year, but the days are so short by the end of October, it will really curtail your ability to spend long days sightseeing. You need to check distances between the places you've mentioned, figure out 3 or maybe 4 you'd really like to see, and then spend a few days in each unless you like packing and unpacking, and checking into and out of hotels... (The first time I went to Spain I wanted to go to Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona. The best advice I ever got was to limit the 10 day trip to 3 cities.)
Good luck.
Gail
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Mar 30th, 2011, 05:58 AM
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You have got me tired just thinking of that itinerary. I would limit your trip to 3 or 4 destinations at the most.
tchoiniere is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 06:56 AM
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Dukey1, if you're a state capitol junkie, the one in Harrisburg is a must-see, and I'm on the side of those who think it's well worth exploring the Pennsylvania Dutch region and Gettysburg nearby.

That being said, I too think this itinerary is going to result in a lot of driving and very little experiencing. And I definitely wouldn't choose Harrisburg over New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 07:11 AM
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this is a great itinerary, as long as you weren't planning on getting out of the car.

Bar Harbor is pretty cold this late in the season. its still pretty...it's always pretty, but it will be chilly.

I think some of the Niagara falls attractions close down by November, like Maid of the Mists(closes Oct 24th).
china_cat is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Caape Cod is a large area so one day is not enough.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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Just realized that many of your destinations can be reached by train using New York as a base. NY to Boston, rent a car to visit Cape Cod. Return to NY. NY to Montreal, Possibly take ViaRail to Ottawa OR Quebec City (not both). Montreal to Albany to see New York's capitol. Rent a car in Upstate NY to drive to Niagara Falls and possibly Toronto. Return car and go back to NYC on the train.
NYC to Harrisburg, PA. The Amtrak station is within walking distance of the Capitol Building. Train back to Philadelphia.
See Philadelphia and catch the train to Washington DC.
Return to NYC from Washington DC for your 6 day stay.
Skip Williamsburg, Bar Harbor, Ottawa or Quebec City.
At some point you may get to see the red and yellow leaf colors you are looking for-maybe on the ground under the trees. 4 days of car rental sure beats about 14.
tomfuller is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 06:26 PM
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SO are these places set in stone? The best piece of info I could give you for Oct is that you are going from South to North? The North would have the foliage earlier in the year and it would come down south as you go (since it would get colder more North first)

RI, in my opinion has no good foliage! Nothing compared to Maine! Vermont and New Hampshire are awesome too! Maine can start as early as September though. It is going to depend on the season and drops in temp, check out the farmers almanac! Seriously, we go by that!

I agree, why is Western PA in there??? Harrisburg?

Are you driving? What is your travel modes? Can you change those?

November even in PA, is pretty much all brown leaves to the ground...and getting a little cold, bring your jackets!
eastcoastgirl is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 07:09 PM
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I agree with the others who say your itinerary is too ambitious and leaves no time to actually see anything. (And unless you are keen on visiting state capitol buildings, you have no real reason to visit Albany, NY, or Harrisburg, PA, in my opinion.)

On the other hand, I was in Virginia Beach, Virginia, last November and was surprised by how beautiful the leaves were. I certainly did not expect that! So you might actually see some nice fall foliage in the Washington, DC/Williamsburg area – although not as vibrant as what you would see in New England in early/mid-October.

Daylight Saving Time changes to Standard Time on Sunday, November 7, so sunrise and sunset will be an hour earlier starting then (which means sunset will be around 4:45 PM in New York November 7-15). There will be around 10.5 hours between sunrise and sunset in all the cities on your list at the time you will be visiting.
Cranachin is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Lest anyone get the impression that Harrisburg is in western PA-It is only 1:40 by train from Philadelphia. From Harrisburg to Pittsburgh is over 4 hours.
I consider anything west of State College to be Western PA.
I lived in Central PA for over 50 years-worked for the Commonwealth of PA for over 35 years.
I suggested the train so that you would not be driving a rental car for over 1000 miles. It's easier to look out the window on a train than from a car that you are driving.
tomfuller is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 04:15 AM
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I would suggest you go to a site like mapquest or google maps and put in your places of interest starting with the first, and use the add a destination function to go to your next place. This will give you a general idea of distances and drive times.

You will see that the drive from NY city to Provincetown on Cape Cod will take 5 and a half hours without possible traffic problems (there is always traffic on that route) and without stopping for food, gas or to see anything. So "doing" NY then Cape Cod in one short fall day would be a real push, even if you left before dawn in the morning. Expect slow downs in Bridgeport and New Haven in CT and Providence in RI and hope that there is no construction on the bridges to Cape Cod.

Then come back with some questions about things to see etc. along your route.
emalloy is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Thanks SO MUCH guys, I will take your advice and rethink the drive tour. I must say I do prefer to stay put, and branch out ("live like a local"). And I hadn't thought about the shorter days - brilliant. Also there isn't much point going to Niagara if Maid of the Mist isn't operating !

How far south would I see the Fall Leaves? I might venture south instead - maybe as far as Charleston ?

Also I am looking at renting an apartment in BY (Using VRBO.COM) has anybody heard of or used that site? I am terrified of being ripped off, but it all looks legit.

Now I am thinking: Boston - day tips to Bar Harbour and environs NY 8 days, Washington 4 days, that leaves me with another week before I fly home.

My interests are: food, history (civil war- Gettysburg is a definate, War of Independence etc) and Space museums etc.

Len
Australia
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Mar 31st, 2011, 12:33 PM
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Bar Harbor is not a viable day trip from Boston.
tchoiniere is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 04:01 PM
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Western North Carolina may be your best bet to see colored leaves still on the trees that late in the season.
Definatly stop to see Gettysburg. VRBO is a legit site but some of the people who put their places up for rent have been known to charge cleaning fees etc.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 04:09 AM
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Bar Harbor is really not a day trip from Boston. If you want to see some beautiful rocky New England coast on a day trip from Boston, go up to Cape Ann, visit Halibut Point, Bass Rocks, Gloucester, Rockport, etc. right in Massachusetts.

If you go south, consider driving down Skyline Drive in Virginia, after you visit Gettysburgh and Harper's Ferry for a bit of Civil War history.

Have a great trip.
emalloy is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Boston/Bar Harbor is an 11 hour round trip - WITHOUT any breaks. You need to buy a map!
KarenE is offline  
Apr 4th, 2011, 01:55 AM
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Thanks everyone

Advice is much appreciated and I will rework my itinerary accordingly.

God Bless

Len
Australia
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