New England Road Trip help, please

Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 04:56 AM
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New England Road Trip help, please

This is my first time posting here, so I hope I’m doing this correctly. We’re planning a New England Road Trip and would greatly appreciate any feedback on our itinerary. We’re not totally locked into this, so any suggestions would be great. We are two very active and healthy senior citizens. We don’t care about the beaches and swimming, so don’t really care if the ocean is cold. We do like to hike, but don’t consider ourselves serious hikers. We look forward to easy hikes, beautiful scenery, historical areas, and of course some wonderful food!

This trip will be early to mid June. We will be starting our trip from Atlanta, but will be visiting family in Burlington, VT, so Burlington will be our jumping off point. We plan to avoid interstate highways except for getting around/through Boston. I really don’t want to drive in the city itself. Here’s what we have tentatively planned.

Please let me know if this seems reasonable. Thank you in advance for any advice given.

Day 1: Drive from Burlington, VT to Lincoln, NH. Hike the Flume Gorge, check out The Basin, etc. Spend the night in Lincoln.

Day 2: Drive from Lincoln, NH to Mt. Washington, NH, via the Kancamagus Scenic Highway. Take the 2 hour guided tour to the summit, then drive to somewhere near Augusta, ME where we will spend the night. This is just to make the drive shorter the next day.

Days 3 & 4: Drive from Augusta, ME to Bar Harbor. Spend 2 nights in Bar Harbor. Do Acadia National Park, drive Cadillac Mountain, etc.

Day 5: Drive from Bar Harbor to Wells/Ogunquit, making stops in Camden and Boothbay Harbor for sightseeing, lunch, etc.

Day 6: Drive from Wells/Ogunquit to Humarock, MA, where we have a VRBO for 3 nights. Will make stops along the way for, lunch, sightseeing, etc in Salem and anyplace else that looks interesting.

Days 7 & 8: Take the train from Humarock to Boston for sightseeing - 2 days.

Days 9 & 10: Drive from Humarock to Provincetown, stopping in Plymouth along the way. Spend 2 nights in P’town. Whale Watch tour and just general sightseeing, hiking, eating, hanging out. (I understand summer traffic on the cape is a nightmare, but is it as bad in mid June?)

Days 11 & 12: Drive from Provincetown to Falmouth, MA, then take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. (Passengers only. Not taking car on the ferry.). Spend 2 nights on Martha’s Vineyard.

Day 13: Ferry back to Falmouth, then drive to Portsmouth, RI. Spend the night in Portsmouth. (Will stay in Portsmouth because it’s much more affordable than Newport.) Do the Mansions tour in Newport.

Day 14: Spend the morning seeing anything else of interest in Newport, then head for home.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 03:40 PM
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For now Ill just say that your plan seems awfully aggressive. There are a lot of miles and no time to smell the roses.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 05:48 PM
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Thank you for the feedback. Is there any particular leg you feel we haven’t allowed enough time…or just all of it? We’re certainly open to making revisions.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 04:22 AM
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Many of us who vacation in the Northeast go to the places you’ve listed to relax and unwind, to slow down and smell the roses, not just grab a selfie of them while zipping through. We stay in one location for a longer time and enjoy exploring locally, not rushing off to the next destination.

Your itinerary seems to be more of the latter. In terms of a trip to check off a lot of places it’s not a bad itinerary, but it’s not my cup of tea. If that’s what you want to do then it’s ok.

For me, Acadia / Bar Harbor is too far, too crowded, and as a result overrated. There are endless miles of wonderful Maine coast with a lot less driving. Lobster rolls taste the same, and fish or oysters right from the water are plentiful if that’s what you're after.

Ditto for Mt Washington, unless your goal is to earn a bumper sticker.

There are endless miles of easy and beautiful lake or mountain hiking that you’ll be zipping by, as well as historic areas If those are as you say things you want to do, then my recommendation is cut the driving miles / time in half and enjoy what is near where you already are.

My home turf is northern NY, from Albany to Saratoga to Lake George to the eastern Adirondacks - which you will pass right by on your way to Burlington. Other frequent Fodors denizens are more familiar with VT (@vttraveler) or NH/ME (@dfrostnh) as well as others. Hopefully they can chime in.
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Old Feb 4th, 2024, 04:54 AM
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Thank you for the feedback. We’re not about selfies and bumper stickers. Just want to see a part of the country I’ve never been to before we’re too old to do a road trip. We’ll certainly consider your recommendations.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 01:34 AM
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Boy, this is hard. We generally like to spend a week in an area, sometimes splitting the week between two places. I understand your desire to see as many famous places as possible but you are skimming the surface of New England. I've only done a day trip to MV which I thought was fun and sufficient.
The Flume is a fun hike. We've only done top of Mt. washinton once and that was via Cog Railway and we live in NH. I would prefer taking a more southerly route west and doing a Squam Lake nature cruise instead. Our son and his family visited Acadia maybe two years ago and were very disappointed by the number of tourists. Far more than our mid June visit in 1997. I think the view from,the top of Mt Battie in Camden is nicer since you are also looking out over a working and touristy harbor (tall ships). Any place onmthe Maine coast will be busy on weekends.
I would consider skipping some of the Cape to devote more time to mid coast Maine. We do lighthouse tours rather than whale watching. You could spend a day on a trip to Monhegan Island for some easy hiking. If you do this, take a picnic lunch and eat it sitting on the rocks looking at the ocean. Maine Coastal Gardens/Boothbay would give you some hiking as well as beautiful gardens. We got take out lobster rolls from a roadside stand and found a,picnic area on a little island accessible by a footbridge.

We have done several boat trips from Portsmouth NH with Inland Rivers my most favorite. The harbor cruise provides a lot of history. Portsmouth also offers historical Strawbery Banke and more.

Basically I would reduce mileage as J62 suggests and spend more time to see more in fewer areas. Some of our favorite experiences have been finding the best lobster rolls. Portland ME is also worth a visit and offers an interesting Mailboat cruise of the bay. Make sure Bite Into ME food truck is at Fort Williams Park for lobster rolls and set you bag chairs in a perfect spot to enjoy looking out on Casco Bay. Top of Mt Battie is another bag chair spot. Bring binnoculars and snacks.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 04:32 AM
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Thank you for the feedback. We’re taking all suggestions under consideration. For us, the driving from place to place is part of the adventure, but we do understand what everyone is saying about less driving and more time at locations. We’ll probably revise our itinerary accordingly.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 11:16 AM
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About the bumpersticker, they give you one at Mt Washington. It should be I got a new brake job from Mt Washington. No matter descending in lowest gear and stopping often to cool my brakes which can be annoying, I needed a premature expensive break job after that trip.

I would scratch Salem. I might also scratch Acadia for Mt battle and the area, Rather then 2 days in boston you could do one day and spend the other staying local. driving by Scituate and Cohasset to Plymouth if Plimouth Plantation is the draw, and the Mayflowere replica. That would open you up for the drive to ptown maybe check out a couple of towns.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with your plans. I have seen people do equally aggressive plans and loved it. It's just not for everybody. I hope you both drive because that's a lot of miles for one person.
Good luck
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 12:09 PM
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Thank you for some more good tips/advice. We don’t plan to drive up Mt Washington. Will take either the cog railway or a guided van tour, not sure which one yet. Let someone else wear out their brakes. 🙂 We will both be driving on this trip, and have done other long road trips, so I’m not too concerned that we can’t handle it.

All of the advice and recommendations in this thread are greatly appreciated!
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 03:40 AM
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Going by our relatively recent experience in Portland, Maine, I would strongly suggest you check the cruise ship schedules for the places you plan to visit.
When those floating petri dishes discharge their cargo the effect on the town is that of an oil slick in a nature preserve,

https://maine.portcall.com/#!?tab=2&port=Bar%20Harbor
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 03:55 AM
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Excellent advice! I hadn’t even thought of that. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 08:17 AM
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Day 2: Drive from Lincoln, NH to Mt. Washington, NH, via the Kancamagus Scenic Highway. Take the 2 hour guided tour to the summit, then drive to somewhere near Augusta, ME where we will spend the night. This is just to make the drive shorter the next day.
I know it will be a long day, but I would try to get to Acadia that day. It'll be 4.5 hours of driving but you can break it up into two 2.5 hour trips by stopping for an early dinner along the way. Sunset isn't until about 8:30 that time of year and getting an early start at Acadia National Park the next morning will be well worth your effort. You need more time to explore Mt Desert Island/Acadia otherwise it's not really worth the detour north.


Day 5: Drive from Bar Harbor to Wells/Ogunquit, making stops in Camden and Boothbay Harbor for sightseeing, lunch, etc.
Boothbay is pretty much just a smaller version of Camden/Rockport. Plan a nice long lunch in Camden and some sightseeing including a drive to the top of Mt Battie or a walk along the ocean between downtown Camden and Rockport. Skip Boothbay since you don't have time to enjoy anything there and it's a 22 min detour down a peninsula and then another 22 minutes back up to Route 1. You don't have any time scheduled to actually SEE Ogunquit/The Wells Preserve/ Kennebunkport Village so by getting there earlier you'll at least get to walk the Marginal Way and enjoy a sunset in the village.


Days 9 & 10: Drive from Humarock to Provincetown, stopping in Plymouth along the way. Spend 2 nights in P’town. Whale Watch tour and just general sightseeing, hiking, eating, hanging out. (I understand summer traffic on the cape is a nightmare, but is it as bad in mid June?) If it's a weekday mid-June traffic won't be bad, but if this falls on a Sat morning you'll have stop and go stalls. Same if you're leaving Ptown on a Sunday.

early June weather can be iffy, mid June usually improves the possibility of sunny days. But later in June the traffic and hotel rates go up. For places like Acadia, try to find lodging with a 2 or 3 day cancellation policy (which can be tough to find in Maine). Check the weather forecasting when you're in Burlington and maybe adjust your schedule accordingly. You should expect forecasts like "partly cloudy" or "possible showers" but if the forecast is heavy rain for 3 days you'd probably want to skip Acadia. Same for Martha's Vineyard.

Since you're going to be doing some light hiking, you'll need mosquito repellent since it's June. In places along the coast it's not bad if you keep moving, but as soon as you stop to take in the views you'll be a victim of the no-see-ums, the chiggers, the ankle-biters or whatever you want to call them. Also might want to pick up some calamine lotion/Caladryl to dab your bites when you do get nipped.

One thing you've missed is the beautiful serene lake regions in the area, but I don't know where you'd fit one in your tight schedule. Maybe a little visit to Barrett's Cove which would be a 3 mile detour from Camden.


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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 08:38 AM
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good thoughts clark
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 08:39 AM
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These are all great observations/suggestions. Thank you for filling me in on this stuff. We will definitely be looking closely at yours (and everyone else’s) advice, and adjusting accordingly. Right now our drive to P’town is tentatively scheduled for midweek, so hopefully the traffic won’t be too bad. Thanks!
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 11:31 AM
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I kept reading, looking for your plans to return to beautiful Vermont. You have skipped one of the prettiest states in the U.S.! I like Burlington but the real VT is outside of the city.
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Old Feb 6th, 2024, 12:33 PM
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Oh no, no, no… we’re not ignoring Vermont. We have relatives in Burlington and near Stowe. We’ve done some traveling around the state with them in the past, and absolutely loved it! At the time we could only do Vermont because of working and limited vacation time… now that we’re retired we want to see more of New England.
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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 07:00 AM
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If heading home (Atlanta) from Newport RI, two things that you might want to visit in CT at the US Submarine museum (free) in New London and Mystic Seaport.
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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for the tip. We’ve been to CT a number of times, but not to those places. We’ll check it out and possibly adjust our trip home. Appreciate the advice.
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Old Feb 15th, 2024, 11:17 AM
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Quite a busy agenda for sure! We do spend quite a lot of time in/around all of New England but mostly Maine and NH, although we have family in/around Boston and one of our daughters went to college outside Boston. One of those trips we did spend time in Gloucester MA and did a whale watch and that was the best whale watching boat ride we've ever been on. Salem itself is pretty touristy and fake as there really isn't real artifacts or historic sites relating to the witch trials. The Peabody Essex Museum however is very interesting especially if you have a rainy afternoon.

So many outstanding art museums to visit in Maine but if not your interest, I am not going to suggest. In South Portland I would recommend the historic Portland Head Light and the outstanding view of Portland Harbor. We've gone on several harbor boat rides out of Portland, Boothbay and Bar Harbor. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are definitely worth seeing LL Bean Flagship Store in Freeport is open 24 hours. Ogunquit Playhouse is a venerable summer stock theatre and of course in Ogunquit walking the Marginal Way is most definitely what I would recommend doing along with Perkins Cove. Agree about stopping in Camden to see the waterfall and the quaint area and the drive up to Mt Battie State Park to see the panoramic view of Penobscot Bay. You can stop in Kennebunkport and the road along the water provides a look from a distance at Walker Point, the Bush family compound.

Then.. lobster! So many shacks including the famous Red's which is worth a stop.

Enjoy!
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Old Feb 16th, 2024, 07:27 PM
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Thank you for all of this information. We have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and talking about the various suggestions. Your ideas will gladly be added to our discussions. 🙂
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