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jet519 Oct 9th, 2021 10:58 AM

New England tour in June 2022
My husband and I are in the early planning stages of a trip to New England next June, no definite dates yet. My husband suggested June since we may avoid the busiest tourist times but be warming up by then. We are in our late 60's, actually we will be 69 and 70 by then! We like easy hikes, walking, scenic drives, botanical gardens, eating of course, architecture, history, some shopping and enjoying coastal areas. We want to spend a few days in Boston to see the Freedom Trail, Italian neighborhood, port area of Boston; a few days on Cape Cod with a day trip to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, Newport RI to tour a few mansions, Cliff Walk and International Tennis Hall of Fame as I am a big tennis fan; then head to to VT, NH to see the countryside, Green Mountains, White Mountains, maybe Burlington for Lake Champlain area, then Portland, ME, Portsmouth, Kennebunkport area and back to Boston. I haven't figured out the best order for all of that although I have played around with Google Maps some. Google maps will tend to take us the quickest route instead of the most interesting, scenic route. I would appreciate help with that so we could see some of the more quaint towns along the way, covered bridges? ( I have noticed these mentioned in several posts). We can spend up to two weeks max and we will be most likely flying in and out of Boston from New Mexico although that is not set in stone, just seems the most efficient since we want to see Boston and could do some type of loop road trip for the rest. We also prefer Southwest when flying. Thank you for lots of advice!!!!

HappyTrvlr Oct 9th, 2021 01:10 PM

Cape Cod is large and two days is not enough especially if you want to go to Nantucket or Marthaís Vineyard. I f want to car over on a ferry to the islands, book a reservation far in advance.
Bostonís Italian district is the North End.
Two weeks is not long enough to include all you have listed. Both Boston and Cape Cod( without the islands) both need more time than two days. The mountain states of NH and especially Vermont are beautiful.
Do more research and ask questions here to help plan a wonderful trip to this special part of the US.

jet519 Oct 9th, 2021 02:17 PM

Thanks, Happy Trvlr, yes I was figuring on 3 nights in Cape Cod and 3 nights in Boston. Still researching what else!

isabel Oct 9th, 2021 06:11 PM

Well the obvious response is that you can't see all of New England in two weeks. But I understand what you are trying for and you actually can see all the places you list in that amount of time. BUT - you will need to move fast - not a lot of long leisurely meals or extensive hikes. Your choice - you can have that kind of trip and cut way back on where you go, or go to all the places but don't spend tons of time in any of them. Neither is a bad choice - although some will try to tell you that one type trip is superior to the other.

If you want to try to do the 'see it all' trip this is what I would suggest. Pick up the car at the airport and head north up the coast. Depending on what time you land you could do half a day in Portsmouth NH, then up the Maine coast - York, Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, Portland. You'll want to do a combination of Rt 1 (not too scenic), and Rt 1A (more scenic, slower). Rt 9 over to Kennebunkport. Maybe at some point get on I-95. Via the fastest route it's only 2 hours from Logan Airport to Portland but to see the places I just mentioned (which is not even 'everything') you'll need a full day.

Then head west from Portland to Burlington, VT. Via Interstates that's only 4 hours but of course you don't want to do that. I'd go up to North Conway and over the White Mountains. I would give two days to that portion.

From Burlington probably take Rt 7 south through Vermont into the Berkshires. Burlington to Pittsfield, MA is half a day driving, so figure a full day to stop and see stuff. From PIttsfield head back east, take Rt 9 to Northampton (the Pioneer Valley) but after that you could hop on the Interstates (91 and 90) to head to Rhode Island. Sturbridge Village is a living history museum along that route that's worth the a few hours since you will be going right by it. Then just follow google directions from there to Newport, RI. You need at least two nights in Newport. From there to the Cape. Probably three nights there if you want to do a day trip to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. The Vineyard is a shorter boat ride but you kind of need a car once you get there which is a pain. Nantucket takes longer to get to but easier to see without a car. If you take a very early ferry you could do it as a day trip. Otherwise do one night on the Cape, the next on Nantucket and the third back on the cape. And then up to Boston, return car and spend at least two nights there.

jet519 Oct 9th, 2021 07:40 PM

Thank you Isabel, that is helpful with all of the route suggestions. I will try working on that plan in reverse too in case it falls better as far as time. I realize that there is always more to see to do full justice. We can always decide to cover less ground once I do more research. We tend to fit a lot in when we travel because I do endless hours of planning which I think is part of the fun. I like to have a plan and then if we alter it slightly or we don't do it all, that is better than not going! And I have to say that we have managed to usually get it done pretty close to what we wanted. We are early risers which helps!

KarenWoo Oct 9th, 2021 08:02 PM

Well, I personally wouldn't try to see 5 New England states in 2 weeks. You will be spending most of your time in the car looking at the scenery as you pass by on the interstates. Backroads and country lanes are certainly more scenic and gives you more opportunities to visit small villages and savor the scenery and ambience. The backroads are slower but well worth it.

There is more to Boston than just the Freedom Trail and the North End. Strolling through the Commons and the Public Gardens is enjoyable. A ride on the swan boats. Get a feel for Boston by wandering around Beacon Hill and Commonwealth Avenue. Boston has wonderful museums if you like art, history and science.

Cape Cod is beautiful and you can swim in June, rent bikes, take easy hikes and eat delicious seafood. I would definitely visit the Cape Cod National Seashore, and towns such as Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown, and Chatham. There are lots of easy hikes in these towns, including Eastham. The Lower Cape, the Outer Cape, and the National Seashore are the most beautiful and uncommercialized part of the Cape, but it takes longer to get there. Martha's Vineyard is easy to do as a day trip from the Cape.

Newport is beautiful and there are many mansions to visit. Rosecliff (where the Great Gatsby was filmed) and The Breakers are two of my favorites. The downtown and port area are very nice with lots of shops and restaurants, and the drive along Ocean Drive is beautiful.

My daughter recently moved to Norwich, VT so we have been spending a lot of time in Vermont. It is a beautiful state with lots of charming small towns and farmers markets. The Appalachian Trail goes through Norwich. You could make Norwich a base and from there visit Montpelier (the capital), Woodstock (lovely shops and restaurants and Billings Farm), Grafton, Hanover, NH, Stowe, Vermont Country Store.

So, if it were me, I would do Boston, Cape Cod, Newport RI, and Vermont with a brief foray into Hanover, NH. Possibly you could visit the Berkshires in MA on your way to Vermont. There is hiking, museums, historic homes, etc in the Berkshires and lovely scenery.

dfrostnh Oct 10th, 2021 01:47 AM

I always feel sorry for visitors who do too much driving and not enough time enjoying locals and places. I'm a Norwich VT fan too. Add St Gaudens across the river in NH to the list. You can buy a Delorme atlas and gazeteer for each state and the detailed maps will include dirt roads and the locations of covered bridges. If you like to bake you might want to take a class at King Arthur Flour in Norwich (when they have them again) and shop their store.
Southern Maine is not myfavorite part of Maine and you need to go as far north of Portland to Boothbay where Maine Coastal Gardens is worth the drive. Our favorite lobster shacks are in the Rockport area. If you want boat trips the Portland mailboat tour of the islands in Casco Bay is nice but I like the more narrations on boat trips out of Portsmouth NH. For light house viewing I like a boat trip with the Maritime Museum in Bath.
The state atlases also give locations of waterfalls some of which might require a hike. You could hike up Mt Battie in Camden ME. We take a picnic lunch and take the auto road for one of the best views in Maine.
Boston has some good food tours as Providence RI. The last time we toured Newport we did Beneath the Breakers and then the mansion tour which focused on servants life.

Please be aware that some of the most popular hiking trails in NH have had too many people who have caused problems ranging from parking to littering. Just about any town has hiking trails. Not too far from Portsmouth NH is Wagon Hill Farm. There's a nice trail down to the water and then looping back to the farm house. I have not been hikingat Odiorne Point but that's right on Rt 1B which is very scenic.

My husband and I have different interests and we sometimes explore in our interest areas. For him it would include cruise nights or antique tractor shows. Suggest you look up some June events that might fit yours.

jet519 Oct 10th, 2021 08:44 AM

Thank all of you! This is fantastic info. I just read all of this to my husband because he tends to be the one who has gets antsy to get home after about 9 days anywhere! I told him maybe we should take out Maine all together and do that on a separate trip but he doesn't want to count it out yet because at our age, he is probably afraid we won't make it back there! So he actually went as far as to say, maybe 16 days!!! Ha! And his other comment was that as much as we do like the idea of seeing more of the smaller, quaint towns as well, that after 3 or 4, they all start to seem similar. I am being honest! I am happy to get some feedback on this from those of you who live in the area or know it well. I know when people are asking about what to do in New Mexico where we live since retirement, you could easily spend a month and not scratch the surface.

Norwich was on my radar so I will explore that as a possible base. Is Burlington a place not to be missed? All of your comments make me realize that we need to discuss our individual interests more as far as activities. If we are not interested in fishing, boating, swimming in a lake, would we still not want to miss seeing the Lake Champlain area? As far as hiking, it sounds like there is an overwhelming amount of choices. We tend towards shorter hikes, more like 2 miles on average. If we had to choose, White Mtns. or Green Mtns. as far as scenic drives? I am actually recovering from falling on a hike three weeks ago in Canyonlands; I broke my elbow but it was not a bad break so I lucked out and only had a cast for two weeks, now therapy. Thanks again!

isabel Oct 10th, 2021 10:25 AM

New England is six states and there's a lot of 'stuff' in all of them, but everything is relative. New Mexico is almost twice as large as all of New England - and much more than twice as large if you knock off the top half of Maine (above Bangor, and you are not even considering going anywhere near that far up). And you are not going to Connecticut (which is the least interesting of the six states). So really, given the distances you should have no trouble covering the basic area you originally suggested in 16 days. And you are right, you do not need to see every small quaint town. Certainly stay off the interstates for the most part, take scenic routes, plan to have lunch in one nice town, see some things on a scenic route between them and have dinner/overnight in another.

I actually just got back (to Massachusetts) from a month long trip including New Mexico. It was my third trip to that state and I still haven't seen everything but I've enjoyed all my visits. Sure I had to pick and choose, can't do everything but I'm still glad I went all the places I did. We were mostly in the northern half of the state but this trip wanted to see Carlsbad Caverns so drove about 5 hours each way (from Santa Fe) on really boring roads on two consecutive days to see it. You won't encounter anything like that in New England. You can do New England as a 'road trip' (place to place each day with - mostly - different hotels each night. Or you can pick a few 'bases' and do day trips if you are the type that hates changing hotels. I personally don't mind changing hotels and even find it kind of interesting, but some people like to stay in the same place for several nights. Either is possible in New England.

You say you enjoy planning and I think that is the key to a successful trip. Do your research and decided what are YOUR 'must sees', your "I would really like to but won't be crushed if I can't" and your "if time allows I'll check it outs". For example, you could spend two weeks in Boston, but do you need to go to all the museums there? Two or three (full) days will allow you to do several neighborhood walking tours, a few nice meals, maybe a museum. It's a small city. Newport RI has about 14 mansions open (or were pre pandamic) to tour but I don't know anyone who enjoyed trying to see them all. Pick a couple. They really do get redundant. But there is also Cliff Walk, the harbor front, etc. But still you can get a nice feel for the city in two (full) days.

jet519 Oct 10th, 2021 03:52 PM

Isabel, those are great tips and that is exactly what I will be doing. I am glad you enjoyed NM. We live in Las Cruces so you probably passed close to here. We just went to Carlsbad Caverns in June and yes, the drive there is dreadful at times! We also went to Guadalupe Mountain National Park to cross another off the list since it is not that large and hiking was limited due to some recent fires there. We drove back through Cloudcroft, NM, a great little historic town whose motto is "9000 feet above stress level". It's about and hour and a half from our home in Las Cruces where we look at the Organ Mountains out our back door. We love Northern New Mexico, Santa Fe is always wonderful to visit and we have been trying to get up to Southern Colorado once a year for either the aspens in the fall or in the summer to beat the heat since June is the hottest month where we live. But the elevation saves us from having the really high temps that the Phoenix area gets. Thanks again and I will probably post more questions and our itinerary or a trip report someday if this comes off!

dfrostnh Oct 11th, 2021 02:03 AM

The White Mountains are taller and rockier so you could do the auto road or cog railroad to top of Mt Washington. You might want to read books by Ty Gagne about real life and death in the White Mountains due to hiking mistakes. The Flume is a popoular tourist attraction and hike with a very nice visitors center.
Some small towns offer a lot. Warner NH has several museums including the Kearsarge Indian Museum and you cancontinue driving past museum up small Mt Kearsarge then hike to the top. The auto road on the other side goes to Winslow State Park and then you can do steep hike to top. Back in town there's a small independent bookstore which also has a gallery featuring local artists.
If you like wine, beer, hard cider or stronger spirits you can visit local small places for tastings. I recently had a hard cider tasting in Rollingsford NH at North Country Hard Cider on our way from lakes region NH to Wells ME. Not much of a town but fun stop.
Burlington VT is near Shelburne Museum so could be a good base if you also wanted to visit Shelburne. But I think there is more to see and do in other parts of VT. Norwich isn't very far from White Mountains.
A favorite area of Maine is the Harpswell area. We stayed in Brunswick which is a great college town. You can down load a guide to conservation areas with some easy hiking. North of Brunswick is Bath with previously mentioned Maritime Museum.
I think we were in the Harpswell area when we encountered two young lobster fishermen taking traps from truck to boat. You probably won't encounter locals like this in southern Maine which is popular tourist area and mostly shops although lovely sandy beaches. Google McLoon's lonster and compare with Two Lights Lobster Shack south of Portland to see difference.

HappyTrvlr Oct 11th, 2021 05:35 AM

We have spent a lot of time in Burlington because we enjoy being on the water, Lake Champlain. Take a ferry ride or a day cruise. The state university, UVM, is in Burlington and there are many excellent restaurants to enjoy. A short drive away you will be in the countryside with dairy farms and mountain scenery. We also spend time in the southwest and get our “green fix” in VT. I remember someone behind me on a flight saying how it is good to see the mountains not covered with trees in AZ! I prefer seeing the trees; I guess this is related to where you spent most of your life.

charsuzan Oct 11th, 2021 03:00 PM

King Arthur has resumed classes. I have a lucky friend who spent a week there about 3 weeks ago. Her list of classes was great.

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