Retirement trip - New England

Apr 14th, 2012, 05:36 AM
  #1  
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Retirement trip - New England

At the end of June, my husband and I will be packing up the car with our tent to begin our retirement trip from Chicago to the New England states. We do not have any time constraints, so right now we are planning on being gone for about one month. We are an active mid-50's couple who enjoy the outdoors, hiking, scenic areas, some history, out of the way places, and good beer. We are planning on seeing Boston, Cape Cod and Acadia but what exactly should we see when we are there. Also, please help us in planning our visits to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. What are the "must see" things to do while we are there? We want to see and do as much as we can!
getup_andgo_over50 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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For camping try the Kancamagus highway in central New Hampshire.
Plenty of history in the area as well as nice hikes.
Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.
Acadia National Park in Maine.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 14th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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There's another thread going about Camden and Acadia in case you haven't seen it. Maine and anything coastal New England will be mobbed starting June 30th and through July and August, so start mid-June if at all possible. Campsites and other accomodation should be booked NOW for anything in July.
tracys2cents is offline  
Apr 14th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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If you make it to Wiscasset, Maine, visit Red's Eats. It's a lobster truck right before you go over the bridge. Fantastic food if you like that sort of thing.
Also, there's a little hamlet called Cushing, Maine. There's a house there that was the subject of a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth entitled "Christina's World." It's open for tours and there's a very interesting back story to the painting.
Finally, if you want to sample some good local beer, pick a night and visit some pubs in downtown Portland. A really unique pub and restaurant district. Had a great time there!

cheers
vanderglenn is offline  
Apr 15th, 2012, 02:42 AM
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Don't miss a 4th of July celebration some place. I believe that historic places like Sturbrige Village in MA and Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth NH have special events. We loved Heritage Days in Bath ME but also the parades in Bristol and Brandon VT. Extra points if the church ladies have a tent on the town green selling pieces of homemade pie.

I think one of the most unique tenting areas I've seen is at Searsport Shores ME. There is no access for cars but they provide a cart to haul your things into a small, ocean front area. Very pretty. Very nice, small campground.

What you do in Maine is to find all the great lobster places. This will take you down peninsulas. Since you are camping, I would also highly recommend visiting local farmers markets in each state. There's usually a state website listing the locations and the best markets have their own websites listing their vendors. We really liked the Friday one in Brunswick ME which we camped in Wiscasset (also highly recommend Chewonki, another small campground). Brattleboro VT also has ethnic food vendors, great place for lunch.

Probably cheapest way to get lobster is to have the local supermarket steam them for you. Take back to the campsite and melt some butter. But best place for lobster is a benefit supper where you can choose between mussels and crab as a side dish. You'll have to check local newspapers. Some sell tickets in advance. We lucked out on one by simply following signs while we were driving around.

Second a visit to Portland which is called one of the foodiest towns in the US. Loved the food tour (which included the brewery). On another trip, enjoyed the mail boat cruise around Casco Bay. It's a working vessel but includes some narration. You might want to splurge on a hotel for a few days in Portland.

I think VT and NH if not all the New England states have trail maps for cheese or wine or ice cream. I think going to the source frequently includes a little adventure or simply getting away from main roads.

Get a guide to Hiking in the White Mountains. Add kayaking to your to do list. A friend took me on a half day trip on the Merrimack River near Concord NH. There's a kayak place that will drop off and pick you up. Just beautiful and mostly just canoes and kayaks on the water. Lots of sandy beaches only accesible by boat, etc. Pack a lunch.

There are quite a few small breweries in New England. You ought to have a great time!
dfrostnh is offline  
Apr 15th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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The 4th of July celebration in Boston is wonderful.

Are you interested in stopping by Newport, RI for a day to see some of the preserved 'summer cottages' of the very rich?

Make sure you visit the National Seashore while on Cape Cod, consider taking a whale watch there and perhaps an overnight to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. There are great campgrounds all over the Cape; I prefer the campgrounds in Truro and Wellfleet on the Lower Cape.

Acadia Ntl. Park is one of my favorites. Stop by the Rangers Station and get a CD for a self-guided tour.
Bowsprit is offline  
Apr 16th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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Retiring mid 50s? What a break. (We've been retired many years). So much scenery and history in NE...really too much to mention everything. We have done lots of camping with and without children...from tent to trailers. Some in the East. But I am wondering if that is better in places like Missouri or Kentucky or of course out West than New England. Anyway, you might check into a few B&Bs or motels along the way.

Oh yes, Reds Eats. Also good eating spots include Moodys near Walboro, lunch on Monument Sq. in Portland, Robinson's Wharf near Booth Bay Harbor...and more.
Bill in Boston
Ozarksbill is offline  
Apr 16th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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Keep the great tips coming. I am grateful for your help. I'm looking forward to trying lobster - had it once here in the midwest and but didn't really like it. Yes Ozarksbill...my husband is retiring (mid 50's) due to the economy - I however will continue teaching for awhile.
getup_andgo_over50 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 02:15 AM
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Don't worry, if you decide you don't like lobster, you just switch to fried clams.

When you are wandering around VT, if you like pizza, check out Pizza on Earth.They are only open limited hours and make sure you have good directions because it's on a farm in very rural Charlotte VT.
http://www.pizzaonearth.com/
Also check out a website for best swimming holes in VT. The one we found was between Bristol and Rt 100. I think it was Lincoln's Pass. It was just outside of town and we noticed all the cars parked along the road. You will need water shoes to go wading. We could walk across the river at one point but upstream there was a small waterfall and deep pool. Older kids were jumping off granite ledges. Great picnic spot.

We also enjoyed a small campground, nothing fancy, in Fairfax VT just north of Burlington. We could visit Burlington. Also did a drive through the Champlain Islands. Our strategy that trip was to spend half the week in the north and then move south stopping for the day at Shelburne Museum. We tend to prefer the western side of VT where there is more farmland and Lake Champlain. I was told there's a place popular with hang gliders but we never found it (didn't look too hard).
dfrostnh is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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Check out the Schoodic Pennisula - the quiet part of Acadia. So beautiful to sit on the rocks and do nothing but watch the lobster boats plying through the sparkling water and possibly spotting a dolphin or two. Also a great place for kayaking in the coves.

Of course, the hike around Jordan Pond followed by popovers and lemonade on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House is mandatory.

Sitting on the porch of the Mt. Washington Hotel in a white wicker rockig chair whiling sipping a gin and tonic is another favorite.

If you find yourself in Kennebunkport, try Federal Jack's brew pub. Good food and beer. Or take a walk along Goose Rocks Beach - nice long beach with the softest sand in Maine. Or visit the trolley museum. I've never been but my daughter and her friend (both 18) somehow managed to spend 3 hours there. Another family friend went based on her recommendation and his three generation family spent hours there too.

Minor league baseball is so fun and inexpensive - the Lowell (Mass) Spinners and the Portland Seadogs are both affliated with the Red Sox and tickets are less than $10 each.

Bristol RI has the oldest July 4th celebration.

But whereever you go - try to get out on the water - whether kayaking or on a sunset sail tour - its just about the best thing in New England. Fishing for stripers is fun too - especially at the mouth of the Merrimac River. You can charter a boat or surfcast.

Have a great trip.
bennnie is offline  
Apr 17th, 2012, 06:42 AM
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getup, have you done any research on New England attractions, eateries, and such? There are scads of things to see and do in New England ranging from city attractions to wilderness stuff. Both Fodors and Frommers have good websites and guidebooks which will give you much more complete information than anyone can provide for you on a forum, even one as good as this.

The one thing I can mention here is that you'll find most things open during the time of year you plan to visit. Most everything is open by Memorial Day, and the earliest closures are Labor Day (many things stay open until Columbus Day, though). If you plan to mountain hike, you might still encounter snow on trails until as late as June in some cases.
bachslunch is offline  
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