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Routes please Maine to NYC , & LAX , S/F, Yosemite, Vegas, G/Canyon LAX.

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Feb 20th, 2009, 11:33 PM
  #1
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Routes please Maine to NYC , & LAX , S/F, Yosemite, Vegas, G/Canyon LAX.

I have been getting some wonderful advice as always re our Oct trip to the US. I find myself ‘incapacitated’ for the next 3 months.....no driving, walking, working...bored already and it’s only been a week. So to use my time wisely I am going to finalise our trip. I will let you know what we’ve booked and hope you can offer some great tips for the gaps.
Depart Brisbane for LAX Oct 1st this year. Non stop b/class, then we fill in 6 hours (we know it will be less and wont be a huge problem as we will have the use of the Qantas lounge etc.) before our flight to NYC, arriving 1am!! Yep, but that’s the way it works when you use points.
We’ve booked (priceline ) the Tudor Hotel near the UN for 5 nights. We are using these nights as our ‘recovery’ from the trip. We have been to NYC twice before. But as this time it’s just us (no kids) we will go to the theatre, eat out and just generally ‘do as much or as little as we feel like’. I’ve been saving every restaurant suggestion I’ve thought appropriate on this forum but would love dining suggestion for the area we will be staying. We are bits of foodies, but not every night has to be a 5* experience or price, but interesting ‘good’ food and wine are a must.
Then following suggestion from Fodors, we will catch a train........somewhere and hire a car and drive back to NYC before flying back to LAX on the 15th Oct. Now, when I say somewhere we initially thought Boston and then take our time driving back, but maybe Maine or somewhere a bit further and head back from there. I guess as long as we are not on a ‘train’ all day, and can drive back with out racing. Love to hear your thoughts.
On arriving back at LAX, we will collect a hire car and ‘head’ for SanFrancisco. As we’ve never done this drive before, it’s more about the getting there than the arriving, if you know what I mean? Lots of places look great, but would love your thoughts on how many nights (we’re thinking 3) and some great ‘quaint/nice’ small place to stay.
Then your thoughts on what would be a nice drive to Yosemite, scenic back road etc. We’ve book 3 nights at the Wawona Hotel from the 28th Oct. Then if luck is on our side we will drive to Vegas over the Tioga Pass (I know, we may have to ‘ditch’ this) and spend 3-4 nights (our 25th wedding anniversary) in a nice hotel, haven’t booked yet, seems like its best to wait ‘till its closer, and also we hope to see Bette Midler in concert.
Then drive to the Grand Canyon (love to hear routes, thoughts & suggestions) and heading back to LA. Again love to hear your suggestions on the ‘nicest/scenic/fun way to go) .

We depart LAX for Brisbane late pm on the 9th November. So there it is............... Got my map, Got my computer & God knows i’ve got the time.......... load me up with your suggestions.
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Feb 21st, 2009, 04:42 AM
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You will be arriving in time for peak foliage in New England. The Maine coast starts about an hour north of Boston. It's also less than an hour west to Concord NH which is about an hour south of NH's lakes/mountains region where foliage will be most beautiful. Concord NH to NYC might be about 6 hours if you're speeding. This is just to give you an approximate idea of how close things are.
If you explored the Maine coast as far north as Portland, you'll see some beautiful sandy beaches. It gets rockier further north. Keep in mind you'll find lobster all over the place but the great little lobster shacks will only be open weekends that time of year, probably closing the first or second weekend in October. These places usually have open air dining on picnic benches.
From the Portland area you can head west to NH's White Mountains OR continue south on Rt 95 to Rt 16 West to Rt 4 to head to Concord NH. This will be the scenic route. The reason to head this way is then you can head north on Rt 93 to the lakes/mountains. I always think it gets more exciting as the mountains get closer and closer. Rt 93 cuts right thru the White Mountains.
Our favorite way south from NH is to head over to Keene NH, then Brattleboro and pick up Rt 91 S. This goes thru western MA, beautiful and rural, and then you can continue south to Hartford CT and back to NYC. Keep in mind that I try to avoid Rt 495/95 and the Mass Turnpike (rt 90) because of the traffic. This week I'm trying an even more scenic route down thru Fitchburg to Sturbridge that a friend has chosen. (She hates highways, too). In western MA you can stop at places like Yankee Candle, a fun tourist trap. From NH you could also make a loop thru VT. Vermont is pretty rural everywhere you go while the southern third of NH tends to be very built up. I don't think you want to cruise shopping centers.
Keep in mind that lodgings book early for foliage season esp on weekends. Now is not too soon to choose where you will stay in New England.
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Feb 21st, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Assuming you're flying to LAX from JFK, you might want to consider taking the ferry from Connecticut to Long Island at the end of the drive. It doesn't shorten the trip but makes for a change of scenery and transport. There's a ferry from Bridgeport Ct. to Port Jefferson Long Island. If you've got time left over, a visit to Sagamore Hill and/or Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island might be nice before hitting JFK. The JFK hotels are pretty grotty if you've got an early flight. I'd stay on Long Island if you've got the time.

If you're into art museums, try to visit the Clark Institute in Williamstown, Ma http://www.clarkart.edu/visit/

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Ma is also very popular (he was the one who did all those illustrations of Americana for the Saturday Evening Post). http://www.nrm.org/page60
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Feb 21st, 2009, 09:08 AM
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The best route -- by which I mean the fastest, if you follow the advice above you'll pass through much nicer scenery -- I've found from Maine to New York is Route 95 South to 495 to 290 to the Mass Pike (Rt 90) West. Alternatively, just stay on 95 South to 90 West. Exit Rt 90 and get on Route 84 South through Hartford and Waterbury to 684 South to 287 South to 95 South again, then on to the city or airport. I have to admit that I get off Route 84 in Connecticut, so someone else may have a better idea for the final approach.

As far as three days driving to San Francisco -- I think you will find that a very optimistic estimate. It is almost three thousand miles. If you actually want to see something along the way, you'd do better to take about ten days. Otherwise, just fly -- it's cheaper and a lot faster.
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Feb 21st, 2009, 10:15 AM
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"As far as three days driving to San Francisco -- I think you will find that a very optimistic estimate. It is almost three thousand miles"

I believe they are planning on flying to Los Angeles and then driving up to San Francisco.

aussiedreamer - are you planning on taking the coastal route up to SF? If so, 4 days might be better. That way, you could spend night one in Santa Barbara, night two in Cambria, and then night three somewhere on the Monterey Peninsula (Carmel, Pacific Grove, or Monterey itself). If you search through older posts, you will find lots of suggestions of what to see and where to stay. It's one of the most popular of all Fodors topics.

As far as your 25th is concerned, I would much rather be at the Ahwanhee in Yosemite or the El Tovar at the Grand Canyon than anywhere in Vegas. But then, I'm not a big fan of sin city. By the way, early November is often busy with conventions there, so if you have a special place, you might want to book earlier than later although who knows what the situation will be this year with the economy in the dumps.

Also, if it was my choice, I'd skip a lot of the driving and, after visiting Yosemite, fly from Sacramento or Reno (if you want to see Lake Tahoe)to Phoenix and then "hire" a car and drive to the Grand Canyon, then Vegas and LA. Southwest Airlines has reasonable one way fares. This way you will save a couple of days of driving. In November, the days are short and it's cold at the higher elevations.

(What happened to the preview option? Am I missing it?)
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Feb 21st, 2009, 10:36 AM
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Supercilious--the preview option no longer exists. At least, that's my understanding.
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Feb 21st, 2009, 11:55 AM
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"I believe they are planning on flying to Los Angeles and then driving up to San Francisco."

Yes, you're right. Thank heavens. I knew a British woman who told a few of us that she was planning to come to NY, then rent a car and drive to LA and back over the weekend.
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Feb 21st, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Thanks, always great info.........threw me for a minute with the 3000mile drive :-0 didn't think I could get it that wrong. We will work on 4 days to get to San Fran, maybe after the drive out of LAX which maybe a 'little hairy' we may make our first stop somewhere near Santa Barbara (as suggested). I will research some Inn/B&B type accommodation in the area.

As for flying some of it, probably wont as we will pick up and drop off the car at LAX, also we really quite enjoy the driving side of it, get to see lots. Thats why interesting routes is my priorty. Saw a travel show on the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon bay. Woh....... might be worth a dropping in for a drink.

We are also thinking of doing the dinner train ride through the Napa valley. Looks lovely.

maclaurie..."you might want to consider taking the ferry from Connecticut to Long Island at the end of the drive" thank you, a wonderful idea.

dfrostnh, thank you so much. I will plot your route out on a map.

(ps. hate hate hate no preview.)
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