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State hoping - where to base from???

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OK, let me explain. I live in Tulsa, OK, and the next largest city (not State) is 2 hours away, so the concept of staying in one state and short trips to different states is hard for me to imagine. Also, we have no commuter trains here, so this is also totally new. My plan is to fly to the DC area, spend several days in DC, and then take a train north. We want to visit all the historical stuff and main tourist spots! Then take the train back and fly home. I can schedule from 10-14 days total. I was thinking to pick a good base state (the point in question) and rent a car or take trains, whichever is best, to visit different spots. We want to visit specifically Philadelphia, Mystic & Gloucester, NYC, Boston and Newport. Now help! What State would be the best base? I guess it needs to be somewhere close to a train station. I was thinking of staying in CT or RI. Would that work? Would like to stay in a harbor town. Could I take day trips from CT or RI to the places listed? I'm assuming train would be best to Boston and NYC, but what would be best for the others? I'm planning for June of next year if the season makes any difference. I know this is early, but I usually plan about a year in advance to get the places I want. Thanks so very much for any help on this. We have never been East. We will have our sons with us, age 17 and 19. Anxious to hear great ideas from everyone!

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    You may want to keep relocating using Amtrak to move up the East Coast. ie spend a few days in DC then hop on the train to Philly, spend a day, back on train to NYC, spend a few days, then back on the train to Mystic spend a day, rent a car to get to Newport from Mystic, back on train to Boston. Once in Boston Amtrak stops but the local commuter rail can take you to Gloucester and Rockport. There is a plan to make passenger rail service available from Boston to Portland, ME but I don't know if it will be available by next year. Then when the trip is over take the Amtrak Acela high speed train back to DC to catch your flight. Amtrak is pretty comfortable and stress free. Driving in the Northeast can be tough.

    I don't know if it is possible to pick one state to hop to all of those places from. NYC is 4-5 hours from Boston. Maybe you should do a few days in DC, take Amtrak to NYC (stopping in Philly for a few hours). After seeing NYC take train to Boston. From Boston Mystic is 2 hours south, Newport about 1.5 hours south, Gloucester - 45minutes north. If you rent a car in Boston try to rent one from somewhere other than the airport - its too inconvenient plus there are additional taxes associated with the airport rentals.

    It sounds like a great trip and you can never start planning too early. Planning is as much fun as taking the trip.

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    I think bennie has some good advice. The states here are small, but I wouldn;t pick one spot to operate from (or perhaps I misread your question?). Washington to NYC is about 4 hours by car, NYC to Boston is about 4 hours by car (and each leg is longer via Amtrak, unless you take Acela).

    I would suggest staying a few days in DC, maybe rent a car and drive up to Philly, stop in Princeton, NJ then go on to NYC and return your car at hertz or wherever in midtown. Stay in Manhattan for a few days, then hop on the train for Boston.

    Boston can be your base in New England, like bennie said, the places you want to see up here are under 2 hours away (although, I personally do not think that Mystic is worth the 2 hour drive - if you really want to see Gloucester, you might want to go to Rockport, which is right next door and more quaint that Mystic).

    Do not rent a car while you are in Boston, unless you want to use it for individual day trips outside the city (our streets are barely navigable, even to this local). I would recommend a Newport mansion tour. Also, since you are from Oklahoma, you should consider some time at the beach or do some "oceany" like a whale watch, or take the ferry from downtown Boston to Provincetown on Cape Cod (a large gay community which is probably the least Oklahoma-like place in the lower 48).

    Have a great trip!

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    Thanks Bennie & Paul. This is just what I was wanting to know. I told you I wasn't sure about this state hoping ya'll do so easily out east. It sounds like I will need to pick at least two different towns to stay at and base day trips from. This is helpful. I'm not sure why I picked Mystic except I read about it alot. They just want to visit a seaport and want to see where the Perfect Storm came from, so we might just as well stay in Gloucester. Yes, we had considered whale watching in Boston as well as the Freedom Trail. Don't really want to spend time at a beach. We've seen lots in Calif., Texas and Florida, plus Cancun and St. Thomas (nothing beats Caribbean beaches!). Keep any suggestions coming!!!

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    I don't think I'd stay in Gloucester. Gloucester is somewhat of a grungy place (if my recollection is correct) - I think it is pretty run-down. Plus, it is about an hour north of Boston, making your other planned side trips even longer. Figure over two hours to get to Newport and three to get to Mystic. On top of that, you'd be fighting Boston metro traffic which is one of the worst in the US. I liked Perfect Storm (both book and movie), but I wouldn't stay in Gloucester.

    I would suggest trying to get accomodations in Boston, as you will likely spend half of your New England time here or in the immediate vicinity (Lexington and Concord, Cambridge/Harvard area, etc). Public transportation is easy and cheap ($1 per ride) and gets you everywhere in the city that walking does not. Plus if you take the train up from NYC, it will drop you within walking distance of about half of the city's hotel rooms and tourist sites.

    If you want to stay outside Boston, you should consider operating out of a hotel along Route 128 (aka I-95), preferably west of the city, making your northern and southern destinations equal in distance. Gloucester would be too out of the way.

    I don't know what your price range is, but there are plenty of hotels on 128 in Waltham, MA, or check Burlington or Woburn.

    One place I would recommend is Plymouth (perhaps in lieu of Mystic), which is about 45 minutes south of Boston. Plimoth Plantation is a recreation of the original 1620 settlement and is reportedly pretty good - I have never been. Downtown Plymouth is right on the water and the area is full of colonial-era buildings, etc. Also consider Salem (north of Boston) to satisfy your seaport cravings.

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    Appreciate so much everyone's comments and suggestions. It's obvious I have my work cut out for me in planning this trip. I now have a better idea what can and cannot be done. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. Thanks again.

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