Stop from NJ to Hancock Maine area?

Old Apr 10th, 2021, 06:37 AM
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Stop from NJ to Hancock Maine area?

Hi we are doing a trip in Hancock Maine to visit family and coming from
monmouth county this July. We need to book somewhere to sleep on the way up - I have two kids who wonít make that Long of a drive. I am thinking somewhere about four hours or so from NJ? Any recommendations?
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 06:52 AM
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Welcome to Fodors. The mid point drive time-wise is about Worcester MA - its right on the route and its my impression there are lots of kid friendly parks and sites. (I've only been in the area once so maybe others will have better suggestions for you)
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 09:10 AM
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I drive the stretch through MA to Maine frequently. I would NOT pick Worcester area for several reasons.

1. It's barely half way if that, and my preference is always to have day 2 drive shorter. So something 30-60min past Worcester would be better in my opinion.

2. You're still in the Boston suburb traffic zone, which means that your next morning you could encounter heavy am rush hour traffic. Something 30-60min past Worcester would put you past those W and NW suburbs with a lot of businesses.

If you're just looking for a highway exit hotel, something like a Holiday Inn express just over the NH at Seabrook, or something similar a few exits earlier or later would be fine.

My recommendation may change depending on what days you were driving & when you plan to leave Monmouth Co. as you may hit congestion at various points, including most of northern NJ until you get into NY, and near Danbury/Waterbury/Hartford CT, which can be a royal pain at rush hour.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 10:46 AM
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I agree with J62. Shoot for at least Lowell MA and it would make an easier day 2 if you stopped at Salisbury MA near the coast. Day 2 drive north on US 1 all the way to Hancock ME.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 11:59 AM
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For a trip like this, WAZE and/or google maps are your friend to get real time information on what is happening on the roads and how to avoid terrible traffic jams. If you are in a regular car you can travel on either the interstates or the parkways in NY and CT so check out which is moving better as you are going.

I would heads for someplace near Newburyport, MA for a stop. A bit off 495 with a nice selection of places to eat and perhaps an afternoon or evening stroll on the shore at Plum Island.

Last edited by oldemalloy; Apr 10th, 2021 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
I agree with J62. Shoot for at least Lowell MA and it would make an easier day 2 if you stopped at Salisbury MA near the coast. Day 2 drive north on US 1 all the way to Hancock ME.

I've driven long stretches of US1 through mid-coast Maine in the summer, frequently. Taking US1 from Salisbury MA to Hancok ME during the day in July will turn a <4hr drive into one that's longer than 6hrs. If your objective is to stay off the interstate, then that's an ok route. If your objective is to minimize time in the car, then take I95 to ~Bangor then cut over to the coast.
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 01:27 AM
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I agree with getting past Worcester and off 495. My vote would be Seabrook nh which is somewhere around 5 hours from NJ. It has been years since I stayed at what is now the Best Western Hampshire Inn & suites. It's very close to I95. If you continue past the hotel you are on Rt 1 with lots of options for restaurants. If you wanted, beaches aren't very far away. Our favorite casual seafood place is Petey's in Rye, about 21 minutes from the hotel. The Hampton Beach playground is less than 15 minutes from the hotel.
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 12:37 PM
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We are likely leaving on Friday. Iím hoping to leave during the day as long as my husband can get out of work but if not then we wonít leave til after rush hour.
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 03:58 PM
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Leaving later on Friday might change how far you'd go that night, including the possibilitiy of it taking a while to get out of NJ and around NYC. Something just beyond Hartford would make a good dent in the drive but still leave you with 5 or maybe 6 hrs to go on Sat. But Sat am traffic won't be bad on the interstates.

There's a stretch of exits just past Hartford near Exit60 that has some chain motels not far from I84 that would be easy off/easy on. Beyond that there's not much between Hartford and Worcester except open road and rolling hills. Personally, I'm not a nightime driver so I'd stop sooner, but you might be and that's ok. You know what's best for your family.

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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 06:57 AM
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we used to drive straight through from simsbury, ct (near hartford) with a stop at ll bean to stretch our legs.
we love that area.
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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 07:34 AM
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J62, I'm afraid July traffic on I95 will be heavy on Saturday mornings (also late Friday afternoon). We figure Friday traffic in NH for I93 (middle of the state) starts getting heavy around 2:30 north bound. We always try to get past Hartford before rush hour. If the kids can sleep in the car it might work ok even leaving after work on Friday. Depending on traffic, an alternate route might be to leave I495 and head north on Rt 3, or north on I93 then east on Rt 101 to connect with I95. This would put travelers north of the I95 toll booth but also adds about 30 minutes to the drive IF there aren't any slow downs on those highways.
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Old Apr 15th, 2021, 04:41 PM
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Don't mean to be depressing but that 8 1/2 hour drive (according to google) is not considering leaving the New York metro area late day/early evening on a Friday in July, nor driving north from Boston on a July Saturday. Just make sure you take this into account.

However since both halves of your trip are likely to be longer than anticipated, it still makes sense to stop 'about halfway'. The other problem is that not having a hotel reservation could be a problem on a summer weekend, yet making one will lock you in. But I guess I'd pick some place between Worcester and Portsmouth.
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