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Travel suggestions from Mystic, CT to Bar Harbor, Maine

Travel suggestions from Mystic, CT to Bar Harbor, Maine

Old Jan 29th, 2016, 11:56 AM
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Travel suggestions from Mystic, CT to Bar Harbor, Maine

Hello, our family will plan to take our vacation after a family wedding in CT. We will stay in Mystic, CT and plan to travel up to Bar Harbor/ Acadia National Park, Maine. Our trip will be in the last week of July, starting from Sunday afternoon to the following Friday or Saturday going back to Northern Va.
We know that we would like to visit Bar Harbor, & Acadia National park for at least 2 days. We are trying to decide if we should stop by Boston or just going along the coast? Our kids are 18 -21 years old.

Even though we have been to Boston, & CT in the past, it has usually been a short 2-day trip. This is our first whole week in New England! We are excited and welcome any suggestions!

Thank you!
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Old Jan 29th, 2016, 12:03 PM
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I think it depends on you interest in things like hiking, biking, and kayaking. I have spent as much as 10 days in Acadia/BH because I like to hike. If not, 1-2 days would probably be enough.
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Old Jan 29th, 2016, 01:17 PM
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We would love to hike in Acadia/ BH. But we would like to get a sample of New England Beach, as well... Any suggestion? And where is a good place to stay for a few days in Bar Harbor area? 2-3 days? Most cottages require a week stay. Would you suggest a few things to do in Bar Harbor/ Acadia, since you seem very familiar with that area. Thank you.
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Old Jan 29th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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I do t know anything about Bar Harbor, but I know a lot about things as far as ?Camden on the way up.

Day 1 NOVA to Mystic Sunday
Day 2 Mystic Seaport (AM) drive to Portsmouth, NH Monday
Day 3 Portsmouth to Portland, ME via York and Ogunquit Tuesday
Day 4 Portland to Camden, ME, with stops at LL Bean in Freeport, Red's Eats in Wiscassett, and an ice cream in Boothbay Harbor Wednesday
Day 5 Windjammer cruise in Camden (AM) then drive to Mt Desert Island (Thursday)
Day 6 and 7 Bar Harbor, Acadia NP, etc Friday and Saturday
Day 8 drive back to NOVA Sunday

Oops. Lots of good stuff missing on the way up, and you still don't have time for Bar Harbor.

What's missing?
Salem, MA and Peabody Essex Museum
Morning mailboat cruise in Portland
Rockland, ME, the museum, the Olson Farm (Christina's World)
Any part of the real Maine coast, either Harpswell near Brunswick or the Port Clyde coast SW of Rockland.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 01:33 AM
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Thanks AcKislander for your stop suggestions along the coast. I have been doing some reading and definitely love some of your stops: Portsmouth, Portland, Ogunquit, Boothbay Harbor...
Is Camden along the coast?

On Sunday(day 1), we would be driving from Mystic, CT up the coast on Sunday afternoon after the family wedding, arriving at Portsmouth?

We prefer to add only 1 hotel stop, if possible, along the coast besides Bar Harbor area. What would be your suggestion? Ogunquit Beach or Camden?

We know that we may not be able to see all good stuff, but we'd rather take our time & enjoy a few things, rather than seeing all.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 04:02 AM
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A few notes:

There is a wide variety of lodging available on Mount Desert Island, it depends on your price-point and rooms needed. I've always stayed in one of the mom-and-pop motels alone Rt.3 outside Bar Harbor, but most wouldn't like it because it's very rustic and very dog-friendly.

Rt.1 is not the scenic road people envision, ocean views are rare. You will need to go down the side roads for that--or wait till you get to Acadia! The loop road there will get you lots of beautiful views.

Others will recommend a stop in the mid-coast, I always stop in Portland for 1 night on the way up, but I like it's vibe, and it's more city than cute town.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 04:49 AM
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Thanks, Elberko! Yes, Portland would definitely be one of our stop. We have that it is one of the historic cities.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 05:06 AM
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Ogunquit, walk the marginal way. Very beautiful.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 06:37 AM
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I had read of Ogunquit Beach....How far from Camden or Portland? Is there a place/ area that you could recommend us to stay?
Thank you
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 06:58 AM
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Ogunquit is about 35 miles south of Portland. Camden is north of Portland. Keep in mind that the water that far north is really cold.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for the reminder! Yes, we only expect to do sightseeing at the New England beaches.

So is Ogunquit north of Portsmouth, NH?
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 07:25 AM
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Yes, Maine is north of New Hampshire. Time to consult a map.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 08:40 AM
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Mystic does have an Amtrak station. Take the first or second NE Regional from MYS to BOS (Boston South Station)
Spend some time in Boston (up to 24 hours).
Either rent a car in Boston or take an Amtrak Northeaster from BON (Boston North Station) to either Portland or Freeport. Enjoy your time in Boston and Maine.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 08:47 AM
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Tom - I know it's your goal to get every single person in American onto Amtrak somehow but it appears that the OP already has a car from their trip to Mystic for the wedding.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 10:16 AM
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If it's a rental it could be expensive to drop it in Maine.
If it is your own car I'm sorry.
In any case see Boston before heading to Maine.
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Old Jan 30th, 2016, 10:53 AM
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Camden is on Penobscot Bay, backed by Battle Mountain (incredible views) and home to a fleet of windjammers.

If you take the mailboat in Portland and a windjammer cruise in Camden, you will experience as much of maritime Maine as you can without taking one of the ferries to the islands, say, Port Clyde to Monhegan.

+1 on elberko's note that the trip up Route 1 is not scenic, though it is better than I-95. It goes through scenic places ( Bath, Wiscasset, and skirts others ( Brunswick, Rockland) but these are towns that spread out along rivers, and the highway goes the short way. Wiscasset is famous for gorgeous architecture, but you won't see it because you will be stuck in so two mile backup fir Red's Eats.

Given your priorities, drive as expeditiously as possible to Portland (I-95), spend the night, take the mailboat cruise, then drive to Mt Desert. On the way back, stop in ?Camden, take a windjammer cruise ( 2 hours), go to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland and Owls Head. Spend the night. Eat lobsters. Blast off for NOVA.
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Old Jan 31st, 2016, 02:05 AM
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I mostly agree with Ackislander but the last suggestion skips Portsmouth which is one of the most historic towns on the route. I suggest a boat trip from Portsmouth - either the harbor cruise or inland rivers. The dock is within walking distance of a public parking garage. There is also the historic Strawbery Banke area. Perhaps because of time limits, park near the Prescott Park. I think the gift shop is just across the street. I think you would get a better history narration on one of these boat trips than the Portland mailboat cruise. Portsmouth is also a very busy modern harbor and you would go past the Portsmouth Navy Yard. View from Prescott Park is pretty good looking out onto the harbor if you don't have time for a cruise. You could also eat at one of the restaurants on Ceres St or Bow St and get a table looking on out the harbor.

Camden is probably the prettiest and most upscale coastal town. Do not miss seeing the view of the harbor where windjammers are based from top of Mt Battie.

Also agree with stopping in Rockland. There's an easy hike to Owls Head Light. Mostly level ground until you climb the stairs to see the view.

I think you have to weigh activities you plan in Bar Harbor area with the extra driving time between Camden and Bar Harbor. Most of it is inland route.

Portland to Rockland is about 2 hours.

Any of the beaches south of Portland will be sandy. North of Portland they tend to be rocky.

So far we have not stood in line at Red's. Would rather sit and enjoy the scenery at a different lobster place but we have cursed the traffic backup. Rt 1 goes thru Wiscasset and has to stop for pedestrians crossing the road to get to Red's. Avoid this section of Rt 1 starting late Friday afternoon. You'll have tourist AND commuter traffic to deal with. But downtown Wiscasset is charming.
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Old Jan 31st, 2016, 06:58 PM
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Thanks everyone! It looks like we have an awesome trip itinarary here. We may consider Boston...but do not want to squeeze in too many stops! We have been to Boston and felt like maybe that should be saved for a different trip. I like the idea of stopping at Camden on our way back, breaking the long road trip from Bar Harbor to NoVA.
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Old Mar 19th, 2016, 09:29 AM
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We took a road trip from Boston up the East coast two years ago and absolutely loved it. We are now planning our second trip. The one place we did NOT particularily care for was Boston....we enjoyed the coastal towns so much more. That being said...Rockport Mass which is a 40 minute drive from Boston and near Gloucester, is an absolute GEM. We took the Capt Bill and Sons whale watching trip on the Miss Cape Ann and it was amazing. There is a groupon available right now for the trip, I already purchased mine to go again. We loved Rockport.
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Old Jun 24th, 2016, 08:56 AM
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Hello all, the New England coast trip vacation that we have been planning since January is coming up in a few weeks! As it is getting closer, and I now have learned more of all the names of the coastal towns...I just want to review & get feedback from you all! Thanks much for all your input!

*DAY 1: Leaving NoVa at 2 pm on Day 1 for New London (outside of Mystic) for the wedding on day 2-3 @ Westbrook, CT
*DAY 2: Explore Mystic seaport in the morning (if have free time). Pre-Wedding program starts at 3 pm
*DAY 3: Free during the day. Wedding starts at 6 pm.ANY SUGGESTIONS of things we can do close by New London? Our hotel is 8 miles from Mystic, & 51 miles to Newport, RI
*DAY 4: drive from New London, to Portsmouth, NH, then to Ogunquit Beach, then Portland, Maine. Stay overnight in Portland downtown.
*DAY 5: do mailboat Portland in the morning, then drive to Camden
Stay overnight in Northport, overlooking Penobscot Bay.
*DAY 6: Windjammer cruise in Camden, then drive to Bar Harbor. Stay in Bar Harbor: DAY 6,7,8 to explore Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
*DAY 9: Leave BarHarbor to drive to Boston. Stay at Cambridge area.
*DAY 10: drive home to NOVA

Any other suggestions of things to do & places to eat?
Besides Red Eats'Wicasset?

Thanks much in advance!
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