White Mountains or Cape Cod

Old Jul 27th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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White Mountains or Cape Cod

Im trying to plan next summers vacation and am stuck between the two destainations or splitting my time between both. I live near Washington DC and have 7-10 days. I know ones a beach destination and the others the mountains and we like both. Mainly we like quaint towns and good restaurants, spectacular scenery, places you can find solitude, and spending a lot of time outdoors. I know the Cape has the National Seashore, which interests me a lot, especially with the hiking trails and "possible" unspoiled beaches. The White Mountains, however is prolly gonna have the more spectacular scenery and cooler temperatures along with that "up north" feeling. I've driven through the Whites but would like to go back mainly to drive up Mt Washington and see the sights of Franconia Notch including the Flume Gorge. So, which area is less crowded and/or less traffic? Which has the nicer towns? And which has more to do? Water based activities are out because one member in our party cannot go on boats.
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Old Jul 28th, 2011, 01:33 AM
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We've only been to the Cape a couple of times precisely because of traffic getting onto and off the Cape. We had a lovely time last September and didn't have any traffic problems but we got there in time for lunch on Friday and left before lunch on Sunday (went to Martha's Vineyard on Sat).

Went to the Flume last Labor Day weekend so it was probably a busy time but didn't seem crowded on the hike. Lots of international visitors. It's great to be able to choose a perfect day for Mt Washington. You can include some beach time at Lake Winnipesaukee or swimming someplace in the mountains. See NH state parks on Lake Winnipesaukee other than Weirs Beach which is usually crowded with lots of boat traffic because of the channel.

North Conway is super busy but other towns aren't. Probably a lack of good restaurants would be my complaint esp if you have a hankering for seafood (although you will find some places with fried clams and lobster rolls). My very favorite quiet town is Center Sandwich which is slightly south of the mountains. Beautifull drive from Tamworth to Ctr Sandwich with some interesting mountain backdrops esp if you're willing to explore some side roads (went on a garden tour of the area once). We're not hikers but I did manage the hike to Arethusa Falls once. Lots of places to take picnic lunches. Kayaking is popular but I've only been in the Concord NH area. (sorry, you said no boats) There are several places for zip lining. If you come in August, a day trip could be to the Great Corn Maze in Danville VT (near Littleton NH). If you pick up a copy of DeLorme's NH State Atlas and Gazetteer, you'll have detailed maps of all the roads, including seasonal, plus the location of things like waterfalls and covered bridges. Just finding Sandwich Creamery can be an adventure (see their website). Twice we have seen black bears as we've driven thru that area. Corner House Tavern gets great reports. The problem with good restaurants is that they tend to be in highly populated areas. You can check out cheese, wine and ice cream maps for the state. If you stayed in the Conway area, Portland ME is only about an hour away which could provide a terrific day trip for some great eats.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 02:43 AM
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Both are worthwhile destinations. One question is when it comes to a bit of "solitude" do you prefer hiking or walking along the beach?

Personally, in summer time, I'd chose the Cape ... but get to the outer Cape ... consider the towns Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, or Provincetown (although P-town gets VERY busy). You are on a narrow strip of land sticking out into the atlantic ocean, I don't think it's ever significantly hotter than the White Mountains.

The National Seashore has walking trails (I've hiked the Beech Forrest in August and crossed paths with NOBODY!) In Provincetown you can take Flyer's Shuttle (a boat) out to Long Point the very tip of Cape Cod and if you walk for 5 minutes or so, it will be quiet. You can also go to Herring Cove Beach, turn right when you hit the sand and after a 10 minute walk, you'll find your own little haven between some small dunes and the ocean.

And when you want "company" there's fun things to do ... there's the Drive-In and the flea market and whale watching and parasailing and Art's Dune Tours and so on and so on.

The only thing I can say if you are a die-hard shopper, as in outlets and large department stores --- you won't find that on the Cape.

It's a tough decision ... happy planning!
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 04:14 AM
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You asked:
1. "So, which area is less crowded and/or less traffic?"
The Cape is a traffic nightmare in the summer months. I know, I live there.
2. "Which has the nicer towns?" Hands down: The Cape has some of the most achingly charming towns in the United States. If you come make sure you get to Falmouth, Chatham, Wellfleet, Provincetown.
3. "And which has more to do?" Toss up based on interests but someone in your group isn't going to be happy with the Cape at all because you then wrote:
4. "Water based activities are out because one member in our party cannot go on boats."
It isn't necessary to get out on a boat during a Cape visit but one of the best things for a family to experience is a whale watch. Can your landlubber stay behind for this outing and do something different while the rest of your group gets out on the water? What else are you considering to be 'water based activities'? The Cape is an island these days...surrounded by the stuff. Everything is impacted by the water. (Except my golf game....)

The National Seashore, though still lovely, is a bit of a shadow of its former self because of wind and storm erosion. The narrower, long beach is still the place to be for awesome views of the Atlantic. Keep walking away from the lifeguards for some solitude. Be aware that the tides and rips on this beach are dangerous and don't swim in unguarded waters.

You're trying to choose between two fabulous summer destinations. You'll be fine with either choice.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 07:03 AM
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I might goto both and spend 3-4 days at each to mix up both the beach and the mountains, they don't look too far away from each other. However, ive driven through the White Mountains several times, especially the Kamancagas Highway, so any visit there would be in depth like driving up Mount Washington or exploring the sites Franconia Notch, and possibly some hiking. But, on the other hand, ive never been to Cape Cod. I have been to the coast of Maine several times. Is Cape Cod a lot different from the Maine Coast? Other than Maine is rocky, the Cape is not.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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I love New England coastal towns. The Maine coast is very different than the Cape, in every way. If you haven't been to Cape Cod, then it's a wonderful destination. All those other tourists driving around soaking up the atmosphere would agree with me! Cape waters are a lot warmer than Maine's but the quality of lobster you can get in Maine is just so superior because of the cold water!

You can rent a house for the week if you head to Cape Cod or stay in a hotel on the beach (you can look at the Red Jacket Resorts in Dennis, mid-Cape) which would save you some driving time.

Since you've already visited the White Mountains and the Maine coast why not try visiting someplace new...break up your stay between Boston or Plymouth and Cape Cod?
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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I haven't spent a lot of time in the White Mountains, but have driven through a couple times. I know this isn't the best way to see something, but I have seen the Whites a lot nonetheless, just haven't been up Mount Washington or done the Flume. Does the ocean cool down the temperatures a lot on the Cape, especially on the outer Cape? The White Mountain seem alluring because it is a lot cooler there than places further south in New England. Maine is a very comfortable place too. I know the Outer Banks during summer, where we goto a lot gets VERY hot in the summertime and the waters warm too. I don't know if the cooler waters of the Cape cool things down. Also, I like cold water, there nothing better than jumping in cold water in the heat of summer.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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If it's cold water on the Cape you're wanting, then head to the National Seashore beaches in Eastham, Truro, Wellfleet and Provincetown. They'll be refreshing but frigid! There's always a likelihood of a cool seabreeze on the Cape, much like the breeze going through the house right now....bliss.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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The Cape is usually about 10 degrees cooler than it is in Boston. And Boston is often cooler (because of the water) than inland locations in New England.

That said, you seem to want to go to NH and not the Cape. So that's where you should go.

I would choose the Cape but that's me. It's your vacation and you should try what you want.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 08:02 PM
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According to wunderground.com

Average temps in July 2010 in North Conway (white mountains) NH the nearest wunderground weather station is in Fryburg ME. You can't go by the weather on TOP of Mt Washington because while you can visit there, you won't be staying there:

Daily highs ranged from 70 to 96, and if you flipped though the data for the individual days, there were 18 days with a high temp of over 85.
http://www.wunderground.com/history/...lyHistory.html


Compare this to the data for Chatham MA (closest weatheer station to Truro, MA) in July 2010, the daily high temps ranged from 75 to 93 and only 10 days over 85.

And there is almost always a breeze on the outer Cape.

I've been vacationing in Truro in August for over 20 year and yes there is traffic, but once you get beyond Orleans, it's not all that bad.

I've also vacationed in North Conway and done the Flume on days when you can't even get a parking space there ... I love both but in summer time I like the Cape, in fall, I like the mountains.

Both are popular summertime destinations.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 03:47 AM
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asdaven, since you say "Mainly we like quaint towns and good restaurants, spectacular scenery, places you can find solitude, and spending a lot of time outdoors" I think it would be helpful if you can write a bit more and expand on this comment. I think it helps a lot when planing a vacation to try and figure out if this upcoming trip is one you are going to want to stay pretty much in one place or do you like to drive , explore a lot, and split the time up seeing and staying in a few different places, covering a greater area? How physically active do you want to be in terms of hiking versus strolls, are you looking for adventure? What else excites you and gives you pleasure when you travel?
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 06:40 AM
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We re usually active and drive around a lot and see the sights. But, we also like some solitude as well, but when we goto the beach, we don't really spend more than an hour or two on the beach. But, there is sights to see on Cape Cod like the lighthouses, towns, hiking in the seashore, etc,etc. I'm actually leaning more towards the cape because I haven't been there or just through there. I've driven through the White mountains several times
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 07:32 AM
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Please let us know what you decide.
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