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New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

Stockholm, Sweden
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New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South


We are a Scandinavian couple, both 34, doing a road trip in New England, arriving on Oct 1st and leaving on Oct 18th. I usually plan our trips way ahead of time but this time different circumstances left us a bit undecided until just recently.

We have previously been to NYC and DC multiple times and last fall we did a 3,5 week road trip in Southwestern US. We had the time of our lives but I did feel that I planned too much into some days and it was hard to calculate the driving time needed at times because of traveling on small roads and stopping a lot.

This time we don’t want to drive more than 2-3 hours a day (not included stops) except one day having to get from point A to B.

Our interests are seeing the fall foliage, short hikes (1-2 hour), good local restaurants, try some lobster, costal scenery, beaches and lighthouses, cute towns and waterfalls. As for sleeping arrangements we are flexible and used to staying at budget motels. We prefer lower costs for sleeping and spend more money on eating well and activities during the day.

This is what I've roughly planned so far:

Day 1: Arrive in Boston, relax

Day 2: sightseeing Boston, get over jetlag

Day 3: pick up car (in city or at the airport?), Salem, Cape Ann, stay in Portsmouth NH

Day 4: drive up to Conway

Day 5: Kancamagus Hwy full day, stopping a lot, short hikes, stay in Lincoln/N Woodstock

Day 6: Cannon Mtn aerial tramway, Flume Gorge, drive to Montpellier, covered bridges in Northfield Falls

Day 7: Drive VT 100, pass by Waitsfield, Warren, Killington (not sure how much distance we will cover in one day)

Day 8: Weston, Grafton (again how much time, where spend the night?)

Day 9: all day drive from southern VT to Mystic CT (advice on best route, fastest or scenic?)

Day 10: explore Mystic, drive to Newport RI

Day 11: rest in Newport, car free day, cliff walk, renting bikes?

Day 12: drive to Cape Cod (not sure where to stay) I don’t feel we have to visit Provincetown due to the distance there and back or is it a must see?

Day 13: explore some of Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard over the day (this will be Columbus Day, lots of crowds, traffic?)

Day 14: drive to Boston via Plymouth Rock early morning, leave the car and fly to X

Please tell me if you think we should leave something out or add something. I hate to plan too much into this trip as I did last time. I don’t want to feel like all we do is drive which we still might feel around day 6-7-8.

Do you recommend booking accommodation ahead of time? We would like to be flexible around day 6-7-8 as I’m not sure how much ground we will cover each day.

Well, on to the next part of the journey. Just to explain, I originally thought we would get at least one more week off work, therefore planning to also drive south. We were going to fly from Boston to Richmond, pick up a car, drive Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, St Augustine, Kennedy Space Center, Miami, going home from there. I ended up cutting out Florida, then BRP. We still want to visit Savannah (or Charleston).

The weather in October in New England is the same or slightly warmer then back home and we wanted to end our vacation somewhere warm/a bit tropical. We are also curious about the South, southern cuisine, oak trees covered in moss, architecture and way of life.

After the NE road trip we have four nights and three full days until we have to fly back home. So the options we are considering are:

1. Add another night somewhere in NE to make the trip less rushed. If so where? Add another day or two in Boston in the end. This will be Oct 16-17th, close to the Head of Charles weekend, problems finding hotels? We won’t use a car in Boston.

2. Fly from Boston to NYC. We like the city a lot but didn’t plan on visiting this time. We will have no problem spending three days there but it feels like a slightly boring option. Last time we visited was May 2012.

3. Flying to Savannah, involves changing flights, more expensive tickets, three days there, then fly to Atlanta the day of departure and fly back to Europe.

4. Flying to Miami, a 3,5 hour direct flight, costs the same as the Savannah ticket. Warm weather and we will be able to swim in the ocean. Must rent a car? I’m sure we will be tired of driving by then. Hurricane season?

On the other hand I’m sure we will be back another time and do Florida, the South and maybe BRP. Any input will be much appreciated. Thanks. /Ella

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1. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

For the New England portion you may want to post on the New England or individual states forums.

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2. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

Consider adding time in the Finger Lakes region and Hudson River Valley, if you've never explored them. They're also beautiful during Leaf Turn.

E.g., check out Taughannock Falls and the farmers market at Steamboat Landing in Ithaca; use the search engine at the top of the forum to search for "Ithaca Steamboat Landing" for more on Ithaca.


In the Hudson River Valley, check out the Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, Kykuit (advance tickets recommended), and West Point.

You could fly out of a NYC airport.

Visiting the Southeast probably would gobble up a couple days of travel time. If you'll be back to the U.S., you could save it for another trip. You would still have a small risk of hurricanes in October.

Edited: 03 August 2014, 16:39
Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

Southwest airlines- only available on the internet has great rates from many New England airports to Charleston, SC. Fly one way and there is no change fee if something happens and no baggage fee and fly into Charleston then it is only a 2 hour drive to Savannah. If you really want to see the south then this is a great time to visit.

Having done New England a few years ago, I would spend a bit more time in the White Mts. of NH then head down thru the southern part of VT and on to your other destinations. VT and NH will have the same fall leaf colors and that will help in not making your trip not so rushed and driving to all those destinations in VT.

You can see covered bridges near White Mts. in Jackson, NH.

You are also missing some of the great coastal areas of Maine. That is where imo you get your good lobster and beautiful coastal views.

Book early for Columbus weekend. We were in the White Mts. the week before during peak fall leaf turn and our hotel was fully booked.

Stockholm, Sweden
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4. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

Thank you for your advice. After giving it another thought I think we are going to stay locally during the last days of our vacation, saving the South for another time.

PeachBelle - Is there a particular place in the White Mts. that we should not miss?

About Maine, I understand that Acadia NP is lovely but I didn't think we had the time to do it properly.

Do you think we should prebook accommodation for every night on the road because of the popularity to see the fall foliage?

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5. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

In the White Mts. go to Franconia Notch, Flume Gorge and take the cog RR or drive up to Mt. Washington.

If you do not go all the way to Acadia NP then at least head to Camden, Rockland, Portland area and see Headlights and museum and down the coast to Kennebunkport and Ogunquit. Even if not all the way to Camden and Rockland then start at the Headlights near Portland and head down the coast. We had some great lobster along the coast. That can be done first in your trip then head to White Mts. We did it in reverse with White Mts. first then coast of Maine but can be done either way. After you finish in NH and VT you can continue to your other destinations.

For sure book lodging in White Mts. and also on the Columbus weekend.

Here are a few of the many, many photos we took of our trip-


Edited: 04 August 2014, 00:27
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6. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

You may also want to post to the Massachusetts forum. People there are helpful for this type of New England planning even for areas outside of Massachusetts.

Stockholm, Sweden
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7. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

PeachBelle - Thanks again for the advice. I will for sure look into taking some more time to go up the coast of Maine. I watched your photos, the scenery was beautiful. Can't wait to see it for myself.

Christnp2 - I posted in the New England forum as well.

8. Re: New England itinerary and possibly a glimpse of the South

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