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Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Tel Aviv, Israel
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Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Hello

We're planning to drive from Ottawa ON to Boston MA. Leaving Ottawa on the 6th of October at around 14:00 o'clock and returning on Oct 11Th around noon. Google maps suggested 3 alternatives: I-89 S, I-93 S and I-89 S and I-93 S. 2 via Montreal and 1 via Odgensburg.

1. Could anyone please advise me which is the easiest of them all? As I don’t know what to take into consideration at all (being a tourist) when making the choice.

2. Which border crossing is least congested, are they all open 24/7?

3. Where is a good place to stop for the first night en route? We don’t want to drive into the dark. And for the last night to break the drive back from Boston to Ottawa?

4. What stops do you recommend en route? We don’t want to side track too much, but we want to enjoy the journey as well.

5. Boston hotels seem very expensive especially since we need 2 rooms and parking. Does anyone have any suggestions of where we should look for accommodation in Boston and vicinity, central enough to park the car and rely mainly on public transportation?

6. We want to buy a GPS in Canada before we start our initial drive to Tadoussac. (we're renting a car for 16 days and figured out it's better value to buy one than add 15CAD a day to the car rental fee ) could someone please recommend one to us.

I'm posting this query on Ottawa, Montreal and Massachusetts Forums.

Thanks for bearing with me

Yours Karyn

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Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Another recent questions about Ottawa to Boston has some information that would be helpful to your question -

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Another recent questions about Ottawa to Boston has some information that would be helpful to your question -

Edited: 23 August 2011, 20:57
West Grey, Ontario
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3. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Hi Karyn;

There are some car rental companies that will not permit their cars out of the province or out of the country, or charge a premium if they do. Most of the larger rental companies will allow cross border travel.

Ensure that the car rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the car into the US. You may be asked by Customs when entering the US, or when re-entering Canada, for this documentation.

Some companies offer unlimited mileage, but only within Canada. The rental company will use the onboard GPS to track your usage. The extra per mile charges can add up quickly, so be sure to ask in advance.

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Karyn09,

Welcome to the OTTAWA (Canada’s Capital City Region) TRAVEL FORUM

As per my investigations...

GOOGLE MAPS will certainly give you a variety of options… and most of them will have you head for Montreal… as this is way that the Route can be completed almost entirely on Expressways / Autoroutes / Interstates.

And you should know that Mr Wine & I have driven all these suggested routes (and many others) as we visit Vermont, New Hampshire or Massachusetts a couple of times a year (been twice already in 2011)

So lets review them (suggest that you take a look at GOOGLE MAPS to follow along)

OPTION # 1

Take Hwy 417 and Autoroute 40 to Montreal… then once on the southshore… Autoroute 10 East to Autoroute 35 to Hwy 133 to the Vermont Border and then Interstate 89 to Interstate 93 on into Boston. GOOGLE MAPS estimates this route to be aprox 690 Kms and about 7:25 Hours of Driving Time*

OPTION # 2

Take Hwy 417 and Autoroute 40 to Montreal… then once on the southshore… Autoroute 10 East to Autoroute 55 (at Magog)… Follow Autoroute 55 to the New Hampshire Border and then Interstate 91 to Interstate 93 on into Boston. GOOGLE MAPS estimates this route to be aprox 709 Kms and about 7-1/2 Hours of Driving Time*

OPTION # 3

Take Hwy 417 to Hwy 416 south to the Prescott… then follow Hwy 16 to the Seaway Skyway Bridge to cross into New York State. From here it is cross-country to the I-87 (lots of choices for routing)… we typically take Hwy 37 to Hwy 11 and then head for the I-87.

At the I-87 you’ll have to make another choice…

1- Take Hwy 11 at Rouses Point across the top of Lake Champlain towards the I-89 (OR alternatively take the scenic route on Hwy 2 thru the Champlain Islands and on to Burlington where Hwy 2 meets up with I-89)

2- Head South down I-87 to Plattsburg and take the Ferry across Lake Champlain to Grande Isle… then Hwy 2 thru the bottom of the Champlain Islands until it meets up with I-89 and then as per above on into Burlington.

In both of these choices in Option # 3, you’ll continue on I-89 to I-93 and on into Boston.

GOOGLE MAPS pegs Option # 3 Routing at somewhere between aprox 671 Kms and about 7:38 Hours of Driving Time* and 715 Kms and 8 Hours Driving Time* depending which way you go thru the top of Vermont.

All of these options are quite scenic…

And as I said there are many other choices as well that take in the scenery of Upstate New York (the Adirondacks) – Vermont (the Green Mountains) – and New Hampshire (the White Mountains). BUT it will all come down to how much time you can use to discover & explore.

OPTIONS # 1, # 2, and # 3 above are good solutions if you are in a need to make Boston and back in a reasonable (short) amount of time… and still want a bit of a taste for what these areas have to offer in the way of Geography / Scenery.

--- --- ---

REASONING…

As a general rule of thumb… Downtown Ottawa to Downtown Montreal is aprox 200 Kms and just under 2-1/2 Hours Driving Time*

Montreal to Burlington is aprox 155 Kms and about 2 Hours Driving Time*

*NOTE – Driving Time is just that… time spent driving. It doesn’t account for Stops, Breaks or Sightseeing… nor for Delays caused by things like Border Crossings, Ferry Waits, Traffic Congestion, Road Construction, or Weather Conditions. It is estimated using GOOGLE MAPS for the shortest most direct route (unless otherwise noted) and driving under “ideal conditions” at the posted speed limits.

And that is the KEY… “Driving under ideal conditions”

Mr Wine have spent a fair bit of time road tripping this summer and I can tell you… that a good lot of the roads in and in around Montreal are under Construction… including some of the Bridges on and off the Island.

As Montreal is an Island, everything ultimately funnels down to either one of the Bridges or the Tunnel.

Your DEPARTURE PLAN is for 2 PM on October 6th… a Thursday… which means you will hit the Westend of Montreal at aprox 4 PM… and as it is a Weekday, you’ll be contending with RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC… which means you may not make it across to the other side of the city by 6 PM (and ultimately reaching say Burlington at 8 PM)

A whole lot of wasted time… making NO PROGRESS.

Not to mention that the various Quebec Border Crossing in close proximity to Montreal (I-87 - I-89 - I-91) are always busier than any of the ones here in the Seaway Valley Region… so expect another loss of time at the Border.

--- --- ---

DAY ONE - ROUTE OPTION # 3

So although, the trip bypassing Montreal looks longer on a map… in the end you should make better time by cutting cross-country and heading for Upstate NY, and the Border at Prescott.

The Border Crossing there is rarely busy… there is some construction currently happening on the Seaway Skyway Bridge but nothing that will cause much of a delay.

If all goes to plan, you should make the Burlington area somewhere around the 5 Hour Driving Time* Mark out of Ottawa.

Burlington is primarily a University Town… so the good news is there is a fine assortment of Hotels here … the bad news is that some of them are quite pricey ($ 150+ US). Have also had some decent meals in Burlington as well.

Send me a PM, and I can give you the lowdown on what Mr Wine & I have had success with (or as always consult the HOTEL & RESTAURANT REVIEWS here on TA)

DAY TWO

Burlington to Boston is aprox 350 Kms and about 3-1/2 Hours Driving Time*

--- --- ---

RETURN TRIP

As you can see in the best case scenario you are still going to be looking at somewhere around 7-1/2 and 8 Hours of Driving Time* if you stick with main routes… IF you make any detours for sightseeing reasons (ie I-90 West to Albany… before heading North on the I-87 or cutting thru the Adirondacks Park… home of Lake Placid, which was the sight of two Winter Olympics ~ 1932 and 1980)

If you want to be back in Ottawa by Noon on October 11th.. then you’ll want to be somewhere just 3 or 4 Hours away. Possible spots could include…

Saranac Lake NY (3 Hours) – Lake Placid (3-1/4 Hours) – Plattsburgh (3-1/2 Hours)

As a point of reference the times and distances from Boston for these locations are as per follows…

Boston to Plattsburgh (I-93 – I-89 – Hwy 2 – Ferry to Plattsburgh) = 393 Kms = 4-1/2 Hours Driving Time*

Boston to Lake Placid (I-90 – I-87 – and then Cross Country) = 489 Kms = 5-1/2 Hours Driving Time*

Boston to Saranac Lake (I-90 – I-87 – and then Cross Country) = 505 Kms = 5-3/4 Hours Driving Time*

--- --- ---

YOUR QUESTIONS…

1- As I said most of these routings will be Expressway / Autoroute / Interstate. The other routes (such as where I’ve indicated going Cross Country) will be 2 Lane Highways with one-on-one traffic. But they are all well maintained, and pretty straight forward and easy to follow on a map. To be honest although the Expressways are nice… they do have their issues in that they’ll take you thru the bigger cities (such as Montreal at Rush Hour)… and they don’t really offer up a lot in regards to scenery. Which is why I’ve proposed the Route thru the Champlain Islands going to Boston, and for the Return trip…if you can swing it… doing a bit of Cross Country thru Adirondack Park

2- Of all the Canada-US Border Crossings the Prescott-Ogdensburg is both the closest and traditionally not a busy one. The Seaway Skyway Bridge is currently under construction… but it shouldn’t present any problems.

You plan to leave Canada on a Thursday BEFORE a Long Weekend for both countries (Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the USA)… and return on the Tuesday AFTER the Long Weekend… so you shouldn’t run into too much Border Traffic / Delay. The Friday and Monday will be much worse !!

The Major Border Crossings that we are discussing here are all OPEN 24-7-365

3- If you leave Ottawa around 2 PM on the Thursday, you should have no issues making Burlington (5 Hours) before it gets really dark… on Thursday, October 6th the sun will be setting at aprox 6:45 PM. Sunset on Monday, October 10th will be at aprox 6:30 PM

4- Stops enroute. I’ve already discussed some possible spots… but honestly this is a long trek (covering a lot of distance and varied countryside) for you to make in a short amount of time. With the limitations that you’ve put forward… leaving at 2 PM… Arriving back in Ottawa around Noon.

So, I’ve tried more than anything here to plan out a route that will allow you to drive fairly solidly… continually moving forward, while at the same time being able to take in some of the scenery that will still present itself around you.

5- Boston Hotels… YES Boston is a fairly expensive city when it comes to Accommodations… that has certainly been my experience. This is most certainly a Question best posed on the BOSTON TRAVEL FORUM where Local Advisors & Des can give you their best info.

6- GPS… Agree at $ 15 per day rental… buying one most certainly makes a lot of sense. I’ve discovered that everyone I know seems to have one made by a different Manufacturer or Models with various functions. Mr Wine & I have a Garmin… it is pretty basic. And to be honest, although we do use it on occasion, I am of the generation that I was taught how to read a map… I’ve had great success with that for 50 Years… so it is still how I do most of my Trip Planning / Navigating.

Where I do like my GPS is when I am looking for something while enroute… we decide we want to eat, have coffee, whatever… I can ask the GPS to find me places and make suggestions to me along my route. That comes in really handy, when I am in an area I am unfamiliar with.

Also has proved successful in finding us directions to our Hotels… I just put in the address and the GPS does the work. Which is nice, because sometimes Hotels are on Expressway Service Roads, One-Way Streets etc.

For more info on GPS Units, I suggest that you post this Question on the TRAVEL GADGETS & GEAR FORUM (it is part of TA’s BEYOND DESTINATIONS FORUMS… so those organized by theme… not Destination).

TA – TRAVEL GADGETS & GEAR FORUM = tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g1-i12530-Travel_Ga…

For future reference…

You can get to the BEYOND DESTINATIONS FORUM by looking for the box with that name on the right hand side of the screen… click on the SEE ALL within that box, and a full list of FORUMS by Theme will come up.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Tel Aviv, Israel
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5. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Yes, I don't understand why I did'nt notice it before I sent my question.

I see that there is a fourth alternative, you suggested , through Cornwall, that google maps didn't mention.After reading your answer I found it on Mapquest and am trying to familiarize myself with it, being a tourist , still trying to plan the trip without knowing the reality of the terrain , I find your advice valueable and unsubstitutional (is that a word? I can;t think of an accurate word to encompass what I mean )

I also found that the driving time given by mapquest is around an hour longer than that given by google maps for what seems to me identical routes.

Thanks again Karyn

Tel Aviv, Israel
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6. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Hi Rescue Team

Thanks I would never have thought that unlimited miles meant anything but that , I'll look in to it and be alert for any loop holes.

Yours Karyn

Tel Aviv, Israel
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7. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Hello Wine 4-2

I'm still trying to figure out how to send a PM to you.

Thank for the info , I'm indulging myself in studying it slowly and looking the suggestions up as I read your answer.

I'm trying to juggle 3 peoples wishes. One of them being myself. I would realy love to go on a boat tour on the 1000 islands, and have looked the schedules up on the sites you sent me in response to my previous question. Do you think that it's doable to take a boat tour either from the USA side on the 10 th Oct , or to reach Rockport by 17;00 on the 10 th to take the Sunset cruise ,without stressing my loved ones and spoiling our return trip by cramming too much in?

Thanks

Yours Karyn

West Grey, Ontario
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8. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

You're Welcome, Karyn !

Ottawa, Canada
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9. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

Hi Karyn09,

First off, thank you for your kind words. Glad to help.

<< I see that there is a fourth alternative, you suggested , through Cornwall, that google maps didn't mention.After reading your answer I found it on Mapquest and am trying to familiarize myself with it, being a tourist , still trying to plan the trip without knowing the reality of the terrain >>

1- CORNWALL

I don’t think I mentioned it here in my reply to you above… but it is certainly another alternative as a way across the Border to hook up with Hwy 37 in Upstate NY. And although it was the Primary “go to” Crossing* for many years in the Seaway Valley… IMHO it has become a ROYAL PAIN in recent years for a multitude of reasons.

*NOTE – GOOGLE MAPS which has a built in ability to find the quickest and shortest route… has recently stopped picking Cornwall as its primary choice… and now defaults to Ogdensburg (Seaway Skyway Bridge) for anyone wanting to get to Upstate NY.

Foremost, this is the Border Crossing known as the 3 Nations Crossing (Canada – USA – and the Mohawk Nation) there is actually 2 Bridges, with a small drive across Cornwall Island in between them. The Mohawk Nation has had ongoing issues with both the Canadian & US Governments in regards to their land-claims and maintaining their rights to self-governance. The Bridge was CLOSED for 6 Weeks due to a protest in 2009… and since then the Canadian Customs Office has been relocated to the Cornwall side of the Bridge in a “temporary location”… as this isn’t a permanent fixture… the flow of traffic isn’t ideal.

Consequently there are often Delays at this Border Crossing.

Wikipedia – Three Nations Crossing = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Nations_Crossing

Add in the fact that the Bridge itself (known as the Seaway International Bridge) is undergoing improvements and there are ALWAYS delays at this crossing. For those two reasons, I rarely use this Bridge myself anymore… and don’t usually recommend it to others either.

The Prescott-Ogdensburg Crossing (Seaway Skyway Bridge) is conveniently located to Ottawa right at the bottom of Hwy 416… the Crossing is usually not very busy… and other than the fact that this bridge is also undergoing some refurbishment (lane closure controlled by a traffic light) it rarely presents any problems for us.

<< I also found that the driving time given by mapquest is around an hour longer than that given by google maps for what seems to me identical routes. >>

2- MAPQUEST

Certainly a very popular On-Line Mapping Program. I used to use MapQuest until I discovered that GOOGLE MAPS was usually far more accurate IMO. Based on conversations I’ve had with other TA Members, and in particular DEs, GOOGLE MAPS is now the “go to” choice for North American Destinations anyways… no mapping program is 100% correct all of the time… they all have some issues. With GOOGLE MAPS is the fact that for the most accurate results you have to put in the address of a location vs just the Landmark Name... but that is of small consequence (I just use GOOGLE to get the address) with all the other great features of GOOGLE MAPS… Times & Distances for Vehicles, Walking, Cycling and Public Transit – Traffic Flow Stats – Satellite View – and the most valuable Street View… GOOGLE MAPS is an invaluable tool for Trip Planning… so much so that I always have it open in another window on my computer when working with TripAdvisor.

<< I’m still trying to figure out how to send a PM to you. >>

3- PRIVATE MESSAGING

To send a Private Message (PM)… the easiest way is to just click on the Highlighted Name of the other TA Member… (the blue writing of my name… below my icon / avatar here to the left of this post)

This will take you to my TA PROFILE Page… Then look for the SEND MESSAGE option on the left hand side of that screen. Click on that… it is then pretty much the same as sending an email.

When someone sends you a PM… when you next log in to TA there will be an indication in the top right hand corner of any TA Page… that you have a message waiting for you. Click on it… and it will take you to your own TA PROFILE MESSAGING PAGE

Infact all these features are linked back to your TA PROFILE PAGE… you should check it out… there are a lot of cool features that TA can do to help you with your Trip Planning that tie back to your TA Account / TA PROFILE PAGE.

<< Thanks for the info. I'm indulging myself in studying it slowly and looking the suggestions up as I read your answer. >>

4- MY TRAVEL ADVICE

To be honest, sometimes my suggestions aren’t always what others would choose… everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I base my info though not just on memory… as many TA Members no doubt do… I base my info on actual experiences and fact… I spend a great deal of time looking things up for Travellers, to make sure I have my info correct and as current as possible. Which is why I don’t guesstimate times and distances… BUT always give GOOGLE MAPS calculations in my posts

Example… Many would say the drive from Ottawa to Montreal is 2 Hours… which indeed would be “about right”… but from Downtown to Downtown it truly is more like 2-1/2 Hours (and that would be in “ideal conditions”… Montreal being Canada’s second largest city… and having significant Rush Hours that span from 6 AM to 10 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM). With just an allowance of 2 Hours and one will only find themselves on the West Island of Montreal… I KNOW THIS AS FACT… because I used to live on the West Island… and still have family there that I go back to see.

PLUS there is the fact Mr Wine & I as being semi-retired travel a ton… lol, we are oft to say that in an ideal year, there are about 30 Weekends of good driving weather for Road Trips (Spring thru Fall)… we try to take advantage of as many as we can… be it for a full-weekend away, or just a great day’s touring. Add in the occasional long weekend the rest of the year (November thru April)… and any of our longer vacations (have driven across Canada and to much of the USA, including our annual treks to the Southern USA & Florida)… and what I offer Travellers here on TA is based on years of experience, and tried-and-true first hand accounts.

<< I'm trying to juggle 3 peoples wishes. One of them being myself. >>

5- TRIP PLANNING

In my honest opinion… being in Ottawa then the 1000 Islands are a MUST DO for your family (lol, as the primary Trip Planner in our family, I ultimately set the Itinerary… Mr Wine rarely complains, he’s come to realize that I’ve done all the research, and actually by the time we travel know a ton more than he ever will. Sure we’ve had some “misfires” (every vacation seems to have a few)… but for the most part, we’ve had amazing adventures and have seen & done things that we truly enjoyed, and a good deal is in part to being able to use TA to get some incredible TIPS and info.

<< I would realy love to go on a boat tour on the 1000 islands, and have looked the schedules up on the sites you sent me in response to my previous question. Do you think that it's doable to take a boat tour either from the USA side on the 10 th Oct , or to reach Rockport by 17;00 on the 10 th to take the Sunset cruise ,without stressing my loved ones and spoiling our return trip by cramming too much in? >>

6- THE 1000 ISLANDS

Boston to Alexandria Bay NY (where you’d get a Boat Cruise thru the 1000 Islands) according to GOOGLE MAPS is aprox 595 Kms and about 6-3/4 Hours Driving Time* travelling via I-90 and I-81 and then Hwy 12 to A-Bay.

It is certainly do-able.

The 1000 Islands are greatly different from both sides of the St Lawrence River (a lot like Niagara Falls USA and Niagara Falls Canada are not the same… IF you get down that way… be sure and mark down the Niagara River Parkway as a MUST DO).

Ontario has spent a lot of time and money putting aside areas for Conservation and Preservation, and creating Parkland since the 1960s… this is true here, as well as in the Niagara Region. New York State is well come late to the table, they are only now (some 50 Years on) beginning to realize that their lack of forethought and planning means that some of the great areas of the 1000 Islands could be lost for the enjoyment of future generations.

Here is the simplest of examples… on the Canadian side, there is the very scenic and beautiful 1000 Islands Parkway that runs from Gananoque to Brockville an aprox distance of 50 Kms. The area around it is protected from extensive development… so that all who visit can enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

On the US side there is no Parkway. The “advertised” Seaway Trail is actually Hwys 12 and 37 that skirt along the shoreline here and there. For the majority of the route there is either farmland or extensive development between the Road and the River… and virtually no views of the waterway. In a few spots there are some turnoffs and lookouts where the water is visible. To actually see “the islands”… one has to go into the small towns (many are very commercial) and make a true effort to take in the view and experience... which is in many cases still rooted in the 200 year old tradition that “The Islands” are for the wealthy and no-one else… everyone else ashore trying to make a living by providing services to “the Islanders” with a hope that someday they too can join in the dream.

By contrast, on the Canadian side the 1000 Islands experience and enjoyment is very accessible for everyone. Even in the dead of Winter, one can drive the 1000 Islands Parkway, and see a large amount of the islands, and enjoy the beauty of the region and the wildlife that congregates there. Spring thru Fall… one can take in the various access points to the waterfront be it the various Cruiselines, Boat Launches, Watercraft Rentals (everything from Canoes & Kayaks, Fishing Boats, Dayboats and Houseboats are available), and of course there are also the National & Provincial Parklands, Bird Migration & Conservation Lands, Campgrounds, Public Beaches, Bike Routes and even Hiking Trails that look out from the Canadian Shield in what has recently been named a UNESCO World Biosphere (The 1000 Islands-Frontenac Arch Biosphere = fabr.ca/pdfs%202011/…202011.pdf )

US SIDE...

ALEXANDRIA BAY NEW YORK - is a village on the mainland in the 1000 Islands… on “the Bay” across from the historic and famous Boldt Castle. Due to its location, and the view to the Castle… it attracts a lot of tourists during the Summer months.

Wikipedia – Alexandria Bay, NY = …wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Bay,_New_York

"A-Bay" to be truthful, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a Destination (many, myself find it to be a tacky-tourist town)… it has a HUGE reputation for rowdy drinking and partying… and sometimes the altercations that come along with that. It is one spot where there is a heavy police presence on the streets in the evening trying to break-up any confrontations before they escalate. It is ok in the daytime, but not so great after dark. And it certainly doesn’t have the historic charm of either Gananoque or Rockport. Restaurants and Hotel choices are limited (with too many low-end Hotels to count). Being a long way off from my college years, the attraction to such a place has long passed… I find it mildly ok in the daylight… but I wouldn’t want to overnight there !!

CANADA SIDE...

Boston to Rockport according to GOOGLE MAPS is aprox 647 Kms and about 6-3/4 Hours Driving Time* travelling via I-90 and I-81 to the US-Canada Border Crossing at The Thousand Islands Bridge… from there The Thousand Islands Parkway onto Rockport

Boston to Gananoque according to GOOGLE MAPS is aprox 661 Kms and about 7-1/4 Hours Driving Time* travelling via I-90 and I-81 to the US-Canada Border Crossing at The Thousand Islands Bridge… and from there The Thousand Islands Parkway onto Gananoque

*NOTE – Driving Times are just that… time spent driving… they don’t account for Stops, Breaks or Sightseeing. Nor for Delays caused by things like Ferry Waits, Border Crossings, Traffic Congestion, Road Construction or Weather Conditions. They are estimated using GOOGLE MAPS for the shortest most direct route (unless otherwise noted) and driving under ideal conditions at the posted speed limits.

Although the distance is do-able… I don’t think that it is a risk I’d take.

The 10th of October, is a Monday. It is Columbus Day in the USA and Thanksgiving in Canada… it is a very busy weekend for Travellers… especially so for Canadians… as many tend to see it as one last opportunity to have a carefree get away in what is usually considered decent weather… before the cold rains of late October, and snow flurries of early Winter are upon us. Winter Driving is a HUGE issue for Canadians, many choosing either not to travel much at all… or like others (myself included) realize that plans may have to change. In our Winter most folks who like to travel make “tentative” and very flexible plans… typically with a 3 Day Window… a common phrase would be “We plan to leave Thursday, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, it could be Friday, Saturday or Sunday”

So what does this mean for Thanksgiving Weekend ?

This is a busy weekend for Travellers… trying to “get one last kick at the can” and with it being a Joint US & Canada Holiday Weekend the Border Crossings will be busy. By Friday at Noon, there will be a lot of Canadians hitting the road… The Canadian Dollar is performing well currently against the US Dollar (we are ahead right now) so lots of folks will plan their getaways to include visits to the US to take advantage of the extra buying power that their dollars will offer.

Come Sunday, the first of the Canadians will begin pouring back into Canada… having met their required 48 Hours away to make the most of their DUTY FREE Allowances… Monday at ALL Canadian Border Crossings will be a zoo.

Mr Wine and I were in New England for Victoria Day Weekend back in May… we had plans to cross back into Canada on the Monday via either the Cornwall or Prescott Crossing. We arrived at the Cornwall Crossing to clearly see that there was a HUGE Delay… with cars back up across the Bridge and even as far as Hwy 37 on the US mainland itself. We estimated the wait to be in excess of 2 Hours.

Lol, it was around 7 PM… we thought we’d nip into nearby Massena for a bite to eat, before heading for the Ogdensburg-Prescott Crossing, hoping that it might be better.

At aprox 8:15 PM we arrived at the entrance to the Seaway Skyway Bridge… and proceeded just a short distance before joining traffic (and the back-up) from the Border Crossing. The movement across the Bridge was aprox 5 to 10 cars at a time, with 5 to 10 minutes between advancements. Must say that watching the sunset over the 1000 Islands was nice… but that was about it. When we arrived finally at the Canadian Customs Booth, we had all our paperwork in order, and the Interview Process was under 5 Minutes. As we cleared the area and proceeded to the ramp for Hwy 416, I looked at my watch… it was 9:45 PM… we had spent about 1-1/2 Hours in the Customs Line-Up and most of it sitting atop the Bridge.

The Thousand Islands Crossing at the top of I-81 is a bigger crossing… but it also sees more traffic. Border Waits there on a Holiday Weekend can be similar… although I don’t think I’ve ever sat longer than an hour… I have many friends who claim they’ve seen even 3 Hour Waits (that reminds me of waits to be found for Travellers making their way to Montreal or Toronto on long weekends… the I-89, I-87 and Niagara Crossings are legendary).

7- MY RECOMMENDATION…

Stick with the Original Plan that I laid out… use the Holiday Monday to make time on the US side of the border… with a leisurely drive thru The Adirondacks… staying in either Lake Placid, Saranac Lake (or even Malone… although bear in mind, that driving will require CAUTION from Twilight thru to Dawn… this is Deer & Moose Country)

If you leave Boston by aprox 9 AM you should make Lake Placid late afternoon (between 2:30 and 4:00 PM say depending on how much you stop etc). On Monday, October 10th the sun is due to set somewhere 6:30 PM (although it might not be quite so strong in the mountains due to the “angle” after 5 PM). With a window of a couple of hours you can certainly take in the charms of this part of New York State. And if you have enough time perhaps visit one of the Olympic Sites.

With an extended visit to the Ottawa area… plan your visit to the 1000 Islands Region as either a One-Night Getaway (combines nicely with Kingston and / or a drive thru the Rideau Canal & Lakes Waterway Region) OR as a Day Trip out of Ottawa. The area really is truly close… by Expressway (Hwys 417 – 416 – 401) you can be in "Gan" in under 2 Hours.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Ottawa ON - Boston MA and back

I know Boston is a great city but 2 questions:

1. have you researched your visa requirements for the US

2. What's the draw of Boston? Can you get something similar in Montreal or Quebec City and forget about the border hassle factor?

..oh, guess that makes 3 questions ;-)