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Help needed with road trip

London, United...
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Help needed with road trip

Hi

I am planning a road trip in early September after spending a few days in NY. Any advice and guidance you can give on the below would be much appreciated:

NY for around 4 nights

Day 5 - Drive from NY towards Quebec, and stop on the way for the night - any suggestions? An area of natural beauty would be great after the city sights of NY

Day 6 - 2 nights in Montreal (is 2 enough to see the city?)

Day 8 couple of nights up in the countryside near Quebec city for hiking etc - any advice on beautiful areas to do this would be really useful.

Day 10 2 nights in Quebec City

Day 12 drive towards Boston and stop off on way for one night - again any advice on good stop off places please

Day 13 3 nights in Boston

Thanks for any advice you can offer

West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Help needed with road trip

Hi adam_in_london;

There are some car rental companies that will not permit their cars out of the state 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 Canada. You may be asked by Customs when entering Canada, or when re-entering the US, for this documentation.

Some companies offer unlimited mileage, but only within the US. 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

London, United...
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2. Re: Help needed with road trip

Thanks, I will be checking all these things through with care hire firms before I place my order

West Grey, Ontario
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3. Re: Help needed with road trip

You're Welcome !

Montreal
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4. Re: Help needed with road trip

Vermont is a beautiful state to drive through -- even the Interstate offers spectacular views, but if you take the off-roads, you hit little towns one after the other, often nestled in little valleys and just amazing. The good thing is that you can basically take almost ANY route and see amazing nature throughout.

I'd say try this site -- www.iloveinns.com/vermont-bed-and-breakfast/ -- which lists quite a few historic inns throughout Vermont. We stayed at the Governer's Inn in Ludlow and it was just lovely.

The most beautiful area in Québec, indeed the most stunning west of the Rocky Mountains, is the Charlevoix-Saguenay region which is past Québec City. It's a little further to go, but worth it: mountains plunging down to the sea, fjords, and even whales to watch in the Saint Lawrence river.

If that's too far out of your way, the other options that come to mind would be the Laurentians/Mauricie to the north/north east of Montréal or the Eastern Townships. I'd suggest the Townships, since it's more populated and its towns are older and cuter, and the terrain is a little prettier than in Mauricie, which is more just farms on a long slope down to the river.

I would say hop on over to the Québec tourism site that lists a few suggested routes to take -- you could do the Wine Route or the Township Trail, for example: bonjourquebec.com/qc-en/routescircuits0.html

As for the time to allot: it depends on what you're looking for. Montréal is a city of 3.8 million, and is very cosmopolitan and multicultural and multilingual, quite sophisticated for its size, offers the North American city experience of towers downtown but still has an old town that is more European. It has a fantastic food scene and a really interesting vibe: quite energetic but surprisingly relaxed and incredibly tolerant about almost everything. But it also has quite a bit of urban grit, which is found in places that as a tourist you will visit, so you'll see its underbelly more than you would in many other cities.

Québec City is around 750 000 but has a beautiful old town and is surrounded by much more beautiful nature, and is much more romantic and feels more like a seaside French village, not a big city. It is absolutely charming, but its old town, while much more beautiful than Montréal's, is also more touristy and feels a little disneyland-esque, and if you scratch the surface a bit, you soon start to see Québec city's other reality: a fairly boring, fairly bourgeois, fairly conservative government town.

In terms of tourist attractions, either city will keep you busy for 2 or even up to 4 days. Montréal is bigger and has more stuff, plus more nightlife and so on, but nothing that is really "ohmigod, you simply MUST see this" -- it's the kind of city where it's best seen pretending you live here, hanging out in sidewalk cafés and generally relaxing and enjoying a city where such differences co-exist so peacefully. Québec City is older and prettier, but also more impressive for people who are unused to European villages, for example. Up to you to choose how much time you'd want to spend in each.

London, United...
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5. Re: Help needed with road trip

Wow, thanks for such detailed info Tristou.

the Charlevoix-Saguenay region sounds great, any must see places to go there, and roughly how far would the drive be there from Quebec City?

Montreal
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6. Re: Help needed with road trip

It's about a 3-hour drive to get to Tadoussac, which is where the whale boat rides are and the most impressive fjord; heading up the Saguenay fjord will take you another hour or two, depending on how far you go -- Chicoutimi is actually a nice little town with some great restaurants; it's far and would add a whole day, although the whole drive there is quite beautiful.

You don't have to go that far to get a taste of the region -- you could head up to Baie St-Paul which is a cute little village, or to the spa or the the casino at the luxurious Fairmont Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie.

You could check out the different villages in the region (or in other regions in Québec) for inspiration through this site: www.beauxvillages.qc.ca/website_english.htm

Edited: 19 May 2011, 01:29
London, United...
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7. Re: Help needed with road trip

Tristou, how would driving up the 175 to Chicoutimi, spending the next day exploring around there any making out way slowly to Tadoussac, spending the night there, then driving back towards quebec city sound?

Ireland
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8. Re: Help needed with road trip

Hi Adam

Your post has caught my eye as we too are taking a similar road trip in September. Just to let you know - Hertz will permit cross-border journeys between US and Canada as I clarified with them before making our reservation. Be sure to request a letter indicating same from whomever you choose to book with. When I called Hertz, they advised to request the letter when picking up the car and that there would be no problem. As RescueTeam has mentioned - you need it for border crossing. If you have European AA Membership, you will get a 10% discount with Hertz too.

You have prompted me to make a further enquiry, one that I had forgotten to ask when I last called them - as to whether or not it is permissable to take the car on a ferry crossing.

Our tentative plans are - 1 night Boston, 1 night Vermont, 2 nights Eastern Townships, 3 nights Quebec, onwards Baie St Paul/Tadoussac area, take ferry crossing and avoiding backtracking through Quebec city (if possible) and come back down Maine Coast to Boston over the period of 5 further days for our final night in Boston. Hoping to get it all finalised over the next week.

It will be the weekend before I get the opportunity to contact Hertz regarding the ferry crossing, but I am happy to share any information with you that I receive from them. It might save you too from backtracking into Quebec city as well.

I'm looking foward to watching this thread and benefiting from the advise you get from these guys on the Canadian forum :-)

Edited: 19 May 2011, 20:35
Montreal
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9. Re: Help needed with road trip

Well, the 175 is the classic way to get to Chicoutimi, and it goes through the park so you have forest, forest, and more forest. And while pretty, it's not AS pretty as the route by the river, which gives you nicer views.

I would say it's a fine plan, but at the same time, the most impressive part about the region is the Saguenay river. There are indeed a few cute villages, and Chicoutimi is fine but not amazing, and the people are incredibly friendly (although they speak hardly any English in general).

I think it might be wise to give a little warning we often tell people from more populated and smaller countries who may not be not used to reading maps with Canadian distances in mind: you'll be doing a LOT of driving and not seeing much besides trees or farms. For many people, that's the whole point of visiting here. But for many others, they soon realize that it's in fact incredibly boring.

All that to say that you might get more wow if you skipped Chicoutimi and instead took, say, a boat ride a little bit up the Saguenay instead, or whale watching on the Saint Lawrence.

London, United...
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10. Re: Help needed with road trip

Thanks for the advice Tristou, sorry I have yet more questions! Would you advice skipping the 175 and going straight up to Tadoussac along the St Lawrence, and maybe spending a couple of nights there, then heading back down the same way? I'd love to go whale watching, but would like to spend an afternoon hiking in beautiful surroundings, any ideas in the area near Tadoussac for that? Would like to see more than just trees ideally.

LittlePumpkin, thanks for the heads up on Hertz. Would be good to know whether hertz have any issues with the ferry crossing.