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New England Itinerary

Adelaide, Australia
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New England Itinerary

Couple from Australia and we are planning a driving trip through New England in mid May this year. So much to see and do.

Want your suggestions of highlights, areas to spend time, best routes to take (direct when not places to spend time), best towns to stay in and budget accommodation,

Day 1 - train from New York to New Haven for night.

Day 2 - Pick up hire car - drive to White Mountains, overnight Lincoln?? (suggestions)

Day 3 - White Mountains to Bar Harbour

Day 4 - Bar Harbour and Acadia National Park

Day 5 - Bar Harbour via Boothby Harbor to somewhere around Portland for overnight (suggestions)

Day 6 - Portland to Boston

Day 7 - Boston

Day 8 - Boston to Cape Cod area, Newport and overnight at Mystic

Day 9 - Early morning, back to New Haven, drop car off and train back to New York.

Is this being too ambitious as we want to spend time at places without racing around all the time? Enjoy quaint villages, scenic routes, walks and getting into the atmosphere at places

Bristol, Connecticut
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1. Re: New England Itinerary

On day 8, unless you plan to spend some time in Cape Cod I would head to Newport to explore the town and spend the day there then overnight in Mystic. There is a lot to see in Newport and if you include the Cape in that day's drive really all you will be doing is driving and not stopping to see the sights. You could also leave Newport out and see just the Cape but with a day I would pick Newport.

I would want to spend more time in Acadia but if you can't fit it in then it doesn't work. You are doing a lot of driving but through beautiful country. I would want to spend a day in the White Mountains too, but only you know your own tolerance for driving. It looks like you are driving about 4-5 hours a day not including stops so you will still have times for sightseeing.

Some places to stop along the way would be:

Northampton MA, Shelbouren Falls MA, Yankee Candle (if you are into this type of shopping), Deerfield MA, Freeport ME, and Old Orchard Beach ME

We drove the Kancamagus Highway last fall and loved the entire trip, so many places to stop and visit on this route. If you are not planning on doing any activities in Mystic you may want to look a bit further north or south for a bit less expensive lodging. You will hit rush hour traffic into New Haven I95 S between 7-9am on (weekdays) on your last day same on I91 N around Hartford and Springfield on you first day.

If you have time and might want to do some outlet shopping there are outlet stores in Clinton CT. This would be if you had time and wanted to do some last minute shops. You could over night in Clinton instead of Mystic.

www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp…

Edited: 24 February 2012, 16:40
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2. Re: New England Itinerary

If you do not have your flight into NY ...you could fly into Boston which would save a lot of road/train time (or even fly into Portland,Me). You could save more road time by traveling up 95 in Maine to Mt. Katahdin then head to Bar Harbor. With all that there is to do in Bar Harbor (carriage trails, gardens,Jordan Pond House and popovers, hikes, biking,etc) easily need to spend a couple of days. Camden is a great little town to see on your way back down the coast. As well as Ogunquit (great beaches) and Portsmouth, NH (quant downtown, lot of dining and nightlife). Definitely save some time for Touring Boston! Have a great trip!

Simsbury...
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3. Re: New England Itinerary

I agree with "spacefry" about day 8. It seems rather ambitious. Cape Cod is a very large area and Newport is a great place to visit, so you may just want to pick one. Consider taking a 1-2 hour sailboat tour in Newport. I don't know what Mystic has to offer beyond Newport other than the Mystic Seaport (I've never been but it seems interesting).

It seems like you could do more on day 1, e.g. start your drive to the White Mountains area, unless you wanted to see something (e.g. Yale University) in New Haven. Consider a quick stop to the Ikea store which is 5-10 minutes from the New Haven train station. I don't know if you have these in Australia, but it is a Swedish store (also has a very inexpensive cafeteria lunch).

I also agree with the recommendations to try to see some of southern Maine (about an hour or so north of Boston), including Ogunquit (beaches, resort), Kennebunkport (beaches, resort, former President Bush has a home here, but don't expect to see it!), York (quick stop to Stonewall Kitchen if you have time & interest), Freeport (home of LL Bean and outlet malls). If you look on a map, you'll see that these are all in a relatively small vicinity of each other.

Other places to consider for a stop if you have time and interest are Salem, MA (northern suburb of Boston) or Plymouth (home of the famous Plymouth rock, although the rock itself if very unimpressive - it would fit in the back of a pickup truck) (south of Boston). You could easily skip these, but just a thought.

If you have an interest in Native American history, consider the Pequot Musuem about an hour or less north of Mystic. It is probably one of the best Native American museums in the U.S. and very well done and interesting. It is affiliated with and about two miles from Foxwoods Casino. The general location is interesting in that the museum, casino and MGM hotel are in an otherwise fairly undeveloped area (I think that it is a Native American reservation).

I hope that these ideas are helpful. Feel free to ask more questions. It's a great area of the country to visit, so you have many great options to consider. Good luck.

Wolcott, Connecticut
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4. Re: New England Itinerary

I think that it's a little ambitious. It's a lot of driving and I think you'll wind up not getting to spend as much time in any one location as you'd like. Personally I would decide what you really want to see; the coast of NE or the mountains. If you do want to get a sense of what New England is all about you could do a smaller loop taking you into northern MA/southern VT over to southern ME and back down to Boston/CT. That would give you a flavor of both the mountains of NE as well as the coast w/out all the driving. I think it's tough to combine the mountains and the coast in one trip, especially if you want time to relax and explore the places you visit.

Simsbury...
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5. Re: New England Itinerary

I agree with above that its a little ambitious, however I want to give some options. You could easily omit Salem and/or Plymouth, but maybe research these a little to decide for yourself. You also don't need to see both Oqunquit and Kennebunkport. If you iike lobster, consider stopping at a lobster restaurant in Maine. You might also consider an easy hike in a state park, perhaps in Connecticut. There are many possibilities, such as Talcott Mountain State Park (Heublein Tower) in Simsbury, or Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. These are just two of many possibilities. I dont know anything about Bar Harbor and Acadia (other than the fact that they are great places to see), hence my lack of comments on this part of your itinerary.

Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: New England Itinerary

Thanks all for your comments and that's what I need to take on board. A couple of points. Day 1 we only arrive in New York mid afternoon so we thought to get the New Haven so we could get a good start next morning for White Mountains. It will be drive out and back on a Saturday morning so hopefully the traffic will not be as bad. We were going on to Mystic on Day 8 to get an early start to get back to New Haven for train to New York by midday.

I know we are pretty pushed so a couple of our options to consider. They are cut one area out completely but which one as they all have something different to offer. Or instead of going to New Haven which is easy by train to go on to Boston and miss New Haven completely and possibly the Cape Code/New Haven/Mystic area giving us more time in the other areas. Love outlet shopping but will be limited as I definitely want to see places rather than shops. I note the towns mentioned to work into our itinerary. So all suggestions are great.

Bristol, Connecticut
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7. Re: New England Itinerary

To save some time and start your trip in Boston you may want to look into Jet Blue flights between JFK and BOS. They run around $150 RT per person and would make it easier and faster to start your trip from Boston. This option is about the same price as the Acela train and $50 more per person than the regular train.

Just something else to think about. Don't forget to add any baggage charges if you have them, first bag is free on Jet Blue.

Simsbury...
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8. Re: New England Itinerary

If you have to cut something, I would probably omit New Haven, other than just a place to stay. Other than Yale University, you wouldn't be missing much. If you want to see a nice Ivy League campus, you can see Harvard when you are in Boston. Also conside the freedom trail walk in Boston - it's a nice walk and you can easily see many historic sights. By the way, I don't know where you are planning to stay in Boston, but seriously consider using mass transit (the "T") rather than driving. I find it one of the most confusing large cities in which to drive, given the number of one-way and winding streets. By the way, have you considered flying into Boston Logan airport instead of New York?

Wolcott, Connecticut
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9. Re: New England Itinerary

If you flew into Boston and ditched seeing the Cape you could get to the White Mountains as well as the coast of Maine in 9 days. Still a lot of driving but it's definitely doable. Acadia is well worth the trip if you can manage it. It's stunningly beautiful and there is a ton of outdoor stuff to do. Boothbay Harbor is great but if you can't get out there Camden or Rockland are also really nice. Portland, ME is worth a stop. Nice places to eat, shopping and the coast just south of there on Cape Elizabeth is beautiful. Portsmouth, NH is an interesting small city; again...nice places to eat and shop.

Adelaide, Australia
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10. Re: New England Itinerary

Thanks again for comments. Post 4 (mrsomes) you suggested a smaller loop - North MA/Southern VT, Southern ME, Boston. What stops do you suggest?

Another option which is really emerging is to go straight to Boston and miss New Haven and even Cape Cod/Newport area. This is what we were originally considering but it looks hard. Unfortunately we cannot change our flight from New York to Boston. BUT also so we fly into LaGuardia Airport. From what I see there are no cheap flights from LGA, they seem to depart from JFK. SO maybe we get train to Boston, or a cheap bus. We arrive at LGA at 15.50. It is difficult to book ahead as we have to allow for any delays, travel times to train/bus station etc. As it is our first time in US we are trying to keep it as simple as possible. The return to NY is much easier as it is not reliant on airlines etc. So what it the easiest and relevantly cheap way to get from LGA to Boston. This actually work OK as we would do the Boston sightseeing first then hire car and return to same spot. Suggestions for outskirts location for car hire so we don't have to drive too much in city.