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New England & E Canada road trip

Perth, Australia
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New England & E Canada road trip

My wife & I are planning 5 weeks in NE USA & Canada, visitng New York, New England (for the fall colours), PEI, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara falls, Amish country, Washington DC. Is this reasonable or are we trying to do too much. We don't want to be too rushed, but as we are unlikely to be back we want to see as much as possible of this area.

Suggeations & comments would be greatly appreciated.

(We are from Australia)

Boston
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1. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

What are you looking for in a road trip? Washington DC is a significant distance away from the other locations and you'd have to drive through several major metropolitan areas (big traffic headaches) to get there. If you really want to go, you may consider taking the train or flying from New York City.

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Our main purpose of the trip is to see the fall colours. So while we are there we might as well see as much of the country as we can. The cities were mentioned to show our approx itinerary and to find out if they are worth visiting and for how long. We have booked NY for a week at the start and after that nothing is fixed.

Central Maine
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3. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

It's a little tough to give you specific advice without knowing a bit more about how you prefer to travel.

For some folks, "seeing the fall foliage" would mean just watching it through the car windows as you drive along....for other's it would be mostly driving with some brief stops along the way....and for still others, it would mean getting out of the car and talking short walks or hikes to really experiece it first-hand.

I'm not familiar enough with Southern New England to give you much advice about Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

From the southern tip of Maine, you can get to Canada in a day's driving....or you can stop along the way and spend anywhere from a couple of days to a week getting there. Once you get to the Maine-Canadian border, you're still the better part of a day from Prince Edward Island...a great destination, by the way. It too, is a place you can spend a day or a week....

Likewise with the northern New England states of New Hampshire and Vermont.

The one part of your proposed itinerary that doesn't readily connect with the rest is the Washington, DC piece. Traveling by car, you'll be spending the better part of a day just to get there and back again even from Lancaster or New York....and as has already been mentioned, that part of the east coast of the US has some of the heaviest travelled highway corridors in the country....not relazing driving by anyone's standards.

With four weeks to work with after you leave New York, I'd say that in general terms your proposed destinations (with perhaps the exception of Washington, DC) is probably do-able. But you'll probably need to spend some time thinking about how much time you want/need at points along the way...

If we know a bit more about your preferred style of travel (see the questions at the begnning of this posting) we can be more helpful as you start to refine your trip.

Lunenburg, Canada
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4. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Hi Western Australia!

I once did most of your itinerary in just 11 days, so five weeks is a generous amount of time. Driving in the cities will be intense, naturally, although parking costs less even in midtown Manhattan than you'd pay in Sydney! I can do it, so I don't doubt you can too.

Outside the biggest cities, you'll find motoring pleasant. Remember that we drive on the wrong side of the road here. On the other hand, when I drove in Australia it took me only a few seconds to get used to driving on the left side of the road.

The best autumn colors are in late September in far northern New England, and in the second week of October along the Maine coast and in Nova Scotia, where I am. That's when the reds are at their best and the last of the greens are just getting ready to make their change. The colors begin to change a couple of weeks before these dates, and most of the leaves have fallen about two weeks after the dates.

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

Syracuse, New York
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5. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Westozscot,

You may find this website helpful. If you look at archived reports for last year, you'll see when certain areas reached peak in terms of foliage color. Sometimes peak is hard to catch. I've made trips into the Adirondacks hoping for beautiful fall colors only to be preceded by a heavy rainfall bringing down the majority of the leaves. This website only covers Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

http://www.foliagenetwork.com/

Perth, Australia
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6. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Thanks for all the help so far. We're flying in to NY on 6 Sept and after 6 days the plan is roughly as follows -

Drive up new England coast via Newport, Boston, Portland, Bay of Fundy, then to PEI.

We would prefer to stay in different places for several days each, and taking day trips from there. Would you suggest staying on the coast and taking trips into the mountains or vice versa. We enjoy walking but not into serious hiking.

From PEI to Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto (?? there seems to be different opinions on whether we should include Toronto) Niagara Falls, with 2-3 days in each. From Niagara, possibly down to Washington via Lancaster. Or maybe back to NY and fly/train to Washington.

We really appreciate the feedback from all of you out there.

Syracuse, New York
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7. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Westozscot,

I'll be curious to see what other posters suggest but, based on your arrival and the opportunity to see high color...I would suggest a clockwise approach. NYC, D.C., AMISH country, NIAGARA FALLS, TORONTO, OTTAWA, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, PEI, MAINE etc.

Lunenburg, Canada
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8. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

If you're planning on flying out of New York about October 10, you'll be departing too early for seeing the very best of the autumn leaves, except in northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Even in Quebec and Ontario, the best colors come later.

The secret for the northern tier of New England is its elevation. The mountainous country causes the colors to happen as much as two weeks earlier than everywhere else.

This doesn't mean that you won't see any color at all. On the contrary, the leaves seriously start to change about a half-month before the times of maximum color. Many, including me, find this time of early autumn quite appealing because you still have green added into the mix of reds, yellows and oranges.

If color is at the top of your agenda, I'd do Washington DC and Pennsylvania Dutch Amish land first. Mid-September is much too early to see any leaves changing anyway.

By the way, I can't help but thinking that you've allowed too many days in New York City. It's not that you couldn't find enough museums and things to occupy that many days, but I know for myself that I'd get New Yorked-out after about three days. You know your style of travel best, but I'd cut at least three of those days, and if you crave another shot of Manhattan, add them onto the end of the trip when you're ready to return home.

That means that you'll likely be traveling clockwise.

At Niagara falls, stay on the Canadian side. Most of the hotels and tourist facilities, and all the best views, are in Canada. Many of the accommodations in Niagara Falls, NY are seedy and the neighborhoods unappealing.

On the other hand, on the New York side you can walk across the bridge over the Niagara River just above the American Falls and stroll Goat Island and a little archipelago of islets above the lip of the falls themselves. Goat Island is a wonderfully peaceful contrast to the heavy-duty tourism on the Canadian side. Overnight in Ontario, but visit Goat Island.

Given a choice between (a) Toronto and Ottawa; and (b) Montreal and Quebec, I would devote more time to "(b)." Ottawa will remind you of an oversized Canberra (complete with a French-speaking Queanbeyan), while Toronto resembles a Sydney built on a lake. Montreal, however, has a flavor all its own, as though it wants to be European, but isn't. The historic old city of Quebec, completely French, is worth savoring most of all, the oldest city in North America.

Between Quebec and Prince Edward Island, if you take the freeway, get off at Exit 444, just east of La Pocatière and drive along the St. Lawrence River through Kamouraska. It's not a long stretch, and it gives you one of the best tastes of the scenery of rural Quebec.

David

Syracuse, New York
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9. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

Bad link in previous post.

www.foliagenetwork.net

Syracuse, New York
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560 posts
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10. Re: New England & E Canada road trip

westozcot,

A couple additional websites that might help. Looks like Northern Maine will be your best bet for seeing some good color depending on when you will be in the area. I hope someone can respond as to what to do and see in the Northern/Central part of Maine. Personally, I love the coast of Maine: Bar Harbor, Boothbay, Kennebunkport.

http://www.state.me.us/doc/foliage/

Likewise the northern part of New Hampshire will turn prior to areas south (Great North Woods). If you do happen to head to this part of New Hampshire I would suggest a trip to the summit of Mt. Washington. This is the highest peak in the northeast U.S. There is a cog railway that you can take to the summit. When I was there we took a tour to the summit on a van. Lot of fun but not for the faint hearted. Our driver to us RIGHT TO THE EDGE for some great views. You can also drive to the summit in your own car but I wouldn't suggest doing so .... could do a number on your breaks. If you do head to the summit of Mt. Washington...dress warm.

…silvertech.net/index-flash.html

http://www.northnh.com/attractions.php