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Boston to Portland section of road trip

London
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Boston to Portland section of road trip

Sorry - reposting here, question is maybe too local for the road trip forum:

I was hoping to get some advice here on the Boston to Portland section of our fall season east coast road trip. This section of our trip will take place 4th-5th October. We will be picking up our hire car from Boston Logan early (8am-ish), and we have the entire day to make the trip. We will be staying overnight in Portland, and on the 5th heading further up towards Bar Harbor.

We have a few places on the way up that we would like to hit for short stops, namely Salem, Portsmouth, Ongunquit, Kennebunkport and Cape Elizabeth (for the lighthouse). We obviously are aware that we can't spend much time in these places, it's more for us to stop and have a short walk around if we feel the place is nice, these are just places that look interesting to us. We're just unsure what route is best to take really between some sections, although we always like to take the most scenic or fun routes where appropriate:

Salem to Portsmouth - Should we just take the i95 straight up to Portsmouth from Salem, or is taking route 1a via Ipswich, Newburyport and Rye worth the extra time? Is the scenery along this route worth the extra time here?

Kennebunkport to Cape Elizabeth - Again, is the scenery worth driving the longest route all the way along the coast road, route 9 through both Rachael Carson parks, hugging what appears on the map to be a coastal road all the way? Or should we go via route 1 or via the i95?

We're just trying to figure out whether the scenery along this stretch of coastline up warrants the extra drive time all the way up to Portland or not, as it's hard to tell from the map what it's like, and my googling efforts have come up with not that much extra info on this particular route. Any other suggestions people might have would be amazing as well.

thanks in advance,

LisaG

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1. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

I'll start off by recommending that from Salem you head North and take Rt. 127 around Cape Ann. Then go through Ipswich and get on Rt. 1, then head over to Rt. 1A in Salisbury and take that North through N.H. You'll go through Hampton and Rye. It's worth the ride.

Hollis, New...
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2. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

I agree with Ting. I think detouring through Essex County on the way to Portsmouth is very much worth it. I also suggest you have a look here: http://www.essexheritage.org/scenicbyways/.

Also, as you travel on Route 1A north of Rye, turn right onto Route 1B. This will loop you around past the historic Wentworth by the Sea hotel and through the island town of New Castle. This little trick adds a lot of interest.

MA
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3. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Yes, Cape Ann is really pretty. Good idea.There is a great lobster shack right next to Two Lights lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, the view is amazing and hopefully it will still be open that early in Oct.

Central Maine
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4. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Kennebunkport to Cape Elizabeth -- Rt 9 can be nice if you have the time.... not continuous ocean views, but some nice spots along the way. Second option would be I-95 to get to Portland-Cape Elizabeth more quickly, allowing you more time there. Third, and least desirable option, should be US Rt 1 north... it offers very few ocean views (and those only briefly), runs through several commercial and semi-industrial areas, provides access to local industrical, commercial and residential areas (adding considerably traffic to those using it for through travel) and is the major route used by trucks making local deliveries....

London
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5. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Thank you very much for all the information. I've plotted out a new route using this new info on mapquest. I'll post it up later on to see what you think. Thanks for the heads up about kennebunkport - cape Elizabeth, I think I had us using route 1 originally.

North Shore, MA
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6. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

One more thought: I love Cape Ann and often recommend Route 127 to visitors, but if that will take too much time, you could reconsider your original suggestion of taking Route 1A from Salem to Newburyport to save some time. The first few miles aren't very interesting, but then you'll pass through the pretty towns of Wenham and Hamilton, which are inland in contrast to the rest of your day, and will find coastal marsh views north of Ipswich.

London
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7. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Based on all of your advice, I have amended our route, here it is on mapquest (I hope it works!):

http://mapq.st/XbZ4Vj

Depending on how long we fancy spending in Salem then, we can take the option of continuing around to Cape Ann, or heading straight up the 1A to Newburyport.

Would anybody be able to tell me what the traffic is like going up most of the way on the 1/1A route instead of the 95? Is it all single lane slow moving the majority of the way at all? Just so that we can factor that in to the drive.

thanks again,

LisaG

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8. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

The link worked. Looks good to me. If you have time, you might want to stay on 1A between Ipswich and Newburyport. But you can add or subtract from your plan depending on your time and the weather. Enjoy.

London
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9. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Awesome, thanks for looking. Like you said, now we have a good route down, we can adjust as we go along if we want to spend more/less time at places. Can't wait to go now, now to crack on with planning more stuff!

North Shore, MA
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10. Re: Boston to Portland section of road trip

Route 1A north of Salem is mostly a two lane road (one in each direction), but you move pretty well once you're north of Beverly as it doesn't carry lots of traffic and has few traffic lights. Route 127 is also two lanes and twists and turns more than 1A so I think it's a little slower. Of course, I-95 is much faster, but first you have to get there--any road from Salem to the highway is a secondary road and usually on the slow side.

I think your idea to have alternative routes and play it by ear depending on timing is a wise one. Hope you'll enjoy your trip!

Edited: 15 February 2013, 03:08