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Please help me get started ;)

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for Derry
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Please help me get started ;)

Hi there,

We (my hubby and I) will be celebrating a special anniversary this year and have finally decided to visit the US, starting (and probably) finishing in Boston.

We have previously holidayed in Orlando, New York and San Francisco and this time we would like to visit the North East of the country.

I can get flights direct to Boston from Dublin and we are looking at spending at least 3 weeks (4 at a stretch) on this trip. We are thinking about arriving in early October - I have heard that New England is very pretty in the Autumn.

Our very tentative plans include spending about 3-4 days in Boston, then leaving and visiting some of the small villages/resorts on the coast/inland before returning to Boston to overnight before flying home. I also wondered if it would be doable to visit Niagara Falls and if this would involve another flight.

I suppose my main questions are;

Is this a good time of year to visit the area? (eg. what type of weather/temps could we expect?, is it likely to be very busy? are we too late to get decent accom. booked?)

Is a car essential?

What are the places we 'must see'?

We are open to suggestions regarding itinerary. About us, we are mid-forties, fairly fit, enjoy eating out, exploring, sight-seeing and cycling when on holiday. And some relaxation too of course.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I realise I have lots of planning to do and I thought this might be the best place to start.

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1. Re: Please help me get started ;)

You will love Boston and New England and your timing should be just about perfect. Do go back and look at some other similiar questions as you'll find lots of info. Also look at the other state forums (New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont).

re: 3-4 days in Boston

For a 3-4 wk vacation, I'd say 3-4d in Boston is a minimum. Boston is a great town and you could fill many more days there. Do Boston on the front end of your trip, so that you can shake off any jet lag. Stay right in town, small city, great public transportation, so NO CAR until you leave.

re: returning to Boston to overnight before flying home.

Perfect! BTW, depending on what time you fly home, you may not need to stay in Boston. If it's a late afternoon flight, you could literally spend your last night 100 miles away.

re: Is Niagara Falls doable?

Really depends. It is several 100 miles away from Boston. You could conceivably drive, but it would be a full day's drive going and a full day coming back. THere are things to visit along the way however, upstate New York mainly. Flying into Buffalo would save you time, but overall I'd say pass. If you do go, you want to stay on the Canadian side, the US side is industrial!

re: Is this a good time of year to visit the area? (eg. what type of weather/temps could we expect?, is it likely to be very busy? are we too late to get decent accom. booked?)

Perfect time!!! THe foliage changes from late Sept to early/mid-Oct. And the foliage is magnificent!!! Google New England foliage and you'll find a map with peak date by area. Someone (or I) will post a link soon. Generally speaking foliage peak moves from NW to SE, from higher elevations to lower.

Temperatures could be cold/cool at night 40 (maybe lower) degrees farenheit up north/higher elevations and it could be nice and warm during the day, 70-80 degrees OR any where in between. Most likely days will be in the 50s or 60s, just about perfect.

It can be very, very busy in some of the more touristy spots, but once away there those areas it can be sparse - like driving some of the mountain backroads. Finally, not too late to get accomodations, but certainly you would want to arrange rooms in advance.

re: Is a car essential?

Absolutely!!!!!!! Not in Boston, but everywhere else! Public transportation is minimal and the best places to tour are far from public transport. Don't worry about driving on the "right-side" of the road. Maybe that's not an issue. Once you clear out of Logan airport, crowded roads are the least of your worries (deer and moose might be).

re: What are the places we 'must see'?

Given 3 weeks,..

1) I'd start in Boston, 3-4 days.

2) THen pick up a car and travel clockwise from there, to Newport RI (to see the mansions) for 1-2 days,

3) then west and north thru western Mass/eastern NY state up the Hudson RIver, into Vermont - take 2-3 days to get up to Burlington/Monpelier area.

4) Enjoy the Green Mountains of Vermont for 2-3 days. Time it so you are here around the last week of September. It should be peak foliage, so the plan is to follow the foliage for the rest of your trip.

5) Head east into the White Mountains of New Hampsire, spend 3-4 days enjoying this area. Target 1st week of Oct if possible.

6) Head east to Bar Harbor Maine and spend 2-3 days at Acadia Nat'l Park.

7) Head south hugging the Maine coast. Spend 2-3 days just getting to Portland Maine, then spend a day here.

8) You might want to spend 1-3 days between Portland and Boston along the coast. Lots to see. Portsmouth NH, Newburyport Ma, Rockport/Gloucester/Cape Ann in Mass; possibly Concord/Lexington if US Revolutionary history is of interest.

OK, that's somewhere between 17 and 26 days. These ball park estimates would leave you in good shape and set you up for great foliage. You could plan to spend a couple days on Cape Cod between Boston and Newport. Its just past peak tourism season on the Cape so maybe a bit less crowded and the water should still be warm on the ocean side. You could take the drive out to Niagara Falls between Western Mass and Vermont. Again day out and one day back and at least 2 days there.

These are all must sees. The White Mtns are my favorite place in the world. Boston, Newport, Acadia are all top must sees!

THis gets you started with a rough cut plan. We can identify specific towns to stay in and things to do. That's the easy part.

Good luck!


Destination Expert
for Derry
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2. Re: Please help me get started ;)

Oh Kevin, thanks so much!

I'm so excited and I can't wait to read through your whole message.

I really appreciate the time you took to post this.

No doubt I will be back with more, but this is a great start!

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3. Re: Please help me get started ;)

It's the most popular time of year to visit New England. You really have to start thinking about making hotel reservations now. Unfortunately we won't know where the best foliage will be until September/October but this Yankee Magazine tool is pretty useful for planning purposes (but note that these things change from year-to-year):


It's likely that in October peak foliage will be in Massachusetts, but the distances are not great and people drive north and south just for the day during leaf-peeping season.

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4. Re: Please help me get started ;)

I would echo what Thomas said about making reservations as soon as you can. Plot your trip, then you can figure out where you need to find lodging. In Portsmouth, NH, there is a Sheraton that would put the city at your doorstep. You could leave your car parked for the duration unless you want to do a bit of shopping in Kittery, ME, which is the next town to the north, or drive along Rte 1A, which is the shore road and will take you along the ocean to Hampton, Beach, which is a lovely ride. There are many points to stop and get out along the way. A picnic might be in order if the weather is fine.

In Camden, ME, you might enjoy making a reservation at one of the cottages on the ocean at Beloin's. I've stayed there many times through the years and it's always lovely. It's almost directly across the street from the bottom of the Camden Hills State Park. There, you should make a point of driving up to the top of Mt. Battie for a gorgeous view of Camden Harbor.

If you do venture as far north as Acadia National Park, make sure to do the loop road, which is the far northernmost area of the park, also called the Schoodic Peninsula. It's worth the bit of extra driving. Lots of easy hiking trails that are perfect for picnics.

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5. Re: Please help me get started ;)

Regarding a hotel in Boston I recommend using this website to locate and compare hotels:


Other places in the area of Boston that I would recommend visiting are Plimouth Plantation and Salem.



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6. Re: Please help me get started ;)

The Omni Parker House is a very popular hotel in Boston. It's convenient to the start of the Freedom Trail and an easy walk to Faneuil Hall and the North End if you'd like to check it out.

7. Re: Please help me get started ;)

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