We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Already planning road trip for 2008

Level Contributor
66 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Already planning road trip for 2008

Sorry to post this in New Hampshire forum but the New England forum seems to be off the beaten track (another state?).

We are planning a road trip for 2008 and we are starting this year - keeping an eye on what people are posting now. We do want to see autumn foliage and, given that we have a total of 22 nights I thought I would put down my thoughts this year to see if anyone has other ideas. ( I did have a bigger itinerary but have narrowed it down - seems to me there is so much to see that I would be unwise to add in New Brunswick area - so I've left it off!). I'm picking bits from everyones trips! I know I will need to do some booking as far out as this year for next year as this is such a busy time. I am very flexible at this stage for dates and would appreciate recommendations for a start date. We are using Frequent Flyer points so will be making the flight bookings in late October this year - coming from Australia. We can start in Boston and finish in New York or we can go the other way if that is advised for best foliage colour. We want to maximise the time for autumn foliage but know it is a hit and miss thing and I am hoping that in 3 weeks we should see some nice colour. Please advise on your thoughts on beginning and ending date. Also have I given too much time to some places and not enough to others? We are in our mid 50s - love to drive, love short walks (up to 2 miles return), we do not much enjoy restaurant food - we're very plain eaters and prefer to buy things like sliced ham, tomatoes, cheese, breadrolls and picnic. We're staying in Boston and will spend money on accommodation there - we also have a week in SF and will spend money to stay right in Union Square. I do know we will be in the New England area in an expensive time so even motels might stay. Still, recommendations will all be welcome and we are happy to stay in motels (clean, non smoking, twin beds or 2 doubles).

Boston 4 nights

Drive up to Lincoln and then drive the Kancamagus Hwy in the afternoon. Staying in North Conway/Jackson for 3 nights - we want to do the train trips and short walks and shopping.

From Jackson drive to the coast to Portland and spend 1 night.

From Portland drive up to the Bar Harbor area to drive the Acadia Loop - stay the night outside of Bar Harbor - perhaps Ellsworth.

Drive to Moosehead and spend one night. Looks like it is too far to drive directly from the Bar Harbor area to Quebec City and Moosehead looks like a beauty spot (right? other suggestions?)

Drive to Quebec City and stay 3 nights - stay in the old walled city, spend a day exploring on foot and go out one day to see the surrounding countryside.

Drive to Stowe Vermont and stay 2 nights.

Drive down to Woodstock and stay 2 nights.

Drive to Keene or small town in this area for one night.

Drive to the Great Barrington area (perhaps Lee) for one night.

Drive to the Lancaster Pa area for 3 nights.

Drop the hire car at Lancaster and take an early morning train to NY to fly to LA.

Level Contributor
291 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

long post so i didn't read everything but as I know alot of the area I would say. Anywhere in Quebec city, even a side trip to Montreal or lake George New York is worth it Lake Placid too beautiful lakes unbeliveabe scenary . Quebec city however is also really realy nice, and worth the extra drive , it is very different and you will feel like you are in Europe. It is so unique and has great food. Vermont is nice, I like Burlingotn or some of the smaller cities but Stowe is very boring except for in the winter where they have great skking. New Hampshire is great except for North Conway which is crowded and boring. Lincoln and the highways are amazing. If you want the best pancakes in the entire world go to Pollys Pancakes in Sugar Hill New Hampshire which is near Franconia which is also a nice town anywhere in New Hamphire except North Conway is nice. SO rember avoid Stowe Vermont boring and North Conway everywher else is great

Level Contributor
66 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

Perhaps Burlington would be a better base than Stowe?

Peterborough, NH
Level Contributor
540 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

Rose, that sounds like a wonderful and ambitious trip. It is impossible to do everything worth doing and seeing...we know as my wife and I spent three weeks in Australia for our honeymoon and barely scratched the surface.

Just a few comments....

If you fly into Boston and out of NY it sounds like you are skipping NYC (just a palce to fly out of)...would it be reversed if you flew into NYC and out of Boston where Boston would be skipped? Both cities are great and both deserve some tourist time!

As for Bar Harbor, this is one of my favorite places and it would be nice to take advantage of the downtown and dining. Of course I also prefer to drive Route 1 from Portland up to Bar Harbor which definitely adds time to the drive but the scenery along the coast is beautiful.

I also like Quebec a lot and staying in the walled city is a treat...within walking distance of just about everything. There is a beautiful waterfall hike (mostly steps) about 1/2 hour East of the city.

Keene, Woodstock, and Stowe are all beautiful areas with things to do and see...it is hard to pick and choose.

Level Contributor
66 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

Thank you for your post! We have been to New York but never to Boston - hence that choice - we'll stay close in and walk everywhere - really looking forward to Boston. We are using Frequent Flyer points so have to fly out of major centres - hence New York rather than go back to Boston - I am looking into whether we can fly back to LA on FF points from Washington DC - that would be a shorter train trip and possibly easier airport wise.

I've been avidly looking at maps and wondering if one central spot to base ourselves would be viable for Vermont - would welcome ideas.

The old walled city in Quebec sounds fabulous - we will want to drive out and see those falls - other suggestions for that day would be welcome.

Our major concern is dates - we need to book this September and that's rolling around quickly. Recommendations for the start of the trip would be welcome. Our options are to land in Boston on Friday the 26th of September and start north on the Monday or we can do the trip backwards, landing in NY or Washington and head to Lancaster area etc.

What would be the best way and the best date - due to other trip commitments we need to start the East Coast section on a Friday! Would the 26th be a great date to start or would the Friday before or after be best? It's getting towards 'make a decision' time!


Antrim, New...
Level Contributor
1,985 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

Wow! That is quite the itinerary. I am not going to recommend a different mix of the numbers, but will comment on some of your considerations, taking into account the suggestions of others.

Fall foliage in the White Mountains area - Conway/Jackson, including across the similar stretch of Maine and VT, would likely be early October through about the 10th. Go north in those states and into Quebec and they will be a week to 10 days earlier. Over by the coast, the warmer air will delay the colors a bit. See how that falls with your plans.

Boston - you could spend a week, but given your itinerary, you could also cut back to 3 nights if you need some slack elsewhere.

Maine - Quebec - NH - I think you might do better to head from Boston up the coast of Maine. Portland - Bar Harbor - Moosehead Lake - Quebec City - Jackson, NH is a more direct route. I love Portland and would suggest an extra night there. But you are trying to see so many interesting places, if all you have is one night, that will be fine. Try and stay in the Old Port. The Hilton Garden Inn is very nice and right in the middle of that area, but the Holiday Inn and Eastland Hotel are fine, less expensive, and easily walkable. Consider taking one of the ferries out to the islands on Casco bay. Great restaurants, bars, night life, shops in Portland. If that does not interest you, one night may be fine.

Bar Harbor - Allow more time. Bar Harbor is the brand name term that actually includes Acadia National Park, and a bunch of other towns, all of which are part of Mount desert Island. This is a beautiful place with all kinds of outdoors activity. You can exert yourself as much or as little as you like, but still have nice hiking/walking, bicycling (rentals available), beautiful drives and vistas, get on the water in sea kayaks, a nature cruise, or a whale watch. I would allow more time. For me personally, as many days as you have to give.

Bar Harbor to Quebec City would be a full day of driving, but doable. But the Moosehaed Lake areas is beautiful, wild.

Quebec City - I've never been, but everything I know about it says 3 nights will do it at least some justice.

If you then come down to the COnway/Jackson area, you might do fine with just 2 nights. I would agree that North COnway is to be avoided, due to all the shopping and traffic. But you will need to get down there if you are going to go across the Kankamagus Highway. Do spend time inthe other sections, though - Rte 302 through Crawford Notch, and the down through Franconia Notch, as well as the towns north of the notch, including Franconia, Sugar Hill (Long lines at Polly's, but the view alone is easily one of the best in the state) and Littleton are all nice to explore, if you have the time.

I would agree with dropping Stowe, especially if you are looking for days to invest elsewhwere. Burlington, VT is great, but with a destination of Lancaster, PA, Burlington will pull you the other direction. I would opt for Woodstock, VT, Hanover and Lebanon, NH for a couple of days.

As for Keene/Peterborough, NH and Great Barrington, MA, are you seeing these as stops along the way, or destinations of interest? Both are lovely places. But the distances are not great. A scenic drive down Rte 12 from Lebanon to Keene would be about 1.5 hours. Keene to Great Barrington might be another 2 hours. Hanover, NH directly to the New York City area might be 3 - 4 hours. Lancaster might be another 4. Lancaster to Washington, DC would be about 2 hours. These are not great distances. Is there anything particular that is drawing you to each of these places? If not, I would consider fewer stops and more time to explore, depending on how your time is being used elsewhere.

Lancaster - Unless this is a particular highlight for you, I think 3 nights may be too many. Frankly, I find the whole gawking at the Amish bit distasteful, but it is a compelling life style to encounter. If you have no other agenda there, I think one night may be enough. You might also want to consider bagging Lancaster in favor of Baltimore, Washington, DC, Annapolis and the Chesapeake bay area for a few nights. All of these have so much to offer, and you will get enough of a taste to know what your next US trip will be. Also, this part of the country is brutally hot and humid in summer, but an absolute delight in late Septemebr and October, as well as Late March through mid May.

Just my thoughts.

Level Contributor
66 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

Thank you - you have taken a lot of trouble and put a lot of thought into your reply - let me see if we can do some more discussing!

Fall foliage being important it sounds like going up the coast of Maine, across to Quebec City and then down into New Hampshire would be best. Let me know if I'm correct there. Would I get enough beauty in 14 days to last me? I reckon so!

If we arrived in Boston on the 26th of September are we starting a bit late? Is the 19th of September too early?

My husband would love to go further south for a few of days - would it be reasonable to change the whole itinerary and do the following;

4 nights Boston

1 night Portland

2 nights Bar Harbor/Acadia area

1 night Moosehead

3 nights Quebec City

4 nights Jackson/White Mountains area

Back to Boston and fly to Washington

From there would it be comfortable to drive in a loop from Washington down the coast to Virginia and up through West Virginia and back to Washington. Are there enough things of interest and countryside beauty spots? I know nothing about these areas. Is it possible to go further south in this time to, perhaps North Carolina? If we have 7 days would 2 x 2 night stops and 3 nights in Washington allow us to see a touch of the south? We are also happy to spend each night in a different place but only drive the mornings - spend the afternoon in each place seeing something.

I know you can't see everything so planning a decent stay in Boston is a priority - same with Quebec City and the White Mountains area does sound so wonderful and there are lots of day trips - everything looks fairly close. Would it be silly to make such a drastic change to plans as to leave out the Vermont area and just see the beauty of New Hampshire - I can hear all the Vermont people yelling at me!!

Is there fall foliage in the south? If so, when?

What I have to keep in mind is that the first day (Boston) is spent getting there from San Francisco so it is a write-off. The days driving are not hard days. We are early risers and early away people. There is little that could not be driven in a morning by the look of it. There seems to be a lot to see and do in the White Mountains area with scenic train trips, Gondala rides and walks, the Kancamagus Scenic Hwy, the 3 'Notches', outlet shopping, little towns to wander through etc.

Enough for the moment - perhaps we can discuss further??

Main thing at this stage is the flight dates. I will be booking in about 4 weeks. Please let me have your opinions on arriving in Boston on the 19th or 26th of September. We can always leave Boston immediately to do the loop trip north through Portland or we can leave Boston immediately and go inland to Jackson etc, then spend 4 nights in Boston at the end of the Boston loop.

Cheers, Rose

7. Re: Already planning road trip for 2008

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 08 September 2009, 17:18