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Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Hampshire, UK
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Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Hello People - last year we (couple aged 40) completed a fabulous road trip around the National Parks etc in California & Utah - San Francisco, LA, Yosemite, Grand Cranyon, Bryce, Zion etc etc. We want to visit the US again, in September 2008 and thought that maybe New England / Niagara would be fun.

I know very little about New England except September is the best time to visit I believe.

I have looked at a Virgin flydrive itinerary, as a starting point and wondered if you would be kind enough to point out good or bad bits.

Any help is welcome. Last year I completely rewrote the route and booked all my own hotels etc (mainly after TA advice) and we had our best holiday ever!

Many thanks - Heather

Here is the Virgin suggestion:

This 14-night tour includes the best parts of New England and Canada.

Boston

2 nights' accommodation at Sheraton Newton. Boston is a historic city, boasting beautiful architecture, scenic views and plenty of independent shops and restaurants.

Boston - White Mountains (164 miles)

2 nights' accommodation at Lodge at Lincoln. Discover the splendours of New Hampshire's majestic White Mountains, either on foot or by train - Mount Washington is the state's highest peak.

White Mountains - Green Mountains (130 miles)

1 night's accommodation at the Commodores Inn. The Green Mountains are simply delightful. Visit the Shelburne Museum or trek along the trails through the National Forest.

Green Mountains - Lake Placid (135 miles)

1 night's accommodation at Lake Placid summit hotel. Arrive in Lake Placid and explore the 6-million acre natural sanctuary known as the Adirondack Park.

Lake Placid - Niagara Falls (375 miles)

2 nights' accommodation at Clarion President hotel. appeals to something in everyone. The sudden drop of the Niagara River, dividing the US and Canada, creates one of the most spectacular waterfalls on the continent.

Finger Lakes and Berkshire Hills (413 miles)

2 nights' accommodation at Sturbridge Host Hotel Start early for a journey along the edge of the New York Finger Lakes region, past the foothills of the Adirondacks, over the Hudson River, into Massachusetts' Berkshire Hills.

Mystic, Newport, Rhode Island (127 miles)

2 nights' accommodation at the Howard Johnson Middletown, on the Rhode Island coast. This is the world's yachting capital and you can explore the lively history of sea trading and smuggling.

Cape Cod (75 miles)

2 nights' accommodation at Heritage House. Cape Cod is renowned for its wild beaches, and the exclusive islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Winchester...
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1. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

The specific locations of accommodations, the ones that are familiar to me, seem less than great. Stay at the Sheraton in Newton to visit Boston? I don't think so. You really want to stay in town. See the White Mountains from Lincoln, NH? I know Lincoln extremely well (I spent my summers there growing up) but I would rather stay somewhere north of Franconia notch.

The basic itinerary sounds reasonable however. I honestly don't think Niagara Falls is worth seeing, but I realize that Europeans think of it as a major attraction.

Peterborough, NH
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2. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

No disrespect but to suggest Niagara Falls is "not worth seeing" and to belittle it as something Europeans see and North Americans know better than to waste their time seeing is totally and utterly false. Now...seeing the Falls from the NY side can be a bit disappointing and the town of Niagara in Canada is a total tourist trap but the Falls themselves are special.

Niagara Falls is an awesome splendor of nature and totally worth seeing...I just don't think it makes sense to cram it (and the Finger Lakes) into this itinerary. It would be best suited with a trip that starts in the Eastern provinces of Canada, works its way to Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, and on to Niagara Falls and then loop down to Lake Chataqua and the Finger Lakes region (with all its gorges).

We took a helicopter ride above the Falls...fantastic!

Instead, focus on New England and don't cut out Maine which is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Drive the coastal Route 1 all the way up to Bar Harbor, ME. Sounds like you enjoy the parks and outdoors...Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain are a wonderful way to spend a day. And tons of great photo ops...we took a glider ride on the island there and the views were spectacular!

How about adding the SW part of NH and climbing Mt Monadnock, the second most popular hiking mountain in the world!

One night's stay to explore the six million acre Adirondacks? You could spend one day exploring the town of Lake Placid and never even get out and see the rest of the park.

I guess it really depends how rushed you want to be running around from sight to sight. Unlike the West where the destination is the highlight, in New England the drive just getting to the destination is a highlight in itself.

Peterborough, NH
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3. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

I guess I shouldn't have said it is "totally and utterly false" to say Niagara Falls is not worth the trip but it is just one person's opinion...and one I have never heard anyone express before. It really took me by surprise!

Winchester...
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4. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

gee, how can you say you don't think it makes sense to cram it into this itinerary: Niagara Falls is an awesome display of nature and totally worth seeing! :-)

Peterborough, NH
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5. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Tom, there is no "edit post" feature on TA so I could go back and amend my post afterwards...something I do all the time on other forums once I have read and re-read my post. I know I came across as if I took it personally but I like Niagara Falls a lot. Hope you accept my apology.

Winchester...
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6. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

no apology necessary, really whatsoever, no offense taken. niagara falls just doesn't do much for me (nor for my 84-year-old mother - this is actually something we were talking about the other day).

Hampshire, UK
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7. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Thanks for your help and taking the time to reply. Food for thought!

Lincoln, NH
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8. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Heather, Hmm, where to start. How about -- buy your airline tickets. Come on over. Rent a car and go. Bag the bus tour.

As an earlier poster noted, the "Boston" hotel is way out in the suburbs, not close to anything worth visiting. Your hotels are generally fine, but they're group-travel hotels. Nothing unique.

You're both young enough to be adventurous and not relegated to riding around on a bus getting a plain vanilla tour (I am a former tour guide, by the way -- and ran tours to parts of the country you're considering.)

Okay, so there are some great inns and B&Bs in the region, and a lot of wonderful places to visit. You could do a few nights in Boston... do this first because you do not want a car here in town. Two or three nights in town -- museums, shops, history.

Then, rent that car and head north. Maine New Hampshire and Vermont all have something to offer. The Maine coast is spectacular, New Hampshire's White Mountains are wonderful as are the Green Mountains in Vermont. Find some inns and B&Bs -- it's hard to go wrong.

From Vermont you can wind your way south to Albany New York, and take the highway to Niagara Falls. It's a fast trip from Albany -- maybe 5 hours? Don't bother with the US side of the falls (this is your tour guide speaker) cross over to Canada. You'll want to see the falls in the day and the night, and take the Maid of the Mist boat tour to get the real feeling of the power of the falls. If you do this at the end of your trip -- then it's a straight shot back to Boston, drop the car and head to the departure lounge.

If this sounds attractive -- do some research on what each area of New England has to offer -- let us know what you like to do -- and there are plenty of folks here who will help you build a trip that will blow the bus tour away!

Lincoln, NH
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9. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

A bit more -- September is a great time to visit, summer is over, kids are back in school -- prices are a bit lower, and it's still warm. It is not foliage season, however, until late in the month -- and usually only in northern regions.

You have Cape Cod on your itinerary. It's a summery beach area. If you want beaches, great, but it may be too cool to swim, and I would always advise taking a bit more time in one area, relax, and get to know it, rather than rush around, go to many places, and not really see any of them. In a 14-night trip, I'd perhaps do 2-3 in Boston, 3 in mid-coast Maine (take a look a Camden) 3 in the White Mountains, 2-3 in Vermont, 2 in Niagara Falls, one last night in Boston.

NewEngland
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10. Re: Itinerary Advice please - on a standard Virgin Holiday Flydr

Actually I think September is a perfect time to visit the Cape, like you say, the kids are back in school and the water has had all summer to warm up. The weather in Sept is some of the best of the year. You might want to think about visiting southern New Hampshire as it is convenient to Vermont and Mass. with covered bridges, quaint villages, nice b and bs, great restaurants, theater, orchards, lots of gems but not as touristy.