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Can I ask for your help again please

Somerset
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Can I ask for your help again please

Hi All

Can I first of all thank you for the help and guidance you have provided so far – we are very grateful and it has already proved to be of immense help. Since my last flurry of posts Lyn and I have been revising our plans in the light of your suggestions.

Ok – we now have our second itinerary and again we would be very pleased to receive any observations that you have. We also still have many unanswered questions that we would like to ask:-

Fly into Boston, Mass – 30th September 2009

Spend 3 nights in all in Boston

We have not sorted out any accommodation yet – suggestions would be very welcome – we are trying to stick to a budget of about £100 per night ($140) – in the cities we like to stay sort of downtown – within walking distance to most of the major attractions – safe areas – clean and tidy. In the country we like Condos, log cabins, basic but clean – waterfront is a big bonus but just great views are what we want.

From Boston we intend to drive in one day all the way to Bar Harbour in Maine – I know it’s a long drive and we wont be able to stop and look around this wonderful coastal area but it one of the compromises we have had to make.

We intend to spend 3 nights in Bar Harbour – again any accommodation suggestions would be much appreciated.

From Bar Harbour, ME we intend to drive to Moosehead Lake, ME to take in the Lakes and Leaves Drive, take a trip on the steamer and maybe go on a Moose Safari. Again any accommodation suggestions would be much appreciated – we plan to stay 3 nights at Moosehead Lake.

From Moosehead Lake we plan to drive to the White Mountain area of New Hampshire. Now as yet we haven’t sorted out a location to stay but I can tell you where we intend to visit – its really a big square – North Woodstock, Franconia Notch, Franconia, Bethlehem, Gorham, Mount Washington, Jackson, North Conway, Lincoln – taking in of course along the way the Kancamagus Highway. Again, recommendations of which town to stay in and accommodation as well would be so useful – we intend staying in this area for 3 nights.

We than intend driving from New Hampshire to the Green Mountain National Forest of Central Vermont. Again, we haven’t sorted out a location to stay but I can tell you where we intend to visit – and yes again its really a big square – Rutland, Bethel, Quechee, Woodstock, Bridgewate rand Plymouth. Again, recommendations of which town to stay in and accommodation as well would be so helpful – we intend staying in this area for 2 nights.

From Central Vermont we intend to drive to the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts via Rutland – Ludlow – Weston – Peru – Manchester Village – ArlingtonBennington.

Once again, we haven’t sorted out a location to stay but I can tell you where we intend to visit – another big square – Williamstown, North Adams, Shelburne Falls, Deerfield, Northampton, Springfield, Monterey, Sheffield, Great Barrington, Lenox, and Williamstown – of course taking in the Mohawk Trail along the way. Recommendations of which town to stay in and accommodation as well would be very much appreciated – we intend staying in this area for 3 nights.

This is where it is still a bit sketchy (well ok a bit more sketchy). From Massachusetts we think we will drive to Philadelphia – have an overnight stop – really just to break the long journey.

From Philadelphia we will then drive to the Skyline Drive in Virginia – we are looking to stay some where on the Skyline Drive itself (probably about half way along) we really have no idea about accommodation here – any nice romantic getaway suggestions would be very welcome – we intend spending 2 nights on the Skyline Drive.

From the Skyline Drive we drive to Washington DC for 3 nights. Again no accommodation sorted out as yet.

I appreciate we are asking for a lot of information and we don’t expect for you to provide all the answers for us – any help would be most appreciated.

Oh sorry just a couple more questions – we would like to try and take in as many fairs, concerts, festivals as possible – can anyone point us in the right direction

Does any one have any suggestions for the best place to hire a car we are obviously looking to pick it up in Boston and drop it off in Washington – preferably a medium size car with an open top.

Thank you so much

Speak soon

Take care

Ray

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Lincoln, NH
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1. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Two thoughts, Ray,

First, tell more about what you'd like to do most in the White Mountains -- if you enjoy walks in the woods -- maountains, more outdoorsy stuff -- I'd suggest Lincoln as a base -- then grab a copy of the Appalachian Mountain Clubs book on best day hikes in the White Mountains. Alternately, if you want to mix in shopping and restaurants, North Conway might be better. Keep in mind that this is the start of fall foliage season and things will start to get busy, especially on weekends.

Second, dropping a car off in other than the original pick-up location can add lots and lots of expense to your rental. There is excellent train service from Boston to Washington, with stops in New York and Philadelphia along the way if you like. You may want to consider leaving the car in Boston, then taking a train. Traffic in this corridor can be very heavy, and the train, especially the high-speed Acela service is a really nice alternative. I'll bet too that with gasoline, tolls, parking and that hefty drop charge for a one-way rental, you'd save money on the train.

Lmm

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Somerset
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2. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Thank you Lmm - the car option is worth thinking about - the only trouble is the reason for flying out of Washington was that my wife wanted to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains - otherwise I think your idea would have been a good solution.

As far as what we would be looking to do - right - I love the outdoors - I love magnificent scenery - the stuff where you look at it and say wow will you just look at that (with your mouth slightly open - lol) - I could do that all day - I love photography - New England in the Fall - could you want for anything more!! now Lyn on the other hand loves the outdoors - but she has a limit where a beautiful tree is just another beautiful tree and 3 weeks of leaf peeping might send her over the edge. So she would like to mix it up a bit with gentle strolls around some of the New England towns - looking at galleries - museums - trying to catch the odd fesival.

We like to walk but four of five miles per day is enough and not too steep. That is the sort of thing

Thanks Lmm

Take care

Ray

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3. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Welcome back Ray. Since I have home base in the White Mtns of NH I'll address that part of your plan and give you a few thoughts to consider. Three days is a good minimum for your time there. Your likely schedules each day will have you doing drives with short hikes or activities in the mountains. The routes that you will take will most assuredly be loops through the notches. The primary roads will cover Pinkham, Crawford and Franconia Notches plus the Kangamagus highway. Lincoln is the town at the west end of the Kanc and the south end of Franconia. North Conway is central to the east end of the Kanc and the Mt Washington Valley with access to Pinkham and Crawford Notches. IMO North Conway has more to offer and will be more central to your day trips. If you do end up using NC as a base, then I would encourage you to include the Bear Mtn Road in one of your drives. It's a scenic route that connects the town of Bartlett with the Kanc. It would make a fun addition to any of the days and will bring you back to a place that is only a few minutes from NC at either end.

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Somerset
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4. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Hi RedRox - I was hoping that you would see my post. Your advice has always been invaluable - it contributed enormously last year when we visited the west.

North Conway it is then - I'll start looking for accommodation.

Yes most of the vacation will be spent exactly as you described - a drive followed by a short (ish) hike - we normally like to feel that we've had a good walk by the end of the day - normally we are so tired that from our day time activity that the evening is spent on a terrace watching the sun go down with a nice glass of wine - ah heaven.

Thanks again RedRox

Take Care

Ray

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North Conway
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Conway, NH
Portsmouth, NH
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5. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

As far as the skyline drive, there is only camping along the drive, no hotels. The drive is beautiful, and not terribly long, so unless you are prepared to camp you will have to stay at the end or beginning of the drive. Good luck!

Baltimore, Maryland
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6. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Ray

don't even know where to start but I am already exhausted. After all the Northeastern stuff, Skyline is really overkill and since you are traveling south, it will be before any leaves have changed. If you insist on coming this far south, then I would suggest a trip to Harper's Ferry or Williamsburg. Both lots of history and very pretty. You can bike along the canal or rent kayaks depending on weather in Harpers Ferry.

You can't hit all the places you mention except to drive thru town. Most fairs and festivals are over by labor day (1st Monday in Sept). I would suggest finding local chamber of commerce websites or the official state websites to check out any concerts or shows. Also, the online version of most newspapers will include local entertainment. Usually, the only way to get a 1 way drive car is to rent from an airport location. You will not find any online discounts (at least I did not the last time I tried).

As much as I love NC, if you are going to Vt after NH, then you may want to consider Lincoln (maybe a condo at Loon Mtn) as you will wake up with a shorter drive since you are already on the West side of the state.

Hope this helps.

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Lincoln
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7. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Wow is my back end sore from all this driving. To do this in 3 weeks is going to mean spending much more time in the car than you probably think. From boston to Bar Harbor and then to NC via NH, VT, MA, PA is hours and hours in the car. If this is going to be your only trip to the US then go for it, but if you are planning on a return in a few years stay in one part of the country. Either decide to go south to NC, VA and PA then back to Boston. Or in the NE and still take in PA. I've traveled from central NH to various places in NC and you can plan on 17 hours or so.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the US because all of the places you've chosen are great.

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Somerset
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8. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Hi Beckjet82 - I think the best we are going to do with regard to accommodation on the Skyline Drive is:-

Skyland Lodge and Big Meadows Lodge

My days of camping are long behind me - lol

I know neslaw1 it is a lot of travelling but Lyn is determined to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains - mind you Harper's Ferry looks great - I wonder if we will find Tom Brown's body?

Thanks for the advice re Lincoln and Loon Mountain - I will definately use this information especially as this has come from you. Thanks also for all of the other info re concerts etc - very very helpful.

Sunshine2go - you're right it is a lot of driving - I'm never sure when we will ever return to a location - there is so much of the world to see - i must say that we don't mind driving that much - last year we drove 2,500 miles around the SW USA - I know the roads are different in the west but as long as we can get out from time to time have a short hike or mooch around a nice little town we will be more than happy - I would pay the money for the scenery alone - Lyn needs slightly more.

Thanks everyone - much appreciated

Take care

Ray

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Lincoln
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White Mountains, NH
Loon Mountain Resort
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Baltimore, Maryland
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9. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Suggestion

You seem to be going from Philly to Skyline drive (which starts in Front Royal, Va). You can go to Harpers Ferry without going out of your way. It is a 4 hour drive from Philly to Front Royal and Harper's Ferry is at the 3 hour mark. You can easily spend a few hours there and still be able to get a great feel for the town and history. Since Skyline is a daytime trip, I don't know how much time you will have to explore if you go straight there. Another really nice little town to visit is Frederick, MD. Lots of great restaurants in the downtown area. Again, not out of your way. Other places to stop are Gettysburg or Antietam Battlefields. Remember Skyline is a 100 mile drive that will take 6-8 hours if you stop alot or 3 hours non-stop @ 35 mph. Here is a website for that area. www.virginia.org/site/features.asp…

Although, I am not a TA "expert" on the midatlantic, it is my back yard, so I will be happy to give you any suggestions for travel through this area.

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Somerset
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10. Re: Can I ask for your help again please

Thanks again neslaw - more great suggestions - we intend to spend two nights at the Skyline Drive and have no idea what to do at the moment (except maybe the Luray Caverns)so your suggestions will be very useful for our 1st day on the way to Skyline Drive.

Thanks again - its all coming together very nicely with the kind help of TAs.

Another big itinerary revision weekend coming up - I sometime think I enjoy the planning more than i do the holiday - no maybe that's a slight exaggeration - but it is fun

Take care

Ray