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Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

Orange County
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Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

My medical-school-studying husband and I need a vacation. With his crazy schedule and my two jobs, we're looking forward to taking a really special trip together this fall.

Here are the facts:

Dates available to travel: October 16th to November 21st

Type of trip: Road Trip with 3ish weeks in New England

Starting point: southern California

Anticipated itinerary:

California to St. Louis Missouri (to visit friends)

to New England (for 3 weeks of leaves and lobster)

to NYC (to visit friends)

to Washington D.C. (for conference Nov 13-17)

back to California

Budget: $3500 (are we crazy?)

Our likes:

Food; interesting experiences like communal dining, supper clubs, etc; reading; hiking (moderate); seeing leaves; farmers markets; eating pie; antiques; cool adventures

Here are the things we need advice about:

1. We'd like to stay for 3-ish weeks in New England. I'm thinking a waterfront cottage (1-2 bedrooms because friends might come out for a weekend) in Portsmouth New Hampshire might be good. I'm open to other towns. I'm open to part of the trip in one spot and part in another. I'm having a tough time finding an affordable rental that doesn't have gross furnishings, however. We'd love a place that we can take day-trips from to do some hiking, see leaves, eat pie, and generally enjoy ourselves. We'd also like a place with a pretty good kitchen because we'll probably mostly eat in and we love to cook. Any vacation rental websites would be appreciated. I've looked at A TON but I'm not finding quite the right place yet.

2. Is 3 weeks too long in New England? Should we take more time driving across the US or try going up into Canada? Should we pick one spot for 3 weeks or 3 spots for 1 week each? Any suggestions? We've never been to New England. We don't need TONS to do (we're not really into night life) but we also don't want to be isolated.

3. What interesting activities should we plan? I'd like a little bit of adventure like a day on a lobster boat, cranberry bogging, or shadowing an artisan bread maker. I'd just like to do some (not too pricey) unique New Englandy things.

4. I've noticed a lot of rentals are closed during this season. Is that typical of beach towns? Should we look for a place more inland instead?

5. In my ideal romantic life, I have visions of us driving a really cool old International Scout (that has been reupholstered and is comfy, of course) on this trip. I could imagine sleeping in it a bit on our way across the country and think of all the stuff I could haul home in it. My husband thinks I'm crazy. Please discuss.

So, impart your wisdom. We need it!

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

I seriously doubt that you can do this trip on $100 per day. Certainly not if you intend to eat lobster and sleep in beds at night. It will take you 4 days just to drive from CA to NE, so that's 8 days of driving. Food and gas will be over $100 per day on those days. You'll be arriving in New England at the tail end of peak season. Lodging will be difficult to find. Budget lodging might be impossible.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but I think you need a more realistic budget.

Orange County
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2. Re: Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

I'm open to a different budget. $3500 was just our initial jumping off point. I'd love suggestions for place to stay and unique things to do. Then we can revise our budget.


Hollis, New...
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3. Re: Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

You really are going to miss most of the leaves if you set out driving from SoCal on October 16--particularly since you intend to stop on the way to visit friends. And yes, many, probably most, of the rental properties will be off the table. I'm not sure what you mean by "gross furnishings," but with your budget and the limited properties that are available and suitable at that time of year (many vacation rental units aren't heated, and you will definitely need heat), you can't afford to be choosy.

You might take a look at this place (although you have probably been looking already at the NH seacosat on HomeAway.com): homeaway.com/vacation-rental/…rates-bar

I'd also suggest looking in Essex County (Cape Ann), MA. It's close to Portsmouth and also to Boston, which you really should visit if you do come to New England. However, my guess is that rental rates would be relatively high there.

Good luck. If finding what you want in New England is too tough, you might consider the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia/North Carolina, where the foliage season is later and you might find more suitable rental properties. It's gorgeous country.

Edited: 16 August 2010, 14:03
N Dartmouth MA
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4. Re: Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

I would post this in the Massachusetts forum. There are a lot of really helpful people on that forum who can give you a ton of great ideas.

5. Re: Autumn 2010 New England Trip-of-a-Lifetime: Advice Needed

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