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1st family trip to US

Brighton, United...
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1st family trip to US

Hi, I'm planning a holiday to the North East coast in April for my wife and I and our 3 year old son for 2-3 weeks. It’s our first BIG holiday abroad and to be honest I'm not sure where to start.

My wife has ME so we're more into sightseeing and relaxing than hiking or outdoor sports. We would like to travel around for half of the break and find a good base for 7-10 days in the middle. I want make sure I don't fill every day so that we have some time to chill out if needed.

Current thoughts are to fly into Boston and spend a few days there. Then a drive up the coast into Maine stopping for a night or 2. We’d really like to go whale watching but looks like we'll be out of season for that? We're thinking that the main stay for the break would be White Mountain possibly staying at Christmas Farm Inn.

2nd half of the trip could include a drive to Niagara Falls, with a stop on the way, possibly onto Washington and then finish in New York for 2-3 nights before flying home.

So I would really appreciate some advice as this is the first time I've done anything like this. My budget is £3-4k including flights and hire car (approx. £1600 combined)

Firstly does this look like it makes sense or am I completely mad? Are there other locations I should consider? Are there attractions/activities along the way to keep my 3 year old entertained? Are there things to do around White Mountain that aren't too energetic?

Thank you all in advance :)

Central Maine
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for Maine
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1. Re: 1st family trip to US

At a quick glance, your itinerary is "do-able", although there are some fairly long driving segments involved.... and you probably won't have time for a "7-10 day break in the middle" of your travels.

For example, Jackson NH to Niagara Falls is about nine hours of just driving time, not counting time for gas stops, food stops, washroom breaks etc.... I'd be tempted to divide that segment into two days, with a stop somewhere along the way -- would give you two fairly easy driving days so you arrive at Niagara more relaxed and able to enjoy the Falls.

Niagara to Washington DC is about seven hours driving time -- I'd also be tempted to divide this one up into two segments, with my arrival in Washington, DC prior to 3:00PM on the second day....avoiding the madness of end-of-the-business-day rush-hour traffic, which can become absolutely crazy around DC, especially if you're not really familiar with the highway system in the area.

Washington back up to New York is about four hours -- I'd be tempted to have a leisurely breakfast in D.C., head out mid-morning (after the morning rush hour is over) and arrive in New York mid-afternoon, before the evening rush hour there...

Trying to do all this, your overall itinerary might look like: 2 nights in Boston, 2 nights in Maine (Portland might make a good spot for those), 3 nights in Jackson, NH, 3 nights for Niagara (2 days getting there plus a day to see the sights), 4 nights Washington, DC (2 nights getting there plus two days of touring after you arrive), half-a-day to New York....

Like I said, it "can" be done, but might not be the kind of holiday you were looking for...

If all that driving is more than you were looking for and you really want some "down time" in the middle of your trip, consider: 2 nights Boston; one night each Portland and Camden, Maine, and a week in Jackson, NH for White Mountains touring and relazing before heading back to Boston.... much more restful with far less driving....

Westerville, Ohio
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2. Re: 1st family trip to US

I agree with MOTG. You will have much more relaxing time with less driving. You will have enough time should you decide to "see it all" but I would find that much time in a car with a three yr old could be tough.

Jackson has a number of great places to stay at and The Christmas Farm Inn is one of them.

Brighton, United...
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3. Re: 1st family trip to US

thank you both for your advice. I've reviewed the plan and come up with the following that seems to be better spread in terms of travel.

3 nights Boston

1 night Portland

4 nights Jackson

1 night Saratoga Springs

2 nights Niagara

1 night Lewisburg

2 nights Washington

3 nights NY

I have also found out that Christmas Farm Inn don't do self catering acommodation. Can you suggest any good self catering acommodation in Jackson or surrounding areas and good B&Bs in Portland?

Westerville, Ohio
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4. Re: 1st family trip to US

Take a look at the condo's at the Wentworth

www.thewentworth.com/two-bedroom-condominiums

Canada
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5. Re: 1st family trip to US

This is not a plan I would be following with a three year old. Far too much time just sitting in a car for all of you. It's not the best time of the year for places like Maine either and there could still be snow or at least some very cool weather even in Niagara.

I think the drive from Niagara to Washington will be longer than 7 hours, it will take that long to get to New York.

I don't see much for the three year old in all this. I suggest that you rethink the whole trip and also take a look at your budget for that length of time. You might be better off heading for further south in the U.S.

Brighton, United...
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6. Re: 1st family trip to US

Thanks for your suggestion Senior65.

My revised plan includes breaking up the drive from Niagara to Washington with an overnight stop in Lewisburg (or somewhere in that area). I accept that the journey to Niagara adds miles to the holiday but I want to make the most of the trip.

Clearly I'm not an expert in the area but have found things like Childrens museums, lighthouse visits and water trips in Boston, Portland and Saratoga Springs for my son. I'm still looking for other family activiites for the 2nd half of the trip so if you any suggestions that would be great.

What areas and activities did you have in mind further south in the U.S?

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7. Re: 1st family trip to US

Haven't really given it a lot of thought but a stop at Nubble Light on the way to portland from boston would be a nice way to break up the trip.

As far as the ride from boston to portland is concerned, after leaving boston, trry and follow route 1. You can take I95 to get out of the city but turn off and head east to route 1/1A and follow the coast up to portland. once you hit new hampshire, a seafood lunch at Newicks(off Rte 16) or Bob's clam hut would be tasty. when you're done, there are a lot of shopping outlets on you're way through Kittery and a mere half hour or so later your in york looking at nubble light...then keep following route 1 all the way to portland.

Most of the touristy stuff will be closed but if you throw in a couple of short walks on the beach along the way, Maybe throw a note in a bottle professing your undying love for your wife and I'm guessing you're going to be everyones hero that day.

Great time of year to find things which have washed up.

As an experienced dad, the trick to travelling with little ones is to keep moving

Best of luck. Go slow and enjoy every breath.

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8. Re: 1st family trip to US

Guess my time to edit the above ran out but.....Bob's Clam hut in on Rte 1 in Kittery. You may want to get a T-shirt at Bob's as they are considered very cool.

Also be sure to try some "Moxie" while you around. It's a non alcoholic soda pretty much peculiar to this area. It seems as though you really like it or you really don't.

Also the sooner you get onto Rte 1/1A after leaving boston the better. You can head up the coast and stop in places like Gloucester(remember the movie "The Perfect Storm"?) or Newburyport or Salisbury beach.

York Harbor is really picturesque

Edited: 22 January 2013, 22:04
Brighton, United...
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9. Re: 1st family trip to US

thanks for your suggestions jclough. I'll definitely look into following that route and making the stops you've mentioned.

I agree with the travelling tip. I'm hoping for lots of short stops to keep his interest before moving on somewhere else :)

10. Re: 1st family trip to US

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