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Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Canberra, Australia
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Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Hi

We are a couple in our 50s from Australia travelling to New England for a week in early October after spending a week in New York and a couple of nights in Boston. We will probably get a bus from Boston to Portland stay a couple of nights then hire a car and travel to the White Mountains area for a couple of nights staying in either Lincoln or Jackson. Where would you suggest we spend a couple of other nights on our way back to Boston. We don't want to spend too much time driving.

Thanks for any suggestions

Hollis, New...
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1. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

First, wherever you decide you want to stay, you should secure your lodgings as soon as possible. That's possibly the busiest time of the year in northern New England.

I assume you realize that both Lincoln and Jackson are within three hours of Boston. So there's no need to stop elsewhere overnight purely from a time standpoint. But if you're just interested in exploring some more, I recommend the Connecticut River Valley (you could cross over into Vermont also) and the Monadnock Region (in the state's southwest corner).

I also recommend Portsmouth and its surroundings. But logically it seems better to do that on your way northeast, which leads me to the question: Why do you want to take a bus to Portland, and there to rent a car that you're going to return to Boston? You will most likely incur a fairly steep surcharge for the one-way rental, and while the bus works fine (I assume) as a way to get to Portland, it's not an experience you need to seek out. I suggest you seriously consider renting your car in Boston after you've finished touring there. That would allow you to explore some of the many nice places on the way to Portland, and I believe it would be cheaper.

Canberra, Australia
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2. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Thanks so much for your response. The reason why we thought about the bus to Portland was because we are a bit apprehensive of driving (wrong side of road and as you have mentioned very busy at this time of the year). We didn't want the stress of driving out of Boston we thought it might be better to do some day trips from Portland. Would you still recommend driving from Boston and where would you suggest is the best, least stressful place to hire the car.

Your other suggestions are brilliant and helpful

thanks again

Antrim, New...
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3. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

You might consider taking the bus to Manchester or Concord, NH and renting the car there. From there you will be out of the denser Boston traffic, and an easier drive to Portland. By choosing one of those cities, you will be able to easily drive through on the way back to Boston, drop your car at the same rental location, and take the bus into Boston. Check out Enterprise for convenient and well priced rentals. They have offices in many small towns in NH, and will pick you up at the bus station. Hertz or Avis may also have rentals in Manchester and Concord. I don't know how accommodating they are.

Canberra, Australia
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4. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Thank you

That sounds like a good suggestion. Would it be better to drive to Vermont first then to New Hampshire and Maine? What town would you suggest to stay in Vermont which is an easy drive to Jackson/Lincoln?

Thanks again

NH
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5. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

I agree with Nextstop about the car rental. I drive on the "right" side of the road and I still don't drive in Boston!

I would plan my route in reverse. Rent a car in Manchester and head (sort of west) toward Keene NH and north into VT first.(Quechee, Woodstock and Stowe VT?) There is no way to predict peak color but it is likely that the first 2 weeks in October are better foliage weeks (up north) than the last two weeks.

After VT, drive northern NH, into Maine and down to Portland.

On your way back to Manchester NH to drop off the car you can take in the Portsmouth NH area and not really go out of your way to do so. As a distance reference Portland ME to Manchester NH is about 75 minutes all highway driving.

Take the bus from Manchester to Boston and spend your last few days without a car (not needed there) seeing the sights on your "to do list" in the city.

...Just another suggested route.

Just reread your post. If you cut VT altogether if you rent your car and go to the White Mountains in NH then to Maine, you will cut your driving in half.

Edited: 30 April 2014, 15:41
Hollis, New...
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6. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Although I understand the feeling, I think people overestimate the difficulty of driving from Logan airport to destinations outside the city. It doesn't involve the type of city driving that I think seems intimidating. Planning so that your getaway is not at a traffic-heavy time helps, too.

In my opinion, taking an inter-city bus for the purpose of renting a car adds more hassle and expense than it's worth. However, if you really need to avoid driving from the airport, Manchester is a decent choice.

Georgia
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7. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

I would definitely try to arrange it in a clockwise order Boston>VT>NH>ME>Portland>Boston. That should keep you closer to peak color as it progresses from the NW to the SE.

As for driving on the right, let me give you the argument for renting the car in Boston. You'll pick it up at Logan Airport (I think all/most car rentals are now in the new car rental facility, but at least confirm that). We took a trip to Scotland a few years back. Picked up the car at the airport and drove immediately to Stirling. The first mile or 2 before the highway was "white knuckles" driving (missed a turn, plus rotaries/roundabouts; but no accidents). Once we drove about 20 miles on the highway, no problems, other than not knowing exactly where we were going, plus another rotary or two. We were driving thru downtown Stirling a half hour after getting on the road, without much ill-effect.

According to directions on googlemaps, you'll drive less than 1/4 mile to the highway. Keep to the left at a fork in the road and take a right on to the highway RT 90. You'll go thru the tunnel, follow signs to Rt 93N for a few miles and then you're free and clear all the way to NH or VT. Once you are in NH/VT, even off the highway there's not too much traffic. You'll quickly acclimate to driving on the right. My advice would be to just give it some thought before driving. Everything is exactly opposite when driving on the right vs. left.

FWIW,....

Edited: 30 April 2014, 18:08
Georgia
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8. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

I was typing while WP made one of his usual excellent comments.

One thing to consider if renting in Manchester or Portland (I don't know for sure so check it out). Where is the rental facilities here? Perhaps you'll pick up the car and immediately be driving on city streets?

Kevin

NH
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9. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Rental pick up at both Manchester and PWM is a breeze! As suggested, Enterprise car rental will even do a pick up at a location like the bus stop.

We use both BOS and MHT regularly. Until recently we ALWAYS drove in and out of BOS for our flights. On one of our last trips we used the Concord Trailways bus to go to Logan Airport. It was an excellent decision. So much easier than having to deal with some of the craziness on the roads. (And in our case saved $$$ for parking!)

It really isn't that bad to get in and out of BOS but I have spent enough time around and in the city that I know that if I can find an easier "option" I'll take it! Using the bus falls in that category.

Canberra, Australia
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10. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 7 nights in New England

Thank you all so much for your replies. You have been incredibly helpful. We drove in Croatia a couple of years ago and it was very nerve racking for a while but at least we'll be able to read the road signs in the US hopefully :) We might be brave and drive straight from Boston or take the bus to Concord as one of you has suggested. We drive in Sydney all the time so can't be much worse than that :) even if it is on the other side of the road!

One more question we might think about flying from Washington to somewhere in Vermont or New Hampshire depending on how expensive it is. Would that be a good option or would we miss out on great areas on our way up to Northern Vermont?

thanks again for all your suggestions.