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drive from Portsmouth NH?

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Columbus Ohio
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drive from Portsmouth NH?

Has anyone here every flown Skybus into Portsmouth and driven to Bar Harbor? According to Yahoo maps its 225 miles and just over 4 hours, wondering how accurate that is.

Maine
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1. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

If you take the fast route, that should be about right. The fast route has you go Interstate 95, rather than the coastal Route 1.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

By using the interstate route, Portland to Bar Harbor is approximately three hours, so four hours sounds about right presuming you don't get caught in traffic and toll-booth congestion coming out of New Hampshire and getting past the Portland/Brunswick area.

Columbus Ohio
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3. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

What would be the time difference between the coastal and interstate? I'm sure the coastal is more scenic? Probably some nice places to stop along the way?

Maine
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4. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

Depending on when you're driving, the coastal route could be totally jammed. Most of the coastal route is only one lane each direction, so it's very possible to get stuck for long periods of time. Also, although there are many places of interest to stop and routes off Route 1 that are interesting, there are very few spots from which you can see the water from Route 1.

If this is your first trip, it is probably best to take the fast route to Bar Harbor, and then explore the coast from there.

Columbus Ohio
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5. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

Yes it will be my first trip and thanks for the tips.

Maine
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6. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

The time difference between taking I-95 and the coastal route the whole way will be quite a large difference. However there are a couple of different places where you could pick up the coastal route in the middle. The two easiest and most popular routes would be to pick up RT1 in Brunswick/Bath off interstate 295 a bit north of Portland. The other option would be to take the interstate to Augusta and then take RT3 to Belfast and then the coast from there to Bar Harbor.

The first option would take you through the very popular tourist areas of Camden/Rockport while the second would only take you along a short drive of the coast. Perhaps the best (and new) attraction on this route is the new bridge and observation tower near Bucksport.

As for flying Skybus if you haven't already check out the recent post about Skybus.

Brunswick, Maine
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7. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

"time difference between the coastal and interstate? "

When I first moved to Maine I stopped at the welcome center and asked "how many more hours to Bangor?" The crusty old fellow behind the counter replied "three hours if you stay on 95, three days if you get off on Route 1."

Okay, it doesn't really take three days if you go Route 1, but there is a whole lot to tempt you to slow down and explore. Route 1 is not the way to go if your primary interest is making good time.

If you do want to go Route 1, plan an overnight stop along the way (Camden?) and slow down and make the most of the drive.

Southern Maine
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8. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

To add to what has already been well said: If you do route 1, getting on at Brunswick, you will run smack dab into the mess that is Wiscasset. On a weekend day, plan to spend an additional 30 - 60 minutes on a part of your trip that should only take 5 minutes. Weekdays are better. Wiscasset has several pedestrian walkways and traffic stops continuously to allow people to cross. It's pretty through there, but unless you don't care about travel time, it can be pretty frustrating.

Brunswick, Maine
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9. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

If you want to take Route 1 thru the Midcoast but don't need to see the town of Brunswick, wait and use the Topsham exit (the very next exit). If you take the exit at Brunswick Route 1 skirts the town, doesn't show you anything scenic and has the potential to back up with traffic, so it's really better to stay on the interstate one more exit to Topsham.

Conversely, if you are headed to Portland, leave Route 1 via the Route 24 connector to Topsham, don't stay on thru Brunswick. Southbound Route 1 traffic in the summer thru Brunswick constantly backs, often for at least a mile.

Once "high" summer hits (July 4-Labor Day), Wiscasset can be one big traffic jam, weekend or weekday. That being said, I still would send someone that way because Route 1 from about Bath to Camden (via the Route 90 shortcut) shouldn't be missed. Even with the backed up traffic Wiscasset, which calls itself "the Loveliest Village in Maine," is still worth the traffic hassle.

10. Re: drive from Portsmouth NH?

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