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Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

New York City
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Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

We will be driving from Boston to Bar Harbor next Sunday morning. I've seen threads here advising to take 95 all the way to Bangor, but on the map it looks like taking 295 in the Portland area until it rejoins 95 would be shorter. Is there a reason to avoid 295, such as traffic or construction? We aren't planning to stop in Portland, but the Delorme globe in Yarmouth just off of 295 looks cool. If 295 is slower, how much driving time will it add to the trip?

Second, we don't have the time to drive 1 all the way along the coast, but I've seen the suggestion to take 17 from Augusta down to 1 in order to see Mount Battie and the Penobscot Bridge and Observatory. How much driving time would this route add to the trip? Thanks!

Wolcott, Connecticut
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1. Re: Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

My understanding was that there was night work going on on Rt 295 around Portland. Others may have more details. Delorme Globe is very neat as is the attached gift shop. When we go north to Bar Harbor we take Rt 3 from Augusta to Rt 1 just to see the Penobscot Bridge as well as Fort Knox. If you wanted to see Mount Battie also I'd be inclined to just pick up Rt 1 in Brunswick. A little past Waldoboro you can pick up Rt 90 which cuts a lot of time off the trip up to Camden.

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2. Re: Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

1. There is construction involving the Tukey's Bridge area; down to two lanes. Whether Sunday morning would be a problem, I don't know. I rather suspect that it <is> a problem during weekday rush hours. The construction area isn't very large and as far as I know, there are not stoppages (barring accidents, of course). Unless you are in some sort of road rally, I wouldn't worry about additional time.

2. You already are aware, having read other related threads, that Boston to BH takes roughly 5.5 hours via the interstate. Route 17 from Augusta to Camden/Mt. Battie will take about an hour. Camden to Bar Harbor will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the congestion in Camden and Rockland. Depending on how long you intend to spend driving up Mt. Battie and stopping at Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory, my guess is that the side trip will add two hours or a bit more to your total trip time.

3. The Google Maps trip planning function may help you with time estimates but be aware that those estimates tend to be a bit optimistic.

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3. Re: Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

During the early stages of the work on I-295 in greater Portland, there were some fairly significant taffic tie-ups. But changes in traffic patterns and adjustments to working hours, along with "locals" finding alternate routes and reducing the amount of traffic all have helped ease things considerably now. On a Sunday morning, don't think I-295 instead of I-95 will make a significant difference in terms of time or delays. As someone who has the I-95 or I-295 option every time we head to Portland, our rule of thumb is that I-295 between Augusta is generally a few miles shorter, up to ten minutes quicker depending on where we're going in Portland, and may or may not have more congestion depending on the season and time of day. On a Sunday morning in August, I wouldn't worry about it.....take whichever route you prefer.

As you've already noted, taking Rt 1 north of Brunswick instead of taking I-295 to Augusta will add time to your trip -- possibly considerable time.... That portion of Rt 1 is two-lanes each way from Brunswick to Bath, but then becomes (for the most part) a one-lane-each-way highway.....that means that slow-downs are common whenever Rt 1 passes through the downtown section of the numerous small towns along its route....and delays of up to half an hour can occur around Wiscasset. I''d stay on I-295 (or I-95 if you choose that option) to Augusta, then decide from there....

Rt 17 from Augusta to Rt 90 to Rt 1 will give you a chance to see Camden Harbor and Mt Battie as well as the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory. Rt 3 from Augusta to Rt 1 in Belfast will let you include the Observatory but exclude Mt Battie. And I-95 north to Bangor for I-395 to Brewer and US Rt 1A to Ellsworth will exclude both but give you the least traffic congestion and easiest driving because has the most multi-lane highway mileage.

Under ideal conditions, Rt 3 should be maybe ten minutes quicker than the I-95 to Bangor option, and maybe twenty minutes quicker than the Rt 17 to Rt 90 option.... but those are just driving times and don't account for time spent at stops along the way or minor delays getting through downtown Camden if you go that way....

Guess only you can decide whether the added travel time is worth it....

4. Re: Boston to Bar Harbor - 2 questions

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