Itinerary North-East USA (& Canada)
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Jul 23, 2013 6:08 AM Last Post By: bzookaj
Jul 22, 2013 4:04 AM
Itinerary North-East USA (& Canada)Hello,
We (a Norwegian couple, 50+) have been doing two fantastic road trips (about 1 month each) earlier years, and would like to do another tour July/August 2014. The two earlier sucessful tours have been West/South-West (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California through Death Valley to SF and down to San Diego) and South/South-East (Texas, Arkansas, Memphis, Mississippi down to New Orleans, and coast east to Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington). This time we would like to do the North-East. We like nice towns and cities with athmosphere, to watch people and experience daily life, good food (especially seafood) and wine, but we also enjoy nice nature and a beach for a short time. We're not so found of museums. I'm in an early stage of planning, and would like comments and suggestion to the following prelimenary itinerary (we have been in New York City before, therefore we will only have a couple of nights in NY this time):
Day 1. Arrival Newark, drive to Atlantic City, NJ
Day 2. Drive to Philadelphia, PA, passing Wilmington, DE
Day 3. Drive to Baltimore, MD
Day 4. Drive to Washington DC, passing Annapolis, MD
Day 5. Washington DC
Day 6. Drive to Richmond, VA, passing Fredericksburg, VA
Day 7. Drive to Stanton, VA (or Elkins, WV, passing Charlottesville, VA
Day 8. Drive to Morgantown, WV
Day 9. Drive to Pittsburgh, PA
Day 10. Amish country, OH, to Cleveland, OH
Day 11. Drive to Buffalo, NY / Niagara Falls, NY, to Canadian side
Day 12. Drive to Toronto, Ontario
Day 13. Toronoto, Ontario
Day 14. Drive to Ottawa, Ontario
Day 15. Drive to Montreal, Quebec
Day 16. Montreal, Quebec
Day 17. Drive to Portland, ME, passing Burlington, VT and Montpelier, VT
Day 18. Drive to Porthsmouth, NH
Day 19. Drive to Boston, MA
Day 20. Boston, MA
Day 21. Drive to Provincetown, MA
Day 22. Cape Cod, MA
Day 23. Drive to Newport, RI
Day 24. Newport, RI
Day 25. Drive to Mystic, CT (or Essex, CT)
Day 26. Drive to New York City
Day 27. New York City
Day 28. New York City, drive to Newark, departure
Any comments, suggestions?
Jul 22, 2013 4:23 AM
1Wow, your trip is very rushed. You are visiting some great cities with many different neighbourhoods and attractions but you are spending no more than one full day. In some places (Philadelphia, Ottawa) you don't even spend a day. For me, at least, I would prefer more time to explore more than just the major tourist highlights. But if that's your travel style, so be it.
A couple of points: Atlantic City isn't that nice. There are better New Jersey beach towns, if that's what you are looking for. Wilmington is not on the way to Philadelphia from New Jersey. Amish country in Pennsylvania is closer to Philadelphia and, thus, a significant detour if driving Pittsburgh to Cleveland.
Jul 22, 2013 4:53 AM
Jul 22, 2013 4:56 AM
Jul 22, 2013 6:50 AM
4Yes your trip is quite rushed.
It seems to too-frequently involve driving to and seeing a town in a single day then leaving the next day driving to and touring another town in a single day.
#1 is partially correct that Atlantic City “isn’t that nice.” It’s got a great beach and some casinos and shows, amusement parks, waterslides, some great fishing and crabbing opportunities etc., so it is definitely a fun site to visit. But I’d spend at least 2 days there and wouldn’t expect much in terms of "classiness" outside the major attractions.
I frequently vacation in a similar (nearby) beach town that attracts a lot of beer drinking college and high school students. I enjoy it, but if you want class, pick a beach town that has no amusement park.
Philadelphia is worth a long day. Take the guided mini-tour of Penn’s landing, pick up the paper that will guide you on a tour of the historic section. See the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Eat scrapple and Eggs for breakfast. Have a cheesesteak for lunch. If you hurry, you can do that in a day from Atlantic City and continue on to a hotel near Baltimore.
Baltimore a great day trip. Seeing the Aquarium taking the water taxi to Fort McHenry touring Fort McHenry and eating some seafood or Italian food are the basics. There is lots more to do there but, in keeping with your hurried itinerary you should be satisfied with that.
Washington DC is worth 2 full days or close to it. Finding an affordable place to stay can be a challenge but one you get your lodging worked out it is a discount location. Take the guided mini tour of the capitol building, see a few museums (air and space, natural history, American history and more art museums than I can count) and see a few monuments.
Fredricksburg and Richmond can both be skipped, unless you want to tour the nearby battlefields.
Staunton VA is a charming little town, but mostly it is used as hotel spot to spend several days touring the nearby mountains and valleys and waterfalls and caves and other geologic features. The same can be done from laces further north.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Jul 22, 2013 7:16 AM
5Days 21 and 23 will be annoying drives if they cover a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It takes slightly less than forever to get on and off Cape Cod during summer weekends.
Provincetown offers whale watching cruises and some nice art/craft galleries, but also a lot of touristy junk. It is also a popular get-away for gay and lesbian visitors who live in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada. This can make for some fascinating cultural experiences if you don't normally attend "gay pride" or similar events in your home country. (Or it means that you should travel to other parts of Cape Cod if you prefer to avoid "LGBT" culture.)
Jul 22, 2013 8:11 AM
6There's a whole lot of Maine to Massachusetts coastline that you haven't included any time for.
The Cape Cod is a joke. It takes 3 hours at least to reach Provincetown from Boston and there is a lot to see along the way, the essentials that make Cape Cod what it is.
Much too rushed. You really have planned 2 month-long trips, or maybe 3.
Jul 22, 2013 12:42 PM
7Thank you all so far. This is very useful, and I've already made some changes - among others, put in extra time in some cities (for instance Baltimore and Ottawa). We'll skip Amish country this time (by the way, I now see that there are at least 3 different "Amish countries" - Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana). We also skip Provincetown. I didn't think of the traffic... What about Sandwhich or Chatham on Cape Cod - worth stopping for beach and an overnight? And what would you suggest as an alternative of Atlantic City? Any other suggestions between Portland, MA and Mystic, CT?
Jul 22, 2013 12:55 PM
Jul 22, 2013 1:07 PM
9If you are really keen on Amish/Mennonites there are communities about 1 hr to the west of Toronto; Google St. Jacob's. The other major location is Lancaster County about 1 hr to the west of Philadelphia.
Though, your current schedule doesn't really leave any time for such detours.
What exactly do you want out of a trip to the Jersey Shore? If it's just a beach there might be other places that are more convenient, e.g. Maine or Massachusetts. And, true, you'll have to do some research to assess which Jersey communities have recovered from Sandy.
Jul 22, 2013 1:14 PM
10Thank you for putting my attention to Sandy. We'll skip NJ shore, and add time for New England shore. We can add at least 5-6 days, and skip Ohio. That will give us some more time in each place. We also thought of flying from Washington or Richmond to Buffalo (or Toronto), but that omits Staunton/Morgantown and the hills there. Looks nice, but I know there will be a few hours driving each day that part of the tour.
Jul 22, 2013 1:45 PM
11The main issue I see with your itinerary:
The more you drive around, the less you'll get to "watch people and experience daily life."
I highly suggest scaling the trip down (I've noticed you've started to already).
Morgantown is NOT worth visiting. Staunton (though it's pronounced "Stan-ton") is worth passing through, but not on a trip already this rushed, and not worth a detour at the expense of Charlottesville.
I would look toward something more like this:
Day 1 - Arrive Newark, drive to Philly
Day 2 - Philly
Day 3 - Day trip to Lancaster *
Day 4 - Drive to DC, via Baltimore
Day 5 - DC
Day 6 - DC
Day 7 - Drive to Charlottesville **
Day 8 - Time in Charlottesville, then up Skyline Drive, night in Luray
Day 9 - Luray, Harpers Ferry, VA wineries. *
Day 10 - Drive to Pittsburgh
Day 11 - Cuyahoga NP *
Day 12 - Drive to Niagara, Niagara
Day 13 - Niagara and wineries
Day 14 - Finger Lakes
Day 15 - Finger Lakes
Day 16 - Adirondacks
Day 17 - Adirondacks
Day 18 - Adirondacks, drive to Burlington
Day 19 - Burlington and surrounds
Day 20 - White Mountains
Day 21 - Acadia
Day 22 - Acadia
Day 23 - Portland
Day 24 - Boston
Day 25 - Boston
Day 26 - Newport
Day 27 - NYC
Day 28 - NYC
Much less rushed, much nicer destinations.
*Spots you can easily cut or shorten to add time elsewhere.
**If you splurge once on this trip, eat at the Inn at Little Washington.
Jul 22, 2013 4:57 PM
12Regarding your new and old itineraries:
Provincetown is touristy but not in a crass way. Chatham is probably one of the more quaint destinations on the Cape. The advantage of Provincetown is that you can take the ferry,
Ohio's Amish country includes two ares: Holmes County (the larger of the two) and Middlefield which is just putside of Cleveland. Neither is as touristy (or tacky) as Lancaster, which is filled with tour buses in the Summer. Cuyahoga NP includes Blossom Music Center, an outdoor ampitheatre the summer home of the excellent Cleveland Orchestra and also home to many jazz, folk, pop, etc. concerts in the summer. You might see who's playing there and add that (along with the excellent rock hall of fame) to your plans.
Baltimore is "quirky", but the usual tourist stuff (Inner Harbor) isn't very interesting and you could easily skip it and spend more time in DC. I like Baltimore, but the city is confusing, quite dangerous in places and the the interesting things to see are small and require a lot of research to string together. The Skyline Drive will have lots of people and frankly I'd drive through Monogahela National Forest and stop at Spruce Knob or Senaca Rocks (esp. the latter) and reach Ohio via Rt 33 through West Virginia. The National Forest is less touristy than Skyline Drive and either of those stops would be very rewarding. Elkins, WV is not a bad place to stopover.
Harpers Ferry is okay, but a tourist trap and mostly of inteerst to Civil War enthusiasts. Virginia wine is just okay, not cheap and probably a disappointment compared to California.
Jul 22, 2013 5:31 PM
Jul 23, 2013 4:31 AM
14As a Canadian, it is my duty to suggest bzookaj's days 14-18 should be substituted with Toronto and Montreal. (An evening arrival into Toronto on day 13 after visiting the Niagara region, a full day on day 14, drive to Montreal on day 15 and then onto Burlington on day 18). However, if you prefer "nature" over "cities" then bzookaj's routing through New York state is a good one.
...or for a mix of cities and nature while still getting a flavour of Canada (Ontario): days 14-15 in Toronto, day 16 in the Kawartha Lakes, day 17 in Prince Edward County and Kingston, and down into New York State via the 1000 Islands on day 18.
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