New England trip by public transport
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Sep 26, 2012 5:01 AM Last Post By: LongIslandBob
Sep 21, 2012 2:36 PM
New England trip by public transportHi,
I'm from the Netherlands and I'm planning a trip to New England next year september. I'm planning to go alone, about 3 weeks by public transportation (I have no drivers licence). My itinerary(for now): flying to Boston, bus to Bangor - bus to Acadia (3/4 days)- Cape Ann(2 days) - Salem - Boston (2 days)- then either Newport or Mystic and New London - Block Island(2/3 days)- from there to Long Island (2 days) and then NYC. For travelling I planned a full day for each trip. I don't have a budget yet, I'm still working out if the trip is doable with bus/train etc. and then if I can afford it.
I have a few questions:
Can I do Boston-Bangor-Bar Harbor in one day? I know Boston - Bangor takes about 6 hours and Bangor - Bar Harbor about an hour. That sounds doable but with the switching of the buses and all, am I better of staying in Bangor for 1 night?
I want to go to Cape Ann. Am I better off going to Cape Ann from Boston by commuter rail or can I get there from Acadia via Portland(I couldn't find that on the internet)?
Newport or Mystic/New London? From both places I can get to Block Island but I don't know if Mystic is worth the visit(I only know it from the Julia Roberts movie ;-) and I read that Newport is a nice town
Long Island: I want to take the LIRR and stop somewhere in a nice town and stay there for a night. What town in Long Island is surely worth the visit?
Thanks in advance.
Sep 21, 2012 3:09 PM
Sep 21, 2012 3:22 PM
2bus only runs Mondays and Fridays. The shuttle runs daily (reserve in advance), but is much more expensive.
Sep 21, 2012 3:36 PM
3Not all Amtrak trains stop in Mystic; check the schedule. Between there and the ferry in New London, you can either get back on Amtrak for a 15 minute ride (which will be pricey for the distance, unless Amtrak allows you to stop over in Mystic as part of a Boston-to-New London ticket), or take the SEAT bus #108 from Olde Mistick Village, which is about 2 km from downtown Mystic by the Mystic Aquarium (also worth visiting).
Sep 21, 2012 6:31 PM
4I can help you with the Long Island part, well sort of.
1. Enter via Montauk
The main ferry from New England to Block Island leaves from Narragansett Rhode Island. There are a couple of little ferry companies that leave from other places, but they don’t necessarily run everyday especially in September, so planning and reservations are a must.
One of those little companies is called Viking Fleet and can take you from Block Island to Montauk on Long Island. http://www.vikingfleet.com/vikingnews/templates/ferries.aspx?articleid=57
This saves you the trouble of doubling back to New England and entering Long island in a more conventional manner. It also sets you down in Montauk, part of the Hamptons which is really our only world class travel destination. (The Hamptons are a series of beach towns that are playgrounds for the rich and famous.)
The Hamptons are kind of pricey and while public transportation is available it’s not really a main way of travelling there. However, both there and no the North Fork of LI I’ve seen enough buses marked “Hampton Jitney” that I am sure with enough pre-planning it can be done, but don’t skimp on the planning.
The LIRR still runs to Montauk, 2-3 times a day I think.
2. Enter via Orient Point
The Ferry from New London CT. is (like the one I’ll name in #3) about as reliable as ferries get. Most folks don’t even buy and advanced ticket they just show up and pay when they get there. Nine miles away is a scenic little seaside tourist town called Greenhold. It’s like the Hamptons only 30% cheaper. I’m not sure how one gets from the ferry to Greenhold (Hampton Jitney maybe, I see them there all the time), but the LIRR has not yet canceled trains to Greenhold. There are still a few trains a day.
It makes no sense to me that the LIRR would go to Greenhold but not all the way to Orient, yet when I go to their website, that seems to be the case. http://lirr42.mta.info/ Maybe my search skills are failing.
Anyway there is constant talk about LIRR shutting down the entire North Fork Line meaning you’d have to Hampton Jitney or whatever all the way to Riverhead, where public transportation becomes reliable.
The North Fork is BEAUTIFUL. Vineyards, fishing towns, clam boats, oystering etc., and while not cheap it is considerably less expensive than the Hamptons. For international visitors it’s basically considered as side-trip from NYC, but I like it. Again public transportation is a little sketchy east of Riverhead so please plan ahead.
3. Enter via Port Jefferson.
Lovely town, worth a beautiful afternoon of ice cream and people watching, and a very reliable ferry from Bridgeport CT. It also has a nice local theater. There’s at least one decent bed and breakfast in town, and it is a long but doable walk (or short bus or taxi ride) to the LIRR in the town of get this . . . Port Jefferson Station.
Bonus point in a moment.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Sep 21, 2012 6:45 PM
In New England, not far from the New England side of the ferries, are two casinos. One called Mohegan Sun and another called Foxwoods. I’ve never done it myself but I understand that if you book your travel in advance, and keep your receipts, the casinos will give you your receipt’s value in chips (which through a little process can be traded for cash.)
I don’t know how it all works, but I’ve heard of folks going from NY to the casinos round trip and paying nothing for their bus fare, ferry fare etc.. I’ve heard of folks doing the same from Boston. They make it sound pretty easy.
I’m not sure if it is worth your time to figure it all out, but it seems to me if you play it enough, you should be able to get free transportation from New England to NYC.
Edited by: LongIslandBob
Sep 22, 2012 7:08 PM
6I don't mean to be impertinent, but I'd suggest getting a driver's license. The way to see America (and Canada, and Mexico) is by private vehicle. We just don't do long-distance public transport well, and I hate to think your precious travel time might be eaten up with transportation hassles.
Oh, and let me STRONGLY urge you to put that trip off until October. Northern New England in the first two weeks of October will blow your mind.
Sep 23, 2012 10:53 AM
Sep 23, 2012 1:00 PM
8I don't mean to be impertinent, but I'd suggest getting a driver's license.
Wow, thanks for the tip, I didn't think of that, where can I get one of those??
For the rest of you, thanks for your answers, they are surely useful. For instance, I didn't know that there were other ferry-services from Block Island to Long Island, so thank you. I am a bit further in planning my trip. Or not, I don't know yet if I can get the money.
Sep 23, 2012 5:38 PM
9I can't find the actual source (list of countries) to confirm it but I am pretty Sure the Netherlands is one of countries part of an international convention that says "we will honor each other's licenses."
Some rental companies may require that you have an English translation of your license, available for $15 from the AAA, http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html but since the top of a Netherlands license reads "Drivers License" (In English), and all the letters are Latin letters (not Chinese characters or whatever) even that may be unnecessary.
I prefer travelling America by car,
but whether or not you need one depends on your travelling style and the places you visit. I know nothing bout Bangor, Acadia or Cape Ann, but I know I drove to Boston and parked my car for 4 days using it only once for a side trip to Plymouth. (In fact I probably could have booked a bus or bus tour from Boston to Plymouth if I had tried hard enough and weren't so hard-headed about wanting to be in charge of my own schedule.)
In Manhattan you are better off without a car, same with Wash. DC.. When I go to a beach town, once I check in to my room I usually use the car only once (for grocery shopping.)
Yes a car is preferable in America but depending on where you are going, it should not be considered a necessity.
Sep 24, 2012 3:13 PM
10LIBob, now easy is it to get from the Montauk ferry landing to a hotel/the LIRR station?
I've heard of Greenport and Southold but never Greenhold. Is it an LIRR stop halfway between the two?
OP, if you'll be in NYC, I would consider Oyster Bay for a night. There's at least one B&B within a short walk of the station (possibly others would provide transfer for a fee), the beach is even closer, and there is the Theodore Roosevelt home to tour, with a free shuttle bus from near the station. Check dates for the shuttle bus; I bet it stops sometime in September.
Sep 24, 2012 11:34 PM
11Ooops I see I meant Greenport not Greenhold, my mistake.
I don't know how easy it is to get from the Montauk Ferry Landing to the LIRR. In general, the area is intended to cater to the rich and famous and not set up well for public transport, but public transport does exist there. I've been there 3-4 times and taken a car every time. Nice place, too expensive for me to "do it right," but had fun every time.
Oyster Bay is a nice town, so is Huntington (Huntington was home of Walt Whitman and Ralph Macchio and so many famous people in between I can't name the all). Oyster Bay has an annual (get this) "Oyster Festival" (mid October I think). Like many festivals it is too pricey for the budget traveler, but well worth if you can splurge a little.
As Aesop said, familiarity breeds contempt. If I were on Slotje's schedule, I would skip Long Island altogether unless I had a car and/or had a destination already picked out, but that's just me personally.
Sep 25, 2012 8:13 PM
Sep 26, 2012 5:01 AM
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