New England in May 2013 (Honeymoon)
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2013 7:57 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Dec 5, 2012 2:14 PM
Not as much as they win, these days. In fact, the 2012 Orioles and Nationals combined had a higher winning % than the Yankees. And I say that as a 1970-2012 Yankees fan, currently considering my options.
I started to write about a winery/biking route out of DC, and there's a good one, but on second thought if you're heading to New England for that I'd save it for there. If you want info on that route, let me know.
Dec 5, 2012 3:48 PM
16You can easily spend 4 nights in Boston. It's a lovely city and there is plenty to do and see. There are also great cycling paths in Boston. Bike the Emerald Necklace to the Arboretum, which is breathtaking in May!
12 days in NYC isn't too long if you will be enjoying cultural activities such as museums, performances, etc. Of course, eating options are world class!
You don't need to overnight anywhere when driving from Boston to VT. It's a quick and pleasant drive.
Note that the USS Constitution is in Boston, not Baltimore. Baltimore has the USS Constellation.
Dec 5, 2012 3:59 PM
17Wow! Thanks for all the great responses. I assumed I would receive maybe 3 or 4 replies but seriously, thank you so much.
I'm hearing that the general consensus is that we trim our 12 nights in NYC to 8-10 nights. Looking at a suggested itinerary, I think this may well and truly be on the cards.
Just to ask some generic questions relating to all your posts (and provide some of the reasoning):
- We'll be picking up a car in Boston (after visiting NYC and DC) so will rely on public transport up until this point.
- The thinking at the moment is that from Boston, we drive north west up through NH, VT, up to Quebec and then back down to ME and deliver the car back to Boston. Are there any problems to this logic? Should we be looping up through ME first? Does it even matter?
- The reason we chose Portland, ME was purely based on some good things we've heard regarding its culinary prowess and also the fact that it seems like a nice place to explore for a few days. It was a toss up between Bar Harbor and Portland but fell in Portland's favor. Everyone seems to be on the same page saying Bar Harbor may be a better destination that I will look into. Would anyone recommend spending any time in Portland or just passing through?
- Burlington, VT was chosen due to its proximity along the highway to Montreal and also due to the Ben & Jerrys factory being close by. If distance is not a factor here, we may be able to split some time between New Hampshire and Vermont. We don't really want to be spending too much time in the car though and would just like to base ourselves at a few different places. Personally, I love driving holidays but my fiance isn't too keen on them. She wins :)
- Quebec City looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for the tip.
Thanks also to Kenko for the congratulations :)
Dec 5, 2012 4:11 PM
18You will have a wonderful trip and its a great time of year to be in this neck of the woods!
I won't comment too much on the NYC portion - I think 12 days is a bit long myself but the place certainly has enough to keep one busy for a lifetime. You can venture out to Long Island for some change of scenery. Someone suggested the Jersey shore but who's to know what that'll be like next May - they may still be cleaning up/repairing from Superstorm Sandy (hurricane that hit in late October) so it may need a miss.
Anyway, you don't necessarily need a car for a large chunk of this trip. You can get around in NYC without one, you can take a train to DC and if you stay in DC proper, you don't need one either. There are trains from DC and NYC to Boston which make the journey between these cities managable. No need to fly - a train journey might be more relaxing and you can take in the scenery on the way.
Boston with a car can be tricky - parking is horrible and for the city proper and neighboring city Cambridge, you don't need one as every site you could possibly want is accessible via public transportation (the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority = MBTA or "the T" as its known here). However, to get to other places such as Cape Cod, or other suburbs of Boston or areas north (Vermont, NH, Maine) you will need a car so perhaps holding out on the rental towards the end of the Boston section for side trips and northern New England. And I personally think 4 nights is not too much if you include some stuff in Cambridge, maybe the Red Sox game, a trip out to one of the Boston Harbor Islands via the ferry, etc.
Portland ME has lots of excellent restaurants and many foodies venture up there instead of more costly Boston. I think 4 days there would be too much though. Oh BTW, there is a ferry that goes from Boston to Portland if you wanted to take a water journey between the two cities. I agree that Acadia National Park is wonderful and worth the trip. The park had gravel carriage roads built to accomodate the wealthy back in the day to tour the park in their horse/buggy. Now its great for cycling (hybrid or mtn bike tires, road bike tires might succomb to popping on the tiny sharp rocks). Its a great park, excellent place to be that time of year.
More north, I also agree that excellent hiking awaits you in Baxter State Park. The summit of Katahdin is very challenging but if you are in reasonable hiking condition, managable. Camping or staying in the park overnight allows you to tackle some of the longer hikes.
As someone else mentioned, Memorial Day weekend (typically the last weekend in May) is the start of the summertime season in the US and can be very full for accomodations at popular areas. Check a calendar for the dates where it falls in 2013 and be sure to have your accomodations for that Friday-Monday solidifed months in advance - January is not too early. Also, traffic in New England (and probably everywhere in the US I suppose that weekend) on Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, and then again on Monday is brutal. Try to be somewhere where you won't have to relocate on those days to save some headache. You will also notice a big change in numbers of people at major tourist sites that Fri-Mon in comparision to the week before.
I'll come back and post more about New Hampshire and Vermont later tonight...
Dec 5, 2012 5:40 PM
19Hey Scott, I think you've got the idea to train up to Boston then NH, Vermont --great iconic towns we saw
at National Geographic recommendations were Weston, Rochester, Warren Waterbury -- by taking
Highway 100 through the state's spine. This takes you through the heartland of small-town Vermont. Continuing north, there's actually a fjord (yeah, like in Norway) up at WILLOUGHBY LAKE just east of Highway 91. It's on the way to Quebec anyway and well worth the 10-mile detour.
In New Hampshire, Portsmouth makes a real historic-town lunch stop. A lot of 1700's architecture.
You already have a lot of driving-- we did the identical drive but saw both Bar Harbor (skip this tourist trap) and
Stonington, Maine-- a lost-in-time lobster village at the bottom of Deer Isle which
is off the peninsula just west of where Bar Harbor is. If you have time-- go here and stay one night.
You will never forget it. Tons of hiking all over Deer Isle- which is in a lot of coffee table photo books.
A couple other really photogenic Maine towns are the coastal towns of Castine and Camden.
Were it my trip, I'd probably borrow a few days from New York for other little gems such as these. But
whatever you decide to do-- break up New York with some days at the beginning and a couple at the end.
New York City is fantastic-- but after a few days us hikers need to get out of the asphalt jungle.
Save car rental days by beginning it the day you leave Boston and ending the day you return to NYC.
Cars are absolute albatrosses in these cities.
All the Best to You and your fiancee-
Dec 5, 2012 6:47 PM
20If the crowds and traffic of NYC start getting to you, you can take a cruise and see the city from the water! There are several options, as you can see at the link.
Another possible boat ride from Boston is a whale watch.
And I'll second everyone who has advised picking up your rental car at the last possible moment, probably after you've seen the sights of Boston and are heading north. If you plan to go to Quebec, verify with the rental company that you can take the car to Canada.
Dec 5, 2012 6:50 PM
Dec 5, 2012 7:50 PM
22I think my earlier post was being written when you replied Scott so it crossed paths.
Obviously agree with holding on rental car till end of Boston trip, as I mentioned above.
Your idea to drive NH, VT, then into Canada, back down into ME and onwards to Boston seems fine to me. No need per se to from Boston then Maine first. Though FYI, Portland is about 2 hours from Boston, not that far. One thought could be to hold on the car rental in Boston, take ferry from Boston to Portland then get rental car in Portand. From there, you can still venture into NH - if you go north of Portland for about 45min (many options of roads, take your pick, I used to use Route 25 but you could go first to Sebago Lake), you then head a little west and go directly into NH and from there, VT. You would miss Portsmouth, NH though which is cute for lunch, lots of breweries there too, its an old mill town (cause it would be a bit of back-tracking). Anyway, if you took Boston-Portland ferry you could still do a clockwise trip into NH, VT, Canada, back to ME and return rental car in Portland and take bus or ferry again back to Boston and points south.
You will need to verify if you can take any rental car into Canada or you'll be scratching on the Montreal/Quebec portion of this trip.
I think Portland is a better choice than Bar Harbor but that's my opinion. Kenko listed a bunch of other gems in the "Downeast" portion of Maine that you can check out. But I'd stay in Portland maybe 2 nights and then venture onwards.
Driving at a decent clip, it only takes 3 hours to get from Portland to Burlington VT so its not that far but there are gems to see along the way. Ben & Jerry's factory is in Waterbury VT, about 25 minutes south of Burlington off of Interstate 89. Yummy. Burlington will have the bulk of restaurants, places to stay and other infrastructure than any other place in VT but there are tons of smaller towns that are wonderful to visit too. You can rent kayaks or canoes and go out onto Lake Champlain. Bike path along Lake Champlain is also a possibility if you wanted to rent a couple of bikes. There are "booze-cruises" out on L Champlain also.
You can hike Mount Mansfield (about 45 minutes out of Burlington) or the easier hike of Camel's Hump. The leisurely drive out to Mt Mansfield on Route 15 takes you through a portion of the town of Winooski, then Essex Junction but then the scenery becomes some rolling green hills and farms that is so picturesque. When you get to Jericho and Underhill its simply lovely. There is a great coffee shop called The Village Cup (www.thevillagecup.com) that serves a good cup of whatever your desire is at the moment.
Woodstock VT is typically a favorite amongst visitors to VT but purists will say its "not the true VT" but its quaint, with shops/restaurants. There used to be a covered bridge there that was beautiful but I think I may have heard that some winterstorm damaged it (not sure).
Montreal is only about 2hours from Burlington (depends on traffic at the US/Canada border). Enroute you'll pass St Albans, the maple syrup capital of VT. You'll just miss the sugaring season as they have a big syrup festival there in April but it is typical VT town if you cared to make a stop on the way to the big city of Montreal. Get some syrup! You'll never eat store-bought again!
That's probably enough for now. I'll let you mull all this over...
Dec 5, 2012 8:36 PM
23Thanks Nicole, this is all very valuable information. The ferry to Portland sounds like a good idea too as this trip will be my first driving on the right hand side of the road. This doesn't really worry me although it may be a better idea to start in Portland rather than Boston.
I never even thought of checking to see if rental cars could venture into Canada. That's something we'll definitely need to find out beforehand. Is this common? That would have been quite embarrassing.
Also, if we were to arrive at a smaller border crossing, would that cause any trouble seeing we'll both have Aus passports? I was just thinking that the bulk of the travel between the 2 countries would be Canadian and US citizens, they may view us a little strangely. Maybe this is just me?
Dec 6, 2012 12:22 AM
24I would expect that in busy seasons thousands of rental cars cross the US-Canada border every day ... just need to sort it out with your provider. Also I am intrigued that Nicole does not include Acadia NP (plus Bar Harbor, plus the beautiful towns and coast just south of there - Bucksport, Blue Hill, Sedgwick, and much else), nor the Mt Washington area in the White Mountains of NH ... also quite magical. But she recommends a mass production ice cream factory ... go figure ... I guess it takes all sorts.
Dec 6, 2012 5:13 AM
I spent a single night there a couple years ago and thought it was perfectly fine. It's enough time for a couple meals and a couple attractions.
Given your interests, I think xBar Harbor offers more of what you want.
Dec 6, 2012 5:21 AM
26I agree that it is unlikely that you won't be able to take the car into Canada, especially if you are renting from a major company (e.g. Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, etc.) However, they may place km limits if you leave the country, or, sometimes the state of rental. Well, shop around and be clear on the terms of contract. Many on this board suggest renting from a broker in your own country as you'll get good prices that includes insurance.
Whether a border crossing is small or large won't make a difference as to your ease of crossing. Agents are equally trained and probably move among border posts. If you have any specific Montreal or Quebec questions please do post on the Canada board or feel free to message me. Have a great trip!
Dec 6, 2012 5:39 AM
27It's less the size of the company that allows or disallows travel to xCanada, but rather the location of the pickup. An Alamo (picking one at random) may allow it from (picking a random location) Syracuse, which is fairly close to the border, but another Alamo may not allow it from (picking another random location) DC, which is quite far from the border.
I'm pretty sure any MA-based rental agency would allow it.
Dec 6, 2012 6:19 AM
I had already recommended Acadia to the OP in my first reply (feel free to scroll back to view). I agree its a fantastic destination to all visitors to ME who enjoy hiking and nature.
I only reinforced Ben & Jerry's (to indicate its location in relation to Burlington) because the OP himself stated he wanted to visit. And who cares if he does? It's his honeymoon, him and his then-wife can do what they want.
I am a native New Englander and can write volumes of what there is to see and do in the states of VT/ME/NH/MA/RI/CT but already provided the OP with rather lengthy responses and felt he should have time to digest what I already provided before writing more. Unfortunately, I have other career responsibilities that sometimes take me away from writing more on LP so I did not yet include all the innumerable places and things there is to see here but felt my replies thus far were fairly inclusive but by not yet providing info, they were not EXCLUSIVE.
Don't be so quick to judge.
Dec 6, 2012 7:44 AM
No bad mouthing the Red Sox!!!
Between Boston and Portland, there are some lovely places to visit along the coast, including historic Newburyport and Plum Island, Portsmouth, classic Nubble Light, Ogunquit and its iconic Marginal Way, Kennebunk and K'port, etc, making for a pleasant leisurely drive if you choose.
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