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New England area

Hi ladies!  A coworked suggested that I make an account and look up this board for my questions... so hopefully she was right and you ladies will help me!

My husband and I have an interest in travelling to the New England area, however neither of us have been to any of those states so we're kind of struggling with the plans.

We were originally thinking about a week, but now we've decided to instead complete some home improvement projects this summer and save the money on airfare and a car rental and just drive.  We've added a few days to compensate for this.  We would like to go at the end of July or in the beginning of August.  We planned to leave on Thursday and return on the Sunday a week and a half later.  Coming from NW Ohio, I do understand that both the first and last day are shot and will be spent driving the majority of the time.  However, I think we should be able to fully dedicate the other 9 days to vacationing.

We've never really done a road-trip vacation as adults before, so any advice would be appreciated.

In addition, what are some attractions that we must see?  I'm open to suggestions ranging from a 10 minute must-see to an all day event.  I've tried to look on TripAdvisor for ideas, but as far as I can tell, you can only search by city and I don't know what cities we want to go to besides Boston.

We are interested in museums, beaches, parks, beautiful drives, and just sightseeing in general.  We are not interested in night life or shopping (unless it's cute, local, unique stores- not the same stores we have back home).

Acadia National Park is on our must-see list for sure.  We're not sure how long we would spend here.  We have no interest in camping or any strenuous hiking, but we would like to do some light to moderate hikes and see what I have been told is absolutely breathtaking scenery.

I also want to include the Cliff Walk in Newport, RI and the Freedom Trail in Boston.  Now, are there any tours involved at either of these places?  Or do you just walk the few miles, see the sights, and have a new activity planned for after lunch?

I also would like to spend a day or two at beaches and would like some suggestions.  Ideally, I would like a place where we can rent beach chairs and an umbrella for the day, have plenty of casual restaurants within walking distance from the beach, and perhaps have silly souveneir or other shops that I can walk through when I want a break from the sun for a little bit.

If anyone has (or knows of) any travel blogs that might pertain to this vacation, I would love to read them!

Thank you so much for any guidance that you can give!

Re: New England area

  • Are you planning on doing any stops in NY along the way?  Like finger lakes or NYC? 

    It may be best to start with southern NE and work your way up (or vice versa, either would work) 

    RI: Definitely a big beach state, I would stay in Newport (or close by in Middletown since you have a car).  Cliff walk is right is newport, it's basically just a walk so you don't need an organized tour, just start at one end and go!  There are mansions you may want to tour along the way.  Newport has a lot of great local shops and restaurants. 

     Another city to possibly visit is Providence which is a cute city with great restaurants, so I would plan on stopping in for a dinner. 

    Beaches are abundent you could go to Narragansett Beach; 1st; 2nd; or 3rd beach (all newport beaches) all are really nice.

    Mass: Boston I know is already on your radar, freedom trail is another one of those things that is easy to do on your own.  Boston Common is a great park to hang out in during the summer, and Newbury St. is full of great shops it's just a fun street to hang out on. 

    Vermont: Burlington is a must see if you are doing this State.  Great quaint shops, great restuarants, very New England-y.  Covered Bridges, maple trees, etc.  There are also lots of great water activities on the lake and great hikes that can be done.

    Maine: By far my favorite NE town is Portland (specifically the Old Port) I absolutely love this area of the city, again very new england-y and if you are headign up to Acadia, a very easy stop to make.  I usually stay at the Regency Hotel in Old Port, this time we are staying at the Portland Harbor Hotel.  Again great restaurants, great local shops, and lots to see.

    My blog is linked below, I live in RI and commute to Boston everyday so I'm very familiar with the area (and clearly we travel inside NE a lot!).  Right now the blog has a lot of local Providence things to do/see/eat at, but it will be updated with other NE things periodically.  Portland will be blogged in the middle of March!


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  • I haven't been to Acadia in years, but I remember taking a ferry to Cranberry Island and liking it a lot.

    For the Freedom Trail, there are guided tours, but it's pretty self-explanatory so you shouldn't have a problem doing it on your own. When you're going through the North End (the Little Italy section of town, where the Old North Church is), stop at Mike's Pastry for a cannoli or another sweet. The New England Aquarium is cool. James Hook Lobster Co. has good lobster rolls and seafood (it's a takeout place, not a sitdown place, so you can eat in the parking lot or find a park or something for a picnic lunch). Neptune Oyster is supposedly a fantastic seafood restaurant but we've never tried it.

  • @angie- We didn't plan on stopping in NY at all.  We've already been to NYC and Buffalo/Niagara Falls.

    Thanks for the advice so far! Keep it coming!  I have some errands to run and will check back in a couple of hours.

  • so if you only hav a total of 9 days perhaps choose 3 cities and use those as points to explore around (thus avoiding packing/unpacking going to a new hotel every night). boston is great for that because you can take the T around locally or drive up to salem or marblehead, providence is lovely and maybe choose a place in CT (like mystic) or in upstate ny for the other days.
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  • Here is a good website for Newport, RI

    If you stay in Newport area, stop in at Atlantic Beach Club for lunch or dinner. It is located on the water and is our favorite place to go in Newport. You can do Cliff Walk on your own, no need for a tour. Definitely do one of the mansions, take a drive out Ocean Drive. Beaches are very nice, much better than Narragansett beaches. I have a house in Narragansett and like the Newport beaches a lot better. There are ferries that go over to Block Island and the beaches there are great. 

    You could then drive up to Boston with a stop in Providence on the way. Go to Federal Hill in Providence. If by chance you plan an evening in Providence try to stay when there is a water fire scheduled

    Along with the Freedom Trail in Boston, you could visit Fanueil Hall, go on a duck boat tour, tour Fenway Park, shop at Copley and Newbury Street, visit on of the many museums. Really there is so much to do. 

    Acadia and Bar Harbor area in Maine are very nice. We RVed thru there a couple of summers ago.  

    Just remember you are planning your vacation during the busiest time of the year for NE, so be prepared for crowds. Some of the hotels in the beachy areas like Newport require 2 night minimum stay on weekends, so plan your lodging ahead of time so you know what to expect.

     Have fun!

  • I'll throw in a vote for Portsmouth, NH, it's a really cute town with some great restaurants.  There is a State Park beach quite nearby that is nice - Wallis Sands.

    Be forewarned, New England ocean water is cold even in the summertime!

    Cape Cod is also absolutely gorgeous and has some great bike trails.



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  • If your a AAA member, I would recommend stopping in, as well will give you free maps and map your route out for you. With that being said, your two requirements are a little tricky in the fact that there's only one main highway that goes in and out of Maine (95). Ideally, I would suggest going through Vermont and NH to get to Bar Harbor and then drive down the coast from Bar Harbor to Boston, however, there is not a great way to cut across, unless your willing to take back roads and/or go out of your way a little. If you do want to do that, I would suggest stopping at Burlington and/or North Conway and then making your way to Bar Harbor to break up your trip. If you want to stay at one place for a few days, I would suggest using Boston as your hub after you see Bar Harbor, as you can easily take day trips to Plum Island, Cape Cod, Salem MA, Newport RI, Portsmouth, RI... that way your not consistently moving around. If you want to cut costs, I would suggest staying slightly outside Boston near a rail (especially since you have a car, and parking costs are ridicilous downtown).
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