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New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

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posts: 22
reviews: 61
New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Hi All,

Really sorry to post such a general query but we have limited time to research ourselves.

After finishing up work in NYC my husband & I have the chance to grab 2 weeks to drive up through New England but not certain of what we can fit in, the weather this mid-April and how far to travel out of NYC before picking up hire care and where to drop the car off to (loop trip or one way).

Okay so what are we after and what not:

Not huge amount of time in busy cities or towns (although we would probably like a day or 2 in Boston)

Some time along the coast in Cape-Cod (and if time Maine). We generally like to at least have one day where we may just head out for a great lazy long lunch at a vineyard or restaurant with a lovely view (doesn't have to be a Michelin rated but just really lovely quality).

We like to spend time on some lovely walks (2-4hrs) but will not have our hiking boots with us this trip due to work items.

We are uncertain what areas were damaged by Sandy and should be avoided (don't want to be touristing peoples grief) and we are not setting out to ski (love the vistas) but don't want to be caught in major blizzards or roads that are still very risky.

We are both around 50yrs old so not after the local night clubs either but just some a couple of nice options for dinners of a night as we travel around (so not staying miles from anything to eat).

Thanks in advance to anyone who has the time to respond.

Any help

Hollis, New...
posts: 3,945
reviews: 3
1. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Well, two weeks is certainly plenty of time for a nice tour that includes Cape Cod and the Maine coast.

Although my most charitable term for April weather in New England is "disappointing," blizzards and hazardous road conditions are highly unlikely. Don't let that be a concern. It's not impossible that it could happen, but if it does, you'll deal with it and have a story to tell. What you should realize is that spring comes late to northern New England, and the countryside will not be at its best, as it's early for most flowers and greenery.

I'm not aware of any places to avoid because of hurricane damage. The worst of it was south of here.

One thing working in your favor is that it's very much off season, and you shouldn't have any difficulty finding places to stay. It sounds as though you're primarily interested in the seacoast. I can rattle off some places I like, but it's a small sampling of what's available: Newport, Rhode Island and vicinity; Boston (the "off season" tag might not fit in Boston, if you're there at Marathon time--April 15--but I would advise you just to avoid that unless the idea of seeing the Marathon appeals to you); Salem and pretty much all of Cape Ann/Essex County, Massachusetts; Rye, Portsmouth, and New Castle, New Hampshire; Blue Hill and Bar Harbor, Maine.

If you do want to see some mountain scenery, the White Mountains (New Hampshire) loop formed by the Kancamagus Highway, Route 16, Route 302, and Route 3 (through Franconia Notch) is always a good bet. South of the mountains, the Lakes Region is beautiful.

As far as the rental car is concerned, you'll probably find that returning it to the same place you pick it up is most practical. I assume your flights are set--are you returning from New York? You might be best off renting at JFK. However, I've never rented a car in or near New York City, so I don't know what the rates are like there. If you really feel the need to get out of the city to pick up a car, I'd say take a train to White Plains, New York.

If you can narrow things down somewhat, you might get some good, more specific suggestions. Have fun.

Kent, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Provincetown, Wellfleet
posts: 2,654
reviews: 134
2. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

As for the coast in Cape Cod if you want to see anything do not take Route 6 when you get there. It is designed for travel and not sight-seeing. I would take Route 6A through Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis and Brewster. You go through small towns with some interesting shops. There really aren't many roads where you can see the bay or ocean. In Wellfleet you can take Ocean View Drive and in Truro Route 6A again (known as the Shore Route) and it goes along the Bay and gives you nice views as you enter Provincetown. Of course if you take Route 6 into Provincetown you do see some impressive sand dunes.

There are many great nature trails all over the Cape. You will not need hiking boots. Visit the Marconi Station Area off Route 6 in Wellfleet for some great views of the ocean and you can walk the beach.

Plymouth (just below Boston) and Salem (just above) are also well worth visiting.

Weather could still be chancy especially if you venture into Vermont of New Hampshire.

I don't think you will have any problem with hurricane damage. Long Island and New Jersey suffered the most.

posts: 22
reviews: 61
3. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Thank you to you both (wpsaukee & Holland_Owl) for the speedy replies. To answer a couple of your queries we will be in NYC already and would prefer not to drive there as we expecting it to be a nightmare getting to/from JFK in a car. As we will already be in Manhattan we were thinking rather than take the time to go back to JFK for car hire we would head north on a train (Stamford or Newport or other suggestions) and collect a car on the way out. On our return we have separate departure dates from JFK so thought we may have either one night back in NY together or if easier than we think go directly back to JFK so one can depart on evening flight and the other can stay back in town (or Brooklyn) for a night.

WPSaukee - we are not thinking of sticking solely to the coast as we both like the idea of heading back inland so the suggestion of White Mountains and the lakes regions has strong appeal also. That is where we just weren't certain how far north we could/should go to potentially leaves us time to do all of that as well as Cape Cod/Boston/Newport area. We don't want to be racing or on the move at 7am everyday but would like to be able to spend 2 or 3 nights (possibly longer if need be) in several places to allow us to relax a bit and just radiate out to check out the area. It wasn't till I started really reading about New England in detail on the weekend that I started recognising sooooooo many place names that I have heard about over the years that I got all confused and stressed. A lot of my challenge is that so much is written about going in the fall or summer (the opportunity has come up to be there in April so we decided to grab it) we are not sure if some places will have little to offer other than the fall colours or summer at the beach.

I should add that neither of us are major history or museum buffs. We like to have a wander in them for a few hours at different times but we would much rather a lovely walk or scenic outlook with a mug of tea/coffee along the way (we travel with thermos!)

Howland_Owl - Route 6A definitely sounds more like us than the expressway when there is so much to see. We are willing to use an expressway when we move between locations to cut down on time but generally like the back roads.

posts: 22
reviews: 61
4. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

I forgot to ask about Arcadia Park up north. Would that be a ridiculous time of year or to far to stretch it? I am thinking so.

posts: 3,372
reviews: 146
5. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

I like the previous suggestions. If you end up sightseeing on the cape, you can check out the Truro vineyard. They do tastings and tours. http://trurovineyardsofcapecod.com/index.php

Hollis, New...
posts: 3,945
reviews: 3
6. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

No, I think you should plan to visit Acadia (but do note the correct spelling). That was implicit in my suggestion of Bar Harbor, which for all intents and purposes is in the National Park. I will say, however, that the weather will be much more spring-like in places south of Boston such as the Cape and Newport than it will be to the north.

What sorts of accommodations do you favor? if you like B&B's, take a look at a site I have used often with considerable success: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/. It makes it pretty easy to locate and investigate a large number of possibilities, and I've never had anything but good experiences with the properties I've chosen (even though one of the innkeepers told me that anybody can get listed).

posts: 22
reviews: 61
7. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Thanks WPSaukee.

Yes I have noted the correct spelling (it was too late to edit my reply when I noticed my mistake). We are likely to aim for B&B's so your link will be handy. I have spent a large chunk of today reading and love your suggestions. We will try to sketch out our itin over the next few days (tomorrow will be a problem) to see if we are allowing enough time for each location. I am thinking apart from the initial weekend when we first leave NY and are still close enough to be amongst all the city escapees that I may just book accommodation a few days ahead as we go along. (Unless I find something spectacular that I really must secure) This will also allow us to keep an eye on the weather and adjust accordingly.

Just lastly re Vineyards or a nice place with a great view for a long lazy lunch from what we can tell most of the vineyards are about the tastings (my husband has struggled to find anything with a good lunch restaurant as part of the set-up). We would taste at one prior to a lunch but to be fair we would be unable to bring a lot back with us and therefore would not waste their time or resources but we like to try the local wines at dinner when we travel. Any other suggestions? If not we will just wing it and thanks again for your input so far.

Dallas, Texas...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 13,301
reviews: 14
8. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

For your car logistics, I would suggest taking Amtrak train all the way to Boston, spend a couple of days there. It's a really pretty city, with very walkable and picturesque neighborhoods. You may also enjoy exploring Cambridge.

Once you're done in the city, rent a car for the driving portion of your trip. Cape Cod isn't really "on the way" from NYC to Boston, so you won't be wasting time doubling back.

Do note that mid-April is still low season on Cape Cod, which is more of a summer destination.

posts: 22
reviews: 61
9. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Well I just decided to write a final review of what we did in case it helps anyone and I managed to lose it all just as I was about to post. I have lost the momentum to try and put it all down again but in a nutshell here it is and feel free to email me if you want further information.

Day 1 - early train from NYC to Washington. Arrived at Union Station (worth a look) and did a night tour that evening.

Day 2 - Wahsington - Arlington & Smithsonian (air & space)

Day 3 - Early flight to Boston - completed most of the walking tail

Day 4 - Boston - walked Boston Common, around Back Bay area, through Chinatown and over to Liberty Wharf and back through downtown again

Day 5 - Collected rental car and drove to Bar Harbor stopping along the way. A few lighthouses etc but not many (eg not Salem)

Day 6 - Bar Harbor - Around Acadia NP. Beautiful area but a shame the region is not geared for tourists outside peak season (although they want your money). A lot is closed despite being good weather no boat operators are ready to run a limited schedule subject to weather etc. Not helped by the sequestration delaying the opening of the NP. Felt sorry for the local business that trade through and don't just open their doors to cream the peak season tourist market. A lot of other international travellers from Europe, Asia and a few other Australians were there at the same time - some not staying in the area as long as originally planned as a result. To be honest I think I would hate to be along the coastline from Boston to Bar Harbor in Peak season. The number of accommodation properties closed for the season would mean the region would be bursting at the seems if they were all open and half full.

Day 7 - Acadia NP - walked the summit along the road given it was closed due to sequestration.

Day 8 - Left Bar Harbor headed for Ashland in the White Mountains. We knew we had a decent drive ahead and a forecast snow storm would get us somewhere after passing through Portland. We did make time to stop at the home of LL Bean which we enjoyed their main store set-up and would like to have poked around for longer. Arrived in Ashland later than planned (our GPS kept trying to take the shortest path and use back roads but by that time the snowstorm had hit so we opted to take a longer route and managed to tuck ourselves in behind a snow plough!!)

Day 9 - So glad we chose Ashland as it was a great base for the area. After a great breakfast headed out to drive the Kancamagus Hwy. The day was glorious but picture postcard given the snow from the previous day. We even managed to eventually find the pathway for the Sabbaday Falls and walk out. Only a few other die-hards (idiots!) out along the path as well so it was just beautiful, peaceful and fun. Did the little train ride in Conway as we arrived there just before it was leaving. I wouldn't set out to do it but we had a laugh and a relax and ate something after driving all morning. It didn't take too long. Drove back via the Crawford Notch NP enjoying the countryside.

Day 10 - Pottered around the area - Drove around Squam Lake etc

Day 11 - Left Ashland after 3 nights and headed to Cape Cod skirting Boston. Stopped along the way not far out of Ashland heading towards Boston at one of the big shopping outlet centres. Did some damage in the space of 45minutes and then pushed on. Arrived in Chatham in the afternoon (a few other stops along the way but not many)

Day 12 - Glad we chose Chatham - nice town - not super congested or with large shopping centres and chain stores. Glad we did not chose Hyannis just wish we had chosen a different place to stay in Chatham. Spent the day driving up to Provincetown. Not an inspriring place in our books (seemed a little dirty to be honest) but we did enjoy finally seeing some of the coastline just nearby that we have seen over the years in movies and tv show.

Day 13 - a bit lazy just staying reasonably close to Chatham

Day 14 - Left Chatham early and headed for Providence to drop off the hire car and take the train back to NYC.

We were really happy with our use of trains, plane and rental car. Covered a lot of distance but we never felt like it was far too much and we got to see the key points we wanted. My partner had never been to Washington or Boston so I am really glad we did not decide to leave those because I had been. The trip gave us a lovely balance of the 2 cities versus the coastal and mountain region scenery.

posts: 3,372
reviews: 146
10. Re: New England for 2 weeks ex NYC Apil 2013 - Itin advice plse

Thanks for coming back and doing a trip report. I'm surprised you found P-town dirty. That's disappointing.