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Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Washington DC...
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Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

We are driving from Maryland the morning of Friday June 20th, with stops at Wesleyan University Amherst College for tours (son is a rising junior so can come back for more another time). We'd like to be able to join an 11:30 tour at Bowdoin on Saturday. Seems Amherst and Bowdoin are 3.5 hours apart, so I'm thinking we won't have the time or stamina to drive all the way to Brunswick on Friday night (its 5.5 hours to Wesleyan, then another 1.5 to Amherst from there). I'm looking for a place to stop for dinner and overnight that's a little closer than Amherst so that we don't have to get the boys up super early to get to the 11:30 tour. Any ideas appreciated. We need to be in Lubec on Sunday afternoon, and planned to go the Bangor/Rt 9 route there. Once in Lubec the pace of the rest of the trip switches to sane and relaxing.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Seems like Portland would be perfect for you.

Boston...
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2. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Friday evenings & Saturday mornings in summer usually gets busy around Massachusetts highways heading towards Maine beach towns. Ideally, I would try & see if you can hit NH border towns like seabrook or Hampton region from Amherst. It will be couple of hours from Amherst and probably another 100miles to Bowdoin. If you could not then I would find something towards the edge of I-495 like Merrimack or Amesbury in Massachusetts.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Thanks, I think Portland may be too far to go, so will look at the other options. What's the best route from Amherst to Brunswick?

Maine
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4. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

I agree that Portland would be too far. It's only 30 minutes from Brunswick. I also agree with watching out for heavy traffic Friday evening / Saturday morning. There is a tollbooth in NH and a tollbooth just over the Maine border that can cause long backups on the highway.

You could try something like Portsmouth, NH which would put you in the middle of the two tolls. Or if you could make it over the Maine border into someplace like Wells it would put you through both tolls on Friday night so you wouldn't have to worry about not knowing how long traffic may be backed up when you're trying to get to Brunswick in the morning.

For a driving route, you're going to want to get to I-495, then to I-95 to I-295 to the Brunswick exit. Just from looking at a map I would probably take rt. 202 to rt. 2 to get to I-495, but those from Mass. would have a better idea in that area.

United States
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5. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

The coast can get pricey on weekends. Microtel Suites in York, Maine has two queen beds in the room, a light breakfast to get you going in the morning, great reviews and good rates if you have AAA or AARP. Easy on and off I-95 , allow 90 minutes to get to Bowdoin. York 54 for pizza, Wild Willy's for burgers, Fisherman's Dock for classic Maine fried seafood or a lobsta roll, and if you have time, Brown's Ice Cream at Nubble light is a great sunset destination.

Georgia
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6. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

I was going to reply on your Mass thread.

Taking Rt 2 (or 90) to 495 to 95 is the best route.

I agree, Portland is almost all the way to Brunswick. So, its a lot of driving on that Friday. The benefit would be that you would at least be above most traffic on Sat morning.

I also agree that Friday night and Sat. morning traffic can and will hang you up on the hightway heading into NH and into Maine.

Portsmouth is a great town, but you would encounter some traffic getting there. Newburyport is a very nice city and similar to Portsmouth. Probably wouldn't hit traffic on Friday.

If you are just looking for a room to sleep there are a number of hotel options off of most exits along 495. Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Merrimac. Just check a hotels.com or googlemap and enter hotels and you'll see plenty. There aren't really any kind of tourist destinations, but if you're tired and need a room they are fine. You'll be able to find a decent meal.

THe only thing I'd so on Sat morning is to leave very early. By 8 am traffic will begin to build. I'd leave real early and save your breakfast appetite for Portland or Brunswick.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Thanks, I think we will check out the Newburyport/Portsmouth options and plan to stop there and get an early start in the morning.

Washington DC...
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8. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Hi all -

Just wanted to close the loop to say we made it to Amherst with 10 minutes to spare before the tour, did well with trafic all the way up from DC (we took Tappan Zee to 684/84). We enjoyed a campus tour and walk around town with a snack stop, then drove across 202 (I think) to Portsmouth, and arrived in time to head into the waterfront area for a nice dinner. Stayed at the Courtyard Marriott right off 95, which was a 2 minute drive to dinner. Hit the road around 8 Saturday morning, and rolled into Brunswick at 9:30, no traffic at all. Thanks for your help!

Maine
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9. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

Glad it worked out. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

10. Re: Stopping point between Amherst, MA and Brunswick, ME

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