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VT-NH day trip from Portland?

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Lubbock, TX
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VT-NH day trip from Portland?

We'll be in southern Maine for 3 days in mid-September after 5 days in Boston area. First day will be spent driving up with stops in Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, and all the little beach towns in between. One day will be spent exploring Bath, Boothbay, Rockport, Camden. We'll spend each night in Portland area.

So we have one day we'd like to use driving into NH and, possibly, VT to see interesting scenery, quaint villages, unique experiences. It can be either a Friday or Saturday - the other day will be for Camden. We would probably leave by 8:30 or 9, would like to be back not much after dark.

Suggestions for routes, must see locations, approximate travel times, where to have lunch, how much time to allocate for each locale?

Thanks in advance.

Brunswick, Maine
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1. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Not what you asked, but that one day in "Bath, Boothbay, Rockport, Camden" and back to Portland could easily take about 36 hours. :)

Suggestion that you drop Boothbay from that list and put that time into Camden-Rockport-Rockland so you can take a less frenetic pace. Even without Boothbay that's still an incredibly full slate.

Lubbock, TX
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2. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

OK, but does anybody have any advice on a VT-NH day trip?

Maine
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3. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

If your heart is set on seeing NH/VT in one day from Portland, one possibility is the North Conway area of NH. About 2 hours away, depending on traffic (each way.) In that general area you can drive through some beautiful scenic vistas of the White Mountains, visit the historic Mt. Washington Hotel, and even drive up Mt. Washington if you want. Vermont is 3 hours away, and I wouldn't consider that a day trip.

Brunswick, Maine
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4. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Your trip is overly ambitious. The first day sounds fine, but those second two days back to back will put you through the ringer. I'd suggest you cut out the agendy for either day 2 or day 3 and spread what you planned to do in one of those days over two days.

Lubbock, TX
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5. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

OK, OK, OK. You might be right. Perhaps we won't take in NH or VT. I spoke to my wife and she's rather delighted at the idea of not trying to take on too much. We're still driving up from Boston on Thursday morning, walking the Marginal Way, seeing Kennebunkport, taking in a lighthouse or two, then spending the nights of Thurs, Fri, & Sat (Sept. 14-16) in Portland.

I've been up the south coast of Maine 3 times (twice with someone else driving), all day trips from Boston while on business trips, never farther north than Portland. My wife has never been to New England.

Suggestions as to how to spend Friday & Saturday? We would leave early Sunday to fly out of Manchester.

Design for me two enjoyable days that combine a pleasant pace, great scenery, maybe some good lobster rolls or clam rolls, interesting or uniquely New England experiences. Shopping is unimportant (I can go to outlet malls anywhere) except when it provides something we can't find elsewhere.

Thanks.

Brunswick, Maine
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6. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Take your time getting to Camden, and along the way take in all those sweet little Route 1 towns, and even Boothbay or the Pemaquid Penninsula if you want. Make it your goal to simply get to Camden before dark. Then spend the next day doing all sorts of interesting things around Camden and Rockland. Spend the night again in Camden, get up eat breakfast,take in a few more sights, then make you way back to Boston, maybe this time coming back via Route 17 to Augusta and zipping back via the interstate.

The rest of the "deisigning" is up to you. :)

The archives are rich with suggestions of sights, restaurants, lodging, etc, and you can find all sorts of vacation planning materials from VisitMaine.com including a free guide you can order.

Have a great time.

Brunswick, Maine
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7. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Oops, just saw that you have to fly out of Manchester possibly early on Sunday. So, instead of two nights in Camden, that second night drive back and spend the night somewhere closer to Manchester. Ogunquit has a whole lot of lodging in a wide range of pricing, has waterside dinining, a nice beach to walk, and easy access back to the Interstate. Might be a good place to spend the night depending on how "early" your flight is.

westbrook, maine
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8. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

If you really want to stay the night in Portland you should just plan on staying in Southern Maine (Portland and below) for your three days. There is so much to do and see and restaurants to enjoy. You say shopping is unimportant but the old Port in Portland is very eclectic and unsual with boutiques and gift shops....coffee shops and pubs....good restaurants.

Try Fore Street, Natasha's, Street and Company...or if you want touristy you could eat at Dimillo's - which is a "floating restaurant" off Commercial Street. You can spend a day taking the Casco Bay Line ferries out of portland and visit the various islands.

Visit Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. There is a beautiful light house "Portland Headlight" and real rocky Maine coastline to admire. It is a beautiful place for a picnic and there is a small beach to explore.

You could spend two nights in Portland and then the third night in the Kennebunk, Wells, Oqunquit area. There is more of the same in these towns. Very beautiful, picturesque scenery and shops and restaurants galore.

Route One between Ogunquit and Kennebunk has many antique and second hand shops for treasure hunting.

You can take beach walks in many of the communities I've named.

To really enjoy the area you need to slow down and take your time. Look around and enjoy one place for a day or two. Otherwise you won't really be able to appreciate your visit. Just my humble opinion!

Hope you have a great time!!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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9. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

I'm going to disagree with everyone else and suggest that your initial plan isn't all that bad. There isn't so much to do in the little towns like Kennebunkport that you can't just drive through and take a look.

Your second day you could easily drive from Portland to Camden in two hours. Walk around, have lunch, buy something. Then start back down to Portland, stopping at the Farnsworth Art useum in Rockland. You can drive out the penisula from Thomaston to see the Olson House where Wyeth painted Christina's World and many other paintings. The drive is pretty. If you still have time you can drive out another peninsula and see Boothbay. You'll still be back in Portland for a late dinner at Fore Street.

On your third day you can head directly west from Portland on 25 and then on 153 to North Conway. Drive the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains. It is stunning. You could still continue on to Montpelier in Vermont. Then take I-89 back to New Hampshire and some small highways through West Canaan, Rumney Depot, Center Sandwich, and back to highway 25 south of Conway.

It could be done if you really like to drive.

Lubbock, TX
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10. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Thanks, Bonniemaev and Baron116, for answering my question. I appreciate the viewpoint of those who insist I should alter my trip length or where I spend the nights, because I am most certainly not giving the area the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, our plans are fixed. After 5 nights in Boston, we spend 3 nights in Portland (prepaid through Priceline at the Sheraton South).

On Thursday, 9/14, we leave Boston by 8 or 9 AM, and head up the coast. I want to walk the Marginal Way and catch the trolley back to our car, then rummage around Kennebunkport for 1 - 2 hours which will include a quick lunch, then into Portland to check into the hotel, walk around the old port area and have dinner.

On Sunday morning we depart very early to catch a return flight in Manchester.

This leaves 2 days, Friday and Saturday, to explore the area, with each night spent back in Portland. I realize there are far too many things to see in 2 days, which is why I need help in deciding how to optimize the limited time available.

One more thing - this trip is for my wife. I've been to Boston & Portland on several business trips and always had extra time for sightseeing (though I've never been north or east of Portland). My wife has never been to New England. I'm looking to wow her with scenery and unique experiences.

Thanks.