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VT-NH day trip from Portland?

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.

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

You sound like me and want to try to see as much as possible in little time. I often plan to do more then the time allows or end up spending a lot of time driving, but then again I dont mind driving as long as the scenery is good. I wouldn't say that your initial plan is undoable if you do not mind longer days and only making brief stops at each destination. The drive up to and around the North Conway, NH area from Portland is beautiful and can be done in a day. Its about 2 hrs or a little less with no traffic and not stops. If mountain scenery interest you then this would be a great day drive. You could drive up there and drive up Mt. Washington. At the higher elevations in mid September the leaves may even be starting to turn. Of course my suggestion is based on my preferences because I always prefer the mountains over the coast so it all depends on what you prefer. Either way mid September in this area will be great. The summer crowds will be gone, no flies, nice temps(could be a bit cold at night), and less traffic. Have fun.

Winooski, Vermont
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12. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

Hello, You have a long road trip in front of you, but I do the trip all the time. I live in Vermont, Burlington and have a house in Rockland which is by Camden. Your trip is do-able, but it will be long. I suggest going to Vermont first by I-89. Go to the Champlain Valley Fair that is in the beginning of September. That is an amazing fair to go too to see all of Vermont. I suggest going through Stowe. It"s absolutely breath taking. Then go through NH and up to Maine. Camden is beautiful. If you need anymore info don't be afraid to ask!

Perdido Key, Florida
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13. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

We are somewhat like this gentleman. Never been there but need to crowd everything into about 6 days. Fly into Portland. Go south and visit Kennebunkport, Marginal Way, etc. How much time should we allot for that? One afternoon? One day? We would fly into Portland about 3 P.M. and have the rest of the day to spend sightseeing on July 3. (Of course, first we have to find a place to stay for one night!) Then, we want to head northward up the coast and just see the sights. No hiking, much. Maybe limited biking. We saw most of Ireland in 10 days so I figure we can see ME in about 6! Thanks.

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

"We saw most of Ireland in 10 days so I figure we can see ME in about 6!"

Hm-m-m... Do you know how big Maine is? I can get to New York City in less time than it would take me to get to Presque Isle. There are a lot of different parts to Maine - the coast, the mountains, the woods, the county, etc. Each is unique and wonderful.

To the first poster: the suggestions for heading toward North Conway on one of your free days is a good one. I would do Friday to get ahead of leaf-peeping traffic at that time of year.

For your other day, head right up to Camden, then work your way back.

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

Hi Deubster,

I got to this thread a little late so hopefully you're still checking it out.

I think you could easily do Bath, Boothbay Harbor, and the Rockland/Camden area in one day. You just have to get up and out early, plan an intenarary and stick to a schedule.

First stop Bath. Drive through downtown and then decide if you think it's worth a stroll. Afterward head to Reid State Park Beach which is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Bath. Well worth a stop as it's a lovely area composed of 3 separate beaches. Great for poking around and kodak moments. The drive to the beach itself is a true delight also :).

Head back up to route 1 and continue north. From Reid State Park Beach, it's about a 45 minute drive (more if traffic) to Boothbay Harbor. Park your car and stroll the shops, restaurants, art galleries (of which there are tons). Then either take a Captain Fish boat ride (they offer about a dozen anywhere from 45 minutes to over 3 hours in length) to get out and see the Maine coast by water. And/Or take a drive out to Ocean Pt.

Ocean Pt is about a 10 to 15 minute drive from dowtown Boothbay Harbor and is not to be missed if you're in the area. Of course I am biased as its one of my most favorite places on earth. Anyway, OP is located on the southern tip of Linekin Neck. It offers rocky coast w/views of open ocean, islands, 4 lighthouses, water vessels of every stripe and quaint summer cottages. The sunsets are fabulous too, but if BBH is just one of many stops on your way north or south (I'm writing like you're heading north from Bath) then you won't be around for that. This is also a great spot for a picnic lunch as there's lots of rocks to sit out on.

From Boothbay Harbor get back on route 27 and then get on the River Road which will take you straight through downtown Newcastle and Damariscotta, very nice little towns. Then turn down route 130 south towards Pemaquid Lighthouse. This will be about a 15 minute drive or so and definitely worth the stop. Also drive the 5 minute Pemaquid Look Road which is located just before you get to Pemaquid on the right. This offers great views of the lighthouse and beach area along with wonderful summer homes. Very pretty. There is a gift shop, art gallery and restaurant here if you decide you'd like to browse or have lunch. But lunch might take awhile and if time is of the essence you might not want to go that route.

Moving on.

Turn around and go back up route 130 and then get on route 1 north. From here it'll take you about 30 minutes or so to get to Rockland.

Depending on what your interests are you can visit the Farnsworth Art Museum (home to lots of great Maine landscapes and of course Wyeth paintings), the Lighthouse Museum, stroll the downtown area which offers lots of funky little bookshop/cafe's, restaurants, art galleries, and one of a kind shops. Or you could, depending on where you are on the schedule, after poking around in town drive about 5 minutes north on Main St./route 1 and turn down Waldo Ave I believe, to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. There's a parking area and then you can walk the almost mile long jetty out to the Lighthouse (very wide and safe to walk). The views from here are stunning and you feel like you're out in the middle of Penobscot Bay (which you kinda are!). I highly recommend doing this if you have the time and inclination and the weather is great.

Before you go, you could stop at the Brown Bag (just north of town right on route 1, on the left and on the way to the lighthouse)and get a take out lunch. They offer the best turkey sandwich I've ever had. Its called the 'Gobbler' and its fresh, sliced right off the bird turkey meat, stuffing, cranberry sauce w/a tiny bit of mayo and lettuce on thick, homemade/fresh bread. Yum!!! Their desserts are out of this world too...

From the lighthouse, get back on route 1 and head to Camden. Great strolling in Camden, nice little waterfront park w/wonderful views, lots of shops/restaurants/galleries too. Just north of downtown is Mt. Battie where you can drive to the top. The views are spectacular and well worth the $3.00 per person entry fee they are now charging. It looks out to Penobscot Bay, zillions of islands and open ocean to the east and then to lakes and mountains, village commonds w/white steepled churches to the west.

Again, you could do all of the above in one day if you get up and out early, say 7 or 7:30 and schedule yourself and be back in Portland by dark.

If the mountains are important, definitely head to the North Conway, NH area from Portland. Its only about an hour's drive (I just made the trip last Fall and it was lovely). You could stroll downtown and then do the 45 minutes or so drive (depending on traffic and how fast you drive) on the Kangamangous Highway. There are lovely views everywhere and plenty of places to pull the car over, walk around and drink in the vistas.

Hope I haven't confused you more, but I do alot of daytrips and driving on a regular basis and have been to all the places you mentioned wanting to tour and its definitely doable. But if you're the type that doesn't transition well and end up lingering far longer than planned, then it might be tough to stick to a planned itenarary. And with the coast of Maine being so beautiful its hard not to want to linger and not push forward! If you have the discipline, it would be a great trip to explore and see where you might want to come back and spend more time in the future :).

Good luck and please post back about your trip!

cozyharbor

NewEngland
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16. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

You could drive into the Lakes Region of NH for some beautiful scenery, maybe do a lake cruise, without having to drive a great distance.

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

Sorry, but unless one is driving 100 miles per hour,there is no way to get from Portland to Camden in 2 hours , not to mention the traffic that time of year. I agree with those who say you're biting off more than you can chew .....

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

Insideguy,

I beg to differ. I live in Boothbay Harbor and drive to Camden/Rockland and Portland all the time. In fact I've been attending a lecture series at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland weekly for the last 8 weeks and have the time and mileage down pat.

Anyway, it takes me at the most 1 hour 15 minutes to drive to South Portland and that includes traffic at 5pm.

It takes an hour, maybe an hour and 10 minutes if construction and traffic to drive to the Rockland/Camden area. That equals about a 2 hour 15 minute drive tops between Portland and Camden, possibly even less. And that's driving the speed limit (well maybe 5 or 10 mph above, lol).

I've lived in this area for almost 30 years and know my way around. Are you sure you're not confusing other towns in your estimates?

cozyharbor

less.

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

As the OP, I suppose I should point out that I made the original post two years ago. I guess nobody noticed the 2 year gap about 5 posts above.

Anyway, for closure, I suppose I should tell you that we did not take the driving tour into NH/VT. IIRC, our day trip to Bath/Boothbay/Rockport/Camden turned into: 1) a brief stop at Freeport to revisit a few shops (we'd spent plenty of time the previous day in Freeport), 2) arrival in Wiscasset around 11:30 to queue up for great lobster rolls at Red's Eats, 3) late afternoon arrival in Camden and several hours exploring this lovely town until nearly dark, 4) a long ride back to Portland arriving at our hotel around 10 - a great day.

Other days on the trip took in Cape Elizabeth and the Portland Head lighthouse (and the lobster place there), Old Orchard Beach, Kennebunkport, lots of time in Freeport and LL Bean, including a trip to Haraseekets for more lobster. We also walked the Marginal Way at Olgunquit on the trip up from Boston, explored the old Portland downtown, and ate blueberry pancakes at Becky's.

We had a great time, and plan another trip soon. It's a lovely area.

20. Re: VT-NH day trip from Portland?

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