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Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

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NSW
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Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

Hello everyone!

My husband and I are planning a trip to Boston from 3-8 October 2013. We will be staying at the XV Beacon, and like most tourists, I am dreaming of the fall foliage!

I have searched the forum posts for tips and advice about possible day trips out of the city, and have come up with two options:

1. Do an AllBostonTours fall foliage day trip. Has anyone done one of these, or heard anything about them?

2. Hire a car for the day and drive ourselves.

In Australia, we drive on the opposite side of the road. My husband has driven in Mississippi and Lousiana, but not in cities where there is lots of traffic. I imagine once we are out of Boston it will be OK, but it is just a matter of getting out of Boston!

I would be most grateful for your thoughts on the best options for planning. If you believe the car option is the way to go, could I please ask:

Would there be a quieter location you would suggest picking up a hire car?

Where would you suggest we drive for the day? I have seen a lot of posts that recommend the White Mountains. I would love to see Concord, but Vermont looks stunning too. Is that too far to go?

And could anyone suggest a scenic route that passes through a lot of cute New England towns? I love the scenery, but I also love the architecture and history

I know there are a lot of questions there, and I thank you in advance for any help!

Edited: 7:02 pm, November 01, 2012
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1. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

I'd suggest driving North to the White Mountains and perhaps spending a night (be sure to get a reservation). And .. believe it or not, I think the easiest place to get a car if you are concerned about driving on the right would be the airport because the roads you need to drive on to get out of the airport are all one way, leading to divided highways.... only "one side" to drive on there.

Boston
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2. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

Yes. And for that early, you'll have to go fairly far north, so the White or Green Mountains in NH and Vermont, respectively, make sense. Renting a car IS, by the way, the best plan for doing that. And spending a night or two up north would be great as well.

Edited: 7:53 pm, November 01, 2012
Boston...
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3. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

I second the previous recommendations. I would suggest driving to Burlington VT. It's about a 4 hour drive. It's a really cute college town, lots of live music, bars, art and shopping. You can take a boat tour on Lake Champlain. I would definitely spend the night there.

NSW
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4. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

Thank you so much for your responses - I really appreciate it.

The idea to pick up the car from the Airport is a great one! We did that in Louisiana 14 years ago, and it was easier than trying to drive through New Orleans.

Is there a particular highway we should follow, or a particular route we should take? Is it possible to include Concord and Lexington in this tour? I am thinking a weekday would be better in terms of traffic.

Could I also ask how many hours the White Mountains are from Boston?

Thanks again for your help.

Boston
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5. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

I think it is about a 3 hour trip heading up 93 North. I would go north first then when heading back to Boston stop off in Concord and Lexington before returning your rental car.

A helpful website for fall foliage: yankeefoliage.com. Also, the Mass Vacations website: http://www.massvacation.com/fallfoliage/

NSW
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6. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

Thanks so much for all this information. My husband and I have been discussing our options based on your fantastic advice. We are only spending 4 days in Boston, and so a road trip around New England may have to be saved for next trip. We were thinking of hiring a car from Logan Airport and then driving up through Lexington and Concord first. Is there a shorter drive we could do from here that would allow us to see some of the pretty countryside? I am worried that three hours to the White Mountains and back to Concord may be a little rushed in a day.

Thanks again for your help!

Winchester...
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7. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

Lexington and Concord are an easy day trip from Boston, best done by car. From the airport you would take the "Mass PIke" (route 90) to route 128/Interstate 95 - and then north to Lexington and Concord. Until you actually get off the highway in Lexington it's all major highway driving and so relatively easy to manage on the wrong side of the road. If you do this on the weekend or in late morning, early afternoon you can avoid traffic on 128.

I've only driven once on the "wrong side of the road" (despite having been to Australia, Japan and the UK) and that was one night in Melbourne when I had to wrestle the keys from my intoxicated driver who then proceeded to yank on the emergency brake every time we drove past a pub. I sympathize with your apprehension. :-)

I meant to add that I have taken friends from Oz around Lexington and Concord and they find it very interesting. There is a nice, small visitor's center in Lincoln on Route 2A (the "battle road") that has a simple multimedia introduction to the events. It's only I guess about 45 minutes from the airport.

Edited: 9:26 am, November 02, 2012
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8. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

The suggestions so far a great...but, as an alternative, maybe take the train (Amtrak's Downeaster from Boston's NORTH Station) to Portland, Maine and rent a car there? Tour Maine, maybe Arcadia National Park and Bar Harbor and return the rental with a train back to Boston? Maine in that area should be at or near peak color. Stay overnight and be sure to have a reservation.

You'd have to do a bit of investigation on renting in Portland. I'd be a bit leery of renting a car at Logan Airport in Boston. Getting out of the airport to the interstate can be a challenge, though clearly no too difficult.

BE sure you check Portland MAINE...the auto suggestion keeps turning up Portland, Oregon...a mere 3000 miles away

Edited: 9:34 am, November 02, 2012
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9. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

If you don't have the 4 hours to drive, I'd recommend either Newport, RI or Portsmouth, NH for coastal new england charm.

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10. Re: Australian couple.... thinking about day trips from Boston

I would highly recommend driving up the north shore for the day and visiting some of the charming towns such as Gloucester, Rockport, Newburyport (visit nearby Plum Island if weather is decent). Lots of neat mariner history, neat shops, restaurants etc. Great picture taking.

This is one of the most famous iconic Rockport, MA pictures :

…flickr.com/3188/2426650998_9f377c6050.jpg

You can take a scenic route to get there and a faster route to get back to Boston later that day.

hope that helps, Jo

Edited: 11:03 am, November 02, 2012