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OT Totally Boston and New England

 
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OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 9:05:31 AM   
Roger Neilson 3


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Please ignore this has nothing to do with AE.

Last year we did a trans USA tour and forumites were kind to offer ideas and more to us. We are now in a state of planning for a trip to Boston, then drive up the coat to Bangor, then across to the White Mountain National Forest, down to Cape Cod and back to Boston. We are not into Malls and other such rubbish, but want to appreciate the land, the wildlife, and anything historical and have a leisurely 2+ weeks.

So, anyone who is in those areas got any 'must sees' or avoids, or any other recommendations? In particular what's the driving going to be like? Its myself and wife so its not about military stuff, though something really good I might be able to exercise a bit of persuasion.

Roger

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 11:05:41 AM   
LoBaron


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Ahhh, memories! On of my most memorable vacations, travelling from Boston North through Maine. Such a wonderful
countryside, difficult to reccommend anything specific, driving along the coast was a special experience in itself.

What we enjoyed immensely was a trip to Bar Harbor located in Arcadia National Park. The scenery is so peaceful and the Lobster was
really tasty.

Take your time visiting Boston as well, it is a beautiful city!

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 11:07:23 AM   
janh

 

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White Mountains is awesome. Try to make Bretton Woods, and with some luck (weather) get an impressive view of Mt. Washington. When I was there, we arrived at Bretton Woods in the later afternoon and sundown and Indian Summer made up for some nice scenes.

Cape Cod is worth taking time driving through and stopping at plenty of small fishing villages, light houses (Edward Hopper...), and beaches. Very beautiful landscape, I understand immediately why JF and family had homes there. Providence, though, was not as impressive as the rest of the Cape. Some holds true for Salem, Gloucester and its Cape north of Boston (Rockport is worth a visit, too).

Boston has some nice corners as well, and quite a bit of history. The Freedom trail, takes about half a day or a little more, links some of it in a convenient fashion and guides thru the old. Boston as has some great Burger places, and lots of great bars. There are whale watching tours from the habor, which take some 3 hours if I recall correctly -- good family fun, I would guess. A bit Northeast of Boston is an old battle site and a wandering trail between Lexington and Concord, where the British took a beating from American militia at the outset of the revolution. At this time of the year the walk is probably quite beautiful, and it also links some historical sites and tells some interesting stories. If it's sunny out, I recommend to do it. There is some historical mansions of writers and poets (e.g. Hawthorne) to see in Concord as well. The catch is the trail isn't very short. Maybe 3-4h walking with a good pace, but usually longer.

Have fun!

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 2:36:44 PM   
bjmorgan


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As a Texan, I say avoid the northeast altogether.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 2:57:37 PM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bjmorgan

As a Texan, I say avoid the northeast altogether.


As an Austrian I very respectfully disagree.

Thats from my Maine album collection.



< Message edited by LoBaron -- 9/28/2012 3:02:44 PM >


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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 5:20:08 PM   
Chickenboy


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Hi Roger,

You may want to PM AW1Steve. He's busy with some house guests right now, but I know he'd be happy to give you some ideas about NE travel / sightseeing. He considers Maine and the NE his hereditary home and would be a good source of knowledge for you.

Cheers-and wishes for a great trip.



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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 5:23:20 PM   
geofflambert


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Good timing, Maine is a flipping zoo during the summer.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 7:50:10 PM   
Panther Bait


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Roger,

I've lived in the New Hampshire and Massachusetts all my life, and I don't think you could pick a better place to visit.  Some of my thoughts on your various destinations:

Boston:  Park the car someplace accessible on the outskirts and spend the day walking the city.  Driving in Boston is enough to drive even the experienced person insane at times.  The Public Gardens/Boston Common, Copley Square/Back Bay and Post Office Square (interesting architecture) are all nice.  Faneuil Hall and the new greenspaces over the Central Artery Tunnel (Rose Kennedy Greenway) are great places to walk as well.  Old Ironsides isn't far away.

Bangor: I'm less familiar with Bangor, but Bar Harbor/Arcadia is a beautiful place.  Plenty of Bed and Breakfast type places to stay there.  There's plenty of places along the coast that a beautiful.  Stay off the Interstates if you can and go up the coast highways like Route 1.  Lots of beautiful old mansions and seacost vistas in NH north of Hampton on Route 1.

White Mountains: I used to vacation here almost every year as a kid.  You can't go wrong in any of the major Notches (Franconia, Pinkham, Crawford) through the mountains for scenery.  Lots of mini-hikes available to various scenic places (falls, natural attractions, etc.).  Another very nice drive is the Kancamagus Highway from Woodstock to Conway.

Cape Cod: I've vacationed there a couple times.  Beaches are great, though they can get busy.  We've typically gone at off-peak time (just before Memorial Day or just after Labor Day) when they are much more reasonable.  Driving just about anywhere along the coastal roads can lead you to a scenic vista at any time.

Historical interest: Most of those areas are going to be in and around Boston (Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides, Freedom Trail, etc.).  Without heading further west towards the Hudson River (Bennington, VT/Saratoga/Fort Ticonderoga/etc.), the historical attactractions are spread out and hard to hit without a specific interest. OF a Naval theme, my family recently went to the USS Albacore Museum in Portsmouth, NH.  The Albacore was an experimental sub that was used to develop a lot of the features of modern day subs, like the teardrop hull shape.  It's a small place, but interesting if you like subs.  Fairly easy to get to from Route 95.

Mike

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 8:31:38 PM   
Icedawg


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My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Boston. We went whale watching and visited the aquarium, hit some of the historic sites and above all, went to Fenway to catch a game. Alas, the good guys lost and the evil empire (AKA Yankees) won, but it was still great to watch a game in the most historic ballpark in MLB. If you don't catch a game, they still give tours of the park on off days - if you're into baseball, it's a must do if you're going to be there.

Restaurant recommendation - The Black Rose (a block or two away from Quincy Market) - GREAT food, reasonable prices and casual atmosphere.

Lodging recommendation - The Yankee Clipper - a really nice B&B just north of town. There's a T station just a short drive from it, so you can drop off your car and take the T into town for the day. Reasonably priced too (around $200 per night). Avoid the hotels in town at all cost. If you're a millionaire, then by all means stay in one, but those of us who work for a living find the $600 per night to be a bit pricey.

There's this tourism/promotion thingey called the "Boston Go Card". You pay one price and it gets you into most of the major attractions in the city - well worth the cost.

Above all, DO NOT DRIVE IN THE CITY. Use the T. It's clean, efficient, on-time and it gets you to just about any major attraction in the city.

You'll have a great time. Boston is the most awesome place to visit. My wife and I spent almost two weeks there on our honeymoon and can't wait to go back again for our 5th anniversary next year. There's lots to see, the people are extremely friendly and for a city its size, it is remarkably clean.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 9:56:17 PM   
Panther Bait


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Also forgot to mention, if you think the wife will agree, Battleship Cove is not very far away from either Cape Cod or Boston in Fall River, Massachusetts (maybe 90 minutes).  USS Massachusetts is there, DD850 (Gearing Class),USS Lionfish (Balao Class), PT Boats, plus an ex-East German Tarantul I corvette 

Mike

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 10:32:42 PM   
US87891

 

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A "must see".

My most memorable trip to Maine was to the Penobscot Bay region, just south of Bangor. Bangor is inland and not so much fun. Maybe you want Bar Harbor? There is a town, Camden, that has a fleet of two-masted schooners that take people for day trips along the coast. Then go up US-1 to those little towns you saw, like Castine, Blue Hill, Sedgewick, and gorge yourself on fresh lobsters, and the most picturesque part of America I ever saw.

This part of Maine, and America, frankly, is simply breathtaking. Magnificent scenery. Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, and Acadia National Park are right across Blue Hill Bay. But hurry. There is a joke that says Maine has two seasons, winter and the 4th of July, but things do begin to shut down in months ending in “er”.

Places I liked best in Massachusetts, besides Boston, were the north shore towns, like Marblehead, Salem, Gloucester, Rockport and Newburyport. Picturesque, and full of history.

Cape Cod was like Key West with a Boston accent.


< Message edited by US87891 -- 9/28/2012 10:35:34 PM >

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/28/2012 11:36:57 PM   
US87891

 

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It looks just like this. Hand on my heart and hope to die if not true.




Penobscot Bay is the fjords of Norway writ very small. Deep water, rocky coast, trees. And every hamlet has a hundred, or more, lobster bouys right outside the channel marker, and every hamlet has a lobster pound for the catch.

What they do is have a 55 gallon drum of water boiling out the back, for visitors. You pick your lobster from the bins. The bins are by size. You choose your lobster and they whip it into a net bag and flip it into the boiling water for 1 minute, 30 seconds. Everybody overcooks lobster. It should be boiled rare. That’s what makes it sweet and tender.

Locals usually have some corn-on-the-cob they can fire up and they know how to do chips. You may have to choke down a shredded cabbage/ carrot thing with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette dressing, we call cole slaw. It’s quite good actually, when done right.

Would love to hear of your trip.

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< Message edited by US87891 -- 9/28/2012 11:38:41 PM >

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/29/2012 2:23:49 AM   
ctangus


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A lot of good suggestions above. I'm a 20+ year resident of Boston so I'll chime in with a little more detail.

I always recommend visitors to Boston take a "Duck Tour" early. It's a 90 minute ride on a DUKW around the streets of Boston and the Charles River. It orients you to the city, may give you some ideas of places you'd like to see and from the river you get some great views of both Boston & Cambridge. I should note: the tours are a little corny, but fun. They also don't operate in the colder months of the year. Think the last tour is in Oct or (maybe) Nov.

The Museum of Fine Arts is a MUST see IMO. Like any such museum it has a nice collection of Rembrandt's, etc. Which are worth seeing. What really makes it special is its unmatched collection of US colonial era pieces. There's everything from Paul Revere silver to (my favorite) an amazing portrait gallery of American founding fathers. I knew the portraits from history books but seeing the originals is impressive. The museum also recently added an "Art of the Americas" wing. I haven't seen it yet, but have heard good things about it.

Around the corner from the MFA is the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. It's an eclectic collection of wicked cool art amassed by a private individual. The museum gained a little notoriety a decade or two ago when it was subject to a still unsolved robbery. Great art, beautiful courtyard, definitely worth a see.

The USS Constitution is another must see. It's, by 100+ years, the oldest active navy ship in the world. It served against the Barbary Pirates and in the War of 1812 & still sails occasionally. Not sure why the USN still mans it, but I certainly enjoy it. There are two lines when you want to visit - with or without a tour. The with a tour line always has a long wait but is worth it.

Just across the navy yard is DD-793 USS Cassin Young. (Honey, it's just a few steps away, it will only take a minute.... ) Named for the captain of CA San Francisco, who lost his life (but not his ship) at Guadalcanal, it's a Fletcher class destroyer. It survived not one, but two kamikaze hits. There's a plaque on the starboard side honoring the dead where the second kami hit - it's hard to find appropriate words - can something be both chilling and awesome?

As mentioned above the Freedom Trail is a good bet. New England Aquarium is great. Folks in Chicago might argue that Shedd Aquarium is better but I beg to differ. Trinity Church (Episcopalian) in Copley Square has some amazing architecture and I believe they still do tours. Lexington/Concord is defnitely an interesting visit. So much more....

The trip up to Maine is always nice. Particularly this time of year. Great foliage - If you catch it right in the autumn, as you drive north you can see the seasons turn with every mile. Great views from the coast road too. (Route 9 IIRC.) Before you get to Bangor check out Portland - particularly the "Old Port" as the natives there call it. Hard to describe but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

BB Massachusetts, as mentioned above, is in Fall River. That's only 20-30 minutes from the entrance to Cape Cod. If you want to visit I'd suggest scheduling it just before or after your Cape Cod visit.

PM me if you want & I can give you hotel suggestions, restaurant suggestions, etc. at least for Boston.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/29/2012 10:27:42 AM   
Roger Neilson 3


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What a great bunch of helpful suggestions. Plans are firming up as follows, again because I have marked this as OT I hope others don't mind me extending this.

Travel at the very start of May 2013.

Spend 4 nights in Boston, then drive up coast to Kennebunkport 2 nights, then up to Bar Harbor 3 nights (plan changed due to your feedback guys), then across to Bethel 2 nights, then near Franconia 2 nights, then Franklin 2 nights, then Newport 2 nights, then Hyannis 2 nights, then Bpston 2 nights then home.

Looks like we avoid the busy season and public holidays this way. This gives us a 21 day holiday.

Questions -

1. Are any of these stays not worth the time spent - its giving us a full day at the location - are we going to regret wasting time at any of these places?
2. The drive through the White Mountains using I93 - is this road a good one, no nasty sheer drops or anything?

Thanks for all the ideas.



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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/29/2012 12:12:28 PM   
Skyros


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Don't forget Lexington and Cocord, Bunker hill. I love the fried clams.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/29/2012 12:23:27 PM   
LoBaron


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Roger, Bar Harbor for 3 nights might be a bit much, except if you want to use it as base for exploring the coast. Arcadia National Park is small, only 5-6miles across.

Wonder if somebody can reccommend anything better, we spent a couple of nights in Bangor from where we also made
our one day trip to Bar Harbor. Not sure but I think it was better suited as a base for exploring the area than Bar Harbor would be.


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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 9/29/2012 4:30:09 PM   
Roger Neilson 3


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Ok that's useful to know. The place we have found in Bar Harbour is relatively cheap so it may well work as a base anyway. But if others say there's something I am missing and we need to reallocate a day here and there then its still in the planning stage.

It is working out significantly cheaper than getting an agent to do all the work for me.....and its fun to do it yourself.

OTOH its once in a lifetime trip there so I want it tio work as well as possible.

Last year we did the trans America via Amtrak to San Fran - wow that was great.

Roger

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 3:19:09 PM   
AW1Steve


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Rodger I have to concur with all of these suggestions. I'd also suggest possible stops if you need food,drink or touristy trinkets,. Kennebunkport Maine. A neat little town with lots of all of the above. It's quirky, and fun. And most of the "summer people" as well as the tourists should be gone. Summer people are RICH "people from away" , who own property , visit occassionaly, and think themselves "Lord of the Manor". Fortunately all these celebrities and politicians should be elsewhere , so you can enjoy some seafood and an excellent local brew . (Try Federal Jacks...it was set up by a countryman of yours from Hampshire and serves excellent English style Ales!).

Further up the coast is Portland, a small city (60k+) that's Maine's largest. Pretty for a city, it contains the "Old Port" which has similar charm to "K-port" on a bigger scale.The view from the "Portland Observatory" is marvelous. It's from it's top that a teenage Henry Wardsworth Longfellow gave a "play-by-play" description of "The battle of Casco Bay" (the fight between USS Enterprise and HMS Boxer. Both Captains are buried nearby , side by side in Monjoy hill cememtary). Longfellow later wrote his poem "The Wind's Will" based upon the fight.

BTW , one place in Boston that takes in most of Boston's history is "The Freedom Trail". It cover most of the highlights and ends with the USS Constitution. Then you can take a water-taxi over to The aquarium, Faneuil Hall , and the "North End" , Boston's "Little Italy".

I'll try and add to the list as I think of other attractions.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 4:41:20 PM   
Roger Neilson 3


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Thanks for your comments. Looks like we have amended the plans to take into account your feedback folks. I have also found Google maps and street view very useful indeed in 'seeing' where we are going. Even 'drove' the highway through the White Mountains park on it.

Really looking forward to this next year, should be great.



Roger




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< Message edited by Roger Neilson 3 -- 10/1/2012 4:45:59 PM >


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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 5:04:15 PM   
Canoerebel


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Roger,

My family did that journey a few years back. As die-hard southerners, that was almost foreign territory for us. We had a blast and did a great deal. A few comments to follow up on others:

1. We were very happy to stay four nights at Acadia National Park (near Bar Harbor). IMO, three nights will be good for you assuming you enjoy the outdoors. A tremendously fun thing to do is to hike the Beehive Trail. You'll think I'm nuts when you get up there, but trust me (as a person with a deathly fear of heights) it's a blast. It's also very short - just 3/4s of a mile - but spectacular. You will never forget the Beehive. Other good hikes - Great Head, The Bubbles, and, if the Beehive merely whets your appetite, there's a longer hike that begins with a "P" (may the Precipice?), but I forget the name now. There's also whale watching aplenty out of bar harbor - lots of fun.

2. The woods in interior Maine and upper New England in May should still be very wet and muddy, so hiking may be a problem this early in the year. You can try Mount Katahdin in upper Maine - that's the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and a very scenic and memorably hike.

3. The drive from Boston to Bar Harbor is exquisite. Get out a road map and choose some of the byways rather than the main highways or interstate highways. Lots of pretty countryside and small towns.

4. You might really enjoy Bath, New Hampshire, which is on the Vermont line. Very old country store and scenic covered bridge.

Have fun! Tell all the Yankees hello for us!

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 5:19:12 PM   
LoBaron


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Thats a really nice route, Roger. I wish you a wonderful trip!

Do post pictures when you´re back, that stuff can never be too OT...

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 6:38:44 PM   
tocaff


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As you're passing New Bedford you might want to visit the whaling museum. There was a great sea food eatery a block or 2 from it. The seafood chowder was great and I had some Sam Adams Wheat beer on tap. Fond memories from about 20 years ago.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/1/2012 10:52:42 PM   
Kull


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Glad to see you added Newport to the list. The mansions are absolutely worth it, and the area is beautiful anyway.

Edit: Just one note of caution. That's a lot of traveling. Sometimes it's better to just pick a smaller number of more diverse places, and take your time exploring them. For example, you could blow a week in Boston, easy, and still miss a LOT of "must-sees". The marathon vacation can be fun too (you know your style better than I), but the kind of itinerary where you need a vacation to recover from your vacation is something to think about.

< Message edited by Kull -- 10/1/2012 10:58:57 PM >


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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 2:42:09 AM   
Panther Bait


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Roger,

I93 is very easy drive. Gentle slopes and more or less at grade all the way through. It's also very well maintained. Two wide lanes in most places, except the state park, which drops down to one lane at 40-45 mph.

They are doing some repaving and replacing guardrails in Franconia State Park right now, but that should be done by next spring.

Mike

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 3:35:26 AM   
Q-Ball


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Roger: If you are going to drive to Cape Cod, go further than Hyannis. I summer on the Cape every year, and Hyannis is basically a suburb of Boston. No fun.

Go to the National Seashore; great hiking. Also the Mass Audobon society in S. Wellfleet. PB Boulangerie on Rte 6 in South Wellfleet is the best French restaurant outside of France, not kidding. And Wellfleet Oyster fest is in October, not sure which weekend; that is grand fun.

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 7:11:20 AM   
Roger Neilson 3


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kull

Glad to see you added Newport to the list. The mansions are absolutely worth it, and the area is beautiful anyway.

Edit: Just one note of caution. That's a lot of traveling. Sometimes it's better to just pick a smaller number of more diverse places, and take your time exploring them. For example, you could blow a week in Boston, easy, and still miss a LOT of "must-sees". The marathon vacation can be fun too (you know your style better than I), but the kind of itinerary where you need a vacation to recover from your vacation is something to think about.


I know what you mean, aiming to stay at one or two places for longer, most travel in any day is 150 miles - your roads aree asy compared to over here. Its a problem - only time we will ever visit area so want to see as much as we can in three weeks - hence the travel.

Last year we did New York - fly to Chicago - Amtrak to Denver - Amtrak to San Fran.... brilliant holiday for seeing things - and as we are retired we can rest up at home!

Roger

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RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 7:13:00 AM   
Roger Neilson 3


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball

Roger: If you are going to drive to Cape Cod, go further than Hyannis. I summer on the Cape every year, and Hyannis is basically a suburb of Boston. No fun.

Go to the National Seashore; great hiking. Also the Mass Audobon society in S. Wellfleet. PB Boulangerie on Rte 6 in South Wellfleet is the best French restaurant outside of France, not kidding. And Wellfleet Oyster fest is in October, not sure which weekend; that is grand fun.



Just using Hyannis as our first day 'hop' en route tot the rest of the northern shores at Camden mainly.

Roger


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Post #: 27
RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 7:14:04 AM   
Roger Neilson 3


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Joined: 4/12/2012
From: Bedlington, Northumberland, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panther Bait

Roger,

I93 is very easy drive. Gentle slopes and more or less at grade all the way through. It's also very well maintained. Two wide lanes in most places, except the state park, which drops down to one lane at 40-45 mph.

They are doing some repaving and replacing guardrails in Franconia State Park right now, but that should be done by next spring.

Mike


I 'drove' the route at the weekend using Google Street View..... not a nasty cliff edge in sight! Lol

Roger

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(in reply to Panther Bait)
Post #: 28
RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 3:40:24 PM   
AW1Steve


Posts: 12872
Joined: 3/10/2007
From: ME-FL-DC-GM-WA-NE-IL ?
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Roger Neilson 3


quote:

ORIGINAL: Panther Bait

Roger,

I93 is very easy drive. Gentle slopes and more or less at grade all the way through. It's also very well maintained. Two wide lanes in most places, except the state park, which drops down to one lane at 40-45 mph.

They are doing some repaving and replacing guardrails in Franconia State Park right now, but that should be done by next spring.

Mike


I 'drove' the route at the weekend using Google Street View..... not a nasty cliff edge in sight! Lol

Roger



But as any true bound New England Yankee (Or "Downeaster" in my case) will tell you, "You can't get there from here!", And that's doubly true with Google street view. All of the cliffs are hidden!

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"Geezerhood is a state of mind, attained by being largely out of yours". AW1Steve

"Quit whining and play the game. Or go home". My 7th grade baseball coach. It applies well to WITP AE players.

(in reply to Roger Neilson 3)
Post #: 29
RE: OT Totally Boston and New England - 10/2/2012 8:51:09 PM   
MBF

 

Posts: 40
Joined: 3/25/2008
Status: offline
Make sure to hit Fort Knox in Bucksport, Maine - its an old granite fort overlooking the Penobscot River and is a magical place that I have visited since my youth.

As for Kennebunkport - it is a fun tourist trap town - the ol' saying about a fishing village with a drinking problem. Federal Jacks has nice ale I am told - and the food can be decent for the price compared to the other places in town. Mostly pub fare. If you are inclined for organic local grown beef/produce/etc. - another restaurant - 50 Local - in Kennebunk (just up the road apeice - about 5 miles) - serves a wonderful steak - the best in the state these days.

Also - if you are looking for a little "excitement" - there is some very good white water rafting in north west Maine - friends of mine own a rafting company. (It sounds dangerous but really isn't- I'm 53 and have gone approx 150 times over the last 15 years)

(in reply to AW1Steve)
Post #: 30
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