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  1. #1

    Default Driving in the Northeast (ME, NH, MA)

    I just returned from a 4-day, 760 mile, roadtrip to Bangor ME using Boston MA as a hub. The roadtrip as a whole was great, but there were a lot of difficult miles.

    Due to poor planning, I was stuck taking the rental car into downtown Boston. Purely by accident we ended up parking at the Boston Commons (expensive, but a great location for wandering Boston and catching the Freedom Trail). I ran a red light while driving to the Commons via Chinatown. I found the drive from the Boston Commons to Logan Airport (10 miles?) a harrowing experience.

    The little towns of Maine were amazingly crowded. We got lucky with respect to Acadia National Park and encountered few visitors, but we were awed by the crowds in Bar Harbor. Driving the rotaries in Augusta, ME, should be avoided by
    the faint of heart. I also learned that roundabouts are difficult when on foot.

    We wanted to visit Portsmouth, NH, but it was more crowded than a Phoenix freeway during rush hour.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Traffic?

    Driving in New England is a learned art, that's for sure, and Boston doubly so. The I-95 corridor is not for those that wish to stay in a "comfort zone".

    This is the peak tourist time of year for the area, and it is not surprising that you found large crowds in Bar Harbor and elsewhere in Maine. It is amazing how much the population in that area grows for the three short months of Summer.

    Now, I'd really like to hear about the trip!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default Boston Driving- Scary

    The rotary or traffic circle by Logan Airport is probably the most-scared I'ver ever been. The other drivers didn't seem to be keen on taking prisoners.

    I don't know how it is now, but I don't know if I've ever seen more one way streets and even deadends. I know that Big Dig was going on and was partly responsible for this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default I can top that!

    Quote Originally Posted by RoadDog View Post
    The other drivers didn't seem to be keen on taking prisoners.
    I picked up a pal at Logan in the Phoenix One at the start of Labor Day weekend and then attempted to enter the toll gates to head back to Boston. But I was in a vehicle with dreaded propane.... The toll folks refused to allow entry and so I had to back up and cross all 25 inbound lanes with hundreds of angry motorists who loudly expressed their disdain for the manuever. It was an interesting moment....

    Another time in Cambridge I couldn't figure out how to get where I was going without some low clearance bridges -- so after about the fifth circuit -- I popped it into 4-WD and drove a couple of curbs and down the sidewalk to reach the street I wanted....

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Seacoast, New Hampshire
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Thurman View Post
    We wanted to visit Portsmouth, NH, but it was more crowded than a Phoenix freeway during rush hour.
    Really? I live here and find it rather accessible, and certainly easier to maneuver in than Boston. It is a very old city, many one-ways and roundabouts, and very pedestrian oriented, so if you are looking to spend some time downtown, it is best to park in the garage (well-marked) and walk. Lots of great shops and restaurants (especially seafood).

  6. #6

    Default Thanks for the Portsmouth Insider Info

    Quote Originally Posted by lnewman View Post
    Really? I live here and find it rather accessible, and certainly easier to maneuver in than Boston. It is a very old city, many one-ways and roundabouts, and very pedestrian oriented, so if you are looking to spend some time downtown, it is best to park in the garage (well-marked) and walk. Lots of great shops and restaurants (especially seafood).
    Not visiting Portsmouth was a downer for us. It will be great fun when we visit it on a follow-up roadtrip. When would you visit Portsmouth?

    I should not have commented about Portsmouth because I didn't give it a chance. We took a red-eye from Phoenix to Boston. By 6:30am we were having breakfast at the Salem Diner and we ended-up spending lots of time in Salem. The drive through Manchester-by-the-Sea to Gloucester to Rockport took a long, long, time and the places were crowded with long lines of traffic. By the time we got to Portsmouth, time didn't allow for a lengthy visit and I knew a short visit would have left us hungry for more. If we had driven non-stop from Boston to Portsmouth, then we would have visited Portsmouth for a few hours.

    Speaking of seafood... I had a total for four lobster rolls on a 4-day roadtrip. We had one lobster roll every 190 miles.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Portsmouth, N.H.

    I, too, must take exception to your characterization of Portsmouth. It is a shame that you hit it at a time when the traffic precluded you from getting in and experiencing this great small city. Now, I am prejudiced just a bit. I first saw Portsmouth in 1972, when some people I had met in Philadelphia invited me up for a weekend. I was so taken by it that I stayed over to Monday, applied for a job, and moved up two weeks later. In the dozen or so years that I lived in the area, living in Newington and York, and working in Portsmouth, I never once regretted that decision. As Laura points out, Portsmouth is a great walking city. Within just a few blocks, you can experience the small, but thriving waterfront commercial district along Ceres Street, downtown's Market Square, a gorgeous garden and arts venue at Prescott Park, and the historic Strawbery Banke. Nearby are more beautiful, quiet towns such as New Castle and York, ME as well as great, old-fashioned lobster restaurants such as Newick's on Dover Point and Warren's on Badger's Island. Yes, you'll need to devote more than a quick hour's look-see to Portsmouth, but you will be well rewarded. As for the best time to see it, I recommend September, after the summer crowd has left and before the leaf-peepers descend. Those first few sharply cool but sunny fall days are perfect.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Seacoast, New Hampshire
    Posts
    20

    Default Lobstah rolls!

    Glad you got them! I can't think of anyone who has visited the New England coast and hasn't had at least one.

    AZBuck had some great pointers. I might add that if you're in town for breakfast you should try (assuming it is still open, occasionally you hear rumors) the Friendly Toast right downtown. On a Sunday morning there is a line right outside the door. Great food, fun decor (every 50s era art reject, elementary school project, and advertising gimmick can be found on the walls). A lot of the food on the menu is local; the restaurant bakes its own bread, which is a meal in itself. They are also very vegetarian friendly. Patrons may be wearing last nights' party outfit or their pajamas. It is open from Friday morning all the way through Sunday evening, and they can be quite busy even at 2:30 AM. It is also open weekday mornings.

    Our last meal there was a hoot. The gentlemen behind us were obviously well sloshed and just asked the waiter for "the same thing they had when they were there eight hours ago".

    Laura

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