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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Roadtrip #5 Preview: The NorthEast

    It's getting to be that time again. The folks and myself are gearing up for our 4th (and my 5th) annual roadtrip. We've spent a great deal of time in the western half of the US, but it's time to change it up and hit the East Coast this time.

    Thanks to an excellent package deal purchased earlier this year, we're all flying into D.C. and renting a minivan, using that to drive our de facto counter-clockwise trek around the New England states during peak foliage season, visiting a plethora of state capitals (and their capitol buildings), the usual major cities, as well as a few National Parks and Monuments.

    Of our 14-day excursion, the majority of our "on the road" time will be done in the 2nd week. I'll be renting a toll transponder with the van so I don't have to deal with toll booths, since I'm not going to bother trying to avoid tolls this time. I learned my lesson from the 48-state trip.

    We leave mid-October. Still finalizing a few things but here is our tentative itinerary:

    Day 0 - Travel Day (fly from LAX to DCA) and stay 3 nights in Arlington, VA
    Day 1 - Tour Washington, DC (Memorials, Capitol Building)
    Day 2 - Tour Washington, DC (Washington Monument, Smithsonian, etc.)
    Day 3 - Visit Annapolis, MD; Dover, DE; Philadelphia, PA (Independence Hall and Liberty Bell); Trenton, NJ; arrive in Red Bank, NJ and stay 3 nights
    Day 4 - Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments
    Day 5 - Lower Manhattan, New York, NY
    Day 6 - Upper Manhattan, New York, NY; arrive in West Haven, CT
    Day 7 - Hartford, CT; Kingston, RI; Providence, RI; arrive in Quincy, MA
    Day 8 - Boston, MA; arrive in Bangor, ME
    Day 9 - Acadia National Park, ME; Augusta, ME; Concord, NH; Bennington, VT; arrive in Albany, NY
    Day 10 - Niagara Falls, NY (and Canada); arrive in Pittsburgh, PA
    Day 11 - Seneca Rocks Recreation Area, WV; arrive in Cabins, WV
    Day 12 - Shenandoah National Park, VA; arrive in Arlington, VA
    Day 13 - Travel Day (fly from DCA to LAX)

    I've made up a Google Maps route for those who are visually oriented.

    I've dedicated 2 days each for DC and New York, even though I know it's still not enough, haha. The pace will be quickened after Boston, since our destinations are farther apart. Also trying to find a decent log cabin in West Virginia but most of them require a 2-night stay, which isn't feasible for us. Still working on this part.

    I welcome a suggestion of things to do for both days in New York, as well as any other fit-in side trips you think we may be able to squeeze in.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Looks good !

    Hi kinless,

    I am afraid I can't offer any suggestions but it looks as though you have another great trip lined up and I will look forward to the report.

  3. #3
    jerseyprincess Guest

    Default Just my two cents

    Hi Kinless,

    I can offer a few suggestions for this part of the world, based on your itinerary.
    In DC I would suggest the Spy Museum (very cool) and the Holocaust Museum (emotion but super interesting).
    I see you have Arlington at the end of your trip...go to Arlington Cemetery and visit the tomb of the unknown soldier and watch the Changing of the Guard. (Ultimate dedication, something I saw when I was a kid and I still think about often.)
    I live in Jersey and I would honestly tell you not to even waste your time in Trenton. Seriously. It's garbage. Red Bank, however, is one of my favorite places to hang out. Very downtown/artsy feel and it's right on the water. (Usually something going on at the waterfront.) I can give you much better suggestions, depending on what you wanna see.
    NYC-so much to see but if you only have one day...in October...Times Square, Central Park and The Empire State Building. My father in law works there and up until a few years ago I'd never been there. He took me and my husband to the top and I was absolutely blown away. (You can see where the towers [World Trade Center] were and there are all kind of plaques telling you about different landmarks and history.)
    In Rhode Island you should stop by Newport. The mansions are amazing and used to belong to people like the Rockefellers.
    While you are by the Falls in Canada, visit a little town called Niagara on the Lake. It's quaint, charming and has lots of little store and shops. I always enjoy going there.
    I hope this helps a little. I've been all over the east coast so if you need some more suggestions, let me know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If it's not too pricey for you, I recommend the Molly Pitcher Hotel in Red Bank. It's a charming old hotel on a bluff over the river.

    I grew up just across the river from Red Bank in River Plaza.

    I don't know if I'd call Trenton "garbage" but there's nothing in the city I'd recommend from a tourist standpoint other than maybe the statehouse and a baseball game. It is a somewhat gritty city. There is quite a bit of history in the surrounding area though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Great 411

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    I see you have Arlington at the end of your trip...go to Arlington Cemetery and visit the tomb of the unknown soldier and watch the Changing of the Guard. (Ultimate dedication, something I saw when I was a kid and I still think about often.)
    Thank you for this. I had heard about the changing of the guard, but didn't realize it was right there. We probably won't arrive back in Arlington on the last day until after the cemetery closes (5pm winter hours), but we are staying in Arlington for the first 3 days of the trip as well, so I'm going to try and fit this in during that time. Our hotel is on the north end of the cemetery (right across the street from the Iwo Jima/USMC War Memorial, so it's less than a mile's walk to the entrance. We'll either attempt this first thing in the morning, or if we're not tired, stop by after one of our DC outings via Metro.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    I live in Jersey and I would honestly tell you not to even waste your time in Trenton. Seriously. It's garbage.
    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    I don't know if I'd call Trenton "garbage" but there's nothing in the city I'd recommend from a tourist standpoint other than maybe the statehouse and a baseball game. It is a somewhat gritty city. There is quite a bit of history in the surrounding area though.
    The only reason I'm going to Trenton is to help fulfill my "50 state capitals" goal. I'm just taking a picture of the State House (and going inside briefly if possible). I probably won't be there more than an hour.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    Red Bank, however, is one of my favorite places to hang out. Very downtown/artsy feel and it's right on the water. (Usually something going on at the waterfront.)
    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If it's not too pricey for you, I recommend the Molly Pitcher Hotel in Red Bank. It's a charming old hotel on a bluff over the river.
    We're actually visiting one of mom's friends (from her high school days) in Red Bank. She was gracious enough to put up with us for 3 nights. Besides catching up on days gone by, we'll be taking her with us for our Liberty Island and Lower Manhattan day-outings. I'm pretty sure she'll take us to the waterfront during the evening when we go out to eat.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    In Rhode Island you should stop by Newport. The mansions are amazing and used to belong to people like the Rockefellers.
    Funny enough, you are the 2nd person to recommend Newport. Although we don't have it listed as an official stop, we plan on driving around that area for a bit (in between Kingston and Providence) to get in some mansion-gawking.

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    While you are by the Falls in Canada, visit a little town called Niagara on the Lake. It's quaint, charming and has lots of little store and shops. I always enjoy going there.
    Also something else I was unaware of. :) We were just planning on crossing Rainbow Bridge on foot to get better pictures of the falls. (We all renewed our passports, and also got the new Passport Cards so we don't have to take our books.) I suppose we could drive over and check it out. Niagara falls was the only thing on our itinerary for that day, although the drive from Albany to Pittsburgh may rush us a bit. I don't know how much any potential delays crossing the border would jeopardize our travel time. We'll have to play it by ear. Also, do we have to worry about currency exchange if we go? Or do they accept US dollars?

    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyprincess View Post
    I hope this helps a little. I've been all over the east coast so if you need some more suggestions, let me know.
    You've helped tremendously already. I appreciate it! :)

    Oh yes, and we were able to score a 1-night stay at the Harman Cottages in Cabins, WV. Our accommodations are complete now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default yes and no

    We'll have to play it by ear. Also, do we have to worry about currency exchange if we go? Or do they accept US dollars?
    You'll find almost every place in the Niagara Falls are will accept either currency, however, what you'll get as an exchange rate is another story. Often times you'll see a difference of 20% or more from what you could get by exchanging your money. If you are planning to make any purchase of any signficant value, I'd either exchange your money, or pay using plastic (which will usually have a service fee, but will typically give you the best exchange rate).

  7. #7
    jerseyprincess Guest

    Default Border

    I dont know what other people's experiences have been, but I've never waited more than 20 minutes to cross from New York into Canada. (Always less on the way back.) Although I didn't make it there this year, I've gone every year for the past 6 or 7 years.

    Anyway, have fun! You're trip sounds like so much fun. :o)

  8. #8

    Default

    "While you are by the Falls in Canada, visit a little town called Niagara on the Lake. It's quaint, charming and has lots of little store and shops. I always enjoy going there."

    I agree with the quote above, Niagara-on-the-lake is really nice and only 15 min from the falls.

    As for border times, it all depends. Many Canadian will be traveling into the US on Friday evening and Saturday morning and returning on Sunday evening on any given weekend. If your are planing to cross border at that time, expect long delay. I have waited up to 2 1/2 hours trying to get back into Canada on Sunday and up to an 1 1/2 trying to get into the US on Saturday morning.

    Here is a site which may be of some use. Site provides border crossing status for all crossings between Canada and the US. If you happen to have one of those smart phones with access to the net, this can be very useful.

    Enjoy your trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default I'll consider it

    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonjohn83 View Post
    As for border times, it all depends. Many Canadian will be traveling into the US on Friday evening and Saturday morning and returning on Sunday evening on any given weekend. If your are planing to cross border at that time, expect long delay. I have waited up to 2 1/2 hours trying to get back into Canada on Sunday and up to an 1 1/2 trying to get into the US on Saturday morning.
    If we do decide to trek into (and out of) Canada via our rental vehicle, it will most likely be in the late afternoon/early evening on a Saturday. Thank you for that traffic site; I'll check it out on a random upcoming Saturday to gauge what any delays might look like on Rainbow Bridge.

    Between Acadia NP (Maine) and Seneca Rocks NRA (West Virginia), we've decided not to reserve any hotels because the drives will be long and I don't want to have to rush for specific destinations. As long as we leave Acadia mid-day Friday, visit Niagara Falls somewhere in the middle and make it to Cabins, WV by Sunday afternoon, there's not really a schedule.

    You hear that, everyone? I'm being semi-spontaneous for 2 straight days. What do you think of that? Please refrain from falling out of your chairs. :)

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