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  1. Default Help with East Coast Road Trip

    I am planning a road trip for this summer. I will be traveling with my husband and children ages 8 and 14. I would like any recommendations you have on things to do or things to change (if that portion of the trip seems over ambitious).

    Note: I have a lot listed on the New York and Niagara Falls leg and know we won't get to do it all. What would be the best for that section. Also on Day 9 can't decide what to do so I just listed a bunch of possibilities. My daughters love the show Meerkat Manor and want to see Meerkats. There are two zoos along the way Capron Park Zoo and Louisville Zoo. We are only going to one and would like opinion on which one. Finally if possible I would like to make the trip 16 days instead of 17 days, is there anything I could eliminate?

    Thanks in advance


    Day 1
    Leave from Georgia
    Arrive in Alexandria, Virginia
    Leave at 4 AM
    Arrive around 3 PM Arrive and rest at hotel

    Day 2 Philadelphia
    Pass through Delaware
    Liberty Bell
    Independence Hall
    Franklin Square
    Rocky steps

    Day 3 and 4 New York
    Rockefeller Center (Radio City)
    Empire State Building
    Time Square
    F.A.O Schwartz
    Broadway Show
    Central Park
    American Museum of Natural History
    New York Staten Island Ferry (see Statue of Liberty)
    Entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Ground Zero

    Day 5 Connecticut, Providence RI, and Cape Cod
    Amistad or New London Waterfront

    Providence, Rhode Island Lunch

    Attleboro, MA Capron Park Zoo: Meerkat Exhibit

    Cape Cod Arrive in Cape Cod that night

    Day 6 Cape Cod
    Plimoth Plantation
    Relax on the beach in the afternoon

    Day 7 Boston
    Boston Harbor Whale Watch or
    Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises
    Duck Tour
    Prudential Skywalk Observatory

    Day 8 Boston
    Freedom Trail
    Trolley Tour
    Consider lunch at Oliver Wight Tavern in Sturbridge Village
    Make sure to take picture of Fenway Park

    Day 9 New Hampshire and Maine
    Portsmouth
    USS Albacore
    Great Bay Stewards/Sandy Point Discovery Center
    Strawbery Banke


    Lighthouse: Fort Williams Park
    Old Port
    Dinner downtown
    Stay overnight in Portland

    Day 10 Vermont
    Rock of Ages
    Ben and Jerry’s tour

    Day 11 Drive to Niagara Falls
    Stop in Syracuse for a break and lunch
    Erie Canal Museum

    Day 12 and 13 Niagara Falls, Canada
    Maid of the Mist
    Niagara Sky Wheel
    Incline Railway
    Journey Behind the Falls
    Whirlpool Aero Car
    Drive to London, Ontario after dinner to check into hotel

    Day 14 Michigan Greenfield Village

    Day 15 Indiana
    Fair Oaks Farm
    Albanese Confectionery

    Day 16 Louisville Kentucky
    Louisville Slugger Museum
    Louisville Zoo: Meerkat Exhibit

    Day 17
    Drive Home

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,359

    Default Running Them (and You) Ragged

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I think your overall itinerary is way too ambitious, especially for young children. You should plan no more than two moderate activities per day on days you're not driving, and no more than 500-550 miles of driving on days that you are. You plan to drive well over 600 miles in only 11 hours on your first day. That is not going to happen. Software mapping routines (where I suspect you got this time estimate) don't allow for fuel stops, meal breaks, traffic, biological time-outs, or any other interruption to just traveling down the highway at or above the speed limit for endless hour after endless hour. They are simply not realistic.

    So with those caveats in mind, you should take a good hard look at Days 1, 5, and 10 (at least) with an eye to cutting back considerably and giving your children some down time and yourselves some time when you too can relax. As it is, I'm afraid your current trip would just leave you all at your wits end by the time you were done.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advice. Googlemaps list day one as 9 1/2 hours of driving so I added the extra 1 1/2 hour for lunch and rest stops. We have driven to DC twice before (once with kids and once without) and it seemed to be fine as long as once we got there we rested once we got there and didn't do anything else. Two years ago we did a trip out to Yellowstone (hit 12 states in 16 days). We all still talk about how much fun we had on that trip.

    For Day 5 it is a 4 hour driving day if we hit all of the stops. What would you suggest taking out? The zoo is optional on that day but I didn't want to take it out if the Louisville Zoo wouldn't be worth visiting.

    For Day 10 this is another 4 hour driving day if we do everything. Our goal is to hit all the states in the area. Since we "need" to go to Vermont what would be a better plan?

    We are more about running around during the day (out and about at about 8:30)-up until dinner time (around 6:00) and then relaxing for the rest of the day at the pool at the hotel. So with that being said further suggestions on which activities would be best at each location would be much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Some thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by samolo View Post

    Day 6 Cape Cod
    Plimoth Plantation
    Relax on the beach in the afternoon
    Is your plan to go from Cape Cod up to Plymouth and back to the beach on Cape Cod?

    Day 7 Boston
    Boston Harbor Whale Watch or
    Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises
    Duck Tour
    Prudential Skywalk Observatory
    I'm confused about the Hyannis whale watch in the Boston section.

    Day 8 Boston
    Freedom Trail
    Trolley Tour
    Consider lunch at Oliver Wight Tavern in Sturbridge Village
    Make sure to take picture of Fenway Park
    I'm confused about putting Sturbridge Village, which is about 65 miles West of Boston, in as an option for a simple lunch stop in the middle of your day in Boston.

    Aside from that, the itinerary seems to have too much going on and not much time factored in for spending time relaxing or enjoying the scenery.

    Of particular interest are day 14,15, & 16. They appear to be afterthoughts thrown in there. I would strongly suggest instead using those days to allow you more time in the other areas on your trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default odd ending

    I agree that it really seems like you just sort of threw Michigan and Indiana onto the end of your trip. I think using those extra days elsewhere in your trip would make a whole lot more sense. It also means you'll have a full day at Niagara Falls - which is the bare minimum amount of time you'll need to do all the things you've got listed - without having to rush halfway across Ontario on the same day.

    I also find your comments about zoos to be exceptionally odd. While I'm certainly not an expert, nor have I done any research on the matter, it seems extremely unlikely that you've only got 2 choices for zoos in the easter 1/3 of the US where you could see meerkats.

  6. Default Made some changes but still need suggestions

    I was thinking we would arrive in Cape Cod the night before. I am still trying to decide where to stay on the cape but think it will be somewhere in between the whale cruise at the tip of the Cape and Plimouth (probably Dennis). We were thinking of doing the whale cruise on the morning we would leave the Cape since we wouldn’t be able to check into the hotel until that afternoon. Then drive into Boston around lunch time. Have lunch, do the duck tour, check into the hotel to relax until dinner and then have dinner at Prudential Skywalk.

    Dropping lunch at Sturbridge makes since, I didn’t realize it was so far. I guess we were torn between that and visiting Plimouth; any opinion on which one is better?

    We would have about 1 ½ days at Niagara Falls. We would probably leave to go to London, ON a couple hours before dinner. The reason I want to leave is that the kids really want to spend as much time as possible at Greenfield Village in Michigan and this will cut down on the driving time for the next day. Since it closes at 5:00 we want to make sure we arrive with at least 5 hours to spend there. Reviews I have seen about the place say you could spend a full day or more there.

    Yes, Indiana and Kentucky they were added as a different way to go home so they were in a since afterthoughts. I didn’t want to the drive home to be a letdown so I tried to plan something to do on the days we would stop. We could drive stratight from Michigan home but thought I would break it up.

    As far as the zoos according to the Animal Planet website (which is where I selected the zoos from) there are about 7 others on the east coast and midwest (Virginia, Upstate New York, South Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee) but they would mean going at least an hour out of the way or putting them on a day when there was other stuff we would rather do.

    I know I have a lot planned. I tend to do that, but then things are weeded down. I guess I want suggestions on what not to miss when visiting the particular areas within the time frame we have. I know we can’t see it all, but I would like to avoid doing something that was a tourist trap or a letdown. Like in Boston I know there is so much to do and want to know is it better to do a Trolley or the Duck Tour. How would you do the Freedom Trail; take a tour or just go at it alone. Which whale tour is best? When visiting Niagara Falls which 3 items would you do? We are planning on visiting New York again next year but what items would be best for this first trip; either because they are grouped together or because they are a must when visiting. On day 5 we are only passing through Rhode Island for lunch; what’s a good place to eat that also gives a feel for the area. Like someplace near historic items. When in Connecticut what is interesting to do near the waterfront?

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by samolo View Post
    Day 2 Philadelphia
    Pass through Delaware
    Liberty Bell
    Independence Hall
    Franklin Square
    Rocky steps

    Day 3 and 4 New York
    Rockefeller Center (Radio City)
    Empire State Building
    Time Square
    F.A.O Schwartz
    Broadway Show
    Central Park
    American Museum of Natural History
    New York Staten Island Ferry (see Statue of Liberty)
    Entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Ground Zero
    I'm from Philly and live in NYC so I'll comment on these. (My first post here btw)

    I think you might mean Franklin Court as opposed to Franklin Square if I remember my terminology. Franklin Square is a city park (a square obviously) right by the highway/bridge entrance. I don't think it is anything worth going out of your way for. Franklin Court is a little museum and spot where Ben Franklin's house used to stand right by Independence Hall. I think you need to get timed tickets for Independence Hall and maybe the Liberty Ball nowadays so look that up ahead of time. Also, besides being the Rocky Steps, their is actually a pretty good art museum at the top of them ;) The Phila Art Museum is nowhere near the other things so you'd either have to drive there or plan for a really long walk. Boathouse Row, which is on the Schyukyll River and part of Fairmount Park is right behind the Art Museum and quite picturesque.

    You have a lot for New York, but I think you might be able to a good amount of it quickly in two days. The entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge is nothing special. It is right by City Hall and not far from "Ground Zero" (I prefer the term WTC site, being a NYer). A place like South Street Seaport would have better a view of the bridge. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is cool, although maybe too much with kids (takes about 30-45 mins).

    As far as your question about what things to do, I would consider dropping the Staten Island Ferry as it will be time consuming and I'm not sure if it is that rewarding (I've never been on it though). You could just go to Battery Park and check out the Statue of Liberty from there. A Broadway show, going to the top of the Empire State Building and going through the American Museum of Natural History are also time consuming, as opposed to Rock Center and Times Square which you can walk through in 10 minutes. Times Square, Rock Center, Empire State Building are all close together. Broadway Shows are near Times Square. Both FAO Schwartz and American Museum of Natural History are right near Central Park. The WTC Site is downtown near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and the Brooklyn Bridge.

    EDIT: I was just looking on a Philadelphia tourism site and they were advertising a few things in Franklin Square. They must be new so I have no opinion. Didn't mean to be misleading. The National Constitution Center is a really nice museum right next to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
    Last edited by scosm; 11-10-2009 at 04:58 PM.

  8. Default Thanks scosm

    Your suggestions and descriptions were VERY helpful. It will make choosing what to do (especially in New York) a lot easier. Thanks especially for letting me know about things which would take too long and really not be what I was envisioning. I am taking those off of the list. I think now we can sit down and maybe plan out two days and pick 2-3 things to see and do each day from the things each day based on their location and how long they will take and save the rest for next time.

    BTW: This was also my first time posting a topic to the site.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Nyc

    I've taken the Staten Island Ferry, and it is a really nice away to get a good look at the statue of liberty and lower manhatten. Best of all, its free!

    However, having said that, I've also taken the actual ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands and I will say that is a trip that is very worthwhile. The Ellis Island portion of the trip was surprisingly good. This costs a little money and will take a little more time, but given the choice, I would do the trip to Liberty instead of just the Staten Island Ferry.

    As far as the Michigan/Indiana portion, I think you've miss understood us. We've suggested eliminating Michigan, as that seems very disjointed from the rest of your trip, and adds a lot of out of the way miles. You could still take a different route home, and stop to see things along the way, but I think starting your trip home from Niagara Falls instead of going another 350 miles east would give you a lot more time to enjoy the rest of your trip.

    For zoos, I see where you got your information, but I've got to say that Animal Planet seems to have missed the ball on this one a bit. Most major zoos will have a Meerkat exhibit, and almost every major city on the east coast has at least one zoo.

  10. Default Thanks Midwest Michael

    Thanks for the additional information on the best way to see the Statue of Liberty, that will help us decide if we have time to see it or will save it for the following trip. Also what you said about Michigan/Indiana makes sense. Our goal was to hit the all the states in that area (we already went to Illinois and Ohio). That being said I don't want to do that at the expense of our sanity or having a good time. I think I will look at alternative routes home and see there is something we want to see along the way and then decide from there.

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