Gulfport to Bar Harbor
Since last years trip was a success with everyones help with our Colorado trip. I hope I can get some ideas on our Bar Harbor Maine trip. We have at least 14 days and maybe can add on a couple extra days. We will be leaving from Gulfport, Ms. late Sept. or the first of Oct. Really our time is flexable. We would like to see the fall colors. Does anyone have a must see on our route? Any suggestions from Virginia to Maine would help. Thanks
Last edited by AZBuck; 03-17-2011 at 07:36 PM.
A "must NOT see" idea
My strong personal bias against driving through large urban areas leads me to avoid the DC-Baltimore-Philly-Jersey-NYC corridor like the plague. It's been + 20 years since I've run that gauntlet.
The route which comes up on Mapquest does avoid the southern half of that by taking I-81 to Harrisburg, thence I-78 into New Jersey.
I'd look closely at staying on I-81 north of Harrisburg, through the Poconos, to Scranton, PA, thence I-84 at least to the NY State Thruway (I-87). I'd then consider a few extra miles to go north through the Hudson Valley with the Catskills flanking you, towards Albany, then back east on the connector south of Albany to I-90. That avoids the Hartford corridor's urban congestion on I-95 north of NYC.
By doing so, you're in rolling hills to mildly mountainous terrain all the way from Birmingham to Massachusetts. You'll likely catch the peak of the Fall colors from northern VA through PA, and at least the tail end of colors further north.
Enjoy your Fall RoadTrip!
There are Always Other Roads
I couldn't agree more with Foy about avoiding the Bos-Wash Corridor at all costs. Especially if this RoadTrip is about scenery and an enjoyable drive. Some tweaks to his suggested route that you might want to look at:
If you haven't driven the Natchez Trace yet and don't mind adding 4 hours or so to your drive, then consider starting out by going to Jackson and following that road up to Nashville, where you would join I-40 to cross the Appalachians to I-81 north.
Another alternative that can be time consuming but rewarding is the Blue Ridge Parkway which parallels I-81 but follows the mountain ridge rather than the Shenandoah Valley. Both this and the Natchez Trace route could probably better wait until your return drive when the leaves have had a bit more time to turn and you better know what your time constraints are.
One slight tweak I'd make to Foy's suggestion for getting around New York is to leave I-81 via I-78 east just past Harrisburg, but then take PA-33 north from Bethlehem to Stroudsburg and US-209 up through the Delaware Water Gap to Milford and pick up I-84 there.
In all the years I made this general run, I never considered Foy's suggestion of going around Hartford/Waterbury/Danbury by using the New York State Thruway and Mass Pike connecting just south of Albany. I guess it's just that I hate to pay tolls, and I usually made the drive in the middle of the night when traffic and scenery were not considerations. But it would certainly be a prettier drive than I-84 up through Connecticut to central Massachusetts, and you can avoid some of the cost by using the Taconic Parkway on the east bank of the Hudson rather than the toll Thruway on the west bank.
I-290/I-495 through Worcester/Lowell/Lawrence provides the preferred route around Boston and getting back on I-95 up to Portland. After that, US-1 will provide a great route the rest of the way up to Bar Harbor, but take the opportunity to explore at least one of those peninsulas sticking out into the Atlantic along the way. My personal favorite is to use ME-130 south from Damariscotta and explore the area around Pemaquid.
With some of your 'extra' time while in Bar Harbor, you can continue Down East a bit to the eastern tip of the US at Quoddy Head and beyond to one of FDR's retreats just over the border on Campobello Island, although you will need passports to cross the border.
We had to put off our trip to Maine last year. We are working on planning a trip to New England states. We are pretty flexible on our time. Sure could use some help with our planning. We will be leaving from Gulfport, Ms. Our goal is to stay in Washington, D. C. a few days and then on to the New England States. Some of the places we would like to go is Hartford, New Haven, Danbury, Kent Fall State Park. We might take in New York at some point. Maybe take a day train out from one of the states. Can't remember which state, but Husband said while he was working in Connecticut he seen where one was offered. As you can see we really do not have a plan worked out yet, but really would appreciate any help. Open for any suggestions. We plan on leaving around the end of
September. Would really love to see the fall colors.
Mass Tim, I am sorry, but really do not understand why this was deleted. Is it in the wrong place? If so where should I post it. As you can see I am a little confused. I certainly do not want to break any rules. Just trying to get some advice.
No, you are fine! Tim posted a response out of context, then deleted his own post.
Gulfport to DC is quite straightforward. I'd be inclined to follow I-59/I-75/I-40/I-81/I-66. It's only a few miles longer than I-65/I-85/I-95, it avoids Atlanta, and is more scenic.
DC to NYC and New England is pretty much a no-win situation, it's difficult to avoid traffic and tolls without going significantly out of your way.