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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    2,312

    Default CA/FL/ME/MO Summer

    We are finally starting to really plan this summer's trip. We've got emails out to family members that we hope to see along the way, in regards to availability. So we're not set in stone or even close to it!

    One stop we hope to make is in Orlando, FL. I haven't been there since 1980 (Navy Boot Camp), so I am familiar with the weather in the summer (hot and humid). However I am sure everything else has changed.

    We want to spend 3 days in Walt Disney World - Epcot and Animal Kingdom mostly (since we have been to California's Disneyland plenty). We know we can get a steal of a deal on a 4-day park hopper through the military. The other day, hubby wants to go to Harry Potter World which I understand is at Universal's Island's of Adventure.

    Since this is a summer trip, we are thinking motel reservations in that area (though we usually fly by the seat of our pants). Where would it be recommended to stay? I was thinking 3 or 4 nights on property at WDW then somewhere else near Universal. But there may be other options open. Note that I am looking for suggestions of areas rather than specific hotels. BUDGET is definitely a consideration!!!

    Second question regards Maine....specifically, Acadia. It's a National Park, so should we have reservations at a motel somewhere outside of the park?

    Third question regards Philadelphia....we will be in that neck of the woods on July 4th. Are we crazy to think of going to Independence Hall on the 4th itself???



    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-24-2012 at 12:32 PM. Reason: fixed crazy formatting

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,924

    Default Don't Know Much About...

    ...Orlando and Disney World, but I do know a bit about Philly (worked there for 2½ years) and Maine (lived there for 10 years, so let me address those. Yeah, I would skip Independence Mall on the Fourth of July. It will be nuts. If you're really into history, independence was actually declared on July 2nd, the wording of the document was approved on the fourth, and the document was finally approved by the requisite votes on August 2nd. Of those dates, the 2nd is probably the most important, and in fact John Adams thought that it was that date which history would remember. He was wrong, of course, and one of the most remarkable coincidences in American history is that both he and Thomas Jefferson both died on the Fourth of July, 50 years to the day after the approval of the wording. So - pick another day other than the Fourth and enjoy getting to see the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall while the crowds are a bit thinner, Also in Philadelphia, within walking distance of Independence Mall, Betsy Ross' house, Elfreth's Alley, and Pennsylvania Hospital founded by Ben Franklin.

    Now on to Maine. If you're driving from Philadelphia (a drive my brother and I used to refer to as 'the commute') I would strongly recommend that you avoid New York City by as wide a margin as you can. There is a set of very back roads that I would use if I weren't making the drive through the night (my normal working hours), but those are quite complicated and describing them (I tried) reminded me of a Stephen King novel - not one of the few with a happy ending! So, the 'standard' way around New York is to take I-95 north out of Philadelphia and then at exit 7 in New Jersey take US-206 north to I-287 around New York all the way to Harrison NY and then take I-684 north to I-84 up through Hartford to the Mass Pike, I-90. At Worcester, swing onto I-290 to connect with I-495, finally rejoining I-95 just before entering New Hampshire. I would also recommend making reservations now for whatever accommodations you want in the Maine coastal area, They have a very short 'season' and things get booked up solidly early. If you want something even a bit more uniquely Down East, take a ferry to one of the off shore islands such as Vinalhaven, Isle au Haut (part of Acadia National park), Swans Island, or Long Island Frenchboro).

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,312

    Default

    Thanks, Buck, for the recommendation to get reservations in Maine. I'll look into those places!

    Our ride will actually take us out of NJ (trying again to visit with my brother after last year's aborted trip) up to Maine. But I want desperately to take the LONG way and go through Vermont and New Hampshire. (Crazy reason: my mom and I ran through past trips and decided that I was missing three of the 50 states. Those were both Carolinas and Vermont.) So we'd go through upstate NY, Vermont, across NH and into Maine, avoiding I-95 completely.

    We've been trying to route ourselves completely OFF of I-95 coming up from FL. There are one or two stretches where we have to be on it. But those are short!


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default Where in NJ?

    It will make a difference in how I suggest you get to Maine via VT and NH.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    Default

    Stanhope (on I-80 about halfway across the state).



    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    7,924

    Default That's 'Easy' Then

    Just head up US-206 to Milford PA and there join US-209 up to around Kingston NY. That route will take you past the northern end of the Delaware Water Gap and along the southeastern edges of the Catskill Mountains, scenic all the way. Just north of Kingston, cross the Hudson on NY-199 and take that over to the Taconic Parkway northbound to its end. There take NY-295 (not the Thruway} over to NY-22 north, again, scenic all. At Hoosic NY take another stairstep right on NY-7/VT-9 to VT-100 north at Wilmington. As scenic as the roads have been up to this point, now you're just stepping things up a whole 'nother notch. Take VT-100 all the way to Gaysville and then prepare for a little 'cross country' navigation. Following VT-107, VT-12, VT-14, and VT-132 (again, there are local back road shortcuts, but this is tough enough already) get to US-5 north along the Connecticut River. At Newbury VT, take VT-10 east across the river and pick up NH-116 east to NH-112 east to Lincoln NH. Stay on NH-112 and kick it up yet one more notch as you cross the White Mountains on the Kancamagus Hwy to Conway. where you'll pick up NH-16 north through Pinkham notch and past the entrance to the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Continue to Gorham and turn east (right) onto US-2 through the Shelburne Birches and timber forest to Bangor. From Bangor US-1A and ME-3 will finally get you to Acadia. Look, I know that's a complicated route. Look at it on a map before setting out. It will take a couple of days at a relaxed pace, but it is as scenic a way to get from Stanhope to Bar Harbor as exists.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,551

    Default And don't forget to drive by the site of the Woodstock festival in 1969..........

    ......in the event you run up US 209 to Hurley/Kingston, NY. In fact, you can cut directly from I-84 in PA, cross the Delaware River at Berryville, NY (which looks like a cool little town in and of itself) and come up to NY 17B at White Lake. The Woodstock festival was held west of White Lake, along Hurd Road. There's a modern performing arts center atop the hill overlooking the natural bowl where so many tens of thousands were sprawled, and down at the bottom of the hill, there's a small gravel parking area in the southeast quadrant of Hurd Rd and West Shore Rd, and a there is a plaque adjacent to "stage right". Right across West Shore Rd is Fillipinis Pond, where all the nekkid swimming took place in August 1969.

    A short run down 17B to Monticello then brings you to 17, and a short distance down 17 and you're at US 209. It's a nice, if a little slow and windy, drive up to Hurley/Kingston and the NY State Thruway from the 17/209 junction.

    What strikes the first-time visitor is how small the natural bowl actually is. From innumerable viewings of the film, I'd have guessed it is north of 100 acres. Looks to be more like 25 acres, 30 tops. Still in hay-meadow grasses.

    I somehow missed you were a Navy gal, Donna. One of my sons is a Seabee and his Reserve battalion has orders to mobilize in June for a trip overseas in August. What rating were you?

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    259

    Default

    There is a Resort at Disney called Shades Of Green that is owned by the Army. It used to be called The Disney Inn and was very nice when we stayed there back in '89. Bad news is, I visited with an Air Force fellow who was staying at Disney's Port Orleans where we were a couple of weeks ago and he said you have to book Shades Of Green far in advance but it might be worth checking in to.

    We've stayed at Port Orleans Riverside several times and really enjoy it. You'll like Animal Kingdom but be prepared to do some walking - it's huge!

    At Epcot, be sure and do Soarin'. It's in the Land Pavilion in Future World. I would suggest heading there first thing and getting a "Fast Pass" which allows you to come back at a specific time and eliminate a great deal of waiting.

    Bar Harbor is very busy during the season and I would definitely recommend making reservations.

    When we made the Maine trip a few years back, we picked up NY 3 in Watertown to NY 86 to NY 9N. This takes you through the Adirondacks and past Lake Saranac and Lake Placid and then on to the Whiteface Mountain Highway. From Whiteface, we found our way to Port Kent (near Keesville) and then caught a ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT. Along 9N, you pass a place called Au Sable Chasm that is well worth a short stop. Great drive!!

    Have A Great Trip!!

  9. #9

    Default

    HI Donna,

    Yes you'll want to make reservations near Acadia National Park. The main park area, Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut are all interesting. You probably need to make boat reservations for Isle au Haut prior to arrival. How much time will you have for New Hampshire and Maine and what are your interests? My most recent trip was almost 2 years ago.

    Jessica

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,312

    Default

    That's a new one on me, about Shades of Green. I will definitely look into that, especially if the cost will be lower than Disney's "value" hotels (which are all running about $130+/night during weekdays in the summer). Later edit: I just looked up Shades of Green. They're booked solid for the week we'd be there! Oh well, back to the drawing board!

    We're still trying to decide how to work that Florida hotel thing. We'll arrive on a Sunday evening and check into someplace reasonably close to Universal's Islands of Adventure (the only one of those 2 parks that we want to do, because of Harry Potter World). Should we stay at that same hotel on Monday night and then try to move to a Disney place on Tuesday morning (spending Tues-Weds-Thurs nights on Disney property)? Or transfer to the Disney place on Monday night? Just not sure how to work that yet.

    We found a cute set of little cottages near Acadia, for a couple of nights, and made reservations. We are planning 2 nights there and another one further out, though we haven't reserved that one yet.

    Hmmm...Woodstock.....while I would love to see the area, hubby was not enthralled when I mentioned that to him a few nights ago. (I like folk music, a LOT.) Instead, we are thinking about the Erie Canal. I haven't done a lot of research on it. I've known the song for years, and have a book that I've shared with my students about it. Hubby is definitely more interested in the Erie Canal than Woodstock, and for us it's an either/or time-wise.

    Foy -- I am a Navy veteran, served 4 years active and 3 years as a "weekend warrior", Personnel type. Hubby is retired Navy, 20 years. He just transferred to full retirement from fleet reserve, not too long ago.

    About "Soarin'" ... is it by chance the same one as in California Adventure? If it's different, I'd go in a flash. With 3 days for Disney, we thought we would concentrate on anything that is NOT in the California parks. Looking at the WDW website, it also cracks me up that something that's in one park in California is in a different park in Florida!

    Thanks!


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 04-26-2012 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Added info

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