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  1. Default Montreal (bear with me) to Magog, to Boston to Manhattan.

    Hello all,

    Me, my sister and bro-in-law are planning an early September (next year) trip to Magog in Quebec to find family we have there. The plan is to fly into Montreal and hire a car, stay for five days or so and visit Magog in that time, google maps says about a 90 minute drive either way.

    The plan is then to drive down to Boston and stay a few days there before going onto Manhattan for another few days before flying home to the UK from Manhattan. There's a couple of things I'm unsure on though and I'm hoping somebody could help me out?

    1. Is it ok to hire a car in Canada and drop it off in the US?
    2. Looking at the temperatures the weather shouldn't really be an issue early September, or does anyone know otherwise?
    3. Is there anything in particular I need to see or visit on the journeys? aside from the beautiful countries obviously.

    None of us have seen Canada or Boston before but I've visited Manhattan.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Renting a car in Canada and dropping it off in the US is problematic. Simply put, most companies will not allow it, and those that do typically charge a significant premium - that will add several hundred dollars, on top of the extra fees typically charged for one say rentals.

    September generally sees pretty mild conditions, although early in the month, some pretty hot temperatures wouldn't be impossible.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Renting a car in Canada and dropping it off in the US is problematic. Simply put, most companies will not allow it, and those that do typically charge a significant premium - that will add several hundred dollars, on top of the extra fees typically charged for one say rentals.

    September generally sees pretty mild conditions, although early in the month, some pretty hot temperatures wouldn't be impossible.
    Thanks Michael,

    I'm assuming it's ok then to rent in Canada, drop it off at the border and then hire one in the US on the other side?

    Don't mind the hot temperatures too much but don't want to get burnt either, might go late September/early October then, the main concern was to avoid difficult driving conditions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gary154 View Post
    Hello all,

    2. Looking at the temperatures the weather shouldn't really be an issue early September, or does anyone know otherwise?
    3. Is there anything in particular I need to see or visit on the journeys? aside from the beautiful countries obviously.
    2. Early September weather is usually mild to warm. It's also apple season!

    3. There is a lot to see in Montreal depending on what your intererests are. My suggestion would be to leave you car in one place (read the signs carefully if you park in the streets, they can be kind of tricky) and use the subway or a Bixi (rental bike).

    I suggest you stay out of the downtown area, which is not very different from any other city in North America (skyscrapers, tourists) and to explore some other parts of the city.

    First and foremost, you should spend some time in Plateau Mont-Royal (metro Mont-Royal - orange line), a former working-class neighborhood turned into a trendy hipster pot-pourri of restaurants, curio shops, designer clothing boutiques, cafés, etc. The Western end of Mont-Royal St. gives you access to Mont-Royal park, a green haven in the middle of the city. There are a couple of great overlooks around the mountain (one facing the East side, where you get a great view on Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and the Olympic Stadium and Biodome, and another one in Westmount with a great view on the South-West and the downtown area). Another interesting neighborhood is Plateau's little cousin : the Mile End, lying just West of the Plateau.

    Another fun area is the gay village known as "Le Village". Whether you're gay or straight, it is a colourful area with lots of artsy boutiques, great cafés and lots of perfect people-watching venues. Even the subway station is rainbow-colored (metro Beaudry - green line).

    Old Montreal (metro Champ-de-Mars, Place d'Armes, Square Victoria), although touristy, is a beautiful area by the St. Lawrence River. It has lots of museums (Pointe-à-Callières being the most interesting in my opinion) and shops (with all the typical cheesy caribou souvenirs and "Indian" trinkets). To me, the most interesting attraction of Old Montreal is Silo no. 5, a gigantic abandoned grain elevator which stands out dramatically against the river backdrop. On the boardwalk right in front of it, you can experience the Silophone, an audio installation. You can speak, sing or shout in a box and the sound will reverberate into the abandoned silos through pipes running under the channel. You can also call the Silophone and play your own little tune. You can have an "apéro" drink at Café des Éclusiers and head to McGill avenue for an evening dinner in a great restaurant (Graziella, Vauvert or another one) followed by some drinks at L'appartement or a night walk through the cobblestone streets, some of which are lighted with gas lamps (Ste. Hélène).

    Just West of the Old Port, you can catch avenue Pierre-Dupuy to get to the casino. On the way, you will see famous Habitat 67. If it's a hot day, you can park right after Habitat 67 and follow the hidden-trail by the river, behind the buildings, to see some surfers on Lachine Canal. The Casino is the former France Pavilion of Expo 67, the universal exposition held in 1967. Actually Notre-Dame Island, the island on which the Casino is built, is an artificial island created out of the rock excavated to build the metro in '65. Notre-Dame and it's sister island Ste. Hélène (métro Jean-Drapeau) have many biking and walking trails, a racing track (Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve), a Six Flags amusement park (La Ronde), a museum and many art pieces, sculptures, installation and buildings dating back from Expo 67 (including the Biosphere a.k.a. the former U.S. Pavilion).

    If you're interested in industrial history, I suggest you walk along the Lachine Canal just West of Old Montreal (Griffintown, Petite Bourgogne, St. Henri), where you can learn about the history of Montreal's industrial ups and downs on interpretation panels and see some of the remaining factories. Along the way, you will see some of Montreal's most typical landmarks such as the Five Roses neon sign, the downtown area skyline, you will pass by all the old factories of St. Henri, old iron bridges, the Canada Malting plant (a chef-d'oeuvre of industrial abandonment covered in graffitis with one-of-a-kind terra cotta silos), etc. These former working-class areas have lots of character and their population is pretty diverse. For some local flavour, hang out around Marché Atwater (a large indoor and outdoor market) and Notre-Dame St. in St-Henri.

    The quickest way to get to Magog is to take pont Champlain and A-10 all the way. Nevertheless, disregarding what lies beneath the highway would be a great mistake. Many of the most beautiful villages of Quebec are located in the Eastern Townships : Frelighsburg, Mystic, Brome Lake, Stanbridge East, Dunham, etc. My suggestion would be to follow this itinerary : http://goo.gl/maps/S6DJ.

    Fill-up on goodies at l'Oeuf In Mystic, and take a closer look at the Wallbridge 12-sided barn. Continue south to Lake Champlain in Philipsburgh where you can have a picnic by the lake. This is the oldest European-populated site in the area. St-Armand Rd. is a quiet paved road that zig-zags through beautiful rolling hills and country scenery. Before reaching St. Armand Ouest, look on your right hand side, there is a huge black rock covered with grass in a large field. That place is called Nigger Rock (read about its story here : http://townshipsheritage.com/news/slavery-saint-armand). About 1 km East of Pigeon Hill, take Eccles Hill Rd. on your right. That road is a dead end (ends up at the American border), but it leads to a monument commemorating the battle of Eccles Hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Eccles_Hill), which is also a great site for having a picnic.

    Frelighsburg is a quaint little village nestled in the mountains. It has several art galleries, apple and other fruit orchards, terroir products, wine-makers a great general store... and cheap gas! Treat yourself to a piece of maple syrup pie at the general store, you won't regret it. Head north to Stanbridge East, a cute little village with a historical museum, then head east of QC-202, la route des vins (Wine Road). You will pass several wineries on your way to Dunham, the most famous of which is L'Orpailleur. Although I don't care much for red wine made in the area, they do make some serious vendanges tardives and desert wines. Grab one or two bottles and save them for your evening. My favourite winemaker is La Bauge located on rue des Érables in Brigham. In Dunham, stop for lunch at Bistrot Homei and fill-up on chocolate at the chocolaterie located in the same building.

    Sutton is mostly a mountain station. If you enjoy hiking, take Maple Rd. and then Réal Rd. all the way to the end. Round Top is the highest summit of the Sutton mountains (968 m) and that trail takes you there quickly (the starting point is already at 540 m or so). Sutton also has many good restaurants such as Tartinizza and Beaux-Lieu.

    Brome Lake is the duck capital of the province. Go to Auberge le Relais to have a great duck meal or go directly to the Duck farms located on Centre Rd. Knowlton is also known for its antique stores. Douglass Beach is a great place to hang out and offers a nice panorama on the lake.

    On the way to St-Benoit-du-Lac, take a break at Spa des chutes Bolton in Bolton East and treat yourself to a massage or just spend a couple of hours in their hot and polar tubs. Visit the St. Benoit du Lac Abbey and enjoy some gregorian chanting and their beautiful lake-side property. In Austin, you can stop at the convenience store to fill-up on local cheeses made by the monks of St-Benoit and some other goodies made by monks from other abbeys across the province. In Magog, stop by Owl's Bread, grab a baguette, the bottle of wine you bought earlier and you're ready for an evening picnic by Lake Memphremagog.

    There! Tips from a local just for you.:) Hope you'll enjoy your time in Montreal and the Eastern Townships.

    PS-I apologize for any mistakes I might have made above, I'm not a native English-speaker.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Limited Options

    The problem with trying to cross the border with a rental car is that no agency wants its cars left in a foreign country, so if they simply don't allow it they will charge fees large enough to effectively discourage you from considering it. And it's just not that easy to drive up to the border, find a drop-off location close enough to allow an easy crossing and then another franchise to pick up a new car in the US. So what you're realistically looking for is some form of public transportation across the border, from one population center (viz a car rental franchise location) to another.

    The first thing you should do is return to Montréal from Magog and return the car to where you rented it, thus saving the one-way drop-off fee as well as giving yourself a couple of options for getting across the border. Planes, unfortunately, are out for the simple reason that they are prohibitively expensive for such a short haul. I'm finding fares for this fall starting at around $300/person one way. A bus is a possibility as Greyhound offers service from Montréal to either Burlington VT or Plattsburgh NY. But I think in the end your best choice may be to go by train. Amtrak offers a daily three hour run from Montréal to Plattsburgh that's only $19 (at the moment). From Plattsburgh, once you pick up a car, there's a ferry to Burlington that, besides being a joy in its own right, will put you in good shape to head down I-89 on the way to Boston.

    AZBuck

  6. Default

    Quebec Gen, what can I say? wow, thank you you've given a lot to consider there and it's much appreciated.

    P.S. I know people that were born with English as their native tongue and they can't write (or probably speak it) half as well as you.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    The problem with trying to cross the border with a rental car is that no agency wants its cars left in a foreign country, so if they simply don't allow it they will charge fees large enough to effectively discourage you from considering it. And it's just not that easy to drive up to the border, find a drop-off location close enough to allow an easy crossing and then another franchise to pick up a new car in the US. So what you're realistically looking for is some form of public transportation across the border, from one population center (viz a car rental franchise location) to another.

    The first thing you should do is return to Montréal from Magog and return the car to where you rented it, thus saving the one-way drop-off fee as well as giving yourself a couple of options for getting across the border. Planes, unfortunately, are out for the simple reason that they are prohibitively expensive for such a short haul. I'm finding fares for this fall starting at around $300/person one way. A bus is a possibility as Greyhound offers service from Montréal to either Burlington VT or Plattsburgh NY. But I think in the end your best choice may be to go by train. Amtrak offers a daily three hour run from Montréal to Plattsburgh that's only $19 (at the moment). From Plattsburgh, once you pick up a car, there's a ferry to Burlington that, besides being a joy in its own right, will put you in good shape to head down I-89 on the way to Boston.

    AZBuck
    I had a feeling it would be an issue to be honest, thanks for clarifying it and for the advice

  8. Default

    My fellow travellers (I'm being outvoted) have now thought it may be better to fly into Toronto, stay a few days and then travel down to NY by hire car swapping at the border and taking in Niagara Falls on the way. Stay in Manhattan for a few days then take the train to Boston, stay there another few days then hire car to Magog again swapping at the border. Stay in Magog for a couple of days then drive back to Toronto along the river and lake to fly home from Toronto again.

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

    Default

    That's going to get ridiculous and EXPENSIVE doing all those swaps. How are you going to get across the border without a car - twice? It is VERY unlikely that there will be convenient rental agencies right at the border. You would be looking at FOUR one way drop fees. Rent a car for the duration in Toronto, for return to Toronto, with US privileges. MUCH cheaper and easier.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    Again, to clarify, you can generally drive a rental car across the border, you just can't pick it up in one country, and leave it in another.

    As long as you are doing a round trip - starting and ending in the same place - there is no reason to drop off/pick up cars at the border.

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