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  1. #1

    Default Driving to Halifax, NS. Stop-over in Portland or Bangor, ME?

    We are driving from NJ to Halifax, Nova Scotia (first time!!!). We'll be taking I-95. Most likely we'll stop at a half way point in Maine but since we've never been there, we don't know whether to stop in Portland or Bangor. We're only stopping for the night and will probably spend a couple of hours in the morning. Just wanted to know which town/city would be better to get some nice pics (and dinner/breakfast). Thanks for the suggestions/advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Welcome!

    Exactly where in NJ are you leaving from?

  3. #3

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    We are from North Western NJ and are probably taking 1-95 from there. Why? Is there another Route you suggest?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    If you can avoid I-95 between NY and Boston, I certainly would, as traffic can be a nightmare. From NW NJ, I'd guess your best bet would be to work up to I-84, and take that towards Boston, bypassing the city via I-495.

    As far as where to stop, Bangor is close to exactly halfway and would seem to be the better choice. Stopping in Portland would mean a pretty long drive on day 2.

  5. #5
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    Can you tell us the closest town in NJ?

  6. #6
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    A few weeks ago, we drove from Stanhope (north central NJ) on I-80, up to Portland. It was a nice one-day drive. We avoided I-95 like the plague, though, because we wanted nothing to do with Boston. We went up I-87 to I-84, as suggested by Michael above, not joining I-95 until we absolutely had to, just before the NH border.

    We happened to hit Portland on a weekend in July without hotel reservations. BAD idea! We had to take what we could get, and it was definitely more expensive than we wanted. For food, we went down to Old Portland (the wharf area) and had dinner at the Portland Lobster Co. Hubby loved the lobster there. They did have non-seafood stuff and were SO good about asking if there were allergies -- then cooked my stuff on a separate grill. We'd go back to that place to eat, any day!

  7. #7

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    Thanks for all the tips Midwest Mike and Donna! I guess we will try and avoid I-95. Sounds like traffic can be a PITA.

    @ glc: I live in Warren Cty.

    Keep those suggestions coming!

  8. #8
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    I'd say your best bet is then likely to take I-80 to I-287 across the Tappan Zee Bridge, then cut up to I-84 via the Saw Mill Parkway and I-684.

    You could also go all the way up to Newburgh NY via I-87 (NY State Thruway) and get on I-84 there, but that would add about 15 miles.

    I'd do either of those in a heartbeat compared to trying to go via I-95 across the GW Bridge and Cross-Bronx expressway.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default An Alternative to a Different Portion of I-95

    Besides doing everything possible to avoid driving through New York City, especially the Cross Bronx Expressway, there is one other portion of your trip where an alternati8ve to I-95 night be in order. First, a bit of background. Portland would make a great overnight stop in terms of being picturesque and having good food and lodging options, but it's not nearly close enough to halfway to be practicable, especially if you want to "spend a couple of hours in the morning." Bangor is good from a logistical standpoint in that it's a little over halfway, but it's neither particularly picturesque nor known for fine dining. And there's really not a whole lot along I-95 between Portland and Bangor. Lewiston and Augusta are still too short of halfway for your purposes, I'm afraid. So, here's where the alternative comes into play. At Portland leave I-95 and take I-295 up to Brunswick and there get on US-1. Follow that (with the ME-90 shortcut from Warren to Rockport, and then spend the night in either Belfast or Buckport. Both are coastal towns on Penobscot Bay, are quite lovely, and are set up to cater to tourists.

    Then on Day 2, you could continue up to Bangor on US-1A or ME-15 OR (my preference) take ME-46 to East Holden and ME-9 (known locally as the Airline Highway) to cross the border at Calais/St. Stephen. You'd then take NB-1 to near Moncton, NB and the Trans-Canada (NB-2) from there to Nova Scotia and NS-104/NS-102 to Halifax. I will readily admit that those suggested changes will add a bit to your drive time, maybe an hour spread out over two days, but it will be much more scenic and interesting than just taking the Interstate for mile after mile through the Maine woods.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
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    Warren County still isn't specific enough for me to give you EXACT recommendations to avoid the NYC mess. My recommendation from Hardwick would be totally different from Riegelsville and totally different from Hackettstown.

    Let's try this.

    Your goal is to get to I-84 around Danbury CT. From there, take it past Waterbury to I-691. Take that to I-91 north. Take the Charter Oak Bridge (US-5/CT-15) across the river south of Hartford back to I-84. Take that to the Mass Pike, go east to Auburn, and take I-290 through Worcester to I-495 north to I-95.

    Now, to get to I-84 from NJ has a few possibilities. You can cross over the Delaware to PA and take US-209 to Milford to pick it up. You can do this at the Water Gap, you can cross at the Dingman's Ferry bridge, or you can take the US-206 bridge at Milford.

    Or, you can head for either I-80 or I-78, and take that to I-287. Take that up to the NY Thruway and across the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Cross Westchester Expressway. Take I-684 to get to I-84.

    Or, you can take the Thruway north to I-84.
    Last edited by glc; 07-23-2012 at 10:22 PM.

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