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  1. #1

    Default October - Time no Issue

    In October 2013, DH has a conference in Boston from October 11-17, so we'll all be there for that time period and I'll be driving from mid-MO and hope to do a loop, maybe first to DC before, then up to Boston, return via NH/VT then upstate NY, Great Lakes to Chicago, then back to mid-MO.

    We've done the route to DC at least a dozen times in the last 5 years, so I'll just be getting there as usual now and we'll probably be there for five days doing things in the area and seeing family, same with up to NY, no biggie. However, it's been years and years since I did the CT to Boston run, so looking for suggestions north of Hartford, and then ideas for the route home. Time is not an issue - I'll be leaving MO on September 30, arriving in Boston on October 11 to pick up DH at BOS, then drop him back at BOS on the 17th with no need to push getting home, but would like to get back on/before October 27 as a good target.

    Ideas! Let's here some things to do, see, and that my 8 year old will enjoy. I can plan to start in Hartford as early as October 7 if there are a lot of things to do/see between there and Boston, or as late as October 10, just heading up in the day. Most of my Boston sights are laid out, but I welcome ideas on Boston too since I might have missed some good things!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default "The Usual"

    I almost cringed when I read your statement that you'd get to Washington "as usual". This is a golden opportunity to see some things you've missed in your other five recent trips to DC where you went "as usual" by the same old route. Since it's impossible to get to Washington in one day, and would be a relatively easy two day drive, it's the ideal situation to see how else you can go for something like 100-150 extra miles that can still be done in two days while leaving time to stop at a few new locations. I'm assuming that the "usual" is I-70 basically. The obvious alternative is I-64 out of St. Louis through Southern Illinois and Indiana, on through Kentucky and into West Virginia, then at Charleston taking I-79 north to Weston. US-33 east from there provides a good road through the mountains as far as Seneca Rocks. It's four lanes for the most part as former Senator Byrd spent federal funds copiously on this route in hopes that it would eventually become an extension of I-66. East of Seneca Rocks you'd be on the two-lane WV-55 to Strasburg where a short jog north on I-81 will put you on the real I-66 into DC. I've driven that entire route through West Virginia and it's quite nice, scenic, and not too slow at all. You can easily be in Washington by nightfall of the second day, and it's all of 14 miles longer than the "usual".

    There are also several ways to get from DC to Boston, the LEAST appealing of which is I-95/New Jersey Turnpike/I-95. Your best (combination of relaxing/scenic/fast) route would be I-270 northwest to US-15 north to I-81 north to I-84 east to I-90 east into Boston. I also recently gave a "back" road routing for this trip if you want to take your time and really relax. Your eight-year-old might like to stop at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill CT (south of Hartford) and then take the Rocky Hill Glastonbury ferry over to the east side of the Connecticut River. And if he/she is into witches, then Salem, north of Boston, is a must, and actually Cape Ann and Plum Island, both also north of Boston, make excellent substitutes for the tourist-clogged Cape Cod. Then there is this compilation of a number of suggestions on what to see in New England. Just note that you will be there at roughly the height of 'leaf peeping' season, so reservations should be made well before you get there, and expect even the back roads to have a bit of traffic.

    Coming home you'll have the opportunity to take a ferry across Lake Champlain, drive through the Adirondacks, visit New York's Finger Lakes region, make a short detour to Niagara Falls, and visit a couple of museums devoted to speed (US Air Force in Dayton OH, and THE Speedway in Indianapolis.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Oh now, don't cringe, I've done the back and forth over a dozen times! LOL

    We've done every route a couple of times - I-70, I-64, US 50 (that was fun, even through the "mountains" in WV/VA), I-64 to I-79, to I-68/70 to I-270, down to Nashville to I-40 to I-81, and once for the heck of it, with two nights to get there we did a "let's take roads no one thinks of and are not highways" out. I lived in DC for 7 years, NY/CT my whole life before that, so there isn't much between those two and surrounding states we've not done and I don't think I've done I-95 to NY from DC in over 10 years, I prefer the routes through PA to 78 then up 287 either to cross over to NYC or up to northern Westchester via Tappan Zee or Newburgh, occasionally even the Bear Mountain bridge if I'm thinking that might be fun. It's where I grew up, ya know?

    BUT - I do appreciate the insights for Hartford and beyond - while I have traveled to Boston a few times, well quite a few, I haven't done it with the kids, so ideas are great and appreciated! And, yeah, I've been toying with Niagara Falls, I think my 8 year old will definitely enjoy that and heck, I haven't been yet myself either!

    Last year we did a ton in Dayton - actually wound up spending an extra day there since there were so much to see - Dunbar House, the Orville Wright museums and exhibits, air force and basically everything aviation - a big hit with my then 7 year old.

    I've added the Dinosaur State Park and the ferry (maybe we can see a show or something at Godspeed too, just remembered that one) - Salem now on the list and I'll see how the weather is for Cape Cod, I love the Cape! Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default That's More Like It

    Glad you put me straight about the many different ways you've made the run between MO and DC. My own such corridor was from roughly Portsmouth NH to Wilmington DE which I drove several times a year round trip for about a dozen years. Once I even ignored the maps and just followed any road that said south or west until I ended up on a dirt road in a swamp somewhere in central to western Massachusetts. I can't say where I was because it took me an hour of driving to get back to somewhere that was on my map. This was before the days of GPS.

    Anyway, just very generally for New England, I would recommend running from Boston north along the coast to at least the Nubble and then cut north and northwest across ME/NH/VT to Burlington. Definitely try to use highways that will let you get some good views and aren't as well known (or well-traveled) as NH-16, I-89, or the Kankamangus Highway. Some that I found scenic and underutilized in my years in New England would include ME-109, NH-153 (a personal favorite), Sandwich Notch Road from Center Sandwich NH to Waterville Road in Compton NH (Warning: SNR is dirt, so you may not be able to use a rental but it is eminently drivable), and VT-12 and/or VT-14 which run parallel to I-89.

    Brookfield VT is one of those towns which is worth a visit almost precisely because it has done its best to keep people from finding it. When asked where they wanted their exit from nearby I-89 built the said they didn't want one. When the state offered to pave the state highway through town, the town said no, graded gravel was just fine with them. Then there's the 'floating' bridge. I guess it sort of floats. It's on pontoons after all. But the central portion of the bridge is under water. If you're daring enough, and your car has at least modest ground clearance, drive across and just trust that there's a 'bridge' under you in the middle. Think an 8-year-old would like that? And another little out-of-the-way 'attraction' is Hope Cemetery outside Barre VT. Suffice it to say that you should get the map and not be surprised at anything you see there.

    Oh, oh, oh - and the thing about dinosaur state park is that if you bring your own plaster of paris, you can make casts of real live dino footprints! There are hardware stores nearby where you can stock up, but you might want to practice making plaster of paris casts before you start out.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Glad you put me straight about the many different ways you've made the run between MO and DC. My own such corridor was from roughly Portsmouth NH to Wilmington DE which I drove several times a year round trip for about a dozen years. Once I even ignored the maps and just followed any road that said south or west until I ended up on a dirt road in a swamp somewhere in central to western Massachusetts. I can't say where I was because it took me an hour of driving to get back to somewhere that was on my map. This was before the days of GPS.
    No worries - something about me and driving, when I was learning to drive - true story - I wanted to be a test driver, had special insurance, tracked miles, etc. - I LOVE driving, even now, but never did make it a career. I hear you on the getting lost - I'm a firm believer in "all roads lead to Rome" - sooner or later you'll get back on a road you'll be able to continue along on......love doing that, just staying in a directional path, no route.....not so much with the kids now, since you really can wind up in podunk, but do love doing that!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Anyway, just very generally for New England, I would recommend running from Boston north along the coast to at least the Nubble and then cut north and northwest across ME/NH/VT to Burlington. Definitely try to use highways that will let you get some good views and aren't as well known (or well-traveled) as NH-16, I-89, or the Kankamangus Highway. Some that I found scenic and underutilized in my years in New England would include ME-109, NH-153 (a personal favorite), Sandwich Notch Road from Center Sandwich NH to Waterville Road in Compton NH (Warning: SNR is dirt, so you may not be able to use a rental but it is eminently drivable), and VT-12 and/or VT-14 which run parallel to I-89.

    Brookfield VT is one of those towns which is worth a visit almost precisely because it has done its best to keep people from finding it. When asked where they wanted their exit from nearby I-89 built the said they didn't want one. When the state offered to pave the state highway through town, the town said no, graded gravel was just fine with them. Then there's the 'floating' bridge. I guess it sort of floats. It's on pontoons after all. But the central portion of the bridge is under water. If you're daring enough, and your car has at least modest ground clearance, drive across and just trust that there's a 'bridge' under you in the middle. Think an 8-year-old would like that? And another little out-of-the-way 'attraction' is Hope Cemetery outside Barre VT. Suffice it to say that you should get the map and not be surprised at anything you see there.
    Awesome! Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Oh, oh, oh - and the thing about dinosaur state park is that if you bring your own plaster of paris, you can make casts of real live dino footprints! There are hardware stores nearby where you can stock up, but you might want to practice making plaster of paris casts before you start out.

    AZBuck
    Neat - my son is going to love that!

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