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  1. Default From Blacksburg, VA to Vermont, NH, Maine, and back!

    Hello all! My husband and I will be taking a Northeast Trip this Oct. We will be leaving Blacksburg, VA the morning of the 24th and wish to see all that we can up north. We need to be back in Apex, NC by Sept 8th, giving us about 15 days of travel. We love the outdoors, cold weather, and any natural beauties. We also enjoy historic sites. We will be driving the entire distance, but enjoy hiking and walking. Love the roadtrip maps, but they don't give me the option of a going and coming back feature so that we can hit different hot spots on the way back. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    May I recommend paper maps, either of the Northeast, the USA, or a road atlas? They are your best friend when it comes to road trip planning. Electronic maps are wonderful for details, for exact mileages between places, and RTA's mapping center is great for finding little places that you didn't know existed. But they're all supplements to good paper maps.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default There and Back Again

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you love scenery, history, and the outdoors, you'd be hard pressed to find a better RoadTrip than the one you have planned. Now, if only you could do it in the fall! That minor 'failing' aside, if you take I-81 north, you'll have the Appalachians on your left for much of the journey then the Poconos around you until you get to Binghamton NY. From there to Albany, I-88 is equally scenic. And from Albany north on I-87 you'll be traveling through the Hudson and Lake Champlain valleys. Not bad. And along the way, you'll have more than a few historic sites including Fort Frederick in Big Pool MD, Gettysburg, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY, Fort William Henry in Lake George, Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga in towns of the same name.

    Once in New England, there are a plethora of great places to indulge your predilections, so on the assumption that you'll wander around and be ready to leave for home from roughly the New York City area, you have a basic choice: Come down the main artery, I-95, hitting places like Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC with all their history, or turning more directly south from the Philadelphia area and coming down the Delmarva Peninsula to Cape Charles and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel into the Virginia Tidewater area and specifically the Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-07-2014 at 12:06 PM.

  4. Default

    Thank you Donna!! I actually do have a big paper copy of the northeast and I'm using it, however, I'm just trying to find the BEST places to stop to eat, get some history, see nature, and to sleep! There are sooooooo many great places along the way that we could spend a month or two! Therefore, I'm just asking for help as to where I should really focus my time. For example, should I spend two days to see everything in Stowe, VT or only one will do, and should I spend the money to stay in the VanTrapp hotel or no?? I'm overwhelmed at all the many choices I have and need some advice!
    Thanks!

  5. Default

    Thank you AZBuck!! Very helpful. My husband and I actually lived outside of Washington, DC for two years, so we have hit all those historic places. We'd actually like to skip that area (and its traffic), therefore, having more time in places we have never been to. I feel that there are so many things that there's no way to plan a good road trip and feel we haven't missed out on something!
    Any advice on places to stay or eat that are a must?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default You Will

    Resign yourself to the fact that with only two weeks to explore the entire Northeast, you WILL miss something. You will miss a lot. The same would be true if you had two months or two years - you would still miss a lot. I lived in New England for twelve years, with every other week off from work, and there are still places I wish I had gotten to.

    Instead of worrying about what you're going to be missing or worse, trying to cram too many places and too much driving into your short visit, simply enjoy the places you do get to. And enjoy them at the relaxed pace that New England deserves. Save time for the serendipitous find and some travel down slower back and local roads. The pace of life in New England, especially northern New England is not quite Southern drawl, but it is far more laid back than what you may have gotten used to in Washington.

    As far as specific places to sleep and eat, those are far too numerous, varied, and changeable for any recommendations from me, especially inasmuch as I moved away 25 years ago. My wife and I have visited since, but the two best places that I would have recommended for stays, both B&Bs, have ceased operations. We have also changed our style of accommodations over the past decades to where we now tend to rent entire houses rather than rooms, especially for extended stays in one place. These can often be had for not much more than one would spend on a mid-class motel room. As for restaurants and diners my advice is simple: find the local places that depend on repeat business rather than the tourist trade. You probably won't get fine dining, but you will get good, hearty meals at a reasonable price. One dining experience I will recommend are the restaurants of the New England Culinary Institute. These are in Montpelier VT, serve the (supervised) creations of fledgling chefs, and should not be missed if you're in the area.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-11-2014 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Typos

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Words of wisdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Instead of worrying about what you're going to be missing or worse, trying to cram too many places and too much driving into your short visit, simply enjoy the places you do get to. And enjoy them at the relaxed pace that New England deserves. Save time for the serendipitous find and some travel down slower back and local roads.
    All the research in the world will not lead you to those small gems you find cruising the byways and backways. Leave time to enjoy them, when you stumble upon them.

    On this forum we do prefer to stay away from 'bests' and 'musts'. People's interests vary so greatly that one person's must see / do, is another person's must pass by / avoid..

    My large folder of all the research which went into my trip, has hardly been opened. It is in speaking with the locals, whether that be at a Ranger's office, a Visitor Centre, the person in charge of the accommodation or someone you meet on the street or in a cafe, that it is when you find the little things which make each place unique. Since it will be you or your husband speaking to these folk, it will be your interests which will be paramount in the conversation.

    I agree, in New England, just hit the road, take your time and see what there is. You won't see it all, but you will see much which will make you want to return again and again.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    Default

    If this were MY trip, and being the Sound of Music fan that I am, a "must" would definitely be a night at the Trapp Lodge in Stowe. Your mileage may vary, however.

    As far as finding good places to eat -- my husband and I use one of these methods:

    * If in town for dinner and we are in the mood for something local, we first try to ask at the hotel desk. Ask for a local place, or ask where they'd go to dinner if they had the chance. (Otherwise they will send you to the Denny's or whatever is nearest to them.)

    * If the hotel desk is busy, or you are on the road trying to find dinner, you can try Urbanspoon or TripAdvisor apps on your smart phone (if you have one). This worked for us a LOT and we got great places to eat.

    * If in a local grocery store or big box store just before mealtime, ask the cashier. Or someone else in line, starting with "excuse me, are you a local?" They often enjoy selling you on their favorite places!


    Donna

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
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    Default For Donna

    In case you never get there - but you really should - here is what I consider the highight of the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, the small family cemetary where the Baron and Maria are buried:





    AZBuck

  10. #10
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    May 2011
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    Default

    Thank you for that beautiful photo! Yes, someday I will get there. When we were planning our 2012 vacation, we had obligations and could not get this worked into the schedule. I'm sure "our day will come, if we just wait awhile...."


    Donna

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