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  1. Default Driving from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Buffalo, NY

    Hey guys its been a while since I've posted here, you guys helped me out on my last road trip to Ohio so I figured I'd check back and see if anyone has any advice on another trip. I am driving to visit a friend next week in Buffalo, NY and was wondering if anyone has done this drive before and could give me an idea what to expect. Everyone's telling me it's a terrible drive and there's lots of expensive tolls and that I should take a bus or fly. I'd much rather drive but I was wondering if my friends were correct saying there are some very expensive tolls along the route, and if anyone knows a route to avoid them. I'm not really looking to make the best time possible but rather have the most enjoyable time and the cheapest route. I'm just wondering what everyone's opinion is on this drive, is it a very non enjoyable one, would you take a bus or drive? Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome back to the RTA Forum!

    I'm guessing that you're hoping to to this trip in one day, and if that's the case, you really don't have a lot of options other than sticking to I-90. It's already a 500 mile drive, which means you don't have time to spend much time off the freeways.

    For tolls, you're looking at about $3.25 to get across the Mass Turnpike, and then about $15 to cross NY on the I-90 Thruway. An alternate across NY would be to use I-88/I-86/I-390/US-20A, which would eliminate most of your tolls across NY State, however, that adds about 50 miles, so what you'd save in tolls, you'll basically spend in extra fuel.

    There are some other possible options where you could get off the freeway for a bit, for example, possibly cutting across 2 lane roads through NH and VT, before picking up the freeway again in NY, but you'd have to be careful not to add a lot of extra hours to what's already a pretty full day.

    I will be honest, if you are looking for the cheapest way to make this trip, and you are traveling solo, and you don't need a car in Buffalo, then a bus or plane could very well be less expensive than driving yourself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you take the Interstates (toll roads) it's about an 8 hour drive and will cost you about 20 bucks. To avoid the tolls, you would be running into a second day which would cost you more because of the cost of a hotel room.

    I don't think it's a particularly ugly ride, the scenery on the Mass Pike is quite nice once you get away from Boston, and the NY Thruway isn't terrible.

    EDIT: Michael, you forgot the $2 toll in NH.

    EDIT2: Buck, excellent suggestions, but this makes it a 2 day drive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Very Relaxing Drive

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Other than the tolls (and yes, they are excessive - $21.70 without EZ-Pass) I don't know what your friends are talking about. While I haven't made the entire drive that you're considering, at various times I have lived in Portsmouth NH and Ithaca NY and so have done most of it in sections at one time or another and it can be a very scenic, historic, and relaxing drive.

    First, though, let's deal with the route you don't want to take. That would be the route that every software mapping routine will recommend and that your friends are warning you against: Use the New Hampshire Turnpike to drop down to I-495 and the Mass Pike west to the New York State Thruway and Buffalo. Expensive! And longer than the alternative! The way I'd suggest is US-4 west then use I-393 and I-93 to hook south around Concord to I-89 north. Leave I-89 at Hopkinton and follow US-202/NH-9 to Hillsboro. Stay on NH-9 when US-202/NH-9 split and follow NH-9 to VT-9 across southern Vermont. After crossing into New York, pick up NY-7 through Troy into the Albany area. Use I-87 south to get through Albany but leave it just before it turns into a toll road and instead take US-20 west the rest of the way through New York state to Buffalo. Total tolls: $0. And it's about 30 miles shorter to boot. But on the downside, it will take three hours or so longer to drive due to the slower roads and the number of towns you'll be driving through. In my opinion, though, the scenery and history (e.g. Bennngton Battlefield, Seneca Falls) that you'll be passing more than make up for it. Take a couple of days, explore the many smaller sites along the way, and enjoy the drive.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-21-2014 at 02:23 PM. Reason: added toll total

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It's up to you.

    Whichever route you end up taking, the route will be as enjoyable as you are determined to make it. If you set out with the mindset of your friends, then yes, it will be a terrible drive. However, if you are determined to make the most of what the road has to offer, you'll be surprised how much you will observe... which your friends missed.


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