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  1. Default HELP!!! Newark to Boston in 7 days

    Hi all, I'm a newbie from Hong Kong :)
    I'm planning a road trip from Newark to Boston in July, and would appreciate your insights and comments.

    Something you should know beforehand:
    • Dates: 7/24 (FRI) to 7/30 (THU) - I'm arriving in Newark on 7/23 evening and departing from Boston on 7/31 early morning
    • I have to go to a basketball game at Mohegan Sun, CT on 7/25 (SAT)
    • I've been to NYC before, but not anywhere else
    • I'm travelling with my dad, so I don't want to plan a physically demanding trip (in terms of activities)

    At first I just used Google Maps to plan my routes, and it (for obvious reasons) told me to take I-95 all the way to Boston. Since then I've been reading about I-95, and it seems like traffic is usually bad, and it's not a scenic drive.

    So here's my first take. Please let me know if there is a better route! I'm open to any suggestions :)

    • 7/23 THU - arrive at EWR, pick up rental car (Hotel: Newark)
    • 7/24 FRI - whole day in NYC (Hotel: Newark/NYC) Is it feasible to find an affordable NYC hotel with parking, or should I go back to Newark?
    • 7/25 SAT - Newark - Mohegan Sun - Mystic: Hutchinson River Pkwy>15>66>2>12>US-1 (Hotel: Mystic)
    • 7/26 SUN - Mystic - Newport: US-1>138 (Hotel: Newport) Is Mystic, Newport & vicinity worth a whole day?
    • 7/27 MON - Newport - Boston: 138>79>24>I-93 (Hotel: Boston)
    • 7/28 TUE - whole day in Boston (Hotel: Boston) What other towns around Boston do you recommend we visit?
    • 7/29 WED - Boston - Provincetown: 3A>US-6 (Hotel: Hyannis/Provincetown)
    • 7/30 THU - Provincetown - Boston: US-6>I-495>I-93 (Hotel: Boston)
    • 7/31 FRI - return rental car, depart from BOS

    Thank you for helping!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    I would not pick up the car until you are ready to hit the road for CT. A car in NYC is a huge liability - expensive parking when you can even find it, excellent public transportation. There are no affordable safe hotels in NYC.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Boston.

    If I were you I would visit every place such as Provincetown, possibly Cape Cod and Plymouth (both places with a lot of history) before heading to Boston. Like NYC, Boston is almost, but not quite, as bad for parking as NYC. I would turn in the car on your arrival in Boston, and choose a hotel either in the city or along the commuter trainline in the suburbs, with direct access to the city.

    Besides that, there is no joy in driving in Boston downtown, it is narrow and winding roads. But none the less it is a great city, very much suited to doing a walking tour. The Duck tours on the harbour are also a great experience.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Thanks glc and Lifey!

    I originally thought of going to Provincetown before Boston, but since I would be driving to Provincetown on a Sat or Sun, I read that there will be terrible traffic and packed hotels. That's why I end up choosing to go there during the week (to be more relaxing).

    Is the traffic at Cape Code & Provincetown really that bad during the weekend? If not, I may go with what Lifey says and pick Boston as my last destination.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Cape Cod.

    Yes Cape Cod gets busy, but it is just a case of being patient. It is after all a holiday destination with many weekenders. Actually a Sunday would not be all that bad. You may find that most will go on Friday late and head back home on Sunday. Hotels could be OK on Sunday night. Worth checking.

    I have only been there once and it was on Labor Day weekend. The traffic was horrendous, but then, it was a long weekend with a public holiday. Everyone and his dog was there. But I took my time and still got to Provincetown and saw all I wanted to see. That is some years ago now. There are some nice eating places and parks along the way. Not that I can recall any names, but I do recall enjoying them.

    Of course there is the ferry you can take there, but I don't know if it takes cars as well. In summer it would be a nice trip.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Perhaps a Few Tweaks

    As others have noted, there will be traffic and parking problems along your route or in the cities you plan to visit, particularly when you are traveling on a summer weekend. So let me offer a few things for you to at least consider in your planning.

    The Car. This is a bit problematical. It's true that you simply don't want a car in New York City and can do fairly well in Boston without one. But on the other hand it is sometimes true that a weekly rental will be as cheap or even cheaper than a four or five day rental. Be sure to check all your options, including comparing prices depending on where you pick up the car (off airport locations often have lower rates than the same company's site at the airport), picking up in New Jersey vs. New York, going through a consolidator to see if you can get a lower rate or the one-way drop-off fee reduced or waived. If it works out that it's best for you to pick up the car when you first arrive, there's no need to take that car into New York City just because you have it. There are subway and commuter rail options that will get you into the city without the hassle of then finding parking once you're there.

    The Drive to Mohegan Sun. This will also depend a bit on where/when you pick up your car, but as a rule you want to get around (rather than through) New York City, and off the coast a bit at least until you're east of New Haven. I you leave from the Newark area, then I'd recommend that you take the Garden State Parkway (a toll road, but that helps keep the traffic down) north to I-287, cross the Tappan Zee Bridge, and then head north on I-684 to I-84 east. After passing Waterbury, take I-691 east to I-91 north to Exit 23 or 24 (whichever is marked for CT-160 east. Follow that state road past Dinosaur State Park to the Rocky Hill - Glastonbury ferry to cross the Connecticut River, go north about half a mile on CT-17 and turn right onto Chestnut Hill Road which will take you to CT-2 which is a freeway quality road that will take you pretty close to Mohegan Sun. I know that all sounds complicated, but check it out on a good map and you'll see that it's only about 25-30 miles longer than fighting your way through New York City and then using either I-95 or the Merrit Parkway (CT-15) and is a lot more relaxing drive. If you leave from NYC, just take the Hutchinson River Parkway up to I-864 and then proceed as above.

    Cape Cod. I'm going to go a bit against the grain here and suggest that there is an alternative to fighting your way across one of the two, and only two, bridges onto the Cape so that you can join the summer weekend crowds. There is another cape north of Boston, Cape Ann, that sees far less traffic. While it doesn't have the sandy beaches that Cape Cod has it does have two very picturesque towns, Gloucester and Rockport, that are worth visiting. There is also a small house built entirely of paper, Stage Fort Park, and Halibut Point State Park. Just a bit farther north is all the empty sandy beach you could ask for at Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply.

    The Car. I've thought about this, and I think having a car will be more convenient with our luggage and for my dad (he's not much of a walker). I'll definitely shop around to get a better deal on the rental.

    NYC. The more I think about it, the more I consider skipping NYC altogether, since I've been there before, and instead focus on more of a scenic & nature trip until arriving in Boston.

    Newark to NY State. Assuming I skip NYC, I've read on another thread suggesting to take I-287, NY-17, Seven Lakes Dr. through Harriman State Park, then US-6 crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge to continue on I-84. This is similar to the route AZBuck suggested, but further up North. How does this compare with Tappan Zee Bridge?

    Rocky Hill - Glastonbury ferry. AZBuck, after I-691 East, I see on the map that I can continue on CT-66 which connects with CT-2. Since you've suggested to take the ferry instead, there must be a specific reason behind your choice. Is the ferry a special experience that I should not miss?

    Cape Cod vs Cape Ann. I need to do more research on these two destinations to decide on which one to go with. Plum Island looks very interesting too. Hmm... decisions decisions...
    - Cape Cod: If I drive to Cape Cod on a Sunday evening, I'm hoping the traffic will be more manageable. But then of course I'm speaking out of hope. If you have more experience and advice against it, I'll definitely trust you. An alternative will be to take a ferry from Boston to P-Town, but then it will limit the areas I can visit around P-Town. Do you recommend having a car if I go to P-Town, or is everything worth visiting all in walking distance?
    - Cape Ann: Should this be a day trip from Boston, or should I plan to spend a night there?

    Thanks again!
    Jung

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    There are lots of decisions to be made for any vacation. In the end the only person who can make the right ones for you and your trip is you. All we can do is point out options, costs, and pitfalls to avoid. I-95 is an obvious pitfall. The way you originally suggested, using the Merrit Parkway is an option. Crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge and going up to I-84 as I suggested is another. I am also the one who proposed the Seven Lakes Drive/Bear Mountain Bridge route, but that was for someone starting their route around New York City from farther west than you will be. I considered proposing it to you but figured it added too many miles to be worthwhile. But again, the final choice is yours.

    The same is true about using ether CT-66 or the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury ferry to get east through Connecticut while remaining south of the Hartford area and north of the coast. I happen to be a fan of little two and three car ferries such as this one and I find they make a nice nostalgic break in any drive. You may feel the same and the cost (a few bucks as I remember) is not prohibitive. But if you'd rather just drive and save some time, then CT-66 is perfectly fine.

    As for Cape Cod vs. Cape Ann and Plum Island, there is no bad choice, just a choice to be made. It helps that you will be driving onto the Cape (Cod) on a Sunday when most of the traffic will be headed back to Boston. But only for crossing one of the bridges onto the Cape. Remember that all the other visitors to the Cape that week will have already come down on the day (Saturday) before you do so that it will still be crowded wherever you go. If you take the ferry from Boston to Provincetown, you will be pretty much limited to walking around Provincetown which will be one of the most crowded areas of the Cape. If you drive on you can still find quiet areas in the National Seashore, in Nickerson State Forest Park and in Hawksnest State Park. You can also consider driving onto the Cape and then taking a ferry (without the car) out to either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket.

    I truly regret that we can't make life easier for you by making all those decisions, but if we did it might be the perfect RoadTrip for me but there's no guarantee that you or your father would enjoy it.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-10-2015 at 12:58 PM.

  9. Default

    Dear AZBuck,

    Your response makes perfect sense :) Thanks to you and others I now have reliable info to base my decisions on. Perhaps my next step is to map everything out, use Google Streetview to get a feel of the actual scenery, calculate the travel time, and discuss with my dad to see if he has any preferences.

    Thanks again! You all made me feel much better about this trip!

    Jung

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you use Google to calculate drive time, add 20% to allow for reality, more if you will be driving in areas of heavy traffic.

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