I have always wanted to take a roadtrip across country to the eastern states. I'd like to stay close to the northern states... basically no desert. I'd like to do most of my site seeing in the east but stops on the way are acceptable. Anyone have any ideas, tips, things to do, what to bring, when to go, where to go, how long to go? ANYTHING?! I am very open. I want to have the best experience possible. I'll start out in Sacramento, work my way up to Seattle, hit Toronto, then after that come back to the states and start my journey. What shall I do next?
First, I think if you really want to "feel" the spirit New England you have to spend a few days in Boston. They've got it all, architecture, cleanliness (if you stay out of Roxbury) and history. But beware, Boston's street plan is a little messy, you can get lost easily, so maybe it would be a great idea to park your car in the suburbs and take the commuter train. There a a lot of walking paths of different kind : Heritage (Black history), Freedom (general history), I believe there is one concerning Literature too. My favourite parts of Boston are Charlestown and the North End (Italian quarter), I think they are the most gorgeous. You can also head to Cambridge to buy books, walk on the campus and eat in one of the neat little cafés. The cheapest accomodations to be found in Boston is probably (out of Boston:o) the YMCA/ YWCA and youth hostels and even so, they are rarely under 60$/night. Don't expect to find anything under 100$-120$ a night for a decent place, unless you'll be deceived. The first time I went to Boston, I spent 12 hours looking for a cheaper place, neddless to say, I learned my lesson. We finally found a very ugly "motor court" with fake grass-like carpets outside a Boston for a small 99$/night and it didn't even looked clean, we slept in our sleeping bags!:-) But don't worry it never happened to me again, when you know the price range and you can reserve in advance it is even better.
If you plan on going in the summer, Cape Cod has very nice beaches...It's pretty expensive to spend a few days there, but you still can camp in one of the State Parks right on the beachfront. There's a lot of entertainment to enjoy in Provincetown.
Rhode Island is also a very nice place to visit, but again, not very cheap if you're running on a budget. And beware, in the summer, sometimes you can hit huge traffic jams I guess because of the tourists and locals going on vacation.
If you enjoy mountain hiking, NH, VT and ME are the right places : nature is everywhere, very few big cities, a lot of steep mountains (White Mountains (NH), Green Mountains (VT) and some more in upstate ME (Kahtadin for ex.)) Vt is a very rural state, lots of dairy farms, hilly country, almost virgin and so beautiful. You could head to Burlington to eat loads of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (try Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, Phish Food and NY Super Fudge Chunks..but they're all great really) and walk and shop along the Church Street marketplace and take a walk on the waterfront of Lake Champlain.
Quebec is also a gorgeous place and most of the people are bilingual (french/english) so you shouldn't have any problem. In the winter, you could come and ski at Mt Brome, slide at Mt Glen, do a little snowshoe practice in Glen Sutton, do winter hiking in Mt Orford. In the Eastern Townships during the season, there are a lot of wineries, apple orchards, small fruits picking up, sugar shack parties, this might be a great opportunity to meet people and have a taste of the great stuff Quebec has to offer. There are a lot of possibilities, or you could head to Montreal and have a typical French meal and go out in one of the many hip dance clubs downtown. Quebec city is a much more quiet city, but it is unbeatable architecture wise, you could eat in one of the many french restaurants, practice your french skills, do a cruise on the St. Lawrence. For the cheapest accomodations in Montreal, go to University of Montreal or Oratoire St. Joseph they have very basic rooms for as low as 30-35$ CAN.
In the Toronto area, at the end of Lake Ontario, near St. Catharines, you can find a lot of wineries of all kind. One of the most reknown is probably Inniskillin, home of the famous Ice wine. There are also other stuff like small fruit liquors. They usually offer guided tours of the winery with some tasting along the way. These are usually free. You also could visit the famous Niagara Falls between the US and Canadian Borders. If you plan on taking route 401 towards the eatsren part of Ontario, stop in Kingston, it is worth it. Very clean city and lots of thing to see. Brockport is also a nice community and the gateway to the famous 1 000 islands.
And on your way, if you go through St. Louis, don't forget to visit the Gateway Arch. If you're interested into legends and Native American history, stop by Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. Along the way, you'll probably hit a lot of State Parks, don't pass by them, stop and ask informations on those State Parks, maybe it could be more interesting than you though even though it's closer to your home. If you don't visit them, at least you'll have the info at home if you plan to go on another roadtrip.
Have a nice trip and let us know how it went!