Driving from Texas to Maine
Hey, a friend and I are planning a road trip from DFW to Acadia. We're trying to visit all fifty states before we turn 25. So far, we've each got around 35-40. We both need the upper east coast. We've set aside about two weeks for the trip, and were just looking for ideas to stop at along the way or advice. Anything you can post would be great! Thanks in advance.
Upper East Coast
I don't know which States you need to go to and what are your interests but here are a few suggestions for the upper east coast:
Cape Cod (especially Provincetown) an absolute must see, beautiful beaches and sand dunes, art galleries, fun nightlife. From PTown you can take the ferry to Boston and walk the Freedom Trail. Hotels in Boston and PTown are very expensive, I suggest you sleep out of these cities. For Boston, you can go in the suburbs like Revere or Needham. And for Cape Cod, Sandwich or Truro. There are a few campgrounds and hostels in Cape Cod, the cheapest motel room I found was at the Budget Host Inn. If you're willing to pay, you can stay at the Elephant Walk Inn in PTown, they have nice quiet room + breakfast in the morning. After Boston, you can drive to Salem and visit the Witch Museum if you're into that kind of stuff. Two other nice places worth mentionning but very expensive : Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
The White Mountains of course!! If you like hiking, camping or canoeing, this is the place. If you're out of time or a bit lazy, you can drive all the way up to Mt Washington. My favourite campground in that area is Country Bumpkins in Lincoln, it's usually pretty quiet (~ 19$/night). Drive route 9 along the coast from Rye to Saco, ME the scenery is breathtaking : waves crashing on high cliffs, big manors, lighthouses, etc. For factory outlets go to North Conway on rte 302.
Baxter State Park (hike the Knife's Edge at Mt Kahtadin), Acadia and Bar Harbor area, Portland is a nice city to visit, Perkins Cove (Ogunquit) for walking trails, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants. Cape Neddick and Cape Porpoise Lighthouses, Kennebunk Port and Ogunquit Beaches. If you're in the Saco area, for a good seafood restaurant go to Wormwood's restaurant in Camp Ellis (ask locals), for inexpensive waterfront lodging in the Old Orchard/Saco area, go to Bay View Villa (~ 70$/night for 2p incl. breakfast). For factory outlets go to Kittery.
If I were you, I would avoid I-95 between Washington, DC and NYC, you can be stuck in traffic jams anytime and you don't get to see much stuff. If you don't need to go to Philly, Baltimore, NYC or Washington, I'd suggest I-81 or the Blue Ridge Parkway and then maybe I-84 through CT. Of course, if you have some extra time ahead of you, you should consider taking secondary roads instead of interstates, you'll see much more interesting stuff that way I'm sure!
While it is true that I-95 can resemble a parking lot, there is a surprising number of pretty amazing places along that route. Be sure to check out this guide to I-95 before you "write-off" this venerable highway.
The Editor is right in that there are any number of interesting places just off I-95, particularly if you are any kind of history buff. The problem is not that it is a parking lot at times, but that it's a parking lot with everybody doing 80+ mph. The section from Baltimore to the Delaware Memorial Bridge is the worst in this regards. I'm going to have to drive this section on the 4th of July weekend, the only part of a 6,000 mi road trip that I'm dreading. There are ways around it if you're interested. That having been said, I'll offer a few suggestions for the New England portion of your trip to go along with Gen's.
Mystic, CT is a great stop along the coast. Mystic Seaport is worth the time and cost, but also stop at the little ice cream shop just at the west end of the draw bridge on US-1 across the Mystic River. The ice cream is tasty and they have a little deck that overlooks the river. If you want lobster somewhere along your trip, ask for directions to Abbott's. It's not fancy, just lobster the way it was meant to be served.
In Rhode Island, try to get to Newport to see how the other half lives. The bridges from the west into Newport are spectacular in their own right. Even if you don't take a tour of one of the 'cottages', at least park and walk the grounds a bit (The Elms was the location for the opening scenes of the movie, True Lies). A great place to eat is a restaurant (I can't remember the name) that shares a building with the US Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame in downtown. The food is great and not too expensive, and you can get an outside table that looks over the tennis courts.
If you're going all the way to Acadia, you'll see a lot of the best of Maine. Do take the time to explore one or two of the peninsulas that stick out into the ocean down east of Portland. Then head inland to get to New Hampshire. The drive to the top of Mt. Washington is easily done, if a bit nerve-racking. To get from there to Vermont, definitely take the Kankamagus Highway (NH-112). You can hardly go wrong in Vermont, but your best options south to start completeing your circle are either US-5 along the Connecticut River or VT-100 through the center of the state.
Those are some general recommendations. If you've got specific interests, just speak up.
Last edited by AZBuck; 04-17-2005 at 10:10 PM.