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  1. #1

    Default Chicago to Boston/Cambridge

    Greetings!

    After looking over a number of ideas and helpful tools on the Road Trip America site, I feel comfortable in running an idea past everyone. My finace and I are gearing up for a short road trip (5-6 days) to regain a bit or sanity from the rat race of life. We'll be leaving from the far south suburbs of Chicago and journeying East to Boston.

    Now, we've both made a few road trips in our time and have grown fond of the little things you might find on the way. (Y'know, like the unique places to eat or the attractions that only the locals brag about.) Since I've never been East and she hasn't been in some time, I figured that I would ponder this one to the masses. (We'll also be going to Cambridge, MA for a day to visit as she has some family out there.)

    I suppose I have a number of questions... What fun and scenic route can I take? Does anyone know of any little suprises or tidbits along the way? How about Boston/Cambridge in general? Even if something might fall a bit out of the way, I'm not opposed. The whole idea behind this journey is just to relax and get a new perspective on things. I'm looking forward to seeing this portion of America! Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

    Regards,

    BarneyFett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Atomic Wings

    Quote Originally Posted by barneyfett
    ... Does anyone know of any little suprises or tidbits along the way?
    Welcome to the board -- two of our most prolific posters live near Boston and I am sure one or both of them will be online soon.

    On your way, I challenge you to stop off in Sharon, Pennsylvania and consume an order of Atomic Wings at the Quaker Steak & Lube.

    Mark

  3. #3
    ONwi03 Guest

    Default

    I took a trip from Chicago to Boston-NYC last April. I'd recommend taking the Mohawk Trail on the way there. I believe it starts in Williamstown, MA in the northeast corner of the state. There's some really nice scenery in that area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Surprises

    Quote Originally Posted by barneyfett
    Does anyone know of any little suprises or tidbits along the way?
    Well, yes, I know a few, but then if I told you about them, they wouldn't be surprises, would they? Seriously, part of the joy (a big part, actually) of such road trips as you seem to be planning is stumbling over things you didn't expect. The interstates between Chicago and Boston are actually pretty scenic for the most part, except where they go through places like Cleveland and Buffalo. But by the same token, the parallel US highways are not that slow, and in general are close enough to the interstates to allow you to pretty freely jump back and forth at will. The best road, in my opinion, in this regard is US-6, especially across northern Pennsylvania. Just to name a few highlights: crossing the Allegheny Mts. on two lane road, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania south of Ansonia, and several covered bridges in the northern Susquehanna River valley. You could even use I-80 to Sharon, get some of those wings Mark is touting, and then head up to US-6 via US-62, another scenic route which follows the Allegheny River valley.

    In the end, I think you said it best that you want to "relax and get a new perspective on things" and a great way to do this is to just take what you find (it will all be good) rather than try to hit a number of sights that someone else found to their liking.

    Enjoy

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Roads

    The Mohawk Trail actually starts in the North<i>western</i> part of the state...I know, brain slip! Anyway, sit back and try to indulge me here. This may be more than you want to know, but at least you'll have options.

    It is aka Massachusetts Highway 2, and will lead you right into Boston if you follow it all the way through. It's got all the good stuff: souvenir shops selling mocassins, a hairpin turn, "100 mile views!". It goes through Greenfield, which I have become enamored with as of late (Taylor's in the center of town on 2A has thus far not disappointed for breakfast!)

    Williamstown is a very beautiful town. I was just there on Sunday, after a drive up through NY and VT. Speaking of which...

    An alternate would be to get off the Interstate in NY and head to NY-7 then onto VT-9, cut down US-7 to MA-2. Even if you stay on VT-9, you're in for a nice ride (but please do take MA-2 on the way back!)

    While on NY-7, at the intersection of 7 and NY-22 there is a small store with a BBQ outside that looks like a pig. The whole intersection smells great. To answer your questions: Yes, I've been in the store. No, I haven't eaten any of their offerings, pork sandwiches and the like. Why? Well, maybe this weekend!

    Anyway, off of MA-2, near Florida, MA (yes, it's a town, celebrating its bicentennial this week) is Whitcomb Hill Rd. Follow this (make sure your brakes are in top shape!!!) to the intersection, and take a left. This will lead to the Hoosac Tunnel (Google Search!). Following this road farther will lead you along Bear Swamp Reservoir and power generating station (something I first saw this past Sunday), and eventually into VT - in my Rand McNally, this is the grey road East of MA-8.

    Another option (separate or inclusive of above) would be to work your way down to MA-23 or MA-9. These are also nice drives. 9 will take you right by the Quabbin, which is worth a visit, and the section in Hadley - Amherst is like being on the Great Plains. US-20 in the Western part of the state is nice, but becomes a nuisance East of Sturbridge. MA-32 in Hardwick/Gilbertville gets my vote for "road most likely to be photographed for a picture of a stone wall", though stone walls are everywhere in this state, thanks to our forebears and their disdain for our rocky soil.

    MA-47 in Sunderland is home to the largest Sycamore East of the Mississippi River (allegedly); there is also a small shop with three millstones in its masonry.

    On US-5 in Deerfield is the Yankee Candle Company flagship store, with a cool Christmas shop (ok, Shoppe), though I miss the car museum.

    In Monson (off of 32 near CT), off of Brimfield Rd. is my vote for best ice cream, Westview Farms on King St., with views of the mountains along the Connecticut River Valley, goats, and a very relaxing atmosphere.

    For Boston area attractions, I'll have to defer to other posters, as I don't get out that way as much as I probably could, though I really enjoy the city.

    We have 351 towns in this small state...this list could go on for DAYS!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default 351 towns and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by TimboTA
    We have 351 towns in this small state...this list could go on for DAYS!
    Timbo, a truly great post -- and I want a field report of the pork BBQ place soon!

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Boston and Cambridge

    In Boston, if you're into history, you could walk the Freedom Trail, starting at the Boston Common. The North End and the South End are my favourite parts of town. The North end is kind of like the "little italy", lots of great restaurants, narrow streets and there is an open market nearby to buy fresh fruits and veggies. The South End is where all the designers are, but even if you don't like shopping, you can have a cappuccino or an ice cream cone (if you're a Ben & Jerry's addict like me) on a terrace and just watch the crowd. For late dinners, Stephanie's restaurant is fun, I don't remember the name of the street where it's at though.

    Don't miss the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown (it is actually on the path of the Freedom Trail ) for a great view of the city. You can even take the ferry to Provincetown (Cape Cod) for a day at the beach! In Cambridge, you can visit Harvard campus, they have very nice green spots to relax and great libraries. There are plenty of bookstores in Cambridge and neat little restaurants with terraces and sometimes live music.

    Oh and always read carefully the parking signs if you don't want your car to get towed! Or you could take the subway system. Bring a good map, it's really easy to get lost in Boston.

    Have a great trip!

    Gen

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TimboTA
    We have 351 towns in this small state...this list could go on for DAYS!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gen
    Oh and always read carefully the parking signs if you don't want your car to get towed!
    Wow, amazing wrap up of some the pearls of Massachusetts! I'm eager to get the trip started!!! Thanks for some local insight!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Well, yes, I know a few, but then if I told you about them, they wouldn't be surprises, would they? Seriously, part of the joy (a big part, actually) of such road trips as you seem to be planning is stumbling over things you didn't expect.
    I could not have put it better myself. While I'm looking to take in all that the trip can offer, there is absolutely no replacement for stumbling upon those fun little moments that sometimes happen only by chance. As you pointed out, the fuel behind our journey is a bit of time to relax and unwind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    On your way, I challenge you to stop off in Sharon, Pennsylvania and consume an order of Atomic Wings at the Quaker Steak & Lube.
    Habenero wings? Those sound tasty! Also, I'm sure that my finace won't mind a bit to stop at the world's largest shoe store in Sharon, PA. =)

    Great thanks to all of your suggestions! I'll be leaving in a little over a week and am counting the hours. If anyone has anything else to add, let me know! Thanks!

    BarneyFett

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