Little Rock to Bar Harbor and back - Tips?
Planning a 14 day RT starting in Little Rock this October. The northeast US is one of the areas we've never been and only have two weeks so want to hit the highlights. We're planning to drive from central AR to Niagra Falls then travel through New York, Vermont, and Maine to Bar Harbor and then head down toward Lancaster, PA. Maybe loop over to Assateague (sp?) Island too. We prefer to see the state parks, historic landmark kind of places. Not interested in metropolitan areas. Would love to hear your thoughts on high points we might want to seek out and must see spots! Usually we prefer to wing it for reservations but since we're in peak season for the fall colors, I know we'll have to do reservations. I'm searching the forum for routes others have used before and would welcome suggestions on routes as well.
Not Specific Help
Check here for a somewhat similar trip that I did starting from Shreveport, Louisiana. Maybe it can help you some.
Laura - Thanks for the link! I laughed about your big rocks being a big deal - I understand what you mean! I grew up in central and southwest Missouri - home of some of the prettiest hillsides around. Now living in a mostly flat river delta - I treasure my trips into the mountains and hillsides! Sounds like you were in the perfect landscape for me! Do you remember what highway you traveled after leaving Niagra?
Trying to Recall Here
From the towns I remember it looks like we went back to I-90 to Batavia (very near the big prison up there - the name escapes me) then took NY 5 to Schenectady, NY Highway 50 to Highway 9 and wound up on Highway 4 through Vermont. In NY we especially enjoyed Candandaigua. It was just a very beautiful old town in the Finger Lakes Region. I think we stayed on Highway 4 through Vermont and in to New Hampshire. Somehow we made it to Center Harbor from Highway 4 - maybe NH 104. From there we made our way back to I-93 where we had a flat tire in Manchester, NH and spent a good deal of that day trying to get a new one.
It was off Highway 4 in Vermont that we found the covered bridges. Also much of the highway runs along a classic mountain stream full of rocks. It's skiing country, so you might actually see some action when you're there. We went in the summer so it was almost deserted through there.
Thank you so much! I've been over so many maps and looked through so many visitor guides I'm getting cross-eyed about picking a route! I wish we had more time but those pesky jobs keep getting in the way of my wanderlust! I know we are going to see so many wonderful places and miss quite a few too - I'm just hoping to get some good ideas to plan around.
Are you still based in Louisiana? I got my first introduction post-Katrina like a lot of folks. Still haven't been able to get into any back country there but have enjoyed my stays in Kenner and the Gentilly neighborhood. Thanks again for the great tips!
Still here. I lived in New Orleans for four years, but moved away to the "north" about 5 years before Katrina. During that time I visited down there a lot, but I haven't made it back since. I'm heading down LA Highway 1 tomorrow. I'd love to make it all the way to Grand Isle, but I doubt that will happen without an overnight stay. We shall see, though.
About wanderlust. I look back on all the places I've seen and it still amazes me how many places that I haven't seen. I'm embarking on my first overseas trip this spring and it's almost overwhelming when I add the rest of the world to my list. Kind of makes a girl dizzy. So I just tide myself over by doing little day trips whenever I get a chance. Speaking of which here is a link to a day trip I did up in Arkansas last year.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-05-2008 at 02:08 PM.
Reason: fixed the link
Had to go to a web cast on the FMLA regs. YUCK!
Nothing like taking a complicated program and making it worse!
I can't get the link to open but my computer is a little stubborn at times. I'll try again later. Thanks again for the tips!
(Laura had an extra http: in the link -- it is working now)
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-05-2008 at 02:09 PM.
From the General to the Specific
You're talking about some of my favorite parts of the country. So let me add to the suggestions that Laura has given you. First, a couple of general observations. Don't limit yourself to one route. As your original post indicates you plan to do, take completely different routes up (down East) to Maine and back home. Second, keep in mind that there are other places along the way to view great foliage, and with a little planning, it might be possible to have wonderful color for almost the entiredrive. Poke around this website looking for archived foliage reports from past years covering the Northeast United States to get an idea of where things generally tend to peak during the times of your drives and use that as a guide. But you can hardly go wrong following the Appalachians for any appreciable distance in either direction. Yes, unfortunately, reservations will be pretty much required in New England at that time of year. But rather than thinking of a schedule as something you're tied down by, consider it something that frees you to concentrate on the parts of your trip that are really important to you, the sights and experiences, rather than having to spend a portion of each day worrying about finding lodging for the night.
Anyway, now some specifics. On the leg between Little Rock and Niagara plan on including Cumberland Gap, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the quaint town of Lexington, VA. Either on this leg or the leg that includes the Eastern Shore, consider a visit to Monticello. You could even include your visit to Pennsylvania's Amish country on this leg by staying on roughly I-81 up into the West Virginia panhandle and using roads like US-340, and US-15 past Antietem and Gettysburg, and US-30 to Lancaster before using US-15 again up through the Susquehanna River Valley. This routing also takes you, as you use US-20A to get from I-390 to Buffalo, right by a great hidden gem in this region: Letchworth State Park. Crossing between Niagara (you do have a passport don't you?) and New England is most efficiently accomplished by using the New York State Thruway (I-90), but if you want scenery and history, US-20 provides a great alternative, taking you along the northern tips of the Finger Lakes and along the route of the Erie Canal, through the town where the Women's Rights movement started, and along the southern border of Adirondack State Park. The road I used to take between Johnstown, NY and Bennington, VT is NY-67. You won't be going fast, but I think you'll enjoy it as an alternative to using I-90/I-87 through the Albany area.
I won't even try to mention all the great things in northern New England. I've already written extensively on that area. Also read this post about ways around New York City. In New Jersey, US-206/NJ-54/NJ-47 will avoid most urban centers while taking you down through the state to Cape May where you can catch a ferry over to Lewes, DE setting yourself up for a visit to Assateague or Chincoteague Island. I prefer Chincoteague, but you really can't go wrong. Continue south to the end of the Delmarva peninsula and take the Bridge-Tunnel over to Norfolk putting you in position to visit Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. US-58 would then provide a nice drive across southern Virginia on you way home.
Can you do all that in 2 weeks? Probably not, but it will be fun getting in as much as you can. Have a great trip.
Just what I needed!
Thanks, AZBuck! Especially for the routes around the big cities! Exactly what I have been trying to figure out! I've been looking at info on Letchworth State Park - it looks like a definite place we want to visit! Now to get to the dirty work of defining a route and deciding where we will be and when! Appreciate the great suggestions!
Need suggestions for the end of the trip now
I think we've come up with a game plan for this October 2008 trip! I'd love to hear your suggestions for stops along the way.
Okay, here's the preliminary plan:
Friday night after work we head east toward Nashville, TN. We'll aim for about 7 hours drive time via interstate/main highways. After a few hours sleep - Saturday am get back on the road and head toward Pittsburg, PA where we'll visit with friends Saturday night. Up bright and early Sunday am to head for Niagara Falls. I've got reservations at the Marriott Fallsview. This is the most money I've ever paid for a hotel in my life! I'm trying to decide if paying $250+ parking to watch water flow is worth it or not - anyone have experience in Niagara or comments about the property?
Overnight there and head toward Cromwell, CT to play in a golf tournament. After the golfing, we'll head toward Saco, ME where we'll overnight. Anyone have experience with the Rodeway Inn there?
Next stop, Bar Harbor, we'll base here at the Hanscoms Motel for three days while we take in Acadia (can't wait to do the Carriage Roads!) assorted lighthouses and lobster pounds! I've never eaten lobster anywhere but in Arkansas and somehow, I don't think that should really count! I'm hoping that really fresh seafood might actually change my opinion about disliking it!
Three days there and we're off to Manchester, VT working our way from north to south by way of Burlington. Hope to make side trips off to Cabot enroute (just because I live in a town by the same name!). We'll base in Manchester for another three days. I'm planning to do a sunset foliage tour with a company called and maybe another day time tour while DH plays golf. Planning to daytrip around the area scoping out covered bridges and all that generally beautiful Vermont scenery!
Here's where I could really use some ideas. I've received probably TONS of literature from PA folks. There is so much to see - I could use some help whittling the choices down. I'd like to go from Manchester, VT through PA and wind my way back to Arkansas by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway in TN. I'm interested scenic byways and backroads for cool fall photo ops . I'm not interested in visiting the big cities this trip - the road less traveled is right up my alley!
Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!!