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  1. Default Washington DC to Acadia NP then back to NYC

    Hi. I always find this forum really helpful when planning road trips so I'm hoping someone can help with this one.

    We are travelling in July/August 2018, flying in and out of JFK. We plan to spend a few days in New York then take the train to Washington DC. We are picking a car up as we leave DC and planning to head up to Acadia National Park for a few days. We will be coming back down the coast, probably stopping off at Portland, then a few days in Boston before making our way back to NY with a couple of stops on the way. Apart from Acadia and the big cities, the rest of our stops are quite open and I was hoping for some suggestions.

    The plan is to use 4 overnight stops to travel from DC to Acadia. At the moment we are thinking of the following:

    DC to Milford, PA
    Milford to Phoenicia, NY
    Phoenicia to Lake George, NY
    Lake George to Manchester, NH

    Then from Manchester to Bar Harbor or thereabouts. The stops are fairly arbitrary - we have looked at google maps for an idea of distances and tried to alternate longer driving days and shorter days but we can be fairly flexible on the route. We'd also rather not double back on ourselves if we can avoid it, so were wondering about a completely different route from Lake George to Bar Harbor. We love the outdoors and national and state parks if that's helpful?

    So if anybody has any suggestions of a good route from DC to Bar Harbor with some other stops, or if those are the best places, that would be great. Also, if there are particularly good places to stop from Boston to NY? We fancy Cape Cod but are open to other suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Start with the Car

    While it may seem counter-intuitive, because it's more often a pain than a plus to have a car in New York and/or Washington, I'd start with reconsidering your plan to travel by train from NYC to DC and instead rent your car when you are ready to leave New York and drive to Washington. This is because of the usually exorbitant cost of 'returning' a car somewhere other than where you picked it up. Especially if you can pick up your car somewhere other than a major airport in New York, most of which allow you to return the car at an airport without surcharge, I think you'll find that the overall cost of the car rental is a good bit less. You can then also save the coast of the train ride to DC. Staying near a Metro stop would then allow you to see the city via subway but have your car immediately at hand when you're ready to leave and head north.

    For your drive up to Milford, I'd suggest the following scenic route. Leave DC via VA-7/US-15 or I-270 (depending on where in the Washington area you leave from) to Frederick MD, then continue on US-15 north past Gettysburg, and use PA-94/PA-34 from York Springs up to Carlisle and I-81 north. Just past Harrisburg, switch over to I-78 east and then as you approach Allentown/Bethlehem pick up US-22 and then PA-33 north to US-209 through the Delaware Water Gap to Milford.

    Your next major leg, from Lake George (or thereabouts) to Bar Harbor, offers another opportunity for a great scenic drive. Have a look at the following: Take NY-149/US-4 east across the Green Mountains of Vermont to White River Junction, then either US-3 or NH-10 north through the Connecticut River Valley to Newbury VT (although you need to be on the New Hampshire side of the river at this point). From there, NH-116 and NH-112 (the Kancamagus Highway) will take you across the White Mountains to Conway NH. Next you could take NH-16 north past Mount Washington to US-2/I-95 east to Bangor and finally US-1A/ME-3 down to Bar Harbor. All of that would give you a good taste of the northern end of the Appalachians and the north woods of Maine.

    You would then just follow the coast roads (US-1, etc.)back to Portsmouth NH and I-495/I-290/I-90/I-84/I-684 down to the NYC area for your flight home.


  3. Default

    Thank you so much - I love the ideas we get from this forum. We were especially struggling with a route to Acadia but your suggestion of the White Mountains looks lovely. It's hard when there isn't an obvious route and we want to see as much of the countryside as we can. Road trips for us are as much about the journey as the destination so it's great to have some lovely places on the way.

    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Stops - And One Nerdy, RoadTripping Thing

    In checking your response, I noted that not only had you asked for "a good route" but also for "some other stops." Since you seem open to the route I suggested, I'll point out a few of my favorite spots along them. These are just going to be more-or-less in order along the route I outlined, but just names so you can discover them for yourself:

    Point of Rocks (I said they were MY favorites, not that they were well known), Gettysburg National Military Park (of course!), the Delaware Water Gap, Cohoes Falls, Quechee Gorge, Franconia Notch State Park, Colonial Pemaquid, Strawbery Banke, and Mystic CT including Abbott's Lobster.

    And now for the Roadtrip nerd in me. The way this trip is outlined, you almost have to drive on the following roads: US-1, US-2, US-3, US-4, and US-5. You could easily add US-6 while you're in Milford, and US 7 when you cross it in southern Vermont. Unfortunately, US-8 doesn't extend this far east, but you'll also see US-9 in the Hudson River area.


  5. #5

    Default A couple of stop suggestions ...

    Having only recently returned from a New England road trip planned, in part at least, with the invaluable help of AZBuck, it would be rude of me not to chip in with a couple of lodging suggestions.

    White Mountains
    We stayed at an idyllic rustic log cabin just down the road from the picturesque town of Sugar Hill. It's everything you'd want of a place like this: a babbling brook directly outside, firepit, basic kitchen facilities, comfortable bed and a surprisingly good shower.

    Acadia / Mount Desert Island
    If you're looking to split your time between the hustle and bustle of Bar Harbor and somewhere a little quieter (but with a couple of great local restaurants), I'd highly recommend a night (or two) at the Inn at Southwest. The breakfasts are amazing.

    They're VERY different places but both equally memorable and certainly a change from the everyday motel/hotel.

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