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  1. #1

    Default New England, July 2022, ~2.5 Weeks

    Just looking for some pointers on where to investigate further. We live in St. Louis and we have driven the West quite a bit (both my family and my wife's family is in California). This Summer we are looking to do something a bit different.

    We (wife, teenage daughter, and I) are looking at road-tripping around New England for ~2.5 weeks this July. The exact time frame would probably be something like July 5/6 through July 22/23, although that window could 'slide' a bit. I have very little experience with New England other than a short trip to Boston with a side trip to Cape Ann and a separate road trip there we spent a few days in Vermont.

    The overall plan is that I would be driving in from our home in St. Louis and pick them up at an airport. We would then roadtrip through New England and then back to St. Louis. This framework is for logistical reasons. I can get out of town about a week before them and am looking to do a leisurely weeklong trip from St. Louis up to New England to pick them up (other than Cooperstown, I am planning on leaving this part really open). The ~2.5 weeks would not include the time to drive to/from St. Louis, it would be entirely in New England.

    My current vague and fuzzy notion is to pick up my wife and daughter at the airport in Portland, Maine and spend a few days along the coast, probably near Acadia NP. Then head back West to the White Mountains and thence to Vermont. From there, South to the Berkshires and from there to Newport and/or Mystic. (?)

    I was thinking about trying to get to Cape Cod as well, but I am thinking that at that point we might be trying to do too much and feeling a little too rushed to really just enjoy the trip. Also, we liked Boston when we went, but are not interested in heading there on this trip.

    So, I guess I would like to ask for pointers. I think we have a reasonable amount of time for a not-too-rushed trip. This seems like the logical routing to me, eyeballing maps, but am I missing something obvious? Also, flying into Portland is not set in stone. The flight could easily go into Hartford or Providence or Manchester or even Boston (though I would prefer to avoid it since my vague recollection is that the location of Logan is not really convenient for what we want to do).

    Thank you all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    10,172

    Default

    If you don't want to go to Boston, I'd avoid flying into Providence. To get to Maine from there would involve going through it on I-95. I've flown into Hartford and it's a fairly easy airport to deal with, it's actually in Windsor Locks which is halfway between Hartford and Springfield. Manchester would be your second best choice after Portland. Be aware of all the toll roads out there, which are transitioning into all-electronic tolling. Some still take cash, but the ones that don't are pay by plate if you don't have a transponder.

    Logan is a zoo. Very inconvenient, no easy access to Interstates. Traffic is miserable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    10,183

    Default A Few Things to Consider.

    First and foremost, if you like driving and have the time, while your wife and daughter don't, then the plan for you to drive the family car (I presume) to New England and get a little 'guy stuff' in along the way is an excellent use of resources. A few things that occurred to me immediately on reading your post were these:

    1) You should really try to be in New England on the 4th of July if you can possibly do so. A small town parade, or fireman's breakfast, or historical pageant would be great. Not spectacular by any means, but a real piece of Americana. Also, just hanging out in a small town means that you can miss some of the holiday traffic.

    2) Portland may not be the best bet for your wife and daughter to fly into. There are no direct routes from Lambert to anywhere I would suggest, but besides the airports that you and glc mentioned you should look at Syracuse NY as well. It is both typically cheaper than Portland and gives your wife and daughter the chance to see more of New England. The cost of flights to Portland start to rise steeply around the 4th of July. Flights to Syracuse don't. Exact costs will depend largely on the time of day of the flights. Two other possibilities worth checking out are Albany NY and Burlington VT. Just make sure that you leave plenty of time for them to make whatever connection they need to. Airline schedules are still not back to 'normal'.

    3) As a former New Englander (NH and ME) I would strongly recommend staying in northern New England (ME, NH and VT) if you really want the Yankee vibe. Capes Cod and Ann are nice (and crowded), but the many capes or headlands between Brunswick and Waldoboro ME are just as scenic with far less traffic.

    So those are my main general recommendations. Once you have a working outline of a plan, I can certainly be much more specific about places I would try to hit. BTW, many of those suggestions would depend on how old your daughter is, so please let us know.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-20-2022 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Typos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Another airport to look at would be Bangor. Looks like fares aren't ridiculous and there are one-stoppers from STL.

  5. #5

    Default

    If you plan to hit Mystic, CN and Newport, RI, then my suggestion would be to use Hartford, CT or Providence, RI, as the starting airport. Cape Cod can become a traffic jam in the summer so you might want to wave that one off. Albany, NY and Manchester, NH are two additional airports to consider (all of these mentioned thus far are serviced by SWA, as are a few others mentioned). I agree with avoiding Boston-Logan airport.

    P.S. You might be able to purchase an EZ-Pass device to make traveling on toll roads easier. Sometimes they are hard to avoid. Oh, and have fun in Cooperstown!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    I think he wants to hit Mystic and Newport with his family on the way back to STL from New England.

    You can order an Illinois I-Pass online, it's usable in all EZ-Pass states. It costs $50, that's $10 deposit and $40 preloaded tolls. When the balance drops below $10 it will be replenished and billed to your credit card. I don't know the details if you order an EZ-Pass from one of the EZ-Pass states. I haven't lived in IL for 15 years but I still have mine.

    EZ-Pass rates are generally lower than pay by plate rates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    7,192

    Default A one-off, not to be missed.

    While you are in Vermont, do not miss a unique attraction, which has been there for a 115 years - the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. It is the only building in the world which is built accross an international border. It services both residents of Stanstead Quebec and Derby Line Vermont, with a good collection of English and French books. There is a line on the floor which indicates whether you are standing in Canada or the United States.

    Upstairs (no lift) is the Opera House, with its stage in one country and the audience in the other. Truly a unique building and there will never be another like it. In 1910 an international law was passed forbidding the building accross internaional borders.

    Both Canada and the United States have classified this building as a national monument.

    A number of scenic routes take one through the mountains, there and south again.

    I would not be surprised if it became the highlight of your trip.

    Lifey

  8. #8

    Default

    If you did use Providence for access airport wise, it is fairly easy to bypass the main part of Boston by going north on I-95 to I-495, which makes a moderately wide 3/4 circle around the city and rejoins I-95 just south of the NH line. I know we've used part of that going towards Maine (coming from NY via the MA Pike, then picking up 495 where they intersect. If the plan ends with Mystic and/or Newport, it would be easy to drop them off there as well (assuming you want the flight to be to/from the same place, you'll wind up needing that route either way (if they come into/out of Portland at the end, if into/out of Providence at the beginning).

    Looking at your suggested dates, you should be OK but note that the induction at Cooperstown is set for 7/24, and the days around that time are very busy (with some things being only accessible by advance tickets which are probably already all sold), so you'd do well to either hit that coming over early or shift the ending date to head back a bit later.

    One other thought - from the Berkshires to either CT or RI, you may want to head east somewhat then find a route towards the coast, as the roads closer to the western CT coast are also fairly close to NYC and they can be busier as well the closer to that you get, just like Boston.

    Oh, and double check your maps/routing in VT - we once took a route that was a state numbered one, only to find out that for several miles it was a fairly narrow dirt road! That was probably 30 years ago, but there are still some of those around up there (probably in parts of NH as well as interior ME). Worked fine, but slowed the trip a bit more than expected.

    One last one - we have covered the trip from Albany (NY) to the Acadia area in a day of just travel, so that gives you a bit of idea on distances - it is definitely a long day but perhaps not as far as it may seem at first glance.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Billy, they are driving back to STL, no round trip air.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Western/Central Massachusetts
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    Default Tolls and Airports

    I just got back from a short trip to Maine from Massachusetts. Due to some vehicle trouble, I had to "become aware" of the differences in tolling - something I hadn't thought of in a long while. Let's see - Maine still takes cash; New Hampshire takes cash except between 9pm and 5am, but you can pay on their website; Massachusetts is all-electronic and there are no toll booths.

    And from my last trip into New York state, it seems at least some parts of the state still have toll booth gates.

    Having an EZ-Pass transponder takes away a lot of the guesswork - if you don't have one I'd recommend getting one before your trip.

    Bradley (Hartford) is an easy in and out airport off I-91. That corridor generally moves along at a good clip with the exception of heading into Hartford during busy times of day, and the Longmeadow curve coming into Massachusetts.

    Logan works a lot better when public transportation is used. I've used the Logan Express from Framingham to avoid driving in Boston before and after a long trip. That may or may not be feasible for your particular situation - meaning having your wife and daughter take the shuttle from the airport to one of the Logan Express locations (Woburn; Peabody; Framingham; etc.) It is at least an available option.

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