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View Full Version : Can't afford to fly--driving vacation to New England


drcmk
01-31-2012, 09:13 AM
I'd hoped to fly to San Francisco this summer, but the airfare is just too high. So we are going to drive to New England instead (from PA).

I would love to hear your suggestions for places to visit in New England. I am traveling with my husband and two teenage daughters. The girls definitely want to visit the New England Aquarium in Boston and a few Boston restaurants. I haven't decided if I want to book lodging for a whole week in Boston or spend a few nights in a few different places. What other New England locales would you recommend we visit?

Do you recommend Newport RI, Mystic CT? We like museums and historical sites and quirky places and hiking/national parks. Maybe a whale-watch? We visited Smugglers' Notch a few years ago and that was not our cup of tea.

Thank you.

elphie101
01-31-2012, 09:33 AM
Hi there! If history is something you're interested in, and you're up for a good walk (2.5 miles in total) you might be up for Boston's Freedom Trail. There's a red/brick line in Boston that links many of the city's historical sites on a walking trail. They offer a guided tour, but you're more than welcome to just walk it yourself - it's a blast!

Just north of Boston is Salem, home of the Salem witch trials - they've got plenty of re-enactments and museums in the area as well, and it's quite interesting.

Hope you find something you like!

Mkebound
01-31-2012, 09:35 AM
Mystic, CT is a great location. Mystic Seaport is a great 3/4 of a day visit and then a dinner at Mystic Pizza (Julia Roberts first movie was based on Mystic) is a must.

In Boston, there are many great things to do. The Freedom Train is run by the National Park service and links important sites in Boston from the Revolutionary War. The Boston Commons, site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution and others. Just outside of Boston is Lexington and Concord, and the National Park Service runs some great sites to visit there as well.

I'm going to try and talk you out of the Boston Aquarium. My kids love aquariums, and we have visited the aquariums in Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, DC, Chicago, Honolulu and LA and Boston is our least favorite. It's expensive, old, poorly lit and just not that great. If you are looking for a great aquarium with in driving distance of you visit Baltimore.

If you are willing to splurge on something I'd suggest a whale watching trip over visiting the aquarium.

Mkebound
01-31-2012, 09:39 AM
If you are looking for a great nature experience/hiking/etc. Acadia National Park in Maine is about a 5 hour drive North of Boston. It is the best and most beautiful National Park East of the Mississippi River.

wedindis'00
01-31-2012, 10:46 AM
Arcadia National Park is a must, that place is beautiful and there is plenty to do. I'll also give recommendations to Mystic, great town and their Aquarium is way better than Bostons. The Freedom Trail is also cool. I'd also suggest Plimouth Plantation or Sturbridge Village. The White Mountain area of New Hampshire can be a lot of fun.

TIAMOMMA
01-31-2012, 11:22 AM
We're from outside Philly. We went to Boston a couple of years ago and had a great time, but I do find Boston to be expensive (and the parking rates for the hotels will make your eyes pop out). But if you go I'd recommend parking your car at the hotel and taking the subway throughout your visit - they offer weekly passes that are well worth it. The Swan Boats are inexpensive and fun and for an inexpensive meal (and best pizza we've ever tasted) go to Regina's at the North End location.

Last year we went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for 5 days, spent a day in Vermont (lots on inexpensive tours that were fun - Ben & Jerry's, Cabot Cheese, Rock of Ages Quarry) and then moved over to Portland Maine for a couple of days. We really enjoyed this trip and it was more economical compared to Boston.

You'll have a good time anywhere you go, New England is a great place to vacation, especially in the summer.

3boymthr
01-31-2012, 11:45 AM
A love of Hiking/National Parks and history leads to Minuteman National park - which is a great follow up to the Freedom Trail. It also leads to Newport (the cliff walk) and the Mansions. The Adams National Historic Site in Quincy is also beautiful (just south of boston, if driving you'll go right by the exit) . And if you are going to be here in summer don't forget to hit the Cape Cod National Seashore.

If you love museums then the aquarium is fun but pricey. Your DDs are also the right age to appreciate the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Science is also very interesting too bad you'll miss the Pompeii exhibit which is going on now but they'll have a exhibit on "Lost Egypt" opening in May. The MOS also has a ton of reciprocal agreements so check your local museums you may be able to get in there for free or a great discount.

Mystic, CT is also a great place if you love history - the aquarium there is supposed to be as good as better than the one in Boston and the Seaport is a wonderful place to visit.

Another great locale is Old Sturbridge Village; an 1830s village that you can walk around. Not as good as it was a few years ago as they got into financial trouble so as there are not as many living interpreters there used to be but still fun and some of the buildings are just lovely.

shoney
01-31-2012, 11:46 AM
Maybe you'd enjoy staying a night or two in different places rather than all in Boston...

1. Mystic CT - aquarium, whaling museum
2. Newport RI- mansions, rock walk by the sea
3. Plymouth
4. boston area
5. Salem
6. gloucester for lunch - watch the perfect storm before you go
7. Rockport, MA - quirky cute little town with shops...kinda artsy
8. Then up to Maine if you want...I have been to Arcadia National park but on a cruise...It was beautiful!!!

***We also really liked Provincetown on the Cape, but we stayed in town. The ferry from Boston is really expensive***

have fun!

VAfamily1998
01-31-2012, 03:56 PM
If you go to Plymouth, I've heard excellent things about the Jenny Grist Mill
http://www.jenneygristmill.org/

And if you like ice cream, I HIGHLY recommend going a couple towns over to Duxbury, MA and visiting FarFars.
http://farfarsicecream.com/Farfars_Page.html
Their peppermint stick is amazing...all of their flavors are! :thumbsup2

If you will be in Boston, see if you will be around for any of the Feast Days in the North End.
I can't find the 2012 schedule for all the feasts online yet...but here is the website for St. Anthony's
http://www.stanthonysfeast.com/faqs.html. If it looks like something you'd be interested in but won't be around that weekend, keep checking around for the schedule of the other feasts.

MinnieForMe
01-31-2012, 04:49 PM
Skip the Aquarium - with little kids we get through it in two hours. You could get through it with teens in an hour.

We, too, love history and the Boston area is filled with it.

1. Duck Tour (great way to see the city)
2. Freedom Trail
3. Definitely venture out of Boston (18 miles) and go to Lexington/Concord. The rangers dress up as uniformed British Regulars and Minutemen. It's fascinating to hear or see the demonstrations. Check their site for show times. It's the MinuteMan National Park.
4. Plymouth Plantation has the replica of the MayFlower and a Native American Village. I can't remember how far the ride is from Boston but it's doable.
5. Take a tour of the USS Constitution and a museum. I believe it's in Charlestown Navy yard (right outside Boston).
6. Bunker/Breed's Hill Monument in Boston. They use to have a show but I haven't been in years.
7. Rhode Island and the mansions are a beautiful place to visit but expect to pay a small fortune to stay in that area. We looked at a Bed & Breakfast there last year and they wanted almost $600 a night. I believe you can go 20 minutes out for a reasonable price.
8. Boston Museum of Science has some cool shows (planetarium and laser type shows).

If you want to venture to our state of New Hampshire. We have the Christa Mcauliffe planetarium with space shuttle simulator. We also have the ocean and mountains.

Enjoy!

pilesoflaundry
01-31-2012, 05:13 PM
For a peaceful day take the ferry over to block island, ri. It's mostly shopping and the food is expensive but it's nice to do at least once in your life. My kids love going.

ptmmg
01-31-2012, 05:30 PM
Cape Cod!!

Sheree
01-31-2012, 06:20 PM
Maria's pastry, with the real Maria! you can definitely spend 2-3 days in boston, lots to see and do
mystic is good for 2 days on the way to boston
if you can, go to bar harbor and acacia park

meg8017
01-31-2012, 06:20 PM
I'd also skip the NE Aquarium. Very expensive and not worth it. The Museum of Science is awesome. Definitely hit the North End for dinner, pretty much everything is great, can't go wrong. Grab a pastry at Modern after then point and laugh at the people in the Mike's line. :lmao: (just kidding!) Fire & Ice is a neat restaurant, teens would probably like it. Salem is really neat. Plymouth is good for a day trip. I LOVE that someone mentioned FarFars!! (it's like a hole in the wall place but they make their own ice cream and it is super yummy!). Jenny Gristmill is not worth it in itself, but you can see it walking around historic plymouth center. (Plymough Rock, Mayflower II) Or there's Plymouth Plantation. The John Carver Inn has an awesome pool and you can walk to shops, restaurants and the waterfront. The White Mountains in NH are great, lots of stuff up there, very scenic. Whatever you decide, have fun! :goodvibes

DebMcDonald
01-31-2012, 07:15 PM
Mystic, CT is a great location. Mystic Seaport is a great 3/4 of a day visit and then a dinner at Mystic Pizza (Julia Roberts first movie was based on Mystic) is a must.

In Boston, there are many great things to do. The Freedom Train is run by the National Park service and links important sites in Boston from the Revolutionary War. The Boston Commons, site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church, the USS Constitution and others. Just outside of Boston is Lexington and Concord, and the National Park Service runs some great sites to visit there as well.

I'm going to try and talk you out of the Boston Aquarium. My kids love aquariums, and we have visited the aquariums in Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, DC, Chicago, Honolulu and LA and Boston is our least favorite. It's expensive, old, poorly lit and just not that great. If you are looking for a great aquarium with in driving distance of you visit Baltimore.

If you are willing to splurge on something I'd suggest a whale watching trip over visiting the aquarium.

I have to agree with the above. We live in Boston and I also don't love our aquarium. We actually like the Ripley aquarium in Myrtle Beach better....:rotfl: I think the Mystic Aquarium is actually nicer than ours.

With the ages of your girls the Isabella Gardner Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts could be fun. Eating in the North End is a must - you really can't go wrong and it's also just fun to walk around the area.

I also would NOT recommend the plymouth plantation.

bemily
01-31-2012, 08:35 PM
If you are coming in the summer, I would actually stay outside of Boston and do day trips to places, including Boston. I live in Gloucester, Ma, (someone suggested it and watching the movie "The Perfect Storm" before you come), which is a great idea. You can stay in this area (Gloucester/Rockport) and actually take the train into North Station in Boston (which is part of the TD Garden) and plan a couple of days do stuff in there (maybe one day do the Museum, another doing the Freedom Trail. Pizza at Pizza Regina as someone suggested as it is my favorite as well). Then, you can go to one of the awesome beaches up this way. You can take the train from this area also into Salem as someone also suggested (look up train from Boston to Gloucester and you can see the route). I honestly dont think it is worth it to stay directly in Boston for a week with parking prices, etc, and to stay in one of the beach towns up my way and take the train would really be an enjoyable week). Then, you could also head up to Maine for the day if you wanted (outlets in Kittery?) or up to the White Mountains for an overnight...

Just ask if you have any more questions!

drcmk
01-31-2012, 08:51 PM
Bemily,

The last time we visited Boston, we stayed in the Summerdale Suites in Waltham (Free parking, much cheaper), drove to a T station and used that to go to town every day. What other towns outside of Boston are accessible to T stations? I like the idea of watching Perfect Storm first and visiting Gloucester. Thank you.

Thank you for all of the idea. We are interested in a whale watch and many of the other suggestions.

wlake
01-31-2012, 09:15 PM
I went to school in Boston and love it! Visit the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center -- it's a huge stained glass globe you can walk through! I used to be free. You can ride the swan boats in the Boston Garden too.

I live very close to Mystic, and it's a good place too. We adore the Mystic Seaport and the aquarium here is good. You can take a steamboat trip from the Seaport down the river to see the drawbridge and then go walk over it. The Denison Pequotseapos Nature Center is cool. It's a short drive to the beach at Misquamicut, RI, (parking there is pricey, though) and Watch Hill, RI, is a fun little town to visit. About a half hour's drive from Mystic is the Southeastern CT Children's Museum, which is lots of fun for younger kids.

englishteacha
01-31-2012, 09:30 PM
Acadia National Park is great. Boston is fun, too. I also like the Museum of Science in Boston. I don't care for the aquarium.

Boston is expensive. On our last trip we stayed in Danvers (Pricelined a room) and drove to the T (subway) instead of staying in the city. We stayed for $45 a night in Danvers, and everywhere within Boston was well over $100.

Jen_in_NH
01-31-2012, 09:31 PM
If you're looking to go further north, try Portsmouth NH and Portland ME. Both are really neat cities with lots of things to see and do.

pooh17
02-01-2012, 07:41 AM
Some recommended Arcadia National Park. While it is a beautiful area, just a warning that this is ~4 hours North of Boston. If you're driving from PA, I would not recommend tacking on the additional travel time to drive to Northern ME. (its a straight shot up 95 and a very very boring ride IMO!)

Others recommended Boston, which I think is a great 1-2 day trip but not somewhere I would want to spend a week if traveling to New England for vacation.

I'd recommend Portsmouth NH. The Maine beaches (Wells, York, etc) are a quick drive away. Boston is a 1 hour drive away, so you can still do your day trips. The White Mountains are about an hour away and also make for great day trips (Mt. Washington, hiking trails, zip lines, etc). I love this area because there is so much to do.

hsmamato2
02-01-2012, 07:51 AM
Fire and Ice in Boston?

hsmamato2
02-01-2012, 07:56 AM
Oh wow...I had o idea there were Fire and Ice restaurants in the NE.... we went out in Anaheim and LOVED it so much......
sorry to ramble, I second day trips in Boston, way more exciting than Mystic.... you can ride the town water taxi for less than 2.00 around the harbor(near Quicny Market) take tours of historic houses, follow a re-enactor of history around town....walk the freedom trail- love the museum of science,and the Ducktours leaving from there are a lot of fun!:thumbsup2

3mickeymom
02-01-2012, 09:07 AM
As Pooh 17 said,Portsmouth is a great midway place to stay if you planned on doing a few day trips in New England.There are lots of restaurants and shpos plus you are about 45 to 60 minutes North of Boston. Salem is also not a bad drive . We went on a whale watching tour out of Gloucester this past summer and it was not just one of the highlights of my vacation, but of my life. It was awe inspiring - we were literally surrounded by breaching whales. Definitely, hit some of the beaches. We love the beaches in Maine which are a quick ride north from Portsmouth. We take the coast road and stop at whatever beach we choose. Love seeing all the lighthouses, stop for a lobster roll along the cliffs. The White Mountains are spectacular to see as well. Outlet shopping in Kittery, Maine is 5 minutes from Portsmouth NH and there are lots of cool boutiques in Portsmouth itself. We stayed there often as our son went to University of New Hampshire. We are from NJ, near the beach, but I love the New England coast - less crowds, more quaint. And just a suggestion, since I see your children are teenagers, drive by a few colleges if they are around your destinations, so your kids can get a feel for what colleges are like. There are soo many schools in New England. By the time they are juniors they will have seen a few schools even if they don't take a tour, and hopefully they will get some idea of what type of school they want to visit or attend(big,small, city, rural). Oh, and if you do get to visit Portsmouth, try to get some Annabelle's ice cream. It is the best ice cream I have EVER had! Have a wonderful trip!

Gnomegirl
02-01-2012, 10:36 AM
I live a few minutes from Mystic and grew up in Maine. I would stay in Mystic and take the train from New London into Boston. While Acadia is lovely, it is a hike. And so busy in the summer. Portland, Maine is lovely though and would be another choice. Lots to see and loads of shops just like Mystic. If you're at all interested in seeing the casinos they are close as well. I'm not a gambler but they have nice places to eat and shop.

elf
02-01-2012, 01:31 PM
I went for my 50th bday last year with 11 & 13 yr. old dd's. We all loved it only went for 2 days and want to go back.
We Loved:

The Duck tours, we had Major Tom Foolery very very quirky, but funny and very knowledgeable. Learned the layout of Boston.

The Boston Public Library is Free and one of the most beautiful libraries in America. (I'm librarian and love to visit them.) The church across from library is one of the most beautiful churches I've seen in America.

THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON free on Thur.s when we went wasn't crazy about art but the contomeporary building was incredible with dramatic view of water.

we did the other usual stuff too Revere house, ship visit, Swans, etc but the things about stood out for us.

We stayed at the Omni Parker Hotel, right on the Freedom Trail, within blocks of most things we wanted to visit. I got a deal for $150 joined Omni program also. Beautiful Historic Hotel. John Kennedy proposed to Jackie O. in booth 40. Lots of famous people have visited. Had a view of Kings church cemetary from our room kids loved it. Origin of Boston Cream Pie here, also very good. Parking is $50 per night:scared1:

bemily
02-01-2012, 06:10 PM
Bemily,

The last time we visited Boston, we stayed in the Summerdale Suites in Waltham (Free parking, much cheaper), drove to a T station and used that to go to town every day. What other towns outside of Boston are accessible to T stations? I like the idea of watching Perfect Storm first and visiting Gloucester. Thank you.

Thank you for all of the idea. We are interested in a whale watch and many of the other suggestions.

Hi there...

If you go to mbta.com you can search the whole T system. There are the commuter rails and the actual subway trains. Being familiar with the area, I wouldnt stay in Waltham. (I lived in Watertown for a while, which is the town next door). I would try to stay more on the coast so you have easy access to beaches, along with T station/commuter line availability. You will have a car, so you can head north as others have suggested (Portsmouth, NH is really a nice town), but I think you also get that feel from the Gloucester/Rockport area as well. If you wanted a night or two of down time you can walk the shops areas in either town and there are so many great little restaurants to choose from (Yes, I love where I live!!). From Gloucester, driving, it takes me about 45-50 minutes to get to Portsmouth).

Anything else I can answer, post or PM me!

Sherry

capecodprincess
02-01-2012, 06:30 PM
Hi there! I work in the travel industry in New England so hopefully I can help. The idea of a "New England" tour is a very popular package. One that is most popular in the fall.
Many people who do the package do start the tour with Mystic and enjoy the Mystic Seaport as well as the Mystic Aquarium. From there, they drive to Newport, RI. Spend 1 night in Newport and do Newport in the morning. (Most affordable way to stay is to stay either in Middletown or in North Kingstown, RI not Newport as it is expensive in the summer. Newport is beautiful. The Cliff Walk is great for the teens as long as they are physically up to it (it is a lot of walking)... and tour the mansions they are beautiful (one or two is fine ... they all start to look the same after a while... usually people choose Breakers because it is the largest and Rosecliff because it is where the Great Gatsby was filmed).

From Newport, they drive to Cape Cod. I recommend staying in Hyannis because it is a central point from everything and most of your chain hotels are located there. (Holiday Inn, coming soon Doubletree, Marriott) I would allow a few days in Hyannis (3 or 4 depending on what you can do). Visit Provincetown (very eclectic, gay, artsy community, family friendly during the day and more fun at night), also visit the National Sea Shore to see some beautiful untouched beaches (on way to or from Provincetown). Spend one day at one of the islands (Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket (ferry required)) I reccommend Nantucket because it is smaller, more quaint and easier to navigate and discover in one day. Also great for renting bikes and biking the whole island in one day. Sandwich is another great place on the Cape, with a glass blowing museum, antique car display and others.

On the way from Cape Cod to Boston stop in Plymouth. Spend one full day in Plymouth doing Plymouth Plantation and the Mayflower. Good history lesson for the family. Do not stay the night in Plymouth though, continue into Boston.

If you are trying to save money, at this point, I would get a hotel room in Braintree or Quincy or somewhere on the "RED LINE". The red line is one of the 5 colored Subway lines that go in and around Boston. It is much less expensive to stay outside the city and the subway is only about 15min to 30 min depending on traffic. During the day, visit Boston Museum of Science, Prudential Tower and Museum of Fine Arts (I really recommend you purchase something called the Go Boston card which includes admission for Newport, many Cape Cod attractions and many Boston attractions as well as more to come in order to make it more affordable (I did it for Miami and it was great!)) At night, go to Fenway and catch a game. Even if you aren't a Red Sox fan, the environment itself creates a memory.

From Boston, travel along the coast to Salem, MA. This is where the famous witch trails were. This is some place that you can just stay for the day and continue more north, or you can do an overnight.

From here, you can either head home or continue further north. Depending on what direction you go to the north the sites can become far and few between with long driving between sites. Where as the other previously mentioned each is within an hour drive of the next.

If you choose to do New Hampshire, I'd recommend either the beaches or the mountains, not both. Or you can shoot of and head to Vermont, where as others have said, you can go to the Ben and Jerrys Factory, the Cabot Cheese Factory and more all in one day. (I've set up a whole day long tour based in a small area just as a Vermont food tour ... yumm popcorn:: )

That just about does it. I've lived in RI and Cape Cod, spent a ton of time in Boston and I know Vermont and New Hampshire so if you need or want more info., hotel info etc. Or if you want some Cape Cod brochures mailed to you, send me a private message. If you don't mind waiting a little bit I can even get you some RI and Boston brochures too!

Happy Travels!

KBoopaloo
02-01-2012, 06:58 PM
I would also recommend the GO Boston card that a previous poster mentioned. It gets you admission to a ton of places and can be a great value as long as you are willing to do some planning. I work along the Freedom Trail and all the visitors who come in with the GO Boston card really love it.

clori
02-01-2012, 08:13 PM
Some Boston places to visit for history which haven't been mentioned yet are the Old South Meeting Houe, Old State House Museum, and Prudential Skywalk. There is also the USS Constitution and Constitution Museum. If you want to climb stairs the Bunker Hill Pavilion may be interested and there is a neat show To See the Whites of Their Eyes at the National Park Service Visitor Center near the USS Constitution. I think the tea party replica ship is reopening this summer. While not historical the tour of Fenway Park is fun. We have a membership the museum of science since my girls love it but we personally don't enjoy the Aquarium that much.

I live just a few miles north of Boston so don't really do hotels. We have visited the Hyatt Place in Medford which has two beds, sofa bed, free parking, indoor pool, free breakfast and on a busline to the subway. Another hotel we know people have stayed at right in Boston but not right in a touristy area so is cheaper is the Best Western Terrace Inn. It is right near the Green line in a residential/college neighborhood. The area I like though if it is affordable would be a Coolidge Corner area hotel in Brookline which is right next to Boston and fun to walk around.

drcmk
02-02-2012, 10:42 AM
Thank you so much for all of your insight.

I'm surprised that no one has recommended the N.E. Aquarium. It is what my daughter remember best from our first trip to Boston, about five years ago. Is the Mystic aquarium generally thought to be better? I've been to the National Aquarium in Baltimore--honestly we avoid it now because there is no time when it isn't so crowded that you can't see the exhibits. We have a small-ish aquarium in Camden, NJ, which is clean but small and I don't consider to be worth the admission price. Has anyone been to the Camden Aquarium and can you make a comparison?

I am definitely going to include Newport and the White Mountains in our trip. Thank you for suggesting it.

I've been looking at rentals in Gloucester and the surrounding area. It looks very pretty and I think we'd like to stay there. But the train ride to Boston is longer than I thought and, once we all buy train tickets, we probably could have paid to park in the city. I am going to look into staying in Mystic and/or Braintree/Quincy, too.

minnierocks
02-02-2012, 11:37 AM
We stayed in Salem and took the ferry into Boston. I highly recommend it. It was $10pp, but worth it. We walked to the ferry in the morning and took a beautiful, relaxing ride into Boston. I loved the view of Boston's skyline on the way in. We were dropped off right at the waterfront near shopping, restaurants and the Freedom Trail. It may be pricier than other transportation options, but I would definitely use it again. We were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go in Boston and staying in Salem was less expensive than staying in the city. We went into Boston during the day and walked around Salem in the evening.

happily single
02-02-2012, 07:10 PM
Oh wow...I had o idea there were Fire and Ice restaurants in the NE.... we went out in Anaheim and LOVED it so much......
sorry to ramble, I second day trips in Boston, way more exciting than Mystic.... you can ride the town water taxi for less than 2.00 around the harbor(near Quicny Market) take tours of historic houses, follow a re-enactor of history around town....walk the freedom trail- love the museum of science,and the Ducktours leaving from there are a lot of fun!:thumbsup2

There is also a Fire & Ice in Providence, RI at the mall

happily single
02-02-2012, 07:14 PM
I would suggest: Mystic, Ct for the day, then travelling on to Newport, RI, for the day then up to Boston (but stay outside of Boston to save on parking) then North Conway, NH. In NH there is Storyland, which is a cute, clean kids (no big thrill rides) park, Santa's Village (about an hour north of North Conway) and bunches of other great things in NH to do.

Ohh, in SAlem, NH (which is about 1 hour out of Boston and 2 hours before North Conway, is Canobie Lake Park. Great family friendly amusement park with a few "thrill" rides

drcmk
02-02-2012, 07:37 PM
I would suggest: Mystic, Ct for the day, then travelling on to Newport, RI, for the day then up to Boston (but stay outside of Boston to save on parking) then North Conway, NH. In NH there is Storyland, which is a cute, clean kids (no big thrill rides) park, Santa's Village (about an hour north of North Conway) and bunches of other great things in NH to do.

I am definitely warming up to the idea of making my way up the coast and visiting Mystic, Newport, Boston and a beach in either Mass or NH. What do you think will appeal to my teenage girls in NH?

drcmk
02-02-2012, 08:23 PM
I just thought of something that we've always enjoyed on vacations--food factory tours--like in Hershey, PA or Ben and Jerry's. We toured the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory too and the Herr's Potato Chip factory here in PA. Can you think of any other food factory tours on my CT/RI/MA/NH tour?

pooh17
02-03-2012, 08:11 AM
I am definitely warming up to the idea of making my way up the coast and visiting Mystic, Newport, Boston and a beach in either Mass or NH. What do you think will appeal to my teenage girls in NH?

Shopping! There are outlet malls in Kittery, ME (just past the NH state line) and North Conway, NH. North Conway is in the White Mountains, if that is still on your to do list.

Attitash Mountain is in Bartlett NH (close to N. Conway) and offers a bunch of activities in the summer that I think teens would enjoy ( http://www.attitash.com/explore-attitash/attitash-summer/summer-attractions

The Saco river is near there too. There are places that rent tubes, drop you off at one end of the river and pick you up at other end.

CAStevens218
02-03-2012, 09:19 AM
As a resident of Mystic Country, I have to recommend Mystic, CT! There is a lot to do in the area...the aquarium is wonderful (I am getting married there!!!) and the Mystic Seaport is great as well. Downtown Mystic has a lot of great shopping and dining including Mystic Pizza and S&P Oyster Company. There are a lot of beautiful state parks with beach access nearby including Harkness Park and Rocky Neck. The casinos are here as well, with a lot of great shows and entertainment!

Some of my favorite places to travel in New England include the following:

Boston. My BFF moved to Boston three years ago and I LOVE visiting her! There is always something new to do! We love shopping and dining on Newbury Street, walking in the Boston Common and museums (Science, Fine Arts and Isabelle Stewart Gardner at fabulous!!). I DO agree with previous posters abot the aquarium...stick with Mystic for that!!!! The Duck Tours in Boston are a lot of fun though!

My favorite whale watch company in the area is located in Rye, NH, which is just a few miles north of Hampton Beach. The company is called Granite State Whale watch and I would consider them the best I have ever experienced! They also do boat tours to the Isles of Shoals and firework boat rides to watch the fireworks at Hampton Beach!

Farther north are the White Mountains on New Hampshire. This is my favorite place for camping and nature activities. You can go hiking or, if you are not into that, ride the Cog Railway or the van tours to the top of Mount Washington! There is a TON to see and do in the White Mountains!

Wayyyy up north in Maine is Acadia National Park, which is absolutely gorgeous! Again, great hiking and nature activities, as well as the beautiful little town of Bar Harbor! The more southern seacost of Maine is great as well, with Old Orchard Beach and the other great little towns in the area.

There are a TON of great places to visit in New England! Enjoy your trip!!!!

vermontgirl
02-03-2012, 11:22 AM
Being a Vermont Girl, I recommend a trip to the beautiful Green Mountain state of Vermont- I agree with another poster, Ben &Jerry's Icecream factory, Cabot Cheese, and Shelburne Museum are all really fun. Burlington VT is also a great find~ Lake Champlain is right there in Burlington. All of these are pretty close in proximity for a rural area. Woodstock, VT is beautiful, charming town, but having grown up there.......there's not a lot for kids to do - Billings Farm and Museum is a always a hit and hiking the trails of Mt. Tom. Have a wonderful time! Summer in New England is beautiful (although the fall is my favorite):goodvibes

kimsuenew
02-06-2012, 04:12 AM
I am not the OP but do appreciate all the posts! Thank you all! :goodvibes DH has been wanting to drive up that way (from Ohio) for quite some time and this thread is full of wonderful information! :)

darlaya
02-06-2012, 04:56 AM
I agree with others, skip the Acquarium in Boston, but highly recommend the acquarium in Mystic Connecticut. If you enjoy hiking, I highly recommend considering visiting the White Mountains, so many choices for where to hike. Bretton Woods offers a very scenic zip line as does Gunstock Ski Resort...two great options.

A lot really depends on your teens. I have two teenage boys, 17 and 14. We visited Boston last weekend...which we have done many times with them over the years. We did part of the Freedom Trail (they were bored), we saw "American Idiot) (they were unimpressed), we ate at the Hard Rock (they enjoyed that...I thought food was just ok), we headed to Patriots Place on Sunday to see the Patriots off to the Superbowl , took pictures with the trophy, walked through The Hall (Patriots Museum) and went into the stadium for the rally (again...unimpressed). Now this is the first time I have experienced this all around lack of enthusiasm for anything.

Some other things that you can enjoy in New England...White Water Rafting in Maine...there is a great deal running on Groupon right now ($49/pp), we love fishing and kayaking (which my boys still seem to enjoy). If you stay in the Boston vicinity, think about getting a Go Boston Card...this can be a good deal if you are staying in the area for 3-7 days.

Have Fun Planning!

herdtoDisney
02-06-2012, 05:03 AM
I just thought of something that we've always enjoyed on vacations--food factory tours--like in Hershey, PA or Ben and Jerry's. We toured the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory too and the Herr's Potato Chip factory here in PA. Can you think of any other food factory tours on my CT/RI/MA/NH tour?


The Pez factory in Orange, CT has just started up a visitor center and tour. I haven't been yet but hope to soon! It's right off I95. There is also a really cool soda making tour at Avery Beverages in New Britain CT. We've done that-it's a small soda factory that is like stepping back in time, it's old school :thumbsup2 You get to see everything and prepare and bottle your own soda!

alliesmommy
02-06-2012, 05:16 AM
Went up to New England in September. So beautiful!

Some things I'd recommend:
Boston: Duck Tours...this was a blast. We had a really great guide. The best tour I've ever been on.
We stayed at the Langham Boston and walked pretty much everywhere. We took a cab to our hotel and didn't rent a car until we were ready to leave the city to go to VT. If staying downtown, everything is a pretty easy walk.

We stayed in Stowe, VT for a week. Our favorite thing was the Shelbourne Museum. So interesting. It's HUGE! They have all of these old historical buildings and there are demonstrations of how things were made in the past. There's an old printing press, a blacksmith shop, etc. We took 2 days to walk it all, Really good value.

We also did Ben and Jerry's, Vermont Teddy Bear, Cabot, and a whole bunch of wine tastings.

scrapquitler
02-06-2012, 06:20 AM
I just thought of something that we've always enjoyed on vacations--food factory tours--like in Hershey, PA or Ben and Jerry's. We toured the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory too and the Herr's Potato Chip factory here in PA. Can you think of any other food factory tours on my CT/RI/MA/NH tour?

I"ve never been, but I think you can take a tour of the Budweiser plant in Southern NH (somewhere around Nashua or Merrimack, I think). The Clydesdales are there, to0.

3boymthr
02-06-2012, 07:58 AM
Thank you so much for all of your insight.

I'm surprised that no one has recommended the N.E. Aquarium. It is what my daughter remember best from our first trip to Boston, about five years ago. Is the Mystic aquarium generally thought to be better? I've been to the National Aquarium in Baltimore--honestly we avoid it now because there is no time when it isn't so crowded that you can't see the exhibits. We have a small-ish aquarium in Camden, NJ, which is clean but small and I don't consider to be worth the admission price. Has anyone been to the Camden Aquarium and can you make a comparison?

I am definitely going to include Newport and the White Mountains in our trip. Thank you for suggesting it.

I've been looking at rentals in Gloucester and the surrounding area. It looks very pretty and I think we'd like to stay there. But the train ride to Boston is longer than I thought and, once we all buy train tickets, we probably could have paid to park in the city. I am going to look into staying in Mystic and/or Braintree/Quincy, too.

While the train is not cheap and can take a long time parking in Boston is NOT cheaper about the same and possibly more depending upon where you park. But the big thing is on a weekday you absolutely positively will spend more time driving and trying to find parking then you would taking the train - Garages in Boston fill up quickly especially the museum lots (and on a game day Fenway lots are beyond expensive) but the drive time is a killer - usually longer than the time it takes to take the train - I drive to Boston one day a week to work. I live 30 miles outside the city (and work on the fringes with no rail access :( ). My morning commute is off hours (I'm leaving in just a few minutes) so it takes me 45 minutes. My drive out is during rush hour and it takes me over an hour and a half -on a good day. On a bad day it can take over 2 hours. Plus if you are not used to driving in Boston it can be in a word Terrifying. I hate it and I live here. There is no logic to the roads and the drivers are ruthless. I strongly recommend taking the Train if you are staying outside the city.

If you stay in the Braintree/Quincy area you would want to take the Red Line which runs more frequently and is less expensive than taking the Commuter Rail aka Purple Line.

shamrock30
02-06-2012, 08:11 AM
Ipswich, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the Sea all have nice beaches, and there are others as well. There really isn't any reason to go to NH to get to a beach. Their coastline is much smaller. In NH, I'd head for the White Mountains instead.