East Coast USA holiday help – any ideas?

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  • East Coast USA holiday help – any ideas?
  • whatnobeer
    Member

    Just got back from a couple of weeks on the east coast. I flew into DC, spent a week there staying in an AirBnB place, then took the train up to Philly, spent 2 days there and finally spent a week in NYC, again staying in an AirBnB place.

    I was tempted to hire a car for a while but things seemed so densely packed in NY it didnt seem worthwhile. Maybe in DC it might of been a better bet.

    Anyway, a week in NYC wasn’t nearly long enough for me. I got around a fair amount of the tourist things but another week there would of been great. I’d also planned on hiring a bike in NY but after seeing the traffic I changed my mind very quickly.

    I personally have no idea if you’ll get awesome scenery and great coast lines on the east around NY, I only stayed in the cities but it seemed to me to be just one huge sprawling area of city and suburbia.

    Boston. Go to Boston.

    Lovely little city, great place to walk/ride around.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    If you want to go inland, maybe head up to Niagra via the Adirondacks, then back through PA via the Poconos and the Delaware Water Gap, maybe stopping for Intercourse and to see the Amish, then Princeton for some Ivy League college sights.

    robdob
    Member

    You lot are more travelled than me so please help if you can.

    My wife and I went to California for 2 weeks last year and loved it. First foreign holiday in 15 years of being together and it was well worth it!

    Anyway we want to go back to the USA for a similar time period. There’s stuff we want to do in New York so I am thinking of 5 days there then get a car to go round the east coast areas a bit then back to New York to fly home. It’ll be end of September.

    So where is worth going? Anyone had any recommendations then been disappointed?

    We like picturesque coastlines, awesome scenery. Hiring a bike for a day to cycle around an area would be nice (we rode round the bay in SF which was ace). Don’t want to drive billions of miles (only did 1100 in Cali) but will do a longer drive if its worth it. Prefer to stay somewhere for a couple of days then move on rather than driving hours everyday and only staying somewhere for half a day (like a lot of package driving holidays make you).

    I’ll be organising everything seperatley and only booking hotel in NY – we did this in Cali and found motels along the way afterwards – would this still work on east coast?

    Thanks very much!

    Kitz_Chris
    Member

    first off, September is the perfect time to head to the east coast. Trees everywhere, and the colours will be magic!

    I would suggest that Boston is indeed a lovely city, and the Maine coast is idyllic beyond belief. Also, if you can stretch your miles to Vermont, too, you won’t be disappointed!

    robdob
    Member

    Looks like Boston is a must see then.

    It was very easy to pop back to SF airport to get a car to use after we had stayed in the city for a few days. Would this be the same in NY?

    Do you think I’d need to book somewhere to stay in Boston in advance?

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    Go to Philly. Awesome city and loads of tourist stuff. The declaration of independence stuff, liberty bell, etc is all very cool.

    legend
    Member

    CaptainFlashheart – Member

    Boston. Go to Boston.

    Lovely little city, great place to walk/ride around.

    This. Boston > New York imo (although maybe not comparible really?) Drive north along the coast visiting Portsmouth, York Beach, Kennebunkport, etc. Go to Fenway for a Red Sox game – sunny day in the bleachers, good times 8)

    ebygomm
    Member

    Upstate New York is really nice. Finger lakes area in particular. Niagara is close enough that you could include that, worth seeing imo but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was scenic!

    mossimus
    Member

    We did similar, flew into NY and out of Boston took the train to Boston then picked up car from there.

    For scenery a couple of days based in North Conway – Horrible place basically one long row of shops but cheap motels and next to the White Mountains/Mount Washington, Drive the Kancamagus Highway, Flume Gorge/ Franconia Notch all nearby, as above the foliage should be impressive at that time of year.

    For Coastline Maine will tick all the boxes, visit some of the lighthouses and eat loads of seafood.

    To the south of Boston Cape Cod is very nice as is Provincetown. The Mansions in Newport are nice and you can do a cliff walk around the back of some although only worth a day visit IMO.

    Alternatively just drive up though New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine and see what you find, accommodation will be plentiful and cheap (outside main cities)

    edit: The area around Dartmouth College is rather nice.

    robdob
    Member

    Mossimus – very helpful thanks – I like the idea of the train to Boston. Is there a choice of trains/prices etc?

    I need to look into flying into NY and out of Boston. Sounds like a great idea. In SF it was fun going back to SF airport as we had to drive over the Golden Gate during our last few hours there which was a great finish to the trip but I don’t think going back to JFK would be as picturesque!

    TrekEX8
    Member

    If you’re looking for flights to New York, don’t forget to consider Newark as well – probably easier to get into Manhattan, but often cheaper.

    tonyd
    Member

    We flew into Boston and stayed there for 5 days, then hired a car and drove around a bit, staying with friends inland, then driving up the coast (Salem is worth a visit, if a little touristy, but we were there for Halloween). Then we ditched the car back in Boston and took the train to NYC for a week.

    Fantastic trip, I much prefer the East Coast to the West. We hired bikes in Boston but it’s also a great place to walk around. Didn’t get round to it in NYC but you can ride up along the Palisades (IIRC) and follow the river up state. A friend lived there for a while and recommended it.

    mossimus
    Member

    RE:Trains IIRC There were fast and slow trains, slow trains took about 30 minutes longer but were half the price. Cannot recall exactly how much it cost but definitely cheaper than equivalent train journey here.

    We went with Amtrak from Penn station

    Underhill
    Member

    We’re flying into Newark on the recommendation of friends over there. Worked out cheaper flights for us plus looks like it should be easy access into & out of NY. Looking at spending 4 or 5 days round the city then heading to Pennsylvania for Philly, Penn Dutch & Gettysburg, then heading south through Kentucky & Tennessee before swinging back up through Virginia & Maryland.

    No idea what to see but I can’t wait 😀

    legend
    Member

    If you head to Newport to see the mansions, it’s definitely worth going into The Breakers (the biggest one, although I’m sure the others are impressive too) and having a wonder round, then remind yourself that these monster houses were all just holiday homes! 😯

    ebygomm
    Member

    then heading south through Kentucky & Tennessee before swinging back up through Virginia & Maryland.

    I’d highly recommend Shenandoah if you’re doing that route (Virginia)

    TooTall
    Member

    Underhill – that is quite a road trip there. Have you got plenty time on your hands and no bored kids?

    dr_death
    Member

    We’ve done similar before… a couple of years back. Flew into Boston, stayed there a couple of days, then hired a car and headed for the coast, drove up to Salem and then down through Plymouth, cape cod, Marthas Vineyard, Newport. Got the ferry across to Long island (don’t tell the rental company) and then dropped the car off at JFK and got a taxi to Manhattan. Stayed there for 4-5 days then flew out of JFK.

    Also been to Washington DC and Philly and they are also worth seeing.

    Don’t think you’ll go far wrong whatever you plan, just look at the map and plan before you go and see what looks feasible.

    If you want any more info, just ask…

    Underhill
    Member

    No kids. 20th anniversary for wife & me. Three weeks in total so reckon a couple for just touring. If it all goes pearshaped we can bail & head back any time.

    Already thinking of a trip to the north of NY in a couple of years if this one goes well.

    For the OP, if you can do it, might be a good idea to purchase $ now, sounds like it’s going to get stronger against the £ over the next while. Got $3k changed a couple of weeks back onto a Thomas Cook pre-pay card, so the rate is locked in.

    Premier Icon easygirl
    Subscriber

    Doing the same trip in October, so loads of good ideas , thanks

    Premier Icon lunge
    Subscriber

    It’s a looooong way south but Charleston and South Carolina are stunning places and well worth a visit. Charleston is quite European, very different (in a good way) to most of the other places I have visited in the states b

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    September is a bit early for autumn colour I think, otherwise inland to Vermont or up to Maine (a bit far perhaps)

    Number one place I would add is Cape Cod, really stunning coastline on the Atlantic side plus quieter villages and calm waters on the Inland side, whale watching from Provincetown is excellent but perhaps Sep not best season for that
    Worth a visit Rhode Island and Newport, and Mystic Seaport
    Boston, nice city but after NY I suggest you’ll want a change from a city

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    The battle of Gettysburg in the US Civil War was going on exactly 150 years ago (July 1-3) and a there is a bit more emphasis on the Civil War history because of the 150 year anniversary.

    If you do go to Gettysburg, I’d recommend a visit to the Seminary Ridge Museum where for $20 you can go up into the cupola and view the battlefield from the same point where the generals observed the landscape to plan the battle!

    sharkbait
    Member

    I spent 6 months in Newport a long time ago – possibly the best six months of my life but then I was being paid to sail effectively.
    Newport’s worth a look but I’d also get up to Marthas Vineyard which is brill (but not in a bright lights kind of way).

    gribble
    Member

    Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Carolinas are all really scenic and different in their own ways. I am spending time in North Carolina this summer. Really friendly vibe, mountain scenery and couldn’t be more different to bug city US. No mtb biking for me this time, going with our new baby. I had a great holiday cycling and hiking in and around Lake Tahoe a couple if years ago, but generally found that NC was much more friendly.

    Would really recommend posting on mtbr, there are loads if forums that are state specific and people will be happy to point you in the right direction. Have posted before and people have always come up with useful suggestions.

    Premier Icon djflexure
    Subscriber

    Heading north to Maine you could look at Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park. You would have to fly up from NY or its a drive from Boston. Its an island off the mainland with mountains, coves, beaches etc. Great for cycling. There is a network of way marked, surfaced trails criss-crossing the island, and bike hire is easy. I had to go to a meeting there 10 years ago. Such hardship.

    m1kea
    Member

    mossimus

    For scenery a couple of days based in North Conway – Horrible place basically one long row of shops but cheap motels and next to the White Mountains/Mount Washington, Drive the Kancamagus Highway, Flume Gorge/ Franconia Notch all nearby, as above the foliage should be impressive at that time of year.

    We stay in North Conway each year when we ski so know the area quite well.

    Love the area and it’s very scenic. However Fall is THE peak season for this area so the roads and hotels will be busy.

    Early Sept might be too early for the foliage though.

    robdob
    Member

    I don’t think we are really interested in the history side of things to be honest. Also the weather end of Sep/beginning of Oct sounds a little sketchy round there. While I am certainly not one for lying on a beach or desperate for a tan, I don’t want to go somewhere where the weather is the same as here when I am spending all the money I have in one go.

    Looking at flights, they seem to be the same price as the west coast!!

    Any ideas on accomodation in NY? It all seems crazy expensive. I don’t want to stay in a hostel, probably a B+B type affair. Self catering would be good too, but nothing bare-bones. It seems there is so much info out there its difficult to find what you actually want.

    robdob
    Member

    Thanks for all the help.

    Any ideas on accommodation in NY? Decent for tourists but not comedy prices?

    robdob
    Member

    Bump for any other ideas?

    I would like to go on a bike ride at some point. We won’t be bringing our own bike, maybe just some clothing. So we will need to rent/borrow some bikes. The main problem with this is that my wife is only 4’11” and rides a 12.5″ GT and an XS Specialized Vita. Even 14″ bikes can be too large. But kids bikes are too small.

    Obviously any ideas on routes, places to go would be great. I have the feeling that my wife would prefer road riding but reasonably easy off road would be great if its worth it. She can ride a red route at most trail centres only getting off for the really tough bits so she can handle a bike but I’d rather not risk injury to her so far from home.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Maine. Ok so it’s a decent drive, but it’ll be worth it.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Bike hire – I’ve just fronted up (in advance) with a LBS near to where our office was, and borrowed one of their demo bikes for the afternoon. They usually do the same sort of deal as here, put down $25 as a deposit and leave a credit card print, then if you want to buy it afterwards you get the $25 knocked off the cost. Which of course you don’t, so it’s $25 for a rental (was a few years back mind) As long as you haven’t taken the bike for a saturday morning when someone might genuinely want to test ride it and buy one, it’s just sitting in their shop doing nothing.

    Head north east. Most of the ski resorts have well developed trails and uplifts as well as links to natural riding, many of the state parks will have trails. Just because its uplift-served doesnt mean its DH Gnarr, its more XC with an overall descending bias if that makes sense. I lived in Philly for 2 years so Delaware Gap area was my local trails/rock climbing area, but on weekends I’d drive to upstate NY, or to New England eg. Vermont to ride (or ski in the winter).

    Agree on MTBR, they have a trail database by state which I used when I lived there and has no doubt expanded massively since then.

    LardLover
    Member

    Head along the coast to Connecticut, visit Mystic Seaport (an old whaling port where everyone dresses in period costume), also where Mystic Pizza was filmed (Julia Roberts – I blame the wife!). When leaving there go to the casino on Indian territory (sorry, I can’t remember the name!). Apparantly the native Indians were given their land back, they built a casino and now they rake in the cash. There’s a huge ice sculpture there of a native Indian – very impressive. You think you’re driving out in the sticks (which you are) on a single lane road through dense forest, then all of a sudden you see the Casino towering over the trees (reminds me a little of Dusk 2 Dawn now – the movie not the endurance race).

    Then, head upstate to Lake George, visit the old fort where Last of The Mohicans was filmed. Take a paddle steamer cruise on the lake.

    Then head over to the Finger Lakes as mentioned previously, to Lake Placid (thankfully no giant crocodiles when we were there). Visit White Falls Gorge (I think it’s called) then onto White Face Mountain. Nice walkway across the top of the mountain. Then hire a mountain bike and go the gondola and follow the trails back down (repeat as many times as you can). Might be best to pre-book a bike though. We were there on our honeymoon and the wife finally agreed to let me hire a bike. However by the time we got there an American family got the last of the bikes. We headed up the mountain on the gondola (behind the family), only to watch them pushing their bikes back down the mountain!!!
    Be sure to visit the ski jump area, you can go to the top of one of the ski jumps (why the **** you’d want to jump off one of those I’ll never know!). You can watch them practising down smaller slopes jumping into a pool during the summer.

    After Lake Placid it’s a lovely drive to Niagra Falls. Just make sure you do the Maid of the Mist boat ride into the falls.

    Then, be prepared for a 10hr drive back to NYC. Unless you stop off en route.

    robdob
    Member

    Great ideas – thanks!

    Like the paddle steamer idea.

    Anyone been to Burlington? Been recommended by someone else, sounds really nice.

    MrNice
    Member

    Bike tour of NY? I did one with bike the big apple and it was excellent. They lend you a BSO, there’s a guide, lunch at a micro-brewery (at least there was on the Brooklyn tour), and you get to see all sorts of places you wouldn’t go on your own. Highly recommended and traffic wasn’t a problem because the guide took us on back streets or pavements. Next time I’m back there I’ll be doing another one.

    Boston is also nice. Lots of historical stuff to see, and you might be late enough in the year for “New England in the fall”.

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    I’d agree. Boston / the coast above and NYC is a good schedule. Not sure whether I’d go to Niagra though. It’s a good way from the coast and the town itself is pretty cheesy. The drive isn’t great in places either (Buffalo).

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