New England Family Trip Video Review 2021
New England Family Trip Video Review 2021 – In November/December 2021, My Central Florida Family took a two week trip to Maine and down the east coast. This is our Family Video Review.
Summary of the Trip :
With so many stops on our Family Bucket List, My Central Florida Family chose to take two weeks to explore some new stops and some of our favorite cities on the east coast. To help curb expenses, we opted to drive our own car on this marathon trip. We left on a tuesday morning and drove 12+ hours to Washington DC. There long enough to spend the night, we departed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to head to Maine. We knew traffic would be crazy, so we planned to endure and spent about an additional 2 hours on the drive due to heavy traffic in Connecticut. The 11-year old did great in the backseat with his phone in hand and we made minimal stops for restrooms and food, packing a cooler and bag of food in the back of the car.
After another 12 hour day of driving, we made it to Augusta, Maine, where we stopped for the night. It was the roughest hotel we stayed in due to the smell of sewage and a fire alarm going off at 6 AM the following morning, so we started out early and got to Bar Harbor, Maine before noon. It was the official start of our vacation.
We got settled at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa and we highly recommend this property. Now, because we travelled late in the season (in fact, we were there the last weekend the property was open for the season), we are pretty sure we got a great rate. The room included breakfast and we had a gorgeous view of the harbor. Once we got settled, we noticed it was set to rain/snow for the next two days, so we headed out to Acadia National Park. It was beautiful! We enjoyed Cadillac Mountain, Thunderhole, Jordan Pond and more. It was the main reason we went to Maine! We spent 3 nights at Bar Harbor and loved every minute of it. You’ll find more in our video review!
After Bar Harbor, we travelled to Portland for a couple of nights. It was mostly dining and shopping, but Cape Elizabeth was beautiful and we enjoyed some rocky coastline, lighthouses, and more. If you go to Portland, be sure to spend some time in Cape Elizabeth and Fort Williams. We spent 2 nights in Portland.
Next up, it was Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This stop had amazing architecture and Colonial style homes. It was beautiful. Food and shopping was the highlight and the food was the best we had on the entire trip. With three restaurants impressing our taste buds, we’d love to return just for a foodie weekend! We spent one night in Portsmouth.
The next day, we were going to meet family in Salem, Massachusetts. We made a quick stop in Newburyport, NH. Again, the Colonial feel and historical scenic drive was so cool for someone that loves that sort of thing! We only spent a couple of hours checking out Newburyport and then it was on to Salem.
Again, because of the time of year that we visited, most everything was closed in Salem. We walked around and looked at the history and visited with family for a few hours and then it was off to Plymoth, Massachusetts. Who knew Plymouth Rock was a real thing and still preserved today? I didn’t. We spent one night in Plymouth, which was enough time for that time of year. Most of the museums and Mayflower II were closed, but we loved riding around and looking at the town. One of the highlights was finding the Monument to our Forefathers. Standing almost the same size as the Statue of Liberty, it was a beautifully done monument in the middle of nowhere and sitting upon a hill.
Are you tired yet? We kept moving. After one night in Plymouth, we drove into Cape Cod about 90 minutes away. Originally, we were going to drive into Provincetown (the tip of the boot), but after seeing so many things closed for the season in late November/early December, we thought better of the additional 90 minute drive and chose to visit Falmouth based on recommendations. It was everything you think of Cape Cod. Cute beach homes, the beach, shopping and delicious dining. We drove along the seashore, it was amazing. Originally, we were going to spend 3 nights on Cape Cod, but we altered the plans due to the season and just spent one day, leaving behind Martha’s Vineyard and Provincetown. We enjoyed our day in Falmouth though!
In the afternoon, we drove to Newport, RI. We spent 2 nights, which allowed us to spend a day in Providence, one my new favorite little big cities. It was so clean and I loved the rivers running through it. In season, I could imagine the gondolas and boats rolling through the city. It was clean and such a lovely city. The next day, we spent in Newport. Newport had a lot to do from beaches to views to mansions, shopping, dining and more. However, it was the first time in over a week that we felt crowded. I can only imagine how busy it is in the summertime. Paid parking was everywhere, restaurants were bustling…it was a bit overwhelming after seeing so few people for days leading up to it. We probably didn’t enjoy it as much as we should have. So, it was off to New York.
We stayed about 30 minutes outside the city in Tuckahoe, NY so that we could get up early and drive into NYC in the morning. On a Sunday morning, it was the perfect way to check my bucket list item of DRIVING in NYC off the list. We were in the city around 8 am. Parking was free and easy on the street (we paid to park in Times Square) and we enjoyed the quietness until lunchtime when Central Park and 5th Avenue grew overwhelmingly crowded. It was my first time in New York for Christmas, but my 7th trip in total. I know my way around the city pretty well, but the crowds were incredible. We were set to spend 2 nights in NYC, but again, just decided to spend one day. We packed it in with stops at Battery Park (Statue of Liberty), Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, Central Park, 30 Rock, 5th Avenue, and back to Times Square. We drove out before dark and headed to Washington DC, a three hour drive.
In DC, we spent two nights and visited the staples. Again, we’ve been to DC several times, so it was a refresher stop. The Lincoln Memorial, The National Mall, Washington Monument, White House, Capitol, and a few other stops made the list. The next day, exhausted from our marathon driving and trip, we headed home…4 days early.
We put over 3500 miles on the car, but enjoyed nearly every single mile. The weather was perfect. The traffic (other than the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) was kind and perfectly timed. We couldn’t have asked for a better trip. We equated it to a cruise. We made lots of different stops, but spent just a day (with a couple of exceptions) at each “port.” It was a great way to see a lot of history and bucket list stops. We have a list of places we’d like to go back and spend more time, but overall, it was great family time, a teaching trip (history), and we made some wonderful memories. Here’s our Family Video Review.
Where and When:
New England November 23-December 7, 2021
Family Video Review:
Top 5 Tips:
- On a driving trip like this, we stayed fluid. We typically booked our hotel (with the exception of Bar Harbor) just an hour (or a few hours) before we arrived.
- We stayed mostly at Fairfield Inns and Residence Inns because breakfast was always included (and they had pull out sofas), which helped with costs.
- If you’re driving, pack drinks, snacks, and things to do in the car. We packed pillows and blankets for comfort too.
- If you’re going to drive in New York City, do it on a Sunday morning! In fact, plan the drives for off times. Driving from New York to DC on a Sunday night was perfect. Driving through Connecticut on a Saturday night was easy as well. Those were the worst traffic areas and we navigated them well by getting through them on off peak hours.
- We didn’t plan to step in Newburyport, NH or Newport, RI, but made the stops by looking at what was on the map as we were driving. Again, we stayed fluid and added and removed nights/visits/stays on a day to day basis.
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