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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Need Your Help!

My family is planning a road trip in the Fall (October) to the New England States and Niagra Falls. My parents, my grandma, my husband, and I are all going! This may be the only time I venture to this part of the United States and I have never been before! I don't want to miss anything important!

I love seafood and heard that Fall is the best time to see this area with all of the beautiful leaves changing! I can't wait! We will be stopping along the way to stay in hotels and visiting several different cities. We are hoping to do it as frugal as possible. However, we want to hit all the good stuff too!

Do you live here? Do you have some suggestions for us? What is something I DON'T WANT TO MISS??
Leave me a comment with your suggestions. Include places to see, places to eat (my favorite part!) and things to do! I can't wait to hear your ideas! :)


FunkyFrum said...

i have very young kids, so all i can suggest is to get a room with a falls view. it is worth every penny you will spend. we spent os much time in our room because it was hot and the kids could only do so much in the day, that if we hadn't had the view, we would of had an awful trip.

The Femmes Frugal said...

If you are going to New York or Boston a great tip is to stay outside the city, and leave your car and a Subway station/Commuter rail lot. Both the NYC subway system and the Boston T have extensive coverage, don't drive your car anywhere near the city if you don't have to. There are also really cool caverns all over Pennsylvania and NY, try Howes Cavern in NY.

I'm not really an expert on New York, but a walk through Central Park is always free, and the museums usually have discounts for children... Also, if you have a Bank of America debit card, you might get free museum admission!

Boston is my turf though. The best value for your money is to park on the end of one of the T lines (see the T website for details. Your best bet is to buy a pass for however many days you will be in town. You want to park on a T (T=subway) line for the best value for your money. The T pass also works on the buses. Great things to do in Boston are to walk the freedom trail, visit Faneiul hall (big tourist trap though, expensive stuff, but some good food), the Museum of Science (awesome for kids), the Aquarium (not the most kid friendly aquarium ever, but not bad), walk around the Boston Common, maybe catch a free concert at the Hatch Shell, walk along the Charles river, visit the U.S.S. Constitution (on the freedom trail), maybe take a bus out to the Arnold Arboretum, visit Walden Pond (drive from where you are staying), visit Plymouth Rock and/or Plymouth Plantation. We also have a zoo but I haven't been there.

If you drive through Connecticut, you should stop at Dinosaur state park, Lake compounce(this is, I think, the oldest amusement park in the nation, and pretty cheap, and independently run), Mystic seaport is a must-see if your kids like boats at all...
Old Sturbridge Village is just over the border into Massachusetts, but is really cool too. You might also try The Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum but I haven't been there...

In Rhode Island you might want to stop at Newport and see the Breakers, and all the other really old ridiculously expensive gold covered houses, I think Providence has a pretty good zoo too. Bonus:Providence is connected to the Boston Commuter rail system, so if you can stay cheaper in one place or the other, you might consider a Commuter rail pass.

Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are kind of sparse on 'attractions'. You could visit one of the ski resorts, this time of year they have hiking and golfing. A lot of the towns in VT, ME, and NH are very quaint and have their own individual appeal. In Maine, I really liked Booth Bay Harbor, but I haven't been since I was a kid, so I don't remember much about it.

If you want specific info on any of the above, let me know, and i'll see what I can find out :), and sorry about the Novel :)


The Femmes Frugal said...

Wow - I forgot some Boston stuff! Dinner in the North End is a MUST. You can get amazing and cheap Italian fare anywhere in the North end. If you go to the North End, instead of getting dessert at a restaurant, stop at Mike's pastry (it is not a line, its a mob), and grab some cheap pastry, or stop at the Gelato vendor down the street. Stay away from the Prudential Center, or dinner at the top of the hub! The Prudential Center is just a mall, as is Copley place. The top of the hub is overpriced and not very good food. Next to the Prudential Center is Christian Science park. They have a fountain (fun to play in), a reflecting pool, and amazing organ concerts. Near the CSC, there is a Mapparium, which is pretty awesome if you haven't been to one. Harvard square in Cambridge is pretty cool, but is very 'historic' and not all that interesting for kids. Walking along the Fenway can be nice, but should be avoided near nightfall (it can get creepy/dangerous). If you are around on a Friday or Saturday, Haymarket is pretty fun, but it is a Mom thing, not a kid thing. It is this strange insanely packed vegetable market. There is a pizza place down there with slices for $1.25, might be a good lunch if you are in the area. Bunker Hill monument is also something you might want to see, and there is a pretty neat museum across from it (I think admission was free). The best thing to do is probably to check out the tourism websites for each individual state.

Melanie said...

We are from Maine and now live in NH. I think fall is the best time to come to New England! Here is a few ideas and links:

Things we love to do in the fall are hayrides, pumpkin picking, scenic fall tours, state fairs and apple picking. Here is a link to find a few things in Maine and NH. (also request a free Guide Book!)

Restaurants: (this is located in Portland's Old Port area, great to walk around and shop!) (this link is to the Old Port, also this area has tons and tons of resaurants I last ate at the Dogfish it was awesome, great maine atmosphere. link here:

Hope this helps, we live in NH so if you need any more info I would be glad to help!

The Femmes Frugal said...

More Maine info - the entire city of Portland is a tourist trap, as is Freeport but Freeport is kind of a must. Crescent Beach is also popular and Acadia National Park is beautiful... and York County Zoo!

The Femmes Frugal said...

If you come during its run, you must visit the Big E! It is like the state fair for all of the Northeast! link!

Sorry about all the comments, I think I'm avoiding actually working :)

spercey said...

New England is a lot of territory... are you targeting certain areas? My parents are in Kennebunkport, Maine, and if you are heading up that way I suggest stopping by the port. (If you're a Bush 41 fan...the father...seeing their compound is just an experience!!) Also, along the coast, they're (Maine) famous for their lighthouses. They're a must see! Travel along Rte 1A through York Beach and you'll come along Nubble Light, Cape Neddick, etc... they are a must see! If going that way, you'll pass right through Kittery (just over the line from NH) and all of their hundreds of outlets (rock bottom prices!!) Can be frugal if you stick to your outlet budget- just in time for the holidays! Have fun!

Queen of the Urban Jungle said...

I live in MA now and grew up in RI. I would highly recommend visiting newport!! it's very expensive to stay down there, but there is a ferry that runs daily from providence to newport through october 16th. it's a beautiful down with lots of history, and there are tons of walking tours you can take, and in october there are ghost tours as well (my favorite)!

the zoo in providence is also great, i make it a point to go every year, even though i'm from here :) it's very large and there are frequently free concerts in the park (the zoo is in a few parts: where the animals are, extensive gardens, a carousel and a lake, and lots of green open space for ourdoor parties and concerts).

if you're in providence to eat, you have to eat on "THE HILL", aka federal hill. it's a much smaller version of the north end in boston...the north end is awesome, especially mikes! make reservation s way in advance for dinner though and expect to have to walk a bit if you drive in

Stephanie said...

If you want some fun and unique places to visit, check out
From there you can view maps of any state with a number of attractions. My husband and I use this for our roadtrips and it has definitely made for some great memories. If you want to stick to the main tourist attractions, you could still use this site to fill in any gaps along your route. Enjoy the planning and the trip!
Oh yeah - I forgot to mention that a lot of these attractions are free or cheap.

Through Thick and Thin said...

cape cod - definately. so much beauty and history here.

MARY-ANN said...

Im from Mass and I def recommend going to the Big E. It's a large fair/carnival and attracts people from all surrounding states. It usually runs last few weeks Sept and first week Oct!
Another great stop is The Yankee Candle Flagship Store in Deerfield, Ma. I just love this place and could spend hours wondering around!
If your looking for good seafood you may want to head down to the Cape. If your planning to come in Oct you should find things cheaper down there due to it being the off season.

Anne said...

If you're spending the night near Niagara Falls, get a hotel on the Canadian side. The rates for comparable rooms are cheaper than in the US (taking the exchange rate into consideration). Also IMHO, the Falls on the Canadian side are prettier. You can walk down to the observation area and see the Falls for free, but if you want to really get close, you can pay to go down right where the water sprays you or on a boat that goes behind the Falls.

If you travel to Buffalo, NY and are a fan of buffalo wings, then stop by Anchor Bar, "where buffalo wings were invented".

I live in upstate NY, and the fall is very pretty w/ the changing leaves around here.

Weed said...

I second the Kittery outlets in Maine. There's an LL Bean seconds store that had awesome prices when I was there (this was quite awhile ago, though).

Also second Cape Cod.

Miss said...

Lots of great ideas here ~ being a fellow bargain hunter, I would like to add The Tanger Outlets ( in Tilton NH to the list. The best part? Shopping in NH is TAX FREE!!

Kansas Mom said...

The last time we were in Boston we visited the natural history museum at Harvard. I don't think it was very expensive (our friends had a membership) and their kids LOVED it. (Ours would have, too, but we left them at home.)

Melanie said...

Good comment Miss! I live in NH and I always forget to share with people who visit our great state, YES we are a TAX FREE!!!

PVP said...

If you are coming to this side thn Newport Rhode island is a MUST see. There are very beautiful mansions but the entry is v expensive about $90 for three of them. The post, ovean drive and cliff walking is very beautiful.

loving green said...

Another upstate New Yorker here! There is so much to see... I wouldn't even know where to start. We live only an hour away from the falls and Love it. I agree with a previous poster about going to the Canadian side of the falls! There are also a lot of great parks around here that are amazing to hike and see all the leaves turning! If you are planning on stopping around the upstate area let me know and I can give you more details!

Niki said...

We went on vacation to the falls last summer and it was wonderful!

If you can only afford to do one falls attraction i say do the cave of the winds. There is nothing else like it! Amazing! Hands down the best pics, the closest you can get to the falls, and a fun fun fun time!


Dana said...

I am from Buffalo and have to agree. Definatly visit the Canadian side of the falls. There is so much more to do there. The Cave of the Winds or the Maid of the Mist is really neat too. The Caves is where you walk around near the falls and the Maid is where you take a boat ride. Clifton Hill on the Canadian side is a major hot spot with many popular touristy restaurants and such. I know the Entertainment book for buffalo has a few coupons in there for BOGO museum admission on clifton hill.

doona24 said...

I live in Virginia but am from Kennebunkport, Maine. I am heading home for a 3 week visit. I am leaving next week and am very exicited. I can only say that the state's motto; "Maine, the way life should be" sums it all up for me. That time of year will be foilage and apple picking and definitely lobster eating!

Anne said...

i'm from ri, lived in ma for a while, and live in ct now.

newport is tons of fun but during the season (memorial day to labor day) it gets very crowded. however, cliff walk (a walkway behind the backs of the mansions along the cliffs by the ocean) is open all year and definitely worth doing. in addition for the ferry to get to newport from providence, the number 60 bus runs from providence to newport through the east bay. if you go in late summer i would suggest the bus over traffic. thames st is the shopping/restaurant strip in downtown historic newport. it runs along the water, and dinner there can be pricey in season. but good seafood!

another thing to do if you have a full day to spare is to visit block island. you take the ferry over from galilee and then once on the island you can bike/walk to a few beaches and lighthouses. very pretty. if it's fall, the ferry runs slightly less frequently and you'll want to bundle up, but it's still great fun. in the past we have packed picnic lunches and then had dinner at a little clam shack on the land side called aunt carrie's after the ferry returned at night. if you have seafood in ri, try the clam cakes (like hush puppies but not sweet and with clams) and ri style clam chowder (clear and less rich, not white like new england style)

i'm so excited you're coming

innerchild101 said...

If you get a chance to visit upstate N.Y. then Watkins Glen is a must see. If you do a google search of images, the landscape is breathtaking. there is the state park to tour, it will be grape season and the kids will love picking grapes. 20 minutes away is Cornell University in Ithaca and 20 minutes in the other direction is Corning, home to the Corning Museum of Glass, It's the landscape that will take your breath away.

MAB said...

I live in Niagara County. We are 20 miles east of the Falls.

The Falls themselves are beautiful. Go on the Maid of the Mist boat ride and the Cave of the Winds (on Goat Island). If you can, cross over to Canada and see them from a whole new angle.

There is now a casino on both sides of the border, if you are into that.

The Niagara region is wine country!

Many people enjoy eating at the Red Coach Inn or the Como Restaurant in the Falls (US side).

If you'd like to come east 20 miles, you can come to Lockport and see the Erie Canal and the famous locks which lift the canal over 70 feet.

Old Fort Niagara (which predates Independence and the French and Indian War) is at the mouth of the Niagara River where it empties into Lake Ontario. It is now a state park.

I'll post more when I can.

Shawn said...

I've spent a lot of time in my years in New England but haven't been to the falls, yet.

My biggest tip if you like seafood is to spend some time in Maine: Lobster rolls just about anywhere, whole lobsters. And, if you do get anywhere like Boothbay, spend the bucks for an authentic clambake. We took the ferry to an island and ate some great food and it was just a memorable experience, too. Can't beat that ... and the kids get to just play around the island.

No one mentioned hitting Cape Cod but I think that's a very family-friendly place and we did it on a budget years ago. Lots of shopping and restaurants.

Kim said...

My husband and I both went to college in Buffalo. You can't miss Duff's Wings - they are clearly the BEST! Well worth the trip, we even get the sauce shipped to VA at times!

Anonymous said...


Kaye said...

Okay, I cannot offer any recommendations here, but I just wanted to pat you on the back for asking here on your blog...what a great idea! It always helps to ask the locals and what better way to reach locals from a wide area! So smart!

taralynn819 said...

Oh wow, I am SO jealous! I would move to New England in a heartbeat! I nannied for a summer in Boston and LOVED it. Every state is so unique, Vermont, Maine, you name it! Such a neat culture!

I'll take a look at my resources and see if I can find anything of note.

My favorite activity in New England (Vermont & New Hampshire especially) is to just drive around the back-mountain roads and snap pictures. Other than the cost of gas, how much more frugal can you get than that? :)

btw, thank you for your comment on my blog. I'm still kind of in limbo with my job, but my heart is doing much better.

taralynn819 said...

Oh, and my meme post below is chalk full of links pertaining to fun places to see in Vermont. Just scroll down to where it says, "I want to marry Vermont":

taralynn819 said...

One more thing... :)

Although Provincetown, MA (tip of Cape Cod) is a cute little beach town, I would rather have skipped the 2+ hour drive down that "short" two-lane hook road to get there.

I say that not so much about the distance (although a huge factor), but there are transvestites GALORE wandering the streets. The worse we saw was this 40-year-old MAN dressed up in a pink tuto, tights, hair in pigtails, and carrying a magic wand. And he at least should have tried to lose that beer gut before even trying to fit into that leotard.

NOT even kidding. There are plenty of other more wholesome sites to see!

Becky said...

We went to Niagra Falls for our second anniversary. We were able to make pit stops at my in-laws and at a good friend's home so that helped a ton.
Do you have a place to stay yet? If not I will tell you the place we stayed at the Falls (I would have to look it up).
The botanical gardens were beautiful and there were some greenhouses in the opposite direction that were great as well. Marineland was a lot of fun too, think small scale sea world. Neocia is an awesome killer whale, and they'll even let you pet them!

Julie said...

My husband and I went to Niagara Falls during the summer about four years ago. We found the Canadian side much prettier to stay. The US side has some great parks if you're up for lots of walking.
I don't remember how far, but there's one road that leads further into Canada -- I know you pass the Whirlpool. There's a university that experiments with growing different foods in cold climates. Their experimental gardens are along that route. I don't know what you'll find during the fall, but it's free.
That road also leads to a quaint little town called Niagara on the Lake. By the time we meandered up there, it was pretty late in the evening and shops were closing. It looked pricey if you actually wanted to buy anything, but it would be a lovely place to look around and have a leisurely lunch or dinner.

ktoth04 said...

Provincetown has always been known for its gay-friendliness. That is a good reason to always do independent research before you take your kids someplace.

Amy said...

I grew up on the coast of CT, but now I live in PA and my parents live in TX - "home" isn't home anymore! Hubby and I are taking our girls up to CT this summer. Besides the beach, here is my must-do list so far:
Mystic Aquarium/Seaport in Mystic CT, Sturbridge Village in MA, the Peabody Museum (a natural history museum, part of Yale) with pizza and Italian ice on Wooster Street in New Haven, and a lingering stop at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT. It's a fabulous hometown gem that has now grown and has author signings, etc.
My must-EAT list includes Lenny and Joe's Fishtale, also in Madison. It's a roadside clam-shack that didn't even have indoor seating when I was a kid. Lobster roll (as in lobster meat, top-split bun, and drawn butter ONLY), and the clear clam chowder, and I am in HEAVEN!!!
I can also vouch for Lake Compounce that I saw someone mention, and I remember going to another... Quassy (just Googled it!) on Lake Quassapaug. It also has a beach.

Catherine said...

If you get a chance to go into Ohio, (Cedar Point to be exact) there is a little hole in the wall breakfast we had ever gotten for like $2.50 a piece and boy was it TONS of food. East Side Cafe.... LOVE IT!

Faerie Mom said...

Lobster Rolls (Sandwiches). Really. My mom swears by them. Last time she was in Maine that was the one thing she HAD to have! LOL I will ask her if she can think of anmything else.