BOSTON, MA & SURROUNDING AREA

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culzean

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Jan 7, 2006
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Hi All

We have got a holiday booked for August 2006 - flying into New York then renting a 29' RV from El-Monte and planning to head up to Boston.  We only have 10 nights with the RV and don't want to spend all our time travelling (especially with 2 kids) - we enjoy camping and caravanning in the UK, so hiring the RV seems like a good option for us.    We have a few questions though, to help us with our planning :

1. We can't collect the RV until 1 pm, then obviously have to spend time being shown what to do etc. etc.  Then of course we will need to head towards Walmart or similar to stock up with supplies.  As we have never used an RV before would you suggest we stay reasonaby near the rental place for the first night or get a good start to our first destination?

2.  We intend staying on proper campsites - but really don't know whether we should pre-book our sites as it will be August and presumably that's a popular holiday time for most of you as well, or are there plenty of sites available so we could just take pot luck and enjoy the freedom that RV'ing gives you to move on when you are ready to?

3.  If we don't manage to get on a campsite what are the laws regarding just pulling off the road into a rest area / car park etc. for the night?

4.  Any suggestions as to good campsites would be welcome :  our rough itinerary is to head to the Green Mountains first (Bennington area); then head over towards Boston itself (definately need suggestions as to good places to stay with easy public transport access into Boston), then over to Cape Ann / Gloucester for the final few days. 

So over to you lot for advice and suggestions please.

Regards
Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon
 

Tom

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It might be a good idea to stay within a reasonable distance of the rental place on that first night. That would give you a chance to really get acquainted with the coach and be able to go back to the rental place if something isn't right.

In 20 years of RVing we've rarely made any campground reservations, but we're always ready and willing to move on the next campground if there's no room at the inn. We're not big on strict schedules and prefer not to be tied to reservations. We like to get up in the morning, throw a dart at the map and head off in that direction. However, arriving late at campgrounds is more likely to result in a "campground full" sign.

Most places have laws that prevent overnight camping at rest areas and many folks feel they're not the safest places to stay. Similarly, I wouldn't recommend just pulling off the side of the road. If you really can't get to a campground, some folks stay at truck stops (it will be a little noisy) and others stay in the parking lot of a WalMart store after asking permission. Personally, I don't stay at rest areas or WalMarts.
 

Ken & Sheila

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Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon,
1st I wouldn't get too far from the rental agency the first day, but get out of NYC heading north.

2nd I see no commercial campgrounds in Bennington. There are Campgrounds in Pownal to the south and Woodford to the east (both appear to be within 10 miles. I lived in Vermont for 10 years but never camped in either of these.

3rd Pre book Boston! Especially the weekends in near any metro area in the east.

Near Boston I would stay at Normandy Farms CG in Foxboro, MA (SW of Boston, near I495 and I95) Normandy farms is cheap and is often booked solid on weekends. The alternative is the Circle CG Campground in Bellingham, MA. Also just of the I495 about 10 miles NW of Foxboro. I prefer Normandy farms, but Circle CG has a shuttle to the "T" (train to Boston) station - I don't think Normandy farms offers a shuttle service.

ken


 

culzean

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Jan 7, 2006
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8
Thanks Tom,

We pretty much felt it was best not to travel too far on the first night - just in case!

We've talked and talked it through about reserving campsites ahead - I think we will probably reserve one or two in the key areas (and for easy access to Boston), then play the rest by ear.

That's interesting about the overnighting in rest areas etc.  We were in Orlando last year, and saw quite a few RV's in various Walmart car parks!  At least if we find ourselves in a pickle and can't get to a site / or find one then as long as we are polite and ask permission hopefully Walmart would help us out.

We are so excited about our trip - even though it's not til August - we seem to spend all our spare time poring over maps, guide books and of course cruising the internet for information.

Thanks for your time in replying

Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon
 

culzean

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2006
Posts
8
Thanks Ken,

We definitely intend getting North of NYC on that first night. 

Bennington is just the rough area.  Are the Green Mountains worth a visit?  Here in Dorset we have hills, but not mountains and we thought the Green Mountains would make a nice break after a hectic few days in New York, and before heading over to Boston.

Thanks for the info ref campgrounds near Boston.  We had a look at the Normandy Farms website (thanks for the link Tom) - it looks pretty good.

Can you suggest any good publications of campsites - there seems to be loads on the net but finding decent ones could be hard work, and we won't have internet access on our trip.

Thanks for your time in replying.

Regards
Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon.
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
Can you suggest any good publications of campsites - there seems to be loads on the net but finding decent ones could be hard work, and we won't have internet access on our trip.

There are two gold standard guides:  Trailer Life's and Woodalls .  Most of us regard them as essential.  Trailer Life for one has an online store at http://www.trailerlife.com/bookstore/ .    I suspect they will ship to the UK.  Once you get the directory you will find that it covers the US and Canada state by state and town by town.  You will need a good road map of the area you will visit.  The listings give ratings of the park and facilities and directions to them.  They also give phone numbers.  A lot times I will hedge a late arrival by reserving a site at a park by cell phone while on the road or the night before.  (Cell phones are essential.)
 

Ken & Sheila

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Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon

>>>Are the Green Mountains worth a visit?<<<

As a former resident (10 Years, 3 in Norwich and 7 in Morrisville, just north of Stowe) I loved Vermont - EXCEPT the long cold winters. The three days of summer were great, just kidding. But I never spent much time in southern Vermont. One neat place to Visit is Quechee and Woodstock, VT

Take I95 N to I91 North to I89 north to exit 1 on I89 (Rt 4). Head west. Just West on the south side of the road is Pine Valley RV Resort.[http://www.pinevalleyrv.com/] Its a very nice RV Park. A little further west you will cross the Quechee Gorge - stop for a look. (parking on the south side of the road before the gorge or either side west of the gorge). About 3/4 mile after the gorge turn left on Quechee-Hartland RD (could be called either or both) You will cross the Ottequechee(sp?) River on a covered bridge - OOPS BAD idea, its an old covered bridge, the motorhome won't fit. OK, after viewing the gorge, turn around and head back east just over 1 3/4 mile and turn left on Clubhouse Dr. This will turn into Main St. At about 1.75 miles you will be at the "T" intersection with Hartland-Quechee Rd. Just past the intersection on the left will be Simon Pierce's Pottery, Glassworks, Restaraunt, shop etc. Stop for Lunch. visit the glass blowing downstairs, view pottery making, tour the electric plant (he has his own dam and hydro plant). To park the motorhome go past Simon Pierce about a tenth of a mile, parking entrance on the left. (the parking entrance at Simon Pierce might be too tight - the parking areas are connected by drives along the river.

Go back to RT 4 an continue west to Woodstock, just a neat little town. I you have time you can continue on Rt 4 to Killington, VT (a ski resort town) Its about 7 mile to Woodstock and 21 more to Killington. The ride to Killington is just for the drive in the Green Mts.

You can then take I89 south to I93 south to I495 south to Foxboro OR continue on I495 to I95 north to RT 128 to Gloucester.

If you want to spend more time in Vermont, let me know and I give other places to stop.

ken
 

Ken & Sheila

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Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon,

Sorry, I did not mean by my previous message that Bennington is not a good place to visit. It has a great deal of history and to the north is Manchester, home of the Morgan Horse Farm. I just have not traveled that area much and the little travel we did in that area I just don't remember well (CRS).

ken
 

Betty Brewer

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Ken & Sheila said:
As a former resident (10 Years, 3 in Norwich and 7 in Morrisville, just north of Stowe) I loved Vermont - EXCEPT the long cold winters. The three days of summer were great, just kidding. But I never spent much time in southern Vermont. One neat place to Visit is Quechee and Woodstock, VT If you want to spend more time in Vermont, let me know and I give other places to stop.ken/quote]

Ken,
Your description makes me anxxious to visit those places wen we again return to the east coast.  Thanks for the detail.
Betty
 

SeySyl

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Nov 10, 2005
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Burtonsville, MD
?For the Boston area, I highly recommend Boston Minutemen CG in Littleton MA. ?This is an excellent CG with a friendly and helpful management. It is closer to downtown Boston than Normandy Farms and is near many of the historic sites such as Concord Bridge and Battlefield , Lexington, Lowell National Historical Industrial Park (well worth visiting), etc. ?It is considerably less expensive than Normandy Farms and I believe it should be much easier to get a site. ?I have used this CG many times on my visits to my old homestead (and family & friends).
?My favorite site is #16 (or #17) which is pull-thru ?with full hookups.
?Tell Ted that I sent you,
? ? ? Seymour Sheinkopf
 

PancakeBill

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Benson - Tucson, AZ. West Yellowstone,MT
I just moved from the northeast, and have also stayed at Normandy Farms, in fact we had the ppleasure of sitting around the campfire with Ken & Sheila as well as other notable RV Forum friends.  Great plae, but not what I would consider cheap.  There is a nice system of state parks, although these will not have hookups, if that is an issue, skip them, if not, they can be wonderful places. 

Boston is a nice trip as well as Salem, MA.  In Salem there is a county park with hookups on a small iosland, accessible by cuauseway.  I think $20's a night, and easy access to the historical village.  My camping club goes there annually. 

Depending on when in August, and if you like bluegrass, there is a great festival in East Hartford.  Dry camping, but everything is available.  I have been the past 2 years, and if it weren't for moving away, I wouldn't miss it.  (first full weekend in August)

Enjoy your visit!
 

Lorna

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When we were in the Boston area we stayed at Cape Ann Campground near Gloucester and I took the train into Boston and then did the trolley tour of Boston which included a boat tour of the harbor.? That park is also convenient to Gloucester and Salem but not to Concord and Lexington which Normandy Farms would be better.? I found that going into Boston or any of the eastern big cities was best done by train and then trolley because parking is hard to find at a reasonable price.? The trolley tours allow you to get off and back on anywhere on their route and then you can walk to the areas around each stop.  Salem also has a trolley tour and is an interesting town.
 

culzean

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Jan 7, 2006
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8
Oh that's great Lorna - one the sites we had earmarked is Cape Anne Campground, especially becuase it looks like you can get the train pretty easily from Gloucester to Boston.  Do you recall how long the train journey takes?    Also interesting about the trolley buses!

We are a pretty active family, we enjoy walking and cycling - and when are visiting places we prefer to just get the feel of places, and enjoy what nature has to offer - rather than lots of museums / houses etc.   

Thanks for the info.

Debbie
 

culzean

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2006
Posts
8
Ken & Sheila said:
Debbie, Paul, Rachel & Simon

>>>Are the Green Mountains worth a visit?<<<

As a former resident (10 Years, 3 in Norwich and 7 in Morrisville, just north of Stowe) I loved Vermont - EXCEPT the long cold winters. The three days of summer were great, just kidding. :D(Love your humour) ?But I never spent much time in southern Vermont. One neat place to Visit is Quechee and Woodstock, VT

Take I95 N to I91 North to I89 north to exit 1 on I89 (Rt 4). Head west. Just West on the south side of the road is Pine Valley RV Resort.[http://www.pinevalleyrv.com/] Its a very nice RV Park. A little further west you will cross the Quechee Gorge - stop for a look. (parking on the south side of the road before the gorge or either side west of the gorge). About 3/4 mile after the gorge turn left on Quechee-Hartland RD (could be called either or both) You will cross the Ottequechee(sp?) River on a covered bridge - OOPS BAD idea, its an old covered bridge, the motorhome won't fit. OK, after viewing the gorge, turn around and head back east just over 1 3/4 mile and turn left on Clubhouse Dr. This will turn into Main St. At about 1.75 miles you will be at the "T" intersection with Hartland-Quechee Rd. Just past the intersection on the left will be Simon Pierce's Pottery, Glassworks, Restaraunt, shop etc. Stop for Lunch. visit the glass blowing downstairs, view pottery making, tour the electric plant (he has his own dam and hydro plant). To park the motorhome go past Simon Pierce about a tenth of a mile, parking entrance on the left. (the parking entrance at Simon Pierce might be too tight - the parking areas are connected by drives along the river. Thanks - that seems like a good trip and we can sort of do it on route towards Gloucester.

Go back to RT 4 an continue west to Woodstock, just a neat little town. I you have time you can continue on Rt 4 to Killington, VT (a ski resort town) Its about 7 mile to Woodstock and 21 more to Killington. The ride to Killington is just for the drive in the Green Mts.

You can then take I89 south to I93 south to I495 south to Foxboro OR continue on I495 to I95 north to RT 128 to Gloucester.

If you want to spend more time in Vermont, let me know and I give other places to stop.? Thanks - that's great info.? I'm wishing my life away waiting for August to hurry up and come!
ken
 

N Smock

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Mar 9, 2005
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246
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Long Branch, NJ
We have stayed at a campground on the Mass. NH line which is within striking distance to Boston. The campground is also close to the beach, although the water is cold olny the most hardy soles go in. The campground is Black Bear.


Nelson
 

camper1b

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May 19, 2005
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Endicott, NY
Can't help with Boston but here's some other suggestions.

For a trip like this I would make reservations for most nights.  You are on a limited time schedule and as the trip approaches you'll have done much research and have a fairly long list of places you want to go.

After arriving in Bennington (home of Robert Frost, Ethan Allen and some historic revolutionary war sites), go north on historic route 7A to Arlington (Home of Norman Rockwell).  "Camping on the Battenkill" is a nice campground right on the Battenkill river.  (You can rent a canoe for a couple hour tour of the river, also).  For a nice tour of some beautiful green mountain real estate and classic Vermont towns.....Continue north to Manchester, take Rt 11 east to Londonderry, then Rt 100 north to Weston (Have a picnic lunch in the town square and shop at Vermont Country Store).  Continue on Rt 100 north to Rt 4 and take that east through Woodstock to White River Junction (Queechee Gorge).  That will put you on the eastern edge of Vermont so you can get into New Hampshire and down to Mass.

(This might be too much of Vermont if you really want to concentrate on Boston, but you can do it in a couple days and it's a nice intro to south central Vermont).

Enjoy!!
 

Lorna

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Debbie the trip into Boston takes about half to an hour if CRS hasn't set in for me.? I boarded the train at West Gloucester because it was closer to the park.? The trolley is great for scoping out the area and then you can go back to the ones you really want to see with a bike or walk.? I am with you about museums and old houses after you have seen one old house they all look alike.? The history is interesting but each one has docents that show you thru and it is time consuming.? The one house I did go thru again was the House of Seven Gables in Salem and Nathaniel Hawthorne's home next door.? I had been to the area in 1977 so did not go back to Lexington and Concord.? In Boston I started with the state house (capitol) and the trolley is across the street from the main entrance.? The trolley takes you out to Old Ironsides but does not take you to the Kennedy Library, at least the one that I was on.? There are several different trolley and bus tours across from the state house. There is so much to see in that area that you could spend several weeks there and not see it all especially if you like history.
 

culzean

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Thanks Camper1b

This sounds like a good trip to make, especially as we had highlighed Manchester as a possible place to stay.  Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Regards
Debbie
 

culzean

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Lorna said:
Debbie the trip into Boston takes about half to an hour if CRS hasn't set in for me.? I boarded the train at West Gloucester because it was closer to the park.? The trolley is great for scoping out the area and then you can go back to the ones you really want to see with a bike or walk.? I am with you about museums and old houses after you have seen one old house they all look alike.? The history is interesting but each one has docents that show you thru and it is time consuming.? The one house I did go thru again was the House of Seven Gables in Salem and Nathaniel Hawthorne's home next door.? I had been to the area in 1977 so did not go back to Lexington and Concord.? In Boston I started with the state house (capitol) and the trolley is across the street from the main entrance.? The trolley takes you out to Old Ironsides but does not take you to the Kennedy Library, at least the one that I was on.? There are several different trolley and bus tours across from the state house. There is so much to see in that area that you could spend several weeks there and not see it all especially if you like history.

Thanks Lorna - that's really useful information.  As it's pretty quick to get to Boston from West Gloucester we will probably concentrate most of our time on Cape Anne - that way we can do Boston, plus travel up and down the coast as we want to.  Any other suggestions for good places to visit? 

Regards
Debbie
 
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