Our Northeast family road trip means my daughters, and I have seen 42 of the 50 states together!
I want to make sure these posts are not only an account of our trip, and that they are helpful to you in planning your own travel. So, I’ll keep the format of sharing about the trip with the pictures and at the bottom of the post look for the tips section. It’ll have all kinds of tips, things we learned, things we’d do again or wouldn’t do again. I hope it’ll help plan your own trip.
Northeast Family Road Trip – Week 2 – Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine
King Arthur Flour
While we were right in the area, we stopped by King Arthur Flour.
It’s a fun little store if you enjoy baking. We picked up a few mixes that we figured we could make at some of our VRBO rentals along our route.
We also picked up turkey sandwiches for the road. Yummy!
Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
When planning our trip, one of my daughters found information about Flume Gorge in the National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas(affiliate link). Which is how we’ve found a lot of great things to see and do. It’s a great book.
We added it to our list of ideas of things we wanted to do in our road trip planner.
There is a fee to enter the state park.
In our opinion, it’s worth every penny. It’s a beautiful area, a beautiful park, and a great hike.
We chose to do the 2 mile flume hike. It’s a loop that takes you through the full Flume Gorge and through some other beautiful scenery as well.
If you prefer not to hike that far, there is a shorter hike you can do, and I think I remember there were buses that could take you some of the way.
It is a great place to have a little photography fun if you enjoy that. ? ?
After leaving the Gorge, we headed toward our VRBO rental in Pittsburg, New Hampshire.
Pittsburg is only 12 miles from the Canadian border and is only 3 miles from Moose Alley – another thing we found in the Kids Road Trip Atlas.
We had no cell signal…and the route that I had texted to use all that morning (in case we lost cell signal) had a road closure!!
That was a moment to take a deep breath and thank goodness for the Universe looking out for us.
The closed road had no detour, so I continued on the freeway we had been on. Only one mile past the road closure was a visitor center.
Thankfully the ranger working the visitor center was familiar with where we were going and could give us a paper map and directions. Not only that, he was able to tell me which city along the way would have a grocery store for us to stock up. I knew that Pittsburg likely didn’t have a grocery store and we planned to stay a few days, so food was a must.
The girls and I planned our meals using my meal planning system(which is part of the Real Organized Mom Class) and made a grocery list while I drove. We arrived at the IGA in Cole Brook, New Hampshire at 6:30. They closed at 6:30! Thankfully, they let us in, and in 13 minutes we got everything we needed. Whew! I’m not used to small towns and things not being open late!
Pittsburg, New Hampshire
The downside to the gorgeous views is the bright morning sun… which many will not find a disadvantage, but since we tend to be night owls, the bright sun in my eyes at 6 am is not very welcome.
I used the time before my girls woke up to make scones from one of the mixes we had bought the day before at King Arthur Flour. I tried to get some work done, and it was the one time on the trip that I used the Canon Selphy Wireless Printer. I wrote about the printer in my post on our favorite travel accessories.
Right in this area are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Connecticut lakes. The house we rented is right on the 1st Connecticut lake, and we spent some time exploring and having a picnic on the lake and later coming back to swim in the lake.
It’s a beautiful area and a peaceful place to be.
There was no cell signal pretty much anywhere.
It was a little unnerving at first but was also relaxing and nice to just be without all the noise and notifications.
One of the main reasons we wanted to come to this area was to see Moose and go to Moose Alley.
One day we drove Moose Alley. We love the road signs!
We drove all the way to the Canadian border (about 12-13 miles). This picture is on our way back.
We couldn’t go into Canada because we didn’t have passports, but the owner of our rental told us that a few miles over the border is a magnetic hill that you can go up backward with your car in neutral because of the magnetic pull. It sounded neat, and we’re sad we couldn’t go give it a try. This is a video from another magnetic hill in Canada.
If you go to this area, you’ll see plenty of signs like this one.
The best time to go see a Moose is at dusk. From what we learned, they’re most active at that time.
Our final night in Pittsburg, we drove Moose Alley right at dusk. We made it a long way out, and on our way back not too far before Moose Alley ends, we finally spotted a Moose! I was so dorkily excited! Of course, photographing one in the near dark is pretty hard, so the picture quality isn’t that great, but we got to see a Moose in Moose Alley!
The next day, it was time to head to Maine and our next VRBO rental.
En route, we stopped to see this giant Paul Bunyan statue.
It was Meh. But at least it was something to break up the drive.
The better way to break up the drive was to stop by an ice cream place that I found in Roadtrippers. It had great ratings, and we’re big ice cream fans.
Morton’s Moo was amazing! I read that the waffle cones were the best, so I made sure we each got one. Yum! We have sampled ice cream across the country, and this ranks #1 or #2. It’s too tough to decide. Definitely worth stopping by!
We arrived our rental….and it turns out it was a 3rd floor condo. Either I didn’t read the listing well, or it didn’t give that info.
It’s not that big of a deal, but for us staying for a few nights means we bring everything in from the car…and a 3rd floor walk up means that’s a lot of lifting up those stairs. I’ve got some more tips at the bottom of this post about looking for rentals based on our experience on this trip.
Acadia National Park
If you plan to visit Acadia National Park, I’d recommend that you spend at least a few days.
It is a large park with so much beauty and so many things to see and do.
Our first day, we drove Park Loop Road to get an idea of what the park had to offer.
We stopped and walked some of Ocean Path.
We saw Sand Beach.
Some of the beautiful flowers growing right in the rocks.
We also saw Thunder hole, which gets its name because about 2 hours before high tide the waves roll in and slap in this area and it can be so loud that it sounds like thunder. We heard that you can sometimes hear it in the village of Bar Harbor.
That’s thunder hole behind us with the railing.
On our drive around Park Loop Rd, this seagull sat right by the road, just begging to be photographed. Mission accomplished little seagull, you even made it onto the web! ?
Between our drive on Park Loop Road and talking with park rangers, we made a game plan for what we wanted to see and do.
On our 2nd day, we headed out to see the sand bar. There is a 3 hour window during low tide that you can access this sand bar.
In this area, you can find tide pools and all kinds of creatures.
We enjoyed every second of our time. Eventually taking off our shoes and getting in the water. We did feel a little bad that it seemed like all the humans were crushing some of the little creatures. We tried our best to be careful, but there are SO many, it’s impossible to step on some of them. ?
While the tide is low, you can access an island via the sand bar. There is a hike on the island up to the top where you can see a great view of the sand bar as well as Bar Harbor.
A few of the things we found in the sand bar tide pools.
Feeding time…and the beauty of a telephoto lens! Love that I caught this seagull grabbing lunch.
I don’t know what all this is, but it’s so pretty!
As the tide began to come in, we headed to the town of Bar Harbor to explore.
And of course, find some ice cream.
There are plenty of little touristy shops and cute things to explore in Bar Harbor.
Following that, we drove up Cadillac Mountain. There is a little hike you can do near the top.
The views are spectacular.
The view of the sand bar area from Cadillac Mountain.
Sunset at Cadillac Mountain did not disappoint!
We tried our best to get to Thunder hole 2 hours before high tide to hear the thunder, but as usual, we were a bit late and never got to hear that thunder noise.
The area is so unbelievably gorgeous it didn’t matter.
From there we headed to Jordan Pond for a picnic.
There was a hike I found in All Trails that we wanted to try. The one I had read about started from a different location, but I saw signs for it from Jordan Pond, so we decided to go for it.
The way we went up Bubble Rock starts at the end of Jordan Pond.
We saw tadpoles along our route.
At this point, we had no idea what we were in for with this hike.
By this point in the ‘trail,’ we realized this was going to be a hard hike. I kept asking the kids if they wanted to keep going. They did.
To follow the trail, it was looking for those little blue spray painted markers on the rocks.
We didn’t actually make it to the summit. There was a narrow crevis type rock you had to shimmy up, and it was a big up through the crevis to make it to the official summit. We probably could have made it up, with a lot of work, but I have no idea how we would have made it down.
This is as far as we made it.
Amazing views and feeling amazing about ourselves for completing that hike made it worth it!
We slowly made our way down and back to our car. That rocky bit at the top of that mountain is near the summit of bubble rock.
The girls wanted to put their feet in the ocean at sand beach. They enjoyed some time in the cold water.
I spent the time finding fun things in the sand.
The following day, after spending almost a week between only 2 locations, we headed to Boston, Massachusetts. We hit 2,000 miles for this road trip.
Garmin, Yarmouth, Maine
This is another thing I found in Roadtrippers. Garmin has some offices in Yarmouth, Maine. The lobby of their building has this ginormous globe that rotates.
We were driving through on a Saturday, so sadly, it was closed.
We also found that we could see a life sized moose made out of chocolate at Lin Libby Chocolatier and stopped to see that in Scarborough, ME.
It was neat, but not something we’d stop to see again.
But, by their restrooms, they had a picnic area with this neat map painted on the ground. We had some fun making up dumb games to play and ‘walking’ through all the states we’ve been to. Lol! ?
What interested me most was a place I saw across the street from Lin Libby. I noticed a place called The Holy Donut, and I thought I noticed as we drove by that they sell mashed potato donuts.
I used to make mashed potato donuts with my Aunt when I was growing up. I’ve never seen them for sale anywhere. So, naturally, we had to buy a dozen in honor and memory of my Aunt.
Cape Neddick Lighthouse, Maine
Next, we stopped for a short stop to see the Cape Neddick Lighthouse.
The East Coast has tons of lighthouses, and we figured we should at least see one on our journey.
It’s a pretty lighthouse and supposed to be one of the most photographed. If you go see this one, it’s parking and looking. You could play in the rocks some like my girls did or take a picnic, but there isn’t much to do.
This is how you get off and on the little island with the lighthouse. Oof! Not sure I’d want that leading to my home. Lol!
We passed back into New Hampshire…and the kids were totally into each other at that point. Lol!
Keeping it real that not every moment is perfect and awesome. We’re a normal family.
We ended this week of our Northeast family road trip getting to our hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.
Road Trip Tips:
- If the listed address for an attraction doesn’t lead you to where it should, try reading comments. Often there are comments, especially on Roadtrippers, that’ll give you better directions.
- Find the things your family enjoys doing on road trips. If it’s visiting ice cream shops or geocaching across the country, then do more of that.
- Finding small little stops that appeal to your family helps break up longer driving days and makes a road trip more entertaining.
- Read the rental description well.
- Look for details, such as stairs or wifi access, etc.
- We tend to cook when we use a rental. If you cook as well, look in the pictures to see if the kitchen has what you need. Most listings will also tell you if it has an oven, stove, microwave, etc. What’s hard is knowing how well equipped the kitchen is….or isn’t. I’ve found that I know what kinds of meals I can make in a less than well equipped kitchen.
- Look at reviews. They’ll tell you things like how responsive the owner is and how well equipped the kitchen is. Sometimes they’ll help you know if the unit is on a busy street, etc.
- Look at the unit on Google Maps – this is the best to figure out what’s in the area and can give you an idea if your unit is on a busy or noisy street.
- Look carefully at the pictures of the unit. We had two places we rented on our trip that didn’t have adequate blinds. That was not OK with me. I don’t want windows with no curtains when I’m traveling with 3 girls, and in a place, I’m unfamiliar with. Had I looked closely, I could have seen the blinds issue on one of the rentals. The other location didn’t have an adequate blind in the bathroom!! There were no pictures of the bathroom, so there was no way to know.
- If you have issues, bring them up to the owner of the unit. Usually, when you book the listing, it’ll give you a way to contact the owner. If you have an issue, like inadequate blinds, first bring up your problem with the owner. In most cases, they’ll remedy the situation. Their business runs on reviews, and they want to make you happy. If they won’t resolve your issue, then leaving that in an honest review (not mean) is great for others to know about the place. In our case, I had to fight a little bit with both owners who had inadequate blinds, but in the end, they both brought over curtains or installed blinds to fix the issue for us. Honestly, in those cases, I was shocked they hadn’t gotten bad reviews or heard anything from other people and appalled that I had to fight a little bit to get some adequate coverage. Not to sound too sexist, but both owners were men, and I think had they been women, it wouldn’t have even been a fight
I learned on this Northeast family road trip that you won’t always have a cell signal. We had so much time on this trip that we didn’t have a signal. “I need data” became one of our buzz phrases from this trip.
That said, I learned to download the map for the next day to my phone when I had wifi at a hotel or rental. Google maps was funny about letting me download a route. Sometimes it would offer the option to download the route and sometimes I had to finagle things to get it to download, or resort to texting the step by step directions to our phones.
It doesn’t matter which way you do it, but I recommend that you have a backup system for your route for each day. If your experience is like ours, you will have lots of time with no cell signal.
I prefer the downloaded route option over the text version because then I don’t have to rely on my kids to give the turn by turn directions, but I’m sure like us, you’ll make whatever you have work.
Yay! As I write this, we took this week of our Northeast family road trip a year ago. I’m glad a lot of you follow me on Instagram because clearly, it has taken me forever to write about this trip.
I was talking with my neighbor about that the other day. These posts are monster posts and take me a ton of time to put together. It takes lots of time to sort through all the pictures and edit them. Then writing, editing, adding links, and finally putting together the video….whew….it’s an easy 15 hours for each of these posts.
I enjoy putting them together because they serve as a scrapbook for my girls and I of what we’ve done. So many of you have also told me how you love seeing our adventures. I’ll keep writing them, I just wanted you to know why they take me forever to get done.
See you in the next post (about a month from now) about week 3!