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Thread: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

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    Default Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    An unexpected educational constraint means this summer my family and I have to pivot our vacation plans. We're looking for something we can drive to, and in the last two weeks of August. All would love something water-adjacent (a beach would be welcomed by 2/3 the family) with interesting and inclusive cycling (I'd love something culturally interesting as well!) I'm willing to drive 18 hours, which google tells me will take me as far afield as Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Does anyone have any recommendations for areas or even very specific recommendations to the town or place-to-rent level? I'm sure we're late to the game this year, but so it goes. Thanks all for your thoughts.
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    I am sitting in Corolla, NC as we speak and we’ll be back in late August; I can highly recommend the Outer Banks. Similar feel to Cape Cod, but warmer water. Not hard to find a place with a pool, or dog friendly, if either matter. And arguably cheaper than many coastal areas in the Northeast Corridor.

    Happy to answer specifics here or offline.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    If you want to drive 18 hours, Nova Scotia/Cape Breton is terrific in the summer. Get a house somewhere on or near the water and eat seafood and stare at the ocean.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Prince Edward Island is magical.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Acadia National Park/Mount Desert Island. The ocean is a bit cold for swimming, but there are several lakes with public beaches that warm up nicely. Great hiking and cycling (both road and carriage road gravel - the smoothest gravel out there!). Lots of sights to see, great food options, wide variety of accommodations from camping through fancy resorts.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgorman View Post
    An unexpected educational constraint means this summer my family and I have to pivot our vacation plans. We're looking for something we can drive to, and in the last two weeks of August. All would love something water-adjacent (a beach would be welcomed by 2/3 the family) with interesting and inclusive cycling (I'd love something culturally interesting as well!) I'm willing to drive 18 hours, which google tells me will take me as far afield as Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Does anyone have any recommendations for areas or even very specific recommendations to the town or place-to-rent level? I'm sure we're late to the game this year, but so it goes. Thanks all for your thoughts.
    Those are actually two really good weeks to have off.
    I'll bet you can still find lots of good options. Many schools go back in mid-August so those are the least busy weeks for summer tourism.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    I'll agree with Robin's recommendation of NC's Outer Banks...'cuz yeah, if you're going to have to spend any time at a beach doing beach-type things you at least want the water temps to be tolerable. (And if you do go there, definitely try hang gliding at Kitty Hawk! They have beginner classes on the dunes that are some of the most fun one can have without a bike.)

    otoh, if spending time at a beach doesn't have to include playing in the sand and working on your tan, I'm a huge fan of Maine's beaches for rock climbing and just exploring in sneakers. The missus and I spent a week on Deer Isle ME a couple decades ago, which is up in the middle of Penobscot Bay, lots of cool outdoor and artsy/cultural things to do there.

    Lots of folks have been recommending we vacation on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia for years, so that's on our bucket list. Not sure what else one does there other than cycle, but since half the folks who've recommended it aren't cyclists I have to assume there's more than just bikes.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Had anyone ever taken the high-speed ferry from Bar Harbor, ME to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia? It's going to resume in May and looks pretty cool.
    https://www.ferries.ca/thecat/overview/

    While Bar Harbor and Acadia itself are awesome, it can get pretty damn crowded in season. Seriously, they even have air quality alerts. When I go back to ride the carriage roads, and to descend Cadillac Mountain after watching the sun rise, it will be off-season.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    I intend to steal everything in this thread because I'll be in the same situation in August.

    I'm a huge fan of Bar Harbor. We've been there 3-4 times now with the kids, including during the pandemic, and it never gets old, particularly if you bring a bike or like to paddle. As Todd said, it can get bloody crowded. It wasn't that bad last summer (even though the Island Hopper shuttle was running reduced service, we still never had to wait to get from point A to B), but with the economy a s-show and people not taking jobs some of the dining options were limited. If you do AirBnB you can cook for yourself, BUT you should probably be booking that now. They fill up quickly; last year we got shut-out and had to stay at a Hampton Inn and eat out which drives up costs.

    The outer banks look interesting. I need to pivot away from the places we've been going to for years: Bar Harbor, Cape Cod, Boston, DC.

    Pick a place outside the main Bar Harbor area, preferably somewhere along the Island Hopper Route. Best place we stayed (3? Years ago) was down the road from the USCG station. Walk out of BnB, cross street, board shuttle and be in the park in 15 mins without having to worry about parking. You still need to purchase an entrance pass even if you don't bring your car into the park.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Had anyone ever taken the high-speed ferry from Bar Harbor, ME to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia? It's going to resume in May and looks pretty cool.
    https://www.ferries.ca/thecat/overview/

    While Bar Harbor and Acadia itself are awesome, it can get pretty damn crowded in season. Seriously, they even have air quality alerts. When I go back to ride the carriage roads, and to descend Cadillac Mountain after watching the sun rise, it will be off-season.
    I've done it - some ~20 years ago. One week tour of NS and PEI, departed from Portland, ME on the overnight ferry, to Yarmouth. Then drove around NS, returning via the high speed ferry to Bar Harbor. Not sure if the same schedule/service is offered today, but it was a great experience to have dinner in Portland (always), drive the car onto the ferry, go to sleep, and wake up in NS.

    The return via Bar Harbor is shorter, so you can depart NS in the AM and still have most of the day in BH.

    The roads around NS are spectacular - you might wish you had more time to ride to your bike...

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli View Post
    Pick a place outside the main Bar Harbor area, preferably somewhere along the Island Hopper Route. Best place we stayed (3? Years ago) was down the road from the USCG station. Walk out of BnB, cross street, board shuttle and be in the park in 15 mins without having to worry about parking. You still need to purchase an entrance pass even if you don't bring your car into the park.
    https://barharbormotel.com/ I highly recommend this motel. Clean, quiet, reasonably priced, free breakfast, locked bike storage, shuttle stop right out front, and very nice staff. Very easy bike access to carriage roads or the park loop road. For hiking, we would take the shuttle to the trail heads to avoid parking hassles. You can even put together long hikes with different start/finish locations. For example, we did a traverse of Cadillac Mountain from north to south.

    Greg
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli View Post
    If you do AirBnB you can cook for yourself, BUT you should probably be booking that now. They fill up quickly; last year we got shut-out and had to stay at a Hampton Inn and eat out which drives up costs.
    This has been my struggle the last few weeks in trying to plan a trip to Acadia. Given the size of my family (6) everything is nearly booked for the whole summer. The few that aren't are out of my price range.

    I see that the restrictions into Canada have been reduced, so that opens up some options.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    Had anyone ever taken the high-speed ferry from Bar Harbor, ME to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia? It's going to resume in May and looks pretty cool.
    https://www.ferries.ca/thecat/overview/

    While Bar Harbor and Acadia itself are awesome, it can get pretty damn crowded in season. Seriously, they even have air quality alerts. When I go back to ride the carriage roads, and to descend Cadillac Mountain after watching the sun rise, it will be off-season.
    My father the birdwatcher used to load us into the car and drive up to do the last run of the Bluenose ferry that ran the same route. His purpose was to stand out on the bow and watch for seabirds that used the mouth of the Bay of Fundy as winter hunting grounds. Then we'd disembark in Yarmouth and stay in a series of (usually Catholic) hostels/B&B-type places working our way south to Cape Sable or Baccaro to scan the ocean or north to the Briar Islands for the same. I remember a building on Briar Island itself that was cabled to the rocks so it didn't blow away. Incredibly beautiful and often extremely cold but at times there were so many seabirds it was kind of astonishing. And the people were amazing. Plus the food. But that was another era, before the death of cod and the loss of a big chunk of culture. I am betting the land is still beautiful. And you can drive up to Digby and take another ferry back to St. Johns, New Brunswick and come back along the Maine coast on US1.

    And if you ever have a chance to go to Newfoundland, that's highly recommended too. All of it.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    We went to Nova Scotia back in the late summer of 1997. My now-ex-wife and I and our daughter, who was 3, took the overnight ferry from Portland ME to Yarmouth. Now it's a high-speed boat. We stayed in a cabin at a place called White Point Beach Resort, which was low-key at the time but looks a little fancier now. https://www.whitepoint.com/ The swimming was good but intensely cold and there was a mean riptide. We went paddling up in Kejimikujik National Park, which had more frogs than anyplace I had ever seen. It was a nice trip.

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Neide View Post
    This has been my struggle the last few weeks in trying to plan a trip to Acadia. Given the size of my family (6) everything is nearly booked for the whole summer. The few that aren't are out of my price range.

    I see that the restrictions into Canada have been reduced, so that opens up some options.
    Last year the AirBnB situation was out of control. I'm not cheap but there's a limit to what I'll pay for a duplex rental based purely on some wide angle, photoshopped photos of the best rooms in the rental. I think most places were in the $600 a night range but, to be honest, we waited until the last minute. So we landed up in a chain hotel and caught a break because we ran out of NY 6 hours ahead of a hurricane and hoped there'd be a room for the extra night....and we hit the jackpot both with the room and the nice weather that was waiting for us the next morning. I'd say keep looking but have a back up plan. Our fall back, when all else plans because we didn't plan is to come to your neighborhood for the amusement park!

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    I am sitting in Corolla, NC as we speak and we’ll be back in late August; I can highly recommend the Outer Banks. Similar feel to Cape Cod, but warmer water. Not hard to find a place with a pool, or dog friendly, if either matter. And arguably cheaper than many coastal areas in the Northeast Corridor.

    Happy to answer specifics here or offline.

    I'm geospatially challenged and thought NC was much further from NY than it is. My kids could sit on a beach for 5 days, but what else is there to do? Hiking, kayaking? Need another reason besides a beach considering I live 1/4 from a beach!

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobonli View Post
    I'm geospatially challenged and thought NC was much further from NY than it is. My kids could sit on a beach for 5 days, but what else is there to do? Hiking, kayaking? Need another reason besides a beach considering I live 1/4 from a beach!
    Go to Ocracoke. Or Buxton/Hatteras. I don't like Avon or Salvo/Rodanthe. Kayak on the Pamlico Sound side and noodle around in the salt marshes. Go crabbing. Learn how to surf cast. Do a day on a party boat that will go out on the ocean to one of the artificial reefs and let your kids crank their arms sore on croaker and seabass. Or mackerel, which is best fresh on the grill with a lot of lemon. Ocracoke requires a ferry ride through some spooky currents that flow between it and Hatteras. The famous lighthouse is at Hatteras Point in Buxton and not the town of Hatteras. Stop by the Hatteras marina in the late afternoon and watch the sport-fishing boats come in from the Gulf Stream with tuna and marlin, perhaps a swordfish or wahoo (excellent eating fish,) or a big shark - though many of the sport-fishers are catch-tag-release and/or there are no truly huge fish any more. When I was a kid I saw a bluefin tuna come off a boat that was 700lbs. I suspect those fish are all gone now. Mostly let your kids swim on the beach side or jump off a dock on the sound side. Take sunscreen. There is no shade.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    But that was another era, before the death of cod
    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    I suspect those fish are all gone now.
    Did I miss a memo? Are all Atlantic fisheries severely depleted?

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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    Did I miss a memo? Are all Atlantic fisheries severely depleted?
    Depleted yes. But some are threatened (Atlantic bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod) while others must be managed in order to be sustained in sufficient numbers and ages to prevent collapse (Atlantic striped bass, red snapper.) As far as sharks, their numbers are in steady decline. But with fish like bluefin tuna, the truly immense fish over 1000 lbs are probably gone for forever due to the amount of time it takes a tuna to get to that size with the high prices they bring and the pressure from the fishing industries.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collap...st_cod_fishery

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_bluefin_tuna

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Striped_bass#Management

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northe...creational_use

    Check out Carl Safna's book, Song for the Blue Ocean. https://www.amazon.com/Song-Blue-Oce...s%2C339&sr=8-1
    Last edited by j44ke; 04-20-2022 at 07:12 PM.
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    Default Re: Summer vacation recommendations - New England and beyond

    Also check out Four Fish and Kurlansky’s Cod.

    And to Jorn’s point the southern part of the outer banks have much more to do whereas turning north at the bridge puts you squarely in beach territory. Though you can still fish, crab, paddle, and look for wild horses etc.

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