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Author Topic: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME  (Read 905 times)

wanderer2575

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Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« on: March 19, 2017, 09:27:40 PM »

Iím planning a weeklong roadtrip in mid-April from northern metro Detroit to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Iím picking a route based on what looks like good sign photo opportunities, a good drive as shown on the AAA paper map, and a few corridors featured in my 1985 edition of the Readerís Digest Most Scenic Drives in America.  I havenít figured out how to plot a meandering course in Google Maps and I donít have the entire route defined anyway, so Iíll describe it here.

Bennington VT is the start proper of my tri-state loop, so Iím looking to get there on a fast route in one day Ė mostly if not entirely freeways where available.  From home, the best route would be northeast to Port Huron, cut across Ontario to Niagara Falls, and I-190 south to Buffalo.  According to Google Maps, this would save me about 75 minutes and 93 miles vs. going south to Toledo and looping around the south side of Lake Erie.  Of course, the big unknown is the delay at the two border crossings.  These will be mid-morning and mid-afternoon on a non-tourist-season Saturday; what Iíve been able to find online suggests there should be little delay at the Blue Water Bridge and the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, so Iíll probably opt for that route.  From Buffalo, east on the Thruway to Albany, north a bit on I-87, and east on NY-7 to the Bennington area.  Iíve not been on the Thruway in at least 25 years so that will be an interesting revisit.  Some posts here have suggested avoiding NY-7 like the plague, but Iím hoping it wonít be very congested on a late Saturday afternoon.  (Might I be better off by detouring from NY-7 south on I-787, east on NY-2 to NY-22, then north back to NY-7?)

Then:

(1)  VT-9 east to VT-100 (actually, Iíll likely detour south on VT-8 to pick up VT-100 farther south).

(2)  VT-100 north the length of the state to its terminus near Newport.  Maybe some detours and side loops depending on what catches our fancy.  Iím not driving and backtracking the southernmost dozen miles of VT-100 running concurrent with VT-8, so ruining a potential clinch is not an issue.

(3)  VT-105 east into NH and North Stratford, US-3 north to Colebrook, NH-26 east to Errol, NH-16 north into ME.

(4)  ME-16 to ME-27 near the Bigelow Preserve, continuing east on ME-16 and ME-6 to Lagrange and then I-95 near Howland

(5)  I-95 north to exit 244 or exit 259, picking up US-2 and US-2A into Houlton.  I want photos of the US-1/US-2 concurrency and the eastern terminus of US-2.  Google Maps shows a posted END I-95 assembly of which I would like a photo, but Iím not going to want to mess with Customs to get it.

(6)  US-1 south at least to Rockport (east of Augusta), maybe farther depending on traffic and the views.  Probably will stop to spend a good chunk of time on Mt. Desert Island and walking a few trails in Acadia National Park.

(7)  Somehow meander west to US-302 at Fryeburg, just before the NH border.

(8)  US-302 west through the White Mountain National Forest to Woodsville, NH-10 south to Hanover.

(9)  Make my way west to US-4 and continue west into NY state.

(10)  From there itís either a return to Albany and following the same freeway route back home, or possibly first taking NY-28 through Adirondack Park and then picking up the Thruway near Utica (depending on availability of time and Mrs. wandererís patience).

Any comments on routes, photo ops (especially sine salads) and tourist stops are appreciated!

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froggie

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Re: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 08:32:27 AM »

- I've crossed at the Blue Water and Lewiston-Queenston bridges on a weekday before (coincidentally also mid-April) without much of an issue.  Biggest annoyance here was the low (100km/h or 62MPH) speed limits on Ontario freeways.  But it is a mileage and time saver overall, even with a stop to see Niagara Falls on the Ontario side (yes, we backtracked back up to Lewiston-Queenston).

- Despite Troy traffic and the tendency for slow drivers on NY 7, I've found that sticking with NY 7 between Troy and the Vermont line is typically faster.

- As a general rule, don't plan on making any better than about a 40 MPH average along VT 100.  In particular, the segment from Waterbury to Morrisville is busy with effectively no passing opportunities between Waterbury and Stowe.

- If timing allows, stop at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, located along US 2/VT 100 downtown.  We're biased (it's owned by my brother-in-law's cousin), but it has very excellent Eastern Carolina-style barbeque and also has its own brewery.  And if you're into that sort of thing, there's a very excellent craft beer store across the street.

- Also in Waterbury along VT 100 (north of I-89) are the original Ben&Jerry's ice cream factory (with factory tours every 15-20min) and Cold Hollow (apple cider & cider donuts).

- Outside Bucksport, ME is the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge (with tours up to the observation deck in the western tower) and next to it is an old early 1800s fort (the "original" Fort Knox).

- In Maine, north of Camden, there is a state park along US 1 (Camden Hills) with pretty good views of Penobscot Bay and some of the islands in it.

- Besides passing right through Crawford Notch, there is a scenic overlook along US 302 where (weather permitting), one can see Mount Washington and the historic hotel with the same name.

- If you're going through Quechee and you have time, stop to check out the Quechee Gorge, as well as the historic (ca. early 1900s steel arch) Quechee Gorge Bridge which carries US 4 over the gorge.  Not too far away, in Quechee proper, is a historic covered bridge whose approaches were completely washed out during Tropical Storm Irene.

- As a general rule, fastest route to the Northway (I-87) from US 4 is via NY 149.
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Rothman

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Re: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 09:15:32 AM »

"Fast" is a relative term for NY 149.  It is the fastest way, but it can be miserable when you go through the more touristy parts of it.
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froggie

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Re: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 09:45:46 AM »

I don't disagree, but it shouldn't be horrible in mid-April.  And even with the last-mile slog on Route 9 to get to the Northway, I'd say it's still better than going through Fort Edward or Glens Falls proper.
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vdeane

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Re: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 12:51:22 PM »

I think it was coming back from the Lyndon, VT meet in early May where I experienced a backup severe enough that it took 20 minutes or so to go that mile or so overlap.  I think something similar happened during the pavement survey, though not as bad.  Might be a good idea to check the traffic when approaching Fort Ann and continue down US 4 to NY 197 if it's bad.
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wanderer2575

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Re: Metro Detroit to VT-NH-ME
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 02:41:55 AM »

Some good suggestions froggie, thanks!  I already assumed that even out of tourist season (if there is such a thing) I wouldn't be zipping along VT-100 or US-1, but that's okay.  This trip isn't about racking up miles or routes; it's basically an extended Sunday drive.  I have no daily mileage or destination targets.  I planned a general route only to avoid "which direction should I go now" paralysis.  We'll meander along and stop whenever something looks interesting.  If the week is up and we run out of time, we head for home.

The calendar necessitates that I make one change.  I planned to get to Bennington in one day to maximize the time available in these states, but Mrs. wanderer pointed out that would put our northbound VT-100 trek on Easter Sunday when everything will be closed.  So we will either delay our departure one day or (more likely) take two days to get to Bennington.  In that latter case, I will probably avoid the border crossings and loop around the south side of Lake Erie.
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