What are your favorite scenic summer drives in New England?
Finally some positive economic news – the price of gas has come down this past week to an average of $3.50 a gallon in the U.S. (and may be slightly higher in Mass. and slightly lower in N.H.) and it’s continuing to slide in a downward trend — great for the month of August to enjoy this beautiful area we call home. Now is the time for great summer road trips to enjoy all that New England has to offer!
I am a boater and a fisherman, and like most New Englanders, I love being near the ocean this time of year. Fortunately for most of us, even in a half-day, we can go for an ocean drive, stopping at a beach or picnic area. A day or weekend trip is even better, with many more options. Without leaving New England, you can visit the lakes, mountains and oceans with some of the best campgrounds, scenic views and fun activities you’ll ever find—and not to mention the best seafood and lobster rolls in the U.S.!
For some great summer drives from the North Shore or Merrimack Valley, I recommend:
Coastal New Hampshire—Take scenic Route 1 A North from Salisbury through Seabrook, Hampton Beach, Rye to Portsmouth; and if you have the time continue into Maine through Kittery Point and York Harbor and you’ll catch many beaches and even a few lighthouses—with loads of ice cream and seafood along the way.
Cape Neddick, Maine – It’s a section of York with the famous Nubble Light – a lighthouse with distinction! It’s an easy ride between Kittery and Ogunquit and you can stop at Warren’s Lobsterhouse on the way home if you don’t mind the wait, for the largest salad bar in New England and loads of seafood, located at 111 Water Street on Route 1 in Kittery. Warren’s offers 40 feet of free boat docking for guests arriving by water.
Ogunquit, Maine – Although most of you have probably been there, the ocean walk from Perkins’ Cove is probably one of the prettiest walks without requiring skill and benches for resting. The water may be cold in Maine, but you can sit on the opposite side of the ocean, under the bridge where there is a warm inlet on one side and fishing off the bridge on the other side. The shopping and restaurants are wonderful. Parking for the day is reasonable.
Kennebunkport, Maine—Not just the place to see the Bush family compound on the ocean, but a great place for another ocean drive, shopping, climbing the rocks, dining and painting the breathtaking scenery.
Cape Ann—the “other Cape”— Let’s not forget about Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the Sea! Cape Ann offers the best seafood, especially the clams. If you’re in for casual dining, take a ride through Essex and stop at the famous Woodman’s, featured on Chronicle and many TV dining programs. They’re celebrating 100 years this summer! Rockport is known for the fishing shack called Motif #1—and known for shopping and sitting on the rocks at Bearskin Neck. This is a region of artisans and seafood.
For weekends away, I recommend Block Island, Newport, Jamestown (with their beautiful bridges) or Narragansett, R.I. – places most people from Northern Mass. and Southern N.H. seldom visit in favor of Cape Cod or the N.H. Lakes Region. Certainly the Kancamagus Highway has a breathtaking view as is driving Mount Washington! Why not try something different this summer? Block Island is a beach-goers, lighthouse lovers and boaters paradise!
Whatever your road trip preference, be safe and enjoy this beautiful time in New England! We’d love to see photos from your road trips on our Jaffarian Facebook page.
P.S. As you plan your road trip, be sure to review my June “Ask Gary” on “What do I pack for a long summer drive?”