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Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

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Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

Hello -

we'll be visiting the East Coast and will be starting in Harrisburg, PA. We''ll be driving to Boston and would like to stay overnight somewhere interesting on the way (close to halfway, but not a deal breaker).

Would also like to take a route that bypasses NYC/coast as we'll be heading from Boston to NYC next. Looking at going through Scranton and then Hwy 84 the rest of the way.

I have no idea what that drive will be like, but hopefully pretty.

If that drive is not horrible, could someone suggest a town to stay in? Things to do on the way?

thanks!

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1. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

We drove that last summer, straight through though. I wouldn't want to stop somewhere along the way to stay overnight using I84. There isn't anything along the way that I am aware of. Maybe try the forums for towns along the way. That route is easy and quick until you hit I90 closer to Boston. And watch out, Bostonites(?) love to drive on the shoulder of the road. Something were weren't used to when we got there. Makes merging a little more tricky.

I would say if you really want to you could alter your route a bit and stop in Albany on your way up, but that isn't really halfway.

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2. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

You would be traveling through the Poconos and the Hudson River Valley. I would do a search on tourism information in those areas. It really depends on what you would be interested in. Art galleries? Outdoor activities? Historic sites? Farmers markets and wineries? Shopping? You will be traveling near West Point, which is available for tours, so that could be one idea.

The route itself will be fine, and makes a lot of sense.

Have a great trip!

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3. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

Ah, one of my favorite routes. And a wonderful route it is too. There is a great deal in Scranton and towns before it , a wonderful mountain top drive much of the way to it and along 84 W. Some interesting spots along the way on 84 as well, including a magnificent very high spot for a fabulous views.

Don't be discouraged.

There are also a few ways to go, as you likely know. 78 or 78 and 84 or 81 to Scranton/84. The first two are about 7 hrs.20 min and the last about 7 hrs 40 min. So pretty similar times.

If you are hearing of traffic on 81, we find it can be moreso at night and in the lower parts of the state, and much less so higher up and during the day.

Let me get my trip notes and I'll get back on fairly soon.

In the meantime, as thefourskis suggests, let us know more about what you envision for your stops.

Also...kids? if so, general age groups.

And, will you spend the night in Harrisburg and start the day fresh in Harrisburg so that you can see some of the wonderful things there and then head out for your halfway drive?

If you're heading out directly after arriving in Harrisburg, about what time will you arrive in Harrisburg...to give an idea of what you can do the rest of the day?

Edited: 01 June 2011, 01:29
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4. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

Non-stop the drive would probably be about 8 to 8 1/2 hours (add extra time for stopping to eat). So if you don't mind a real long drive you might want to go straight through.

If you just want a place to sleep, anywhere along the i-84 route will work - maybe Danbury or Hartford).

Otherwise, as already suggested, try the various forums along the I-84 route for things to do or see. In Scranton is the Steamtown National Historic site.

If you like baseball and alter the route a bit you could stop in Cooperstown NY for the Baseball Hall of Fame (I-81 to I-88 (stop in cooperstown) to I90 Boston). Then you could spend the night in Cooperstown or Albany, NY.

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5. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

Thanks all for the tips.

Definitely want to spend the night somewhere to break up the drive. I have no issues driving 8 hours but the family does. : ) (wife and kids, 13/16)

We'd like to do some outdoor stuff like hike, etc. I've seen some references to waterfalls, so if there are any that are can't miss, we'd like to see them.

We'll be arriving in Harrisburg late on 8/2. Then have 2 full days and leaving morning of 8/5. One of those two days will be at Hershey Park and we're not sure about the other - maybe PA Dutch area? Or is that real touristy? Something better?

Thanks everyone for the info.

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6. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

I drove most that route going back & forth to college in York. I'd stop in Danbury for the night. There are plenty of hotels, lots of resturants, a large mall & a 700 acre park (Tarrywile) that is great for hiking.

I would take I-81 north to I-78 to 287 (crossing over the Tappan Zee River) to the sawmill parkway to I-684 to I-84 then to I-90.

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7. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

With only 2 days in the Harrisburg area, I would strongly consider a 2 day pass to Hersheypark, particularly with teens. At the very least, plan to do HP on the 4th and take advantage of the free evening preview by arriving at 7:30 p.m. on the 3rd to get a couple free hrs. in, ride the big rides, and get the lay of the land. Gettysburg would probably be my choice as a second place to visit over Amish country, definitely the kind of place every American should visit at least once in their lives. The Civil War history is different from the Revolutionary History you'll be exposed to in Boston.

There are waterfall hikes in Bushkill and Dingman's Ferry in the Delaware Water Gap area on the PA side of the Delaware River. Bushkill is a pay attraction, from what I understand. To get to both locations, you'd want to take 81N to 80E to PA 209N.

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8. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

I don't think the drive is wonderful no matter how you go but if you are going to stop someplace for an experience, then West Point would be about 1/2 way and is a great place to stretch legs and visit an historic place. If you are leaving late on day 1 and waking up early on day 2 to finish the drive, then just get a place about 1/2 way and don't fret it.

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9. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

Gettysburg - good idea. We actually came to harrisburg/Hershey 3-4 years ago but got rained out - both at Hershey park and Gettysburg.

Think the preview at HP will be good also.

thanks!

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10. Re: Driving from Harrisburg to Boston

We have done the part of your route from Harrisburg to Newburgh area and up to Albany about once a month for many decades. Can't believe how time flies.

We've tried the more bucolic going east from Harrisburg and have decided we prefer the route up toward Scranton.

Harrisburg and nearby Carlisle is where we made many of our stopping points.

We, too, like to make stops along our way, considering the driving a part of the vacation and not just a necessary means to an end.

We have been through the towns that were settled by European coal minors and still full of great food and the onion dome churches. And some terrific flea markets and wonderful parks and a tree top walkway and gorges and plain old flat land walking and parks of endangered species and woods and a nicely landscaped and so peaceful monastery and the Hudson Riverfront restaurants in Newburgh and the history and Pine forest and sand (who would think in upstate NY it's like the SC coast)

and riverfront park and boat rides and concerts in Albany ...

So once we found the benefits of that route we continued it.

Are you still considering Albany?

Rt. 87 is not by the Hudson. Zoom in.

There are towns between the highway and river but you can switch to one of the 9s as I call them. On the east or west shore.

There are some towns with nice riverfront parks which you could combine with the great speed of 87 though.

If you go Harrisburg to Albany to Boston it will be about 9 hours straight.

If you go Harrisburg to Boston...pretty much either 78 or 84 or 81 and84...about 7 hours 45 minutes.

If you like Albany (New York's capital by the way in case you don't know) it's not so much extra time considering you're coming all the way from Ca.

Our Harrisburg to Albany was always 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

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