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Old 03-18-2009, 12:02 AM
BRH BRH started this thread
 
Location: East TN.
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Just a quick question. I posted last month about my upcoming vaction to Boston, and wanted to thank everyone for their help.

One other quick question now; I will be driving from New York on up to Boston and staying in Newton at the Hotel Indigo. I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on the best route to take from NYC to Boston. Google Maps routes you through Hartford, CT, but I was wondering if it might not be a nicer drive on I-95 through Providence, RI. Both routes are close to the same distance (within 25 miles or so). Are there any advantages to going through either Hartford or Providence? Is one route more scenic or is the traffic a lot worse on one? Thanks for any info you might have. I thought I might drive up one way and back the other, unless there is a reason to avoid one of those routes.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
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I do this drive a lot and the Hartford route tends to be quicker, but a bit less scenic. As a side note, I take 684 North to 84 East rather than 95 to 91 North, because the traffic on 95 in Fairfield County is often quite heavy. If you drag the google maps route, you see the time estimate does not really change, but in my experience the potential for traffic jams is much greater in Fairfield County. Going my way, you go right past the Connecticut state capitol and the Hartford skyline, and you see the whole city of Waterbury before your eyes. That's really all you see. Going 95 to 91, Hartford's skyline is off in the distance and you don't see it all that well, but you see New Haven and Bridgeport pretty well and see LI Sound at various points. It's slightly more scenic but not by much.

Going all the way on 95, which I just did on Sunday, you'll see some more of LI Sound at a few points, and go right past Providence and over a cool bridge by New London, but otherwise it's just a boring interstate. 95 has a lot of traffic in SW CT and can be slower in SE CT as well since it's only 2 lanes there. Depending on the time you arrive, the stretch of 128 from 95 south of Boston to Newton can be bad too. So traffic and delays can be a lot worse on 95, but it's the luck of the draw. The last two times I did it, it was fine. A couple of times in the past it was very bad.

If you have time, there are some nice spots to get off and explore on both routes, but the 95 through Providence way has the most obvious attractions. There's Providence, but I also recommend Stonington, CT at Exit 91 and 5 minutes from Mystic, which I also recommend. I hopped off the highway on Sunday and spent a little more than an hour combined in those two towns, and it was well worth it. I'm also a booster of New Haven.

You might want to go up one way and return the other, if you have time to make some stops along the way, but the 95 route might take significantly longer if you're unlucky with traffic.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:43 AM
 
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I always do the 95 route, but be sure to take the Merritt Parkway thru S. CT--the traffic thru that area on 95 can be a killer. It will spit you out in Milford CT.

For some reason 84 and 684 give me the willies. And there's no reason to take 91 unless you're going up to Western Mass.

But that's just me....
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:13 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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Originally Posted by clevedark View Post
I always do the 95 route, but be sure to take the Merritt Parkway thru S. CT--the traffic thru that area on 95 can be a killer. It will spit you out in Milford CT.

For some reason 84 and 684 give me the willies. And there's no reason to take 91 unless you're going up to Western Mass.

But that's just me....
Beat me to the punch! I was going to suggest this route as well.

The Merritt Parkway (aka Route 15) through Southwestern Connecticut is very pretty and is off limits to commercial vehicles. It'll put you back on I-95 just before New Haven CT which you can take the rest of the way up to Boston.

Getting to the Merritt Parkway from Manhattan is relatively easy and there are a number of different ways to do it. First, get over to I-87 (the Major Deegan Expressway) and head North. You can pick up the Deegan Xway by crossing the East River from Harlem to the Bronx. I tend to use Willis Avenue, but some consider it easier to use the Triborough Bridge and connect that way.

Once you're on I-87/Deegan Xway North, continue North for a while (you'll pass the I-95/Cross Bronx Xway exit) until you hit the exit for the Cross County Parkway (I believe it's exit 5) and take the EASTBOUND Exit. Head East on the Cross County Parkway for a while and you'll run into the Hutchinson River Parkway... don't worry about the merge, just continue in the same direction, for your purposes, it's just a name change for the road and nothing more. Keep continuing in the same direction (You'll be traveling Northbound now, not Eastbound) for quite a while. You'll pass exits for 684 and 287, but disregard them and continue on the Hutchinson Pkwy. Once you pass exit 30, the Hutchinson River Pkwy simply turns into the Merritt Parkway so just continue on in this direction until you hit I-95 (North) and follow that the rest of the way. It's that simple.

The Parkways are pretty and really a great way to avoid the trucks and commercial traffic. Once you get back on I-95, you'll get a nice view of LI Sound and the New Haven Skyline as well as New London and Providence and Pawtucket RI. The traffic is a bit lighter through here than it is on the lower portion of I-95.

Safe travels!
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
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Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Once you're on I-87/Deegan Xway North, continue North for a while (you'll pass the I-95/Cross Bronx Xway exit) until you hit the exit for the Cross County Parkway (I believe it's exit 5) and take the EASTBOUND Exit. Head East on the Cross County Parkway for a while and you'll run into the Hutchinson River Parkway... don't worry about the merge, just continue in the same direction, for your purposes, it's just a name change for the road and nothing more. Keep continuing in the same direction (You'll be traveling Northbound now, not Eastbound) for quite a while. You'll pass exits for 684 and 287, but disregard them and continue on the Hutchinson Pkwy. Once you pass exit 30, the Hutchinson River Pkwy simply turns into the Merritt Parkway so just continue on in this direction until you hit I-95 (North) and follow that the rest of the way. It's that simple.
When you take the Cross County, this is basically right. There is an exit (Exit 9?) for the Hutch south to the Whitestone Bridge. Just go right on past that and the Cross County merges into the northbound Hutch. Not sure where you're coming from, but coming from Queens of LI you can also get to the Hutch northbound simply by going over the Whitestone Bridge from Queens to the Bronx, or from the Triboro Bridge by taking the Brucker Expwy, follow signs for 95 N, and take Exit 9 for the northbound Hutchinson River Pkwy.

I love the Merritt; it's a pretty road and I took it all the time when coming from New Haven, but going from NYC to Boston I tend to be strapped for time and I don't take it as much since I can't go as fast. I believe lrfox is referring to Exit 54 on the Merritt, where there is an exit for a short connector to 95. That is the best way to connect from the Merritt back to 95. Another way to go to Boston is to stay on the Merritt, which changes names to the Wilbur Cross Pkwy but is still CT-15, and follow it until it hits 91 North between New Haven and Hartford, and then take 84 East toward the Mass Pike and Boston.

I don't have any qualms about 84 or 684. They pass through some less populated areas but I don't find it scary. I had a boss who had functions at his house up 684 several times a year, so that one lost its mystique. I've got one side of the family in each city, so I've been doing the ride far too regularly for basically my whole life and I almost always do 84/684 since I've found it the fastest. But there are several ways to go and under most circumstances the difference in time and convenience is pretty negligible.

Greyhound and other buses, which can't take the parkways, do 95 to 91 at New Haven and then 84 to 90/Mass Pike from there. It's usually worst getting out of NYC and then on 95 in CT from Greenwich to Milford, so if you want to go that way, do take the Merritt. It's pretty and much less stressful.
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:14 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
11,351 posts, read 19,909,237 times
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Originally Posted by holden125 View Post
I believe lrfox is referring to Exit 54 on the Merritt, where there is an exit for a short connector to 95. That is the best way to connect from the Merritt back to 95.
You're right, that's what I meant. Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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I usually go 95 to 91, then over to 84 to the mass pike. I think this way is usually the best. Going 95 all the way isn't bad, but is quite boring...although 84 is quite boring also. Mystic, off 95, is very nice as someone mentioned. If you want to avoid the mass pike tolls, stay on 95, but you can also hit traffic around Providence and going up 95 towards Newton.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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Let's face it, it's a terrible trip. By the time I get to my destination I'm usually a zombie. The best thing about taking 95 is that there are relatively frequent rest stops in CT so you can buy a McD's cheeseburger and hit the rest room.
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Newton, Mass.
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Originally Posted by clevedark View Post
Let's face it, it's a terrible trip. By the time I get to my destination I'm usually a zombie. The best thing about taking 95 is that there are relatively frequent rest stops in CT so you can buy a McD's cheeseburger and hit the rest room.
I do it so often I guess I'm just used to it by now. The last couple of times I was thinking how quickly it went. Then again, I'm doing 80 up 684 and 84, so it takes me maybe three hours from when I hit the Hutch. I've gotten to know the best gas stations and places to grab a bite right next to 84 real well.
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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I have the misfortune of having to continue the journey 90 mile south of NYC to Ocean County, NJ. NJ traffic is when the real fun begins. 6 1/2 to 7 hours is not unusual for me.
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