Aug 052012
 

We have had a good time visiting New England and seen some awesome places while we’ve been here. But our time is about up for this visit and I thought I would share my perspective on this part of the county from an RVer’s point of view.

First of all, if you come to this area be prepared to deal with some of the most aggressive drivers you’ll find anywhere, and a lot of traffic any place you go. I’ve driven in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, even New York City, and the drivers we’ve encountered in Massachusetts and Connecticut rank up there with the worst of them. If you drive an RV through here, you need to pay attention every minute, and having an alert copilot is a big plus. More than once Terry has warned me of another driver who was changing lanes without signaling, failing to yield when coming onto the highway from an onramp, and pulling other kamikaze stunts.

Something we have found frustrating is that the mile markers and the exit numbers on the interstate highways are not keyed together like they are in most states. So while you may be at mile marker 35 (if you can find a mile marker), you may only be at exit 4 or 5. It makes it a little difficult to quickly figure out how far you have to go to your next turn.

While fuel is never cheap anywhere, when we went to Connecticut to visit Mystic Seaport, gasoline was 35 cents a gallon more as soon as we crossed the state line from Massachusetts.

Before we set out on our trip, several people told us that the highway tolls in this area would kill us. Actually, we spent more in tolls driving through Indiana and Ohio on our way here than we have while in New England.

Many of the RV parks around here are not built for large motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers, so if you plan to visit, be sure that the campground you are headed for can accommodate a rig your size. Also, a lot of the RV sites are not full hookup. Many of them are just water and 30 amp electric, with a dump station.

Most of the people we have met in the campgrounds are weekend campers or folks who have a seasonal site and leave their RV parked in the same place all summer long, or even year round.. We’ve only run into a couple of other fulltimers since we’ve been here. Expect every campground to have a lot of kids, a lot of smoky fires, and don’t be offended if people don’t seem quite as outgoing as those you meet in the Midwest or down South. It’s not that they’re unfriendly, they just don’t seem as open as RVers we have met in other places.

And as can be expected anywhere with a relatively short season, the RV parks have to make money while they can. $40 and up per night is not unheard of. In fact, it seems to be the norm for the places we have visited to drop off sample bundles of the Gypsy Journal. If we didn’t have membership campgrounds to stay in while we were in this area, the trip would have been too expensive for us for the three weeks we have been in Massachusetts.

If you’re like many RVers and have a firearm in your home on wheels, be aware that once you leave Pennsylvania it is unlawful to have a gun in most states in this part of the country. Penalties can be very harsh, and can include both steep fines and jail time.

So would we come back again? Yes. There is so much to see and do that we could spend years exploring. But I think we enjoyed Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, which we visited on our last trip to New England, more than we have this part of Massachusetts.

If the weather cooperates, we plan to leave Sturbridge Outdoor World today and drive 135 miles to Beacon, New York, where we will spend a couple of nights while we play tourist in that area. When I was in the Army I was stationed at the Military Academy at West Point for a couple of years, and I want to go back and visit. We’re also talking about taking the train from Beacon to New York City to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where so many of our ancestors passed through when they arrived in America.

Thought For The Day – All these young girls getting tattoos need to remember that a butterfly on the back becomes a buzzard in the crack when they get older!

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Nick Russell

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  13 Responses to “Thoughts On New England”

  1. Nick & Terri, I have really enjoyed reading about your trip to New England and all of the places you have been to. We plan to go to Maine and New Hampshire starting September 1 and around to watch the leaves changing. It will be our first trip as new fulltimer RVers.

  2. You got to remember that while the drivers in Massachusetts and Connecticut some of the worst, maybe that is why it is the Insurance capital of the country. Nuff, said.

  3. Nick,
    I was born in Beacon, NY, and grew up in Hopewell Junction. Where will you be staying while in the area? (Sylvan Lake in Hopewell Junction, the KOA across the river in Plattekill, or the park in Croton-on-the-Hudson (you can pick up the train there). We have stayed at the first 2 parks, but not at C-O-H.

    Have fun in the Hudson Valley!

    Karen

  4. The RV park at Croton-on-Hudson will serve you well. Spaces are easy to get in and out of and we had no problem with a 40′ pusher. The train to NYC is a short car ride away and there is plenty of parking at the train station. Thestation is at the entrance to the park, but you still want to drive there. Since this is a township park, the rates were very reasonable and there are full hook ups.

  5. I’ve decided that the friendliness of the natives is directly related to the population density. The more people per square mile, the more tiring it is to smile at everybody! Especially when you’ve got people in your face all day long, everywhere you go.

    When we moved to Ohio after 15 years in New Jersey, I was amazed that perfect strangers would talk to me! But I got used to it pretty quick:)

  6. George, I called Croton-on-Hudson, RV sites are $50/night. Way out of our budget.

  7. I think the only state in New Egland that uses mile makers on exits is Maine. Not sure about VT. New York State does not either. I have a travel book “Next Exit” which I think is great. It gives the exit number and the mile marker on the states that don’t use the mile markers. Handy in that it tells what is at exit & highlights RV friendly places. We have stayed at the KOA in Platteville, NY — I don’t think you will find it much cheaper than the other one but it is a nice campground. I don’t think they have any cheap camping around there. Got train to NYC in Beacon–think we got the last parking space because it was during the work week. It was near the police station so we thought that was good. It was “interesting”–we traveled a month after 9/11–got off train in Grand Central–could only go out one door & I have never seen so many armed men in my life–both police & Military. Loved you “Thought for the Day today.

    We learned on our first RV trip not to fuel up in CT–very expensive there.

  8. We are at the Beacon Elks lodge, 20 amp electric, water if needed, and they accept donations but no set fee.

  9. Please put Illinois drivers on the worst, people pull out in front of you, no signals for lane changes or turns etc. We got a real shock yesterday when we went from Iowa and we thought gas was high at $3.53 and all of a sudden it back to west coast prices of $3.75 which we paid at Flying J to over $4 for once diesel was cheaper so that will help you. Here in Niles Michigan where we are now it is $3.85. Here we go again with price gouging. See you in a couple of weeks. Stay safe

  10. Illinois drivers are not the best, tis true…but I think ours are prettty much on keel with those Nick describes in his current local. (Maybe a lot of them immigrated here…we live near Pinehurst, NC…one of the golfing areas of this country). You take your life in your own hands to drive here. It is very rare to see a turn signal used too!! And if they are in an SUV…oh do be careful…bigger means you have less concern for others, right?? And if you see a bleached blond with a cell phone attached (which is generally the case), you better be extra careful here. It has become a joke between hubby and me when we see someone driving extra nutty…uh, let’s see, what is the hair color? We have decided there must be something in the bleach that damages the brain!! 95% of the time we know the answer to that…it is simply amazing!! I never knew that bleach damaged the brain…but it must!! (Notice I am not saying a natural blond here…but a bleached one!!)

  11. Thanks for the tips on this area as we plan to be in the area maybe as early as summer 2014

  12. Since I live out West, I have never made the trek over to New England. We usually drive for our vacations, and that would be too far. Still, this year we rented an RV, and that would be a perfect way to explore that part of the country after flying out. We could even ship things before we get there. When we travel, the kids fight a lot, but it doesn’t sound like you worry about that problem. This year, my Dish coworker suggested I take the tablet PC’s; the whole family watched TV, sometimes through the media system too. We streamed live and recorded TV from our Sling Adapter at home, and then just pulled up the programming on the Dish Remote Access App. It saved us from yelling at the kids for fighting, and entertained us when we were driving.

  13. Hello, Nick;
    We’re planning a New England trek this summer. I have your Nov/Dec 2012 paper about Mass., but you mentioned you enjoyed Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine more. Do you have archived blogs that share your travels in those states? Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Beth Myers

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