Family New England/New York road trip suggestions?
June 23, 2009 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm taking my 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter on a spontaneous road trip through New York City, Upstate New York and New England next week. Any suggestions?
posted by mjmcport to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Avoid the George Washington Bridge? 'Cause there's nothing better than being stuck on the bridge for two hours, with two kids, with no possible way to get to a bathroom.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2009

If you guys are pizza fans, stop in New Haven for some Pepe's.
posted by jesourie at 10:28 AM on June 23, 2009

Rye Playland is on your way. It's a small amusement park with fun, cheap rides and a beach and a pool and some other stuff like that. It would be a fun stop. It's in Westchester, a little bit after you get out of the Bronx.
posted by amethysts at 10:30 AM on June 23, 2009

The Peabody Museum in New Haven has dinosaurs and is pretty cool, but it is also possibly not too impressive if they've spent time at the AMNH.

If you make it all the way up to North Adams (NW corner of MA) you will be rewarded by being able to go to Mass MoCA, the most awesomely amazing modern art museum (associated with the Guggenheim) ever built in 30 old factory buildings. It's great for kids and adults - my kids (9 and 5) had to be dragged out of the place last summer. It has a kids art activity section, but the actual big freaky and usually somewhat interactive art is totally fun for kids too. It also has a kid-friendly cafe and ice cream stand, and nearby Williamstown also has 2 more traditional art museums as well - the Clark Institute and the Williams College museum.
posted by chr1sb0y at 10:41 AM on June 23, 2009

When I was a kid living in Connecticut, going to Gillette's Castle was always a huge deal to me. I loved seeing the displays inside the castle, hiking around it, and then eating a picnic lunch on the grounds. If you're driving through that area of CT on your tour of New England, I would recommend visiting.
posted by scarykarrey at 10:46 AM on June 23, 2009

I loved going to Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester MA. Its all medieval swords and armor and equipment from that era. They also have an area where they have some recreated helmets and you could try them on and feel how heavy the armor was.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Great suggestions so far. We'll be travelling from Boston area to NYC then up to Cooperstown area, and then back to Boston for the 4th. The MassMoca/Storm King and Mystic were already on my todo list, as well as the Petrified Creatures up by Cooperstown and Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT.
posted by mjmcport at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2009

I love this guy's website. Much of what he writes about is probably too obscure for a visit such as yours, but some of it may well be useful.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:24 AM on June 23, 2009

Following up on chr1sb0y, I happened to visit MassMoCA yesterday: Guy Ben-Ner's exhibit is seemingly tailor-made for kids of that age, and the current KidSpace stuff is awesome.

May want to skip the Elegies floor, though.
posted by ook at 11:44 AM on June 23, 2009

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour in Waterbury.

You haven't had their ice cream till you've had it straight out of the packaging pipe...
posted by Gorgik at 12:00 PM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: ....Could you be persuaded to delay your trip back to Boston on the 4th for just a few hours? Because my home town of Willimantic, in Eastern Connecticut, is home to the world's goofiest July 4th Parade. You could all even participate, so long as you make a good-faith effort to dress up -- face paint would be fine -- and so long as you have a portable radio.

It's close enough to Boston for you to take part in or watch that, and then still have time to drive from Willimantic to Boston in time for the fireworks (it's only about a 2-3 hour drive).

Failing that, the worlds' best cheeseburgers are at a restaurant called Shady Glen in Manchester, Connecticut. They also have homemade ice cream and a kitschy, unironic retro-50's decor (unironic because they haven't changed the decor SINCE the 50's).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on June 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Funspot in Laconia, NH, as seen in The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The arcade is crazy fun, and the surrounding area is a cute lake resort area, with go-karts and mini water parks and a drive-in movie theater.
posted by illenion at 1:17 PM on June 23, 2009

my home town of Willimantic, in Eastern Connecticut, is home to the world's goofiest July 4th Parade.

Heh. I live in Willimantic. Definitely stop by the Boom Box Parade (especially if you're unashamedly leftist; the lefty groups have pretty much taken over the parade, except for the occasional frightening church group). The earnestness of the paraders, and their ragtag goofiness, has occasionally brought me to tears--it's the best of America.

Even if you don't want to march, take your kids, bring some big grocery bags, and sit on the curb near the Jillson Square end--they'll get more candy thrown to them from paraders than they'd get trick-or-treating on Halloween.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2009

The Connecticut Science Center just opened it's doors in Hartford this month. I haven't had a chance to go yet, but reviews from my coworkers say it's pretty awesome.

Also, Shady Glen makes a mean burger, and a rather phenomenal milkshake, too.

If you're going to Dinosaur SP, you're only 10-15 minutes away from either of these.
posted by spinturtle at 9:08 PM on June 23, 2009

Seconding staying the hell away from the GWB and the Cross-Bronx Expressway.
posted by troywestfield at 7:39 AM on June 24, 2009

Just be aware, Dinosaur State Park is NOT open on Mondays.

You might already know that, but it's right down the street from me and the signs on I-91 warning you of this fact are a running joke.

I second Shady Glen, just for something you don't get many places. The Boston Museum of Science is pretty cool. A Duck Tour in Boston is always entertaining. Ben&Jerry's is cool, but a pretty decent drive up into Vermont. If you're going to spend any time in NYC,the kids should appreciate Times Square, if just for the giant Toys'R'Us, the nearby kitsch (M&M World, etc) and if they have the leaning, Midtown Comics is very close by...
posted by pupdog at 8:54 AM on June 24, 2009

I meant to add, the warnings about the GWB and Cross Bronx are pretty good, if you're driving from NYC back through CT, going up the West Side Hwy, then heading for the Hutchinson River Parkway will lead to the Merrit Parkway, which dumps you onto 91 just a fe miles below Rocky Hill - no commercial traffic, a pretty scenic drive, and better traffic than 95 (as long as you avoid rush hour on the NY-ish end)
posted by pupdog at 9:00 AM on June 24, 2009

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