Where to go on a weekend trip from New Haven?
May 7, 2008 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Where to go while I'm based in New Haven this summer?

I'm from San Diego and I'm doing an internship in New Haven, CT this summer (June 16th August 16th). I did the same internship last summer - it was my first time on the East Coast and I spent a little time exploring, but the internship did keep me pretty busy.

Now that I'm more familiar with the area (downtown New Haven, definitely - I didn't, and won't, have a car), I'd like to venture beyond. I did a few trips to NYC while I was there, but they got expensive mostly consisted of me being jostled, sweaty and overwhelmed (this must be part of the charm?) - I'd only consider going back once or twice while I'm there this summer.

I'm trying to think of places I could go for a weekend - last summer I wanted to head out to Boston, but never made it since I didn't know the best way to get there (here's where you come in!). I'd also love to travel to Montreal, but I think it might be too far for a weekend trip.

Can I rent a car (I'm 20)? Fly? Train? Where should I go? I'm not filthy rich, but I am willing to spend a little bit in order to experience what the Northeast has to offer!
posted by brynna to Travel & Transportation around New Haven, CT (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Amtrak stops in New Haven and will take you all the way to Boston. Looks like it's about $60 each way. There should also be Greyhound service which will definitely be cheaper, but I have no experience with that. In the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is usually very reliable and convenient. Taking the train in the other direction will bring you to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Newport, Rhode Island is a nice place to walk around - you can take tours of some of the mansions there. There's also Cape Cod with its many beach front towns; from there you can hop a ferry over to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. If you're in Boston or Hyannis, Cape Air flies little twin-engine Cessnas out to both islands which should be considerably faster than the ferry (and more expensive).

Amtrak also runs all the way up to Portland, Maine, but you need to get off at South Station in Boston and then take the MBTA up to North Station. Portland's a beautiful town with lots of restaurants.

I believe there's an Amtrak stop in Mystic, Connecticut, which is a little tourist town on the Mystic River. They've got an old drawbridge which I believe is the major attraction, plus lots of little shops and seafood restaurants.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:36 PM on May 7, 2008

Amtrak to Boston is barely faster than Greyhound, which is overpriced but a better deal than the train. (But from personal experience: do not try to get on the Greyhound in New Haven on major travel days.)
posted by phoenixy at 6:49 PM on May 7, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not interested in Boston specifically, I'm open to suggestions of other places (Newport sounds like a good one, as does Portland).. I'm more concerned about where I can go realistically for a weekend. Realistically based on time constraints. Thanks for the great answers so far!
posted by brynna at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2008

Boston is an easy Greyhound/Peter Pan bus ride, I've done it many times. It's less expensive than the train and doesn't take too much longer, as noted above.

From Boston, you could take the commuter rail and check out the North Shore of Mass (Ipswich, Beverly, Gloucester, Salem) which has lots of great stuff, including beaches.

Providence, RI also has lots to see and do, and I think a bus probably runs there too.
posted by supramarginal at 7:01 PM on May 7, 2008

Bus/car to the beach (Old Lyme)
Car to NW Connecticut (Route 7 becomes a pretty drive north of New Milford)
Car to Shady Glen burgers in Manchester
Amtrak to NYC for the day
and so on
posted by zippy at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2008

Shady Glen! The only reason to go to CT at all!
posted by krisptoria at 7:12 PM on May 7, 2008

I would check out Northampton, MA. And don't despair if you're stuck in New Haven; for a small city, there's a lot to do and see.
posted by jtron at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2008

Cape Cod! You can probably get a ride from one of the people who head from New Haven to the Cape every weekend, or take a Peter Pan bus to Hyannis ($100 r/t) and then the Trailways down to whichever lovely little town you are bed & breakfasting in - or try for a bed at the AYH hostel in Truro (508-349-3889) which is amazing - it's in an old Coast Guard station right next to the best beach in New England!

Once you're on the lower Cape you don't need a car; rent a bike and use the Flex bus which will pick up and drop you and your bike anywhere on its route for $1. Drop me MefiMail if you want more information about the town or the Cape.
posted by nicwolff at 7:19 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do you bike? There's some great cycling around New Haven, and there are tons of rides scheduled this summer in connection with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Which in itself offers lots of interesting things to do in New Haven itself. Definitely enjoy the city while you're here; while it's small, it really is a nice place to spend some time.

If you can get to New London via bus, take the ferry out to Block Island. It's a great little place for a weekend getaway. Go to the beach, check out the bluffs, eat some seafood, have lots of ice cream.
posted by bassjump at 7:22 PM on May 7, 2008

Oh, or you can Amtrak to Boston and take a fast ferry to Provincetown - not sure how much faster that would be, really - but a boat ride beats a bus ride any day!
posted by nicwolff at 7:23 PM on May 7, 2008

The Shore Line East will get you up the coast within CT for exploring pretty easily, and Metro North goes the other way down into NYC. As for how much you can realistically do in a weekend - it's New England. We're not far from much up here. If you can swing a car or find a bus trip, you can head up in to Vermont, do the touristy thing at Ben&Jerry's, head over to Burlington
posted by pupdog at 10:41 PM on May 7, 2008

Block Island (use a whole weekend, you won't want to leave)
Mystic (go to Mystic Seaport, MeMail me for local tips and recommendations)
Martha's Vineyard - a fantastic trip. Once you get there it's highly bikeable and rentals are everywhere. Public transport on the island is great too. There are any number of ways to get there via public transport, from Boston, Providence, and elsewhere. It's easy to link train/bus or bus/bus to the ferry to get there, but flights are frequent and cheap too.

Hammonasset State Beach, closer to you in Madison, CT
RJ Julia Books in Branford, great bookstore events, cute town
If you're at all inclined toward swing dancing, CT has one of the best swing dance scenes anywhere, and you can find people to help you carpool here
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on May 8, 2008

You can train to Providence, RI--good restaurants, bars, art galleries, etc. It's about 2.5 hours from New Haven. As bassjump said, Block Island is a great overnight getaway if you can get to the ferry.

More locally, you can take the bus from downtown New Haven to West Haven and check out the cute beach and boardwalk and have some delicious seafood. That's really more of a day trip though.

Definitely take pupdog and Miko's advice and jump on the Shoreline East to explore some of the shoreline's more New Englandy gems (RJ Julia definitely being one of them).

Feel free to MeMail when you're here for recommendations of any kind.
posted by sneakin at 1:56 PM on May 8, 2008

You can take a train from New Haven to get to a major city like NYC, then take megabus.com or boltbus.com for super cheap bus trips (sometimes just $1!) to other cities nearby for a weekend trip. I know they cover Philadelphia and Washington DC. There are always super cheap flights if you keep checking on Southwest (you have to find a way to get to Bradley airport though). I also recommend Newport, RI; to me it's the most "new englandy" place to me.
posted by Jimmie at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2008

« Older How should I deal with my idiotic, condescending...   |   Campaign debt relief? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.