Xmas in the North East

Old Sep 2, 16, 3:08 am
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Xmas in the North East

Hi, not usually a visitor to these pages.

I have done a search and while there are some recommendations, most are from back in 2007.

We are an Australian family (2 adults, 1 six year old) from Queensland living in the middle east. We want a xmas with snow.

We are looking at spending two weeks over the xmas/NY period and would like to spend the first week up in the north east somewhere pretty, with good accomodation, food and snow. The second week and over NY will be spent in New York City - that part is easy.

We are flying into and out of JFK. Not too keen on car rental as I don't fancy driving in NYC and I have never driven in snow/ice conditions so air/rail transport to the destination would be beneficial.

Looking for the wise advice of the forum on where may be a good place to stay, can be seaside or lakeside or mountain.

TIA!
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Old Sep 2, 16, 5:25 am
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The last few years, December in northern New England (including Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) has been very "hit or miss" with regards to snow. There might be a pile of it on the ground for Christmas, or there might not be any.

That said, it sounds from what you require for a destination that Portland, Maine might fit all of your requirements except possibly for the snow. Fairly easy to get to and around (there's a local bus service that is reliable), great food, great places to stay. I think there are ways to get to other places that have a better chance of having snow on the ground (Bethel, Maine or North Conway, New Hampshire come to mind) for a day trip, but unless you're REALLY into snow activities (skiing, snowboarding, etc.), there isn't enough to do to spend a week in either of those places.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 7:58 am
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How about Burlington, VT and/or Montreal?
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Old Sep 2, 16, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by will2288 View Post
How about Burlington, VT and/or Montreal?
I would recommend Burlington and Montreal over Portland. Not that Portland isn't great -- it is -- but northern Vermont -- including both Burlington and nearby Stowe -- and southern Quebec will be more Christmas-y and more likely to have snow. I would recommend flying into Burlington or Montreal and renting a car, as it will be difficult to get around without one. I know you're reluctant to drive in the snow, but this area of the country is expert at clearing snow from the road, and unless you're driving in a storm, you will have no problem at all. With a full week, you'll have plenty of time to cover Montreal, Burlington and Stowe. Your options to get to NYC from there would then be to drive, take the train, or fly. Again, the driving will not be a challenge, except that it's a longish drive. The train from the Burlington area operates only once a day and is very slow, but it can be relaxing and fun. And flying is flying.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 12:31 am
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Thank you for the suggestions so far, happy to take more!

I appreciate there is no guarantee of snow.

We are reluctant to go to Canada, purely to avoid another friendly interaction with the US customs and immigration - I have always had such warm and pleasant experiences with them in the past :roll eyes:
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Old Sep 5, 16, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by VH-RMD View Post
Thank you for the suggestions so far, happy to take more!

I appreciate there is no guarantee of snow.

We are reluctant to go to Canada, purely to avoid another friendly interaction with the US customs and immigration - I have always had such warm and pleasant experiences with them in the past :roll eyes:
I hear you about the US border patrol. It would be nice if they could both protect the border and provide a warm welcome but that seems beyond their ability. That said, I think you'd find crossing the border by car from Canada to be much easier and more pleasant than when arriving by air. Still, you can have a very pleasant and Christmas-y week in northern Vermont without crossing into Quebec. I still highly recommend getting a car.
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Old Sep 6, 16, 11:32 am
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I bet Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City would be a really nice experience around Christmas. Or Chateau Montebello in Quebec, which has a Christmas package that they run with activities, meals, etc. The latter is more rural, while Frontenac is an old castle inside the city walls.

I live in the Portland area and we really don't start getting consistent snow until January, enough so that I wouldn't plan on Christmas here if you want snow.
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Old Sep 11, 16, 3:44 pm
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We have friends who own a highly-rated B&B in northern Vermont (near Jay Peak). I'd agree that that area is your best bet for snow if you don't want to go to Quebec. As a bonus, you can maybe also go skiing at Jay.

Burlington is a cute little town (like a smaller version of Portland, Maine). You might also spend that week at a resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, like the famous Bretton Woods or something. But that will require a car.

Also, while I wouldn't suggest driving as a way of getting around NYC, it's not as scary as you make out. Drivers in NYC tend to be aggressive, yes, but they also tend to have a good idea of the space their car is taking up. As long as you don't drive more aggressively than you're comfortable with, people will just go around you. And yes, northern New England is very good about clearing snow quickly from the roads. Just drive slowly when it's snowing (I don't exceed ~20mph).
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Old Sep 11, 16, 3:52 pm
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You clear US immigration and customs in Montreal before your flight back to US - much easier and more pleasant than clearing on arrival in US.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 8:19 am
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Thank you all, we are looking around Vermont for the xmas week.

We will have the NY week in New York City.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by VH-RMD View Post
Thank you all, we are looking around Vermont for the xmas week.
I think you'll enjoy it. Once you have your travel itinerary set, feel free to post back here for more specific recommendations of things to do in Vermont.
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Old Sep 17, 16, 1:00 am
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Thank you.

Now I realise this is tantamount to asking 'how long is a piece of string' but looking for recommendations for accomodation near/in Burlington. We are flying into JFK and looking to take the train, I understand it stops in a town near Burlington.

Have looked on Booking.com and Tripadvisor (Booking is who I most frequently turn to as I think their reviews tend to be a little more accurate) and the most highly rated place seems to be a bit like a motel - Green Mountain Suites Hotel, and it does not look too bad in the promotional material so we are not adverse to staying there.

We are looking for a place which will have space, like a separate lounge and bedroom, for 2 adults 1 child, not too fussed about catering options - although realise that xmas day may pose challenges for restaurants - we will rent a car in Vermont to go up to the snow, so mobility should not be a challenge.

Not adverse to spending up to $500 per night for something special.

As before, your collective wisdom is appreciated.
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Old Sep 17, 16, 8:38 am
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I wonder if AirBNB would be a better option for you - get a whole house.
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Old Sep 21, 16, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by VH-RMD View Post

Now I realise this is tantamount to asking 'how long is a piece of string' but looking for recommendations for accomodation near/in Burlington. We are flying into JFK and looking to take the train, I understand it stops in a town near Burlington.
You should fly. The train will take most of the day and is often significantly late, and isn't what I'd call nice. You'll be at the airport already anyway.

Have looked on Booking.com and Tripadvisor (Booking is who I most frequently turn to as I think their reviews tend to be a little more accurate) and the most highly rated place seems to be a bit like a motel - Green Mountain Suites Hotel, and it does not look too bad in the promotional material so we are not adverse to staying there.

We are looking for a place which will have space, like a separate lounge and bedroom, for 2 adults 1 child, not too fussed about catering options - although realise that xmas day may pose challenges for restaurants -
I agree with the previous advice to rent a house with Airbnb or VRBO.


we will rent a car in Vermont to go up to the snow, so mobility should not be a challenge..
Um, you do realize that Burlington will be chest deep in snow in the winter? You'll just have to open the door of your Airbnb house to experience it.
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Old Sep 26, 16, 4:17 am
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
You should fly. The train will take most of the day and is often significantly late, and isn't what I'd call nice. You'll be at the airport already anyway.


Thanks, having looked at AA the flights take almost as long as the train (most are two or three connections) and are several times the cost. The train would give us a bit of a chance to see the countryside.
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