As the summer heat finally breaks, and the days become cool enough for a top down drive in a convertible, the time grows near for a great road trip. Work and the rest of life sometimes make that difficult, so here we have compiled three “wicked awesome” one-day road trips within reach of metro Boston. Whether you need to tickle the redline of your sports car, want to get a ZipCar and do some exploring, or if your bald spot and convertible are telling you need some vitamin D, these three road trips promise roads free of traffic lights, excellent coffee and food along the way, and some great scenery. Click “View the List” above to get started.
Rt. 105 Lakeville Rochester Marion
Just South of Boston off of Rt. 495 lies one of the best stretches in all of the Commonwealth. Follow this route and you will see some of the best lakes in the state, drive miles of roads with no traffic lights and possibly even an American Bald Eagle.
Start by heading south on Rt. 495 heading towards Middleboro. Take exit 5 onto Rt. 18 and head south. Follow this road for about 8 miles into Lakeville. Your first stop should be Somethin’s Brewing. This café used to be a library and is worth the stop if only to see this amazing building. The coffee drinks are great, and unlike the famous doughnut chain nearby, you don’t have to ask for a key to use the bathroom. Try the pastry made on-site.
From here follow Rt. 105 south a few miles. Look for Long Point Road. Turn Left and follow the road a couple miles. You will pass over a causeway between two amazing bodies of water. Turn around to head back to 105. Keep going south. If you stay on 105 long enough you will roll through cranberry bogs and farms on your way through Rochester and towards Marion.
Once you get to Rt. 28, cross it and keep heading towards Silver Shell Beach. You will pass the campus of Tabor Academy and Buzzards Bay will be on your left. Silver Shell is one of the best beaches in New England and is reserved for residents on-season. In the early fall one can enjoy some amazing views and be nearly alone on this fantastic small stretch of sand facing the Atlantic.
Rt. 149 New Hampshire Weare to Hillsboro
Rt. 149 is one of those twisty mountain roads people are always talking about driving on, but never seem to find. This little stretch is also one of the rare roads in New England that when driven with sporting intentions, has a speed limit that seems just about right. Don’t be surprised if you get caught up in the moment and then see a police car coming the other way. You will look down at the speedometer and might be shocked to see you are actually pretty close to the posted limit, which is up to 45 on much of the route.
Access Rt. 149 at the junction of 114 and Rt. 77 in Weare. That spot is just north-west of Goffstown. GPS is strongly recommended here. Drive the route and you will see some beautiful ponds, lakes and streams. Beaver dams are numerous. It is worth bringing binoculars on this trip and topping at one of the many pull outs to look for cranes and blue heron.
If your car has a stick shift or paddle shifters this is the ideal road to use them to full advantage. You will be moving quickly and find sharp turns where a downshift to keep the revs up will help brake and rotate the car and then let you hit the sweet spot in the engine upon leaving the corner, mostly at nearly legal speeds. You can also use the gears to slow the car on some of the great elevation drops on the route.
The route will bring you to Hillsboro which has a lot to offer. German Johns Bakery is an option, as is Tookey Mills Pub. Dining options are too numerous to list, but there is an old-fashioned greasy spoon diner in Hillsboro, but you will have to seek it out. We are trying to keep the place to ourselves! Before you head out of Hillsboro be sure to take a look at the falls of the Contoocook river. If you need to ask where it is, be sure to pronounce it “Con-took-ik” or you will sound like you’re from Boston.
Hillsboro and bordering Henniker have some fantastic dirt roads that are just great to drive in a sport ‘ute or jeep. Look for Farrar Marsh if you have the guts. The general area of Hillsboro and Warner is the kind of place you can ask “Where is the covered bridge?” and get the reply “Which one?” Mt. Kearsarge, Rollins State Park in Warner is a drive worth doing. On a clear day you can see Russia, Mexico and England from the summit. Or so it seems.
Medfield Dover Sherborn horse country
Nestled quietly west of Boston in what we locals call Metro West is a trio of horse country towns that don’t want to be discovered. These bedroom communities are home to some of the blue-blood Bostonians that have moved out of the city. The roads in these towns tend to be smooth, traffic light free and have some of the most amazing properties in New England.
If you want to create your own path, start at Honey’s Café and Bakery in Medfield. It is just off Rt. 109 as you head west from the Boston area. Honey’s is closed most holidays and Sundays. We are not kidding when we tell you that these places do not want to be found. When it is open the food and coffee are unbeatable. A Starbucks is going up across the street if you swing that way.
Point your car away from 109 and head into the Dover-Sherborn area leaving Medfield. This areas is worth exploring yourself, but make Farm St. in Dover and Farm Rd. in Sherborn part of the route and you can’t go wrong.
This area has horse farms like other Mass. towns have traffic lights. However, be forewarned, these three towns are not the place to test your radar detector. Those smooth roads are paid for in part by the traffic fines the local police are more than happy to provide you with. This is the slow cruise route on this list of three amazing road trips near Boston.