By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We're planning a road trip down the east coast. Our plans are to start in Maine and follow the coast down to Washington D.C. with stops along the way. We hope to visit interesting places along the way. Can you provide phone numbers on the eastern states on our trip where we can request more travel information? We'd like maps and points of interest to make our trip more interesting.

A: In the United States, there is an organization that helps set the path for motorists, making routes interesting and very worthwhile to scope out. Based on archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities, the US Secretary of Transportation has designated 95 routes as part of the "National Scenic Byways Program."

Among the list, you'll find descriptions of some of America's favorite road trips with many suggested roadtrips that fit your chosen destinations. Since you'll be starting your road trip in Maine, the National Scenic Byways Progarm lists four routes from which to choose.

The Acadia Byway frames along the east coast slicing across the Acadia National Park until you get to Bar Harbor where you'll discover Mount Desert Island has its own crop of talented artists and culinary masters. Get your camera ready for panoramic vistas of granite-capped mountains and crystal lakes and lace up the sneakers for the countless hiking trails. Total tour time: 3 hours.

To catch authentic Maine lobstering and clamming, highlight the Schoodic Scenic Byway on your map. This 1 hour drive snakes along one of the last protected eastern seaboards giving you a closeup view of an unspoiled Maine. Roads include Route #186 and #1 with the trip concluding in the hamlet of West Sullivan. The U.S. Department of Transportation issues a state map called "Come Closer. We Have Stories to Tell," detailing suggested routes.

For a free copy, write to the National Scenic Byways Program, 400 7th Street, S.W. HEPM Washington D.C. 20590. Allow yourself 4-6 weeks for delivery. For travel information on Maine, call the Maine Office of Tourism at toll-free 1.800.533.9595.

For further inquiries on the other states matching your road trip, you can contact the New York State Office of Tourism at toll-free 1-800-CALL-NYS, New Jersey Office of Travel & Tourism at (609) 777-0885 and Washtington D.C Convention & Tourism at 1.202.789.7046.


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