By on July 25, 2010

One of the many amazing benefits to my booth babe job is that I get to travel this beautiful country and somebody else pays for it. I’ve been to many cities that I never would have gone to otherwise. (Seriously, does anyone go to Milwaukee on vacation? No, but it’s a pretty rad city.) There are around 80 auto shows every season. I don’t go to all of them, but every year I’m sent to a few different ones that I’ve never been to before. At this point in my auto show career I think it’s safe to say that I’ve hit at least ¾ of all consumer auto show cities.

As such an extensive traveler I feel it is only fair that I share my expertise with you when you plan your summer road trip! They are going to be relatively quick trips – no longer than a week or so – and should fit into your summer schedule pretty easily. Each trip will include some great automotive points of interest. This week we’re going to focus on the Northeast USA.

Let’s start you in the general vicinity of New York City. The last thing I’m going to do to you is have you drive through Manhattan – if you want to see the city then park at a train station in Westchester and take the Metro North in and out. We’re going to drive upstate.

You can take the New York State Thruway or the Taconic Parkway. The locals who have completed analysis sometime refer to it as “Catatonic Parkway”, because of its psychological and motorological disturbances.  You can get away with driving a lot faster on the Thruway, but the Taconic is a beautiful scenic drive. Both will get you to Albany. Along the way, stop at West Point for a guided tour. Put down the donut and have lunch a bit further north at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

There are some cool little historic oval tracks between lunch and Albany that are worth a look. The Chatham Fairgrounds is often the site of historic car shows and, according to that website, what appears to be a talking goat. The fairgrounds in Ballston Spa are home to a quarter mile paved oval used by the Adirondack Karting Association where you can catch a pretty sweet race without the big-dollar attitudes. There’s a neat car museum a half hour north of Albany in Saratoga Springs – the Saratoga Automobile Museum – but be wary of the summer horseracing crowds. Of course, you could always join in – Saratoga Raceway is one of the most historic racetracks in the country, but we’re talking 1 HP, not 800 HP.

Head east from Albany on the Mass Pike to Boston, about a three-hour trip. Boston is one of my favorite cities to visit: clean, historic, easy to get around on the train and lots of stuff to see. Again, find someplace cheap to park and take the T around the city to save a ton of dough and aggravation. Walk the Freedom Trail and thank your lucky stars and stripes you’re not eating British black pudding for dinner tonight. When you’re done getting your history on, head over to F1 Boston for some wicked competitive kart racing. If you absolutely must see a Red Sox game, I’ll look the other way.

From Beantown drop down to Providence, RI for a Waterfire event and catch a race at Seekonk Speedway – these lunatics have figure 8’s, for crying out loud. Watch through your fingers with your hands covering your eyes.

Wrap up your road trip with a jaunt through Connecticut. First stop in Manchester for a visit to The Fire Museum, because the only thing cooler than a racecar is a fire truck.

I’ve saved the best for last for you, my friends: Lime Rock Park in western CT. Paul Newman loved this track, for good reason: it’s fast with two big elevation changes and 7-10 turns depending on your course. It always has a full schedule of events, including this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, so there’s certain to be something for you to see. If you’re a member of a marque club, check with your home office for track day opportunities.

After your day at the track, it’s a short drop back down to the NYC metro area.

Next week: Pull out your #3 gear – we’re heading to NASCAR country!

The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at

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11 Comments on “The Booth Babe Chronicles: Road Trip Warrior – The Northeast USA...”

  • avatar

    The Saratoga Auto Museum in the photo,is the site of the Firebird lawn show. It was always a great time. The local F body club treated us Canadians like we were royalty.

  • avatar

    Depending on when you visit Boston, you can stop at the Larz Anderson car museum next door in Brookline ( On most summer Sundays, they have themed car shows on their lawn, e.g., Mercedes Day, Cadillac Day, etc. Today is Triumph Day. Their “Tutto Italiano” day is spectacular. When I was there a few years ago, they asked all the attendees to rev their engines at noon. Literally dozens of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfas, Lancias, DeTomasos… all screaming together. Magnificent. The next Tutto Italiano is next week (Aug 1)!

    • 0 avatar

      The Larz Anderson is a must. Beautiful cars, beautiful grounds, nice people running and attending the shows. I’ve been to maybe a dozen of those shows, and never tire of them. Motorcycle Day is particularly awesome.

  • avatar

    While you’re up in the Boston area, stop by in Springfield and visit the Indian museum. It’s so low key it’s almost a private collection rather than a museum, but boy, if you have any kind of interest in vintage motorcycles . . . . . . .

  • avatar

    I loved Boston as an undergrad at MIT. Check out the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, one of my favorites.


  • avatar

    Ehem, oh there is so much more in upstate New York. Here in the snow belt, there is more auto related love to be had. Down in the middle of nowhere Norwich NY, is the Northeast Classic car museum, a little haven of automobilia in deliverence country. Drive on further along RT. 26 to Watkins Glen in the Finger lakes region and catch the big NASCAR event when it roles in down there. While you are at be sure to have a tea toddler of a designated driver and hit up all the winery tours because you are smack dab in the middle of wine country. From there you can always head on north to my neck of the woods in Syracuse and be prepared for the NY state fair at the fairgrounds which is coming up next month, and hope the Orange men don’t suck as badly this year on the grid iron. The Syracuse national car show was last week. Just don’t hang around too long if you don’t like snow too much, the lake effect will start haunting you come late October into November.

  • avatar

    this is making me miss being on the mainland, a little. but it’s hard to beat hawaii even if my roadtrips never include more than a trip around the North Shore of Oahu.

  • avatar

    Why avoid Manhattan? For people like me – foreigners, that is, especially those coming in across the Atlantic – tackling the traffic in Downtown Manhattan is half the fun. I’d even dare to say that you haven’t seen a city if you haven’t endured its traffic.
    I crossing them off a list. or at least I prentend to, as I never wrote this list down. Chicag – done, New York – done, and DC as well. Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, too, all of them. And Riga. And then some more. Next ones to do are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Moscow, Istanbul.
    Terrible urban traffic is half the fun in road trips. The other is ghastly fast food and murderous weather conditions.

  • avatar

    Why the hate for Milwaukee? I actually do go there for vacation (I live 1/2 way between Chicago & milwaukee).

    * No insane parking like Chicago
    * No insane traffic like Chicago
    * No insane sales taxes like Chicago
    * Cheaper in general, than Chicago
    * Breweries
    * Pro baseball & basketball teams like Chicago
    * The boat that goes across the lake (awesome time, seriously!) that you can stick your car on.

    Several good reasons right there.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    a buncha us old BMW fans get together evry Labor Day weekend for the vintage car races at Lime Rock.

  • avatar

    Far better than driving btw albany and boston on the Pike is to take the backroads. I recommend going straight from Albany to southern vermont, and taking the main drag across southern vermont (I think it’s 7, and I know it goes through Bennington). The ride across southern vermont is quite hilly, fairly windy, and absolutely gorgeous. When you get to the connecticut river, which separates VT and New Hamster, take 91 south to rt 2, and then take 2 into Boston.

    You can also pick up 2 in western mass, and that’s pretty, too, and you can see the modern art museum in North Adams. But the ride through southern vt is prettier than western mass. The ride I describe takes four, maybe four and a half hours.

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