If on Memorial Day they put up a line of orange traffic cones blocking the lanes of I-95 that lead south, we wouldn't get too upset. In fact, we might not even notice. The proper direction for I-95 travel in the summertime is north. North, where you'll find the crisp mountain resorts of New Hampshire, the tony beaches of the Hamptons, the funky rush of Provincetown, the anachronistic elan of Newport and the muggy-cool shore towns along the Maine coast. Okay, it's also the direction you go to visit the folks in New Jersey and the in-laws in Connecticut, but still.

Trouble is, getting to any of these great summer escapes via the nation's busiest stretch of interstate highway is way less than half the fun (it's 1/17th, in case you're wondering).

Unless you have this edition of the travel section, that is, in which our correspondents lead the way and threaten to make the trip not only bearable, but even memorable. Inside, our guide to I-95 points out great restaurants to refuel, underappreciated roadside attractions, charming towns to stop over for the night and plenty of other tips for surviving and thriving along this storied stretch of road.

It's true that, to get back, you'll technically be taking I-95 south. That's okay. Just make sure to keep an eye out for the traffic cones.

INSIDE: A two-page, pull-out passenger seat map with tips, tricks and details about each state you'll pass through between Maryland and Maine (Pages 4 and 5); a handy compendium of information sources for I-95ers (Page 6); and highlights of some of the more memorable spots we discovered along the highway, including:

* The little-known Bronx hideaway of City Island, just 20 minutes from Manhattan (Page 7).

* The bizarre Desert of Maine, an 18th-century Freeport farm gone horribly bad (Page 8).

* The mansions of Newport, R.I., including the 28-room "cottage" where Jackie Kennedy spent her summers (Page 8).

* The packed, yet worth-it, seaport town of Mystic, Conn. (Page 8).