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  1. Default Fall in Northern New England

    Moderator's Note: This thread was moved here from the 'New England with Mom!!' thread under the Planning Summer RoadTrips forum, since it covers a different part of New England and a different time of year. - AZBuck

    Dear AZBuck and Lucy Day -

    I am sorry to hijack your inquiry about a road trip and I hope you do not mind me interjecting but I too am going on a road trip.

    I am going for 10 days from October 6-15. I am very excited but have no idea where to go!!!

    I am very familiar with all other parts of the country and have been to all areas of the country except for New England - so I am very excited to go!!!

    I am flying into Manchester airport in New Hampshire and I think I will do exactly what you say AZBuck - that is...I am going to try to follow the experts :) I have looked everywhere for a good ten day itinerary for a road trip and could not find one --- and then I found you!!! Thank you sooo much!

    If anyone has any other suggestions for a ten day trip, please let me know! I am excited and want to hit fun spots like Ben and Jerry's and all the picturesque spots...and I also want to see some of the nightlife there also (just one or two of the days).

    This is wonderful - I can't thank you enough!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-01-2009 at 06:10 PM. Reason: Link to parent thread added

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Those 10 Days!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums.

    Well the good news is that you have picked perhaps the 10 most scenic days of the year in New England. The bad news is that you have picked perhaps the 10 most scenic days of the year in New England. The roads are going to be very crowded with 'leaf peepers' and you are absolutely going to have to pre-book your lodgings, and expect to pay a bit of a premium in some cases. Before setting out any itinerary, you will have to make a few decisions about the nature of your trip. Do you want to wander around, staying in a different town each night, or would you rather settle down in one place for a few days and explore the area around it before moving on to the next area? In some cases you may not be able to book single night stays, particularly during Columbus Day weekend. Do you want to try to see all of New England, or just a few parts of it, and if just parts - which ones? Do you want to join the crowds or avoid them? Besides ice cream, scenery and night life, what are your interests? New England is awash in history, nature, posh resorts, shopping, quirky individuals, and unique locations. What's your pleasure?


  3. #3


    I'm a native Mainer with a deep love for my state, particularly during foliage season. For a lovely scenic drive up the coast take route 1, which is far less crowded in October than July. In my opinion, the coast gets prettier the further north you go, so make an effot to go past Bar Harbor even. On the way up, stop by Fort Knox in Bucksport for a historical excursion. Bring flaslights to be able to explore the old fort to its fullest. Eastport, very near the Canadian border, is my absolute favourite coastal town, for it's untouched and undiscovered maritime heritage and true salt-of-the-earth Downeasters. Also, the blueberry barrens in Washington county turn a stunning deep scarlet in the fall. Bar Harbor is a fun town to bum around in for a day with an abundance of shops. Be sure to visit Acadia National Park, which shares Mount Desert Island with Bar Harbor and a few other small villages. Drive up Cadillac Mountain for breathtaking ocean vistas.

    One of the best places for foliage is central Maine, particularly the area around Moosehead Lake and Greenville, though it is fairly crowded during that time. To get away from the tourists a bit and get some exercise, try hiking up Borestone Mountain near Monson. It's an easy afternoon hike and the views from the top are unbeatable. There are also airplane tours from Greenville for leaf peepers. I grew up in the area near Dover-Foxcroft; it's very rural and the people are so real. Accomodations in the area can be hard to come by outside of Greenville, but there are a few gems not far away that are cheaper. Try the Brewster Inn in Dexter or the Guilford Bed and Breakfast or Trebor Mansion Inn, both in Guilford. Drake's Restaurant in Guilford does a great breakfast to get you started on your day. There's also a very picturesque wooden covered bridge nearby on the way into Dover-Foxcroft from Guilford.

    Another nice fall hike, a bit further away, is Katahdin Ironworks. There are miles of trails that aren't very difficult, and a bit of history at the trailhead. There is a portion where you have to wade across a river and the water will probably be quite chilly, so bring some nice warm socks with you to warm your feet back up. You can find info online, the trail leads toward Gulf Hagas. Fall is the best time of year for hiking in Maine, in my opinion.

    Try taking route 2 from Maine to New Hampshire. It's very scenic and drives into the White Mountains of NH. Before leaving Maine, be sure not to miss out on delicious seafood, Maine blueberries (unlike anywhere else in the world), and Gifford's Ice Cream, available in most grocery stores.
    Last edited by whiterose1713; 07-06-2006 at 03:05 PM.

  4. Default 10 Day Road Trip Continues.....

    AZBuck and Whiterose:

    Thank you so much for your responses, I know this may be overkill but with all of my tourist books it seems that I have a little "too much" information and your suggestions mean so much. Ok so a little about me and my trip. I am 28 years old and want to go to the "sincere" parts of New England. When I say that I guess I am saying that although I would do not mind seeing the "touristy" spots if they are worth seeing... but if they are all hype and not really much to see I have no problem passing them up. (Especially if they are full of crowds all the time.) So I am going with my boyfriend of four years and would like a good combination of nightlife (less of these) and romantic spots (more of these).

    This is actually my trip to plan (my boyfriend usually takes care of the travel plans) so it is important that I impress the heck out of him! ) In other words some premiums are OK - I have budgeted for them!

    Ok so I think I would like to take a semi-leisurely place. We have no problem staying 2-3 days at places where we think are going to be wonderful - we also have no problem driving 5-6 hours in a day if need be OR staying one or two nights per city if that is enough. I don’t think we should hit more than 5 cities in ten days however, I think it would just be too much --- no?

    We will follow any suggestions that you have and I am so excited about this that I am planning on keeping a blog about my trip and tell you how it all is. We want to stop at fun places like Ben and Jerry's like I said, etc. But we are also foodies and enjoy quality restaurants. (But we do not mind the great dives that certain cities offer!) We are interested in staying in really “nice hotels” but we consider “nice hotels” anything from a fancy shmancy hotel (with spas/workout facilities for me shhhh!) to a really wonderful and quaint bed and breakfasts. We enjoy good food, good scenery, great wine, and most of all great people. (Life isn’t the same without great people!!) We also want to make sure we hit any great fairs or local goings on in the area when we are there. To sum - We definitely want to see the “real” New England 

    My boyfreind loves history and I can "handle" it if it is super interesting (I watch enough of teh History Channel at Home!) so I guess a little history wouldn't hurt...

    I was planning on booking my lodgings this weekend. Is that too late? I hope not, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know and I will book accordingly!!!

    Also, I am planning on renting a convertible and then looked at the projected weather for the period of our vacation and had second thoughts. Maybe I should just reserve a regular car? Hmmm….

    I know this is long but I wanted to give you a good picture as to where I was coming from!

    Thanks Again I so excited to hear from your response!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default ...and continues

    At their best, these forums operate in an iterative fashion, and hopefully, that's what's happening here. I don't think we're going to get you completely squared away in time to make all your reservations by this weekend. In fact, I don't think I can finish a good response tonight, but let's give it a try and see how far I get. In no particular order then....

    As I said before, you have already chosen perhaps the most romantic and spectacular time to see New England, and that comes with its own downside as well. So rather than send you to the well-known (and crowded) scenic byways like the Kancamagus Highway, I'm going to suggest less known but almost as beautiful roads such as the Patte Brook Auto Tour where you'll actually have a chance to see some of the 'real' New England. For that matter, as a former Maine-iac myself, I'm going to agree wholeheartedly with whiterose that you want to stay in central Maine (and northern New Hampshire and Vermont). Unfortunately, Eastport is probably a bit far of a reach for your purposes, but Acadia should definitely be in your plans. Maybe get from Manchester to Portland on the first day, enjoy some nightlife in Portland, and then set out up the coast the next day. On the way 'down east' poke into one or two of the peninsulas that make up the 'rock-ribbed' coast of Maine. My personal favorite is the one south of Damariscotta, making a loop out of ME-129, Pemaquid Road, ME-130, and ME-32 with a stop at Colonial Pemaquid for your boyfriend's first history fix. Then boogey on to Acadia, giving you a chance to see it maybe a day or two before the really big crowds which will start to swell around the 11th and 12th. Spend a day or two here, there are lots of quaint inns and B&Bs, and whiterose has given you some very good suggestions for activities. Then, as she suggests, head up Alt-US-1 to Bangor and across Maine on US-2 towards New Hampshire.

    Which is where we'll pick this up tomorrow....

    (Also, I may move this part of the thread to the Fall RoadTrips forum, but not right now.)

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-07-2006 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Broken Link Fixed; Link for Acadia Added

  6. Default ...and continues


    Thanks for your response, of course I am greatful for the advice and do not expect anything but suggestions from all of you.... in fact I was surprised you were able to write back so quickly. Hope to hear from you again soon:) Thank you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Fall in Northern New England: New Hampshire

    OK - so let's see if we can't at least finish up the outline of a great trip that will knock your boyfriend's socks off. I last left you heading west on US-2 out of Bangor towards New Hampshire. This is as real as real Maine is going to get. Away from the coast and away from the tourist spots, this road will take you through some of the economically depressed old mill towns. Don't get me wrong, the drive will be gorgeous and the people will be wonderful, but do take the time to have a meal in one of the local restaurants, talk to some of the 'regulars' and drop some much needed coin where it will be appreciated. Anyway, off my soapbox.

    Just before you enter New Hampshire, you should take a left onto ME-113 and drive up into Evans Notch. Be sure to stop at the Ranger Station and get info on the Patte Brook Auto Tour. I'm now having trouble with the link I supplied for it, so here's another one. This will give you a good intro into what the next couple of days are going to be like. Most of the tourists coming up from Boston, Hartford and New York will stop when they get to the White Mountains. The beauty of coming into New Hampshire on US-2 from Maine is that you are already on the 'back' side of the mountains which act as a filter. These areas will be much less crowded than even 25 miles south. Once you've gotten a taste of this, head back up to US-2 and continue westward through the Shelburne Birches. I'm going to suggest that you stay for a couple of days in the Jefferson, NH area to experience the White Mountains. There are a couple of places that might meet your needs. One is the Applebrook Bed and Breakfast. I stayed there last year and liked it very much. It is an old New England home, so it creaks a bit, but the hosts were incredibly gracious, and it's right across the road from the Waumbek Country Club (a local institution) and its great views of the Presidential Range. The other is the Mountain View Grand which I think might fit your definition of a fancy shmancy hotel. Either way, or if you stay somewhere else, the point here is to get into the mountains a bit. A couple of options would be to drive to the top of Mt. Washington, but this might be a bit crowded and is not for those with acrophobia. If you're into hiking, one of the best all day hikes is the climb from Jefferson Notch to the top of Mt. Jefferson. As they say, inquire locally. There are also any number of less strenuous hikes in the region. Also take the time to wander around the typical northern New England towns of Lancaster, Littleton, and Gorham. And just soak up the beauty.

    OK - I didn't get as far as I would have liked. Next will be Vermont - Ben and Jerry's, covered bridges, lake cruises, college town night life, a trip back in time, and more great scenery.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-07-2006 at 03:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Fall in Northern New England: Vermont

    OK - Let's finish up. Somewhere around Waterbury or Bolton would make an excellent choice for your next home base. I was going to recommend a bed and breakfast that my wife and I stayed at in Starksboro, but it seems to have stopped accepting guests. Too bad. Our accommodations had their own private water fall! Anyway, assuming you do find a good place for two or three nights in that area, you'll want to, of course, take the tour of Ben & Jerry's, but there are other great attractions there as well. If traffic isn't too bad, continue up to Stowe and see a ski resort town in the fall, but also take the time to visit the Trapp Family Lodge. The Baron and Maria are buried in the family cemetery on the grounds and the hike to a small stone chapel they had built on one of their hills was wonderful when we did it in the summer. It should be breathtaking in the fall. For something completely different, go to the Hope Cemetery in Barre. This is where the local stone cutters bury their own, and the grave markers are like nowhere else, from the impossibly ornate to the uniquely whimsical. The area southeast of Barre has perhaps the greatest concentration of covered bridges anywhere in the world. Get an official Vermont state map that has all the bridges marked on it and wander some of the back roads in this area.

    You'll need at least a day to explore the Burlington area. This is home to the University of Vermont and has a bustling night life centered around the Church Street Marketplace. One other little excursion my wife and I really enjoyed was taking the ferry from Charlotte, VT to Essex, NY and back. We just left the car in the parking lot on the Vermont side, which had two advantages. We didn't have to pay to transport the car across and, since foot passengers board first, we got two of the very few seats available to enjoy the 'cruise'. We then took a short stroll around Essex and then returned on one of the later boats. At this time of year the crossing should be glorious. Another great location is Shelburne Farms on the shore of Lake Champlain south of Burlington. It's now an environmental teaching facility (and also has an Inn on the property) with some lovely walks and views across the lake. If you get the chance, tag along with a school group for a while. We did and got to milk a cow.

    Finally, on your way back down to Manchester, if you can at all spare the time, take VT-100 down through the center of the state. It is the quintessential New England two-lane blacktop. Along the way, stop in the village of Plymouth to tour the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. This preserves the town essentially as it was in Cal's day, and the Coolidge home, church and offices, as well as a fairly well done museum, are open to the public. From there, it's a relatively short drive (about two and a half hours) to Manchester and the flight home.

    Hope that's all been of help. I don't think you can get to everything even with the 10 days you have, but at least you're not going to lack for things to do.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Wow, I want to do this leg!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    This is where the local stone cutters bury their own, and the grave markers are like nowhere else, from the impossibly ornate to the uniquely whimsical. The area southeast of Barre has perhaps the greatest concentration of covered bridges anywhere in the world. Get an official Vermont state map that has all the bridges marked on it and wander some of the back roads in this area.
    Fabulous post, makes me want to "calendar in" some time in New England this fall!


  10. Default Ok making Plans...

    AZBuck - wow this is great thank you.... ok so I am going to map this all out and book my lodging this week and then I will post all I have planned... So please stay tuned! Thanks AGAIN!

    - Shelly
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-01-2009 at 06:10 PM.

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