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  1. Default New England 2015

    Hi there

    We received some fantastic advice from RTA in 2011 when we put together a California trip I wonder if we could again seek some local knowledge for a New England trip next year?

    From the UK we are flying into Boston on 30 September and have two weeks to play with.

    Having looked at various trip reports we have come up with the following initial thoughts:-

    Day 1 UK to Boston
    3-4 days stay in Boston area hopefully to take in a whale watching trip and perhaps an overnight to Cape Cod.
    Day 5 Drive from Boston to White Mountains
    4 days stay in White Mountains to take in Kancamagus Highway - Mount Washington - Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch
    Day 10 Drive to The Berkshires via Connecticut River Valley, Claremont and Green Mountain National Park.
    3 days in The Berkshire Hills
    Day 14 Return to Boston

    The main purpose of the trip is to experience the colour of the Fall and to find some outstanding scenery and picturesque towns and villages on the way.

    The driving distances I know are relatively short compared to our California trip but I wonder if anyone can recommend a different mix based on roughly the same route to enhance our holiday.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Options to Avoid the Crowds

    As you note, you are coming to New England at peak foliage time. Unfortunately, that is also peak leaf-peeper time and the roads of northern New England (mostly two-lane with limited passing opportunities) can get severely crowded. This is especially true of well-known scenic 'highways' like NH-16 north to the White Mountains, the Kancamagus, and US-5 down the Connecticut River Valley. So let me suggest some equally scenic but far less-traveled alternatives.

    Northbound: From the New Hampshire coast to the mountains, NH-16 is fine for the first part as it's a four-lane toll road past Rochester. But shortly after it becomes a free two-lane road, south of Sanbornville, leave it for NH-153 north all the way up to Conway. This road actually detours briefly into Maine as it skirts around the east side of Province Lake, and is duplexed with NH-25 west for a short bit as well. At Conway, you have a choice when you come out at the junction with NH-16. You can turn left, go south for a few miles, and then turn right onto NH-112, the Kancamagus Highway - a gorgeous drive, but if traffic is heavy, the driver will not get to enjoy it much. You can turn right and take NH-16 north through North Conway with its fairly large collection of outlet stores, but unless shopping is a priority, this is the least enjoyable option. You can also go straight to Washington Street and then bear left onto West Side Road which also heads north, running parallel to NH-16 but with none of the traffic or congestion of that road. West Side Road eventually comes out on US-302 just west of NH-16, and if you go this way, you can either continue west (left) on US-302 through Crawford Notch to the Franconia Notch area or jog right to continue north on NH-16 (and the Mount Washington Auto Road) to US-2 west. You would then get to Franconia Notch by taking NH-115/US-3 south.

    Around the North Country: While I heartily agree with your choice of Franconia Notch as a highlight of this RoadTrip, and by all means make the hike back into the Flume Gorge, there are other areas that you should explore as long as you've come all this way. After coming south through Franconia Notch, NH-112/US-302 west will take you into a particularly scenic region of Vermont. Around Barre/Montpelier, you have both the state capital (the only one in the US without a McDonald's!) and the center of the marble quarrying/carving trade. It's not often that one visits a cemetery as an attraction in its own right but Hope Cemetery in Barre certainly qualifies. Another cemetery you might want to visit while here would be the family cemetery at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe where Baron and Maria von Trapp are buried. If you go there, be sure to take the tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury. The area south of Montpelier/Barre headed to the Connecticut River Valley also has perhaps the highest concentration of picturesque covered bridges anywhere in the world. If you get an official Vermont state map either beforehand or at one of their welcome/information centers, it shows all the covered bridges in the state - take your pick.

    Down the Connecticut River Valley. As noted earlier, US-5 on the Vermont side of the river tends to get a bit crowded during foliage season, but I've never seen it get terrible, and the sight-lines are good. But the same is as true if not more so for the roads down the New Hampshire side of the river: NH-10/NH-12A/NH-12. So feel free to cross the river as often as you like. Sites worth seeing on this run would include Quechee Gorge near White River Junction VT and the Fort at No. 4 near Charlestown NH. VT-11 provides the best route across the Green Mountains at this point to either VT-100 (a gorgeous drive in the mountains but subject to the same kind of heavy seasonal tourist traffic I've mentioned) or US-7 (a larger road down the flatter Batten Kill valley) south into the Berkshires.

    Back to Boston: This one is easy - just take the Mohawk Trail (basically MA-2) back into Boston.

    I hope all that helps you find a more relaxed and less clogged way to enjoy one of my favorite places/times to visit.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-04-2014 at 02:42 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck for the very detailed response. Have followed your suggested route on the map and given the expected traffic it follows less busy roads without a loss of scenic value.
    Thanks again

  4. #4


    Hi Simon
    I am just planning our trip from Chicago to Boston and we will be staying one week in Albany NY, leaving Boston for UK on the 30th September, the day that you arrive! So we will not get the best of the Fall that you will see. However, the advice that you were given will work well for us too and maybe the traffic will not be as bad as predicted. Have a great trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default See the Lighthouses

    If you have time, run along Maine's coast for some wonderful lighthouses. They have a lot of them.

    And, Ba Haba (Bar Harbor) is a must stop.

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