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  1. Default VT/NH/Maine itinerary suggestions

    Hi all. I was given stellar advice for my trip from Vegas to Denver last year and took in some memorable roads, none of which I'd have found if it hadn't been for the fantastic wisdom gleaned from this forum.

    This year I find I have three days in mid April to get from Burlington VT to Portland ME. The only things definitely on my itinerary are Ben & Jerry's and Mount Washington, although suggestions as to whether it's better to drive up than take the cog railway would be appreciated. But I would be grateful for any thoughts with regard to great drives, not-to-be-missed scenery, mountains, coast, whatever. I will be in Burlington for the start of Day 1 and fly out from Portland early evening of Day 3.

    Many thanks in anticipation and best wishes.
    Last edited by mordrydd; 01-25-2016 at 07:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Almost Anywhere

    To be perfectly honest, it's virtually impossible to find a non-scenic road in northern New England, especially in the general area you'll be driving through. There has already been a lot written about roads and sites in New England but here are a few that you should probably pay particular attention to given your relatively short time frame. Yes, Ben and Jerry's, but just up the road in Stowe is the von Trap Family Lodge and the graves of the Baron and Maria. And as long as I'm mentioning graveyards, how often does a graveyard make the top ten list of things to see? Hope Cemetery just outside Barre VT would be on mine. I would definitely take the Mount Washington Auto Road rather than the cog railway, unless the thought of driving an unpaved road with no guardrails up the side of a mountain freaks you out. North Conway NH is a shopper's haven with tons of outlet stores. If that appeals, fine; if not give the town a wide berth to avoid its traffic. If you're coming down NH-16 after driving up Mount Washington, the only ways to avoid North Conway involve use of un-numbered back roads so let me know if you'd like to do that. Otherwise continue down NH-16 to US-302 to Fryeburg and take ME-113/ME-25 into Portland. If you arrive there early enough before your flight, the waterfront and the Eastern Promenade are worth a leisurely stroll before heading to the Jetport which is very close to downtown, but use ME-9/ME-22 rather than I-295.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-25-2016 at 10:37 AM.

  3. Default

    Very many thanks for such comprehensive advice and the really useful link. I'm not looking to go direct to Portland, but am aiming to drive for the best part of 3 days with just the occasional stop. I'm hoping that it makes sense to contrast the mountains with the coast and am looking at making it to Bar Harbor for my last night, next day to meander down Highway 1 to catch my late afternoon flight. Is this a worthwhile route, or do you never see the sea?! It LOOKS like you would (from Google maps)....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    next day to meander down Highway 1 to catch my late afternoon flight. Is this a worthwhile route, or do you never see the sea?! It LOOKS like you would (from Google maps)....
    Here's where paper maps and Google maps agree. Both show that US-1 goes along the sea. It does, but it's hard to catch a view in the summer time. Perhaps it's easier in the winter time when all the trees have lost their leaves. Around Penobscot Bay is where you get a lovely look at the ocean and the bay itself. We took this route back in 2012. I believe it took us 3 or 4 hours to go from our motel at Portland to our cabin/motel at Bar Harbor; we took our time, stopped for lunch. What amazed me were the numbers of antiques stores along the route.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Days Traversing Northern New England

    It would, of course, be very easy to spend two days getting from Burlington to Bar Harbor, and those days could be full of great drives, pleasant hikes, and grand vistas. Besides the few sites I mentioned previously I would also suggest the following, given your time frame. First, make every effort to get an official state map of Vermont. Besides showing many back roads, including several unpaved but perfectly drivable roads through the mountains, this map shows the location of every covered bridge in the state.

    US-2 can serve as a basic route east through the Green and White Mountains, but I would heartily recommend that you take a short 'detour' south on US-3/I-93 to Franconia Notch. Unfortunately the Old Man of the Mountain has collapsed, but the Flume Trail in Franconia State Park is still (to me at least) the essence of what a good short hike in the mountains should be. You could then continue south to NH-112, the Kancamagus Highway, perhaps the most famous road in New Hampshire, across to NH-16 north to the Mount Washington Auto Road in Glen. Then continue north through Pinkham Notch back to US-2 in Gorham. Heading east, you'll be in the Shelburne Birches immediately. And shortly after you cross into Maine watch for ME-113 south. This is another great scenic road, but be advised that it is unpaved and slow, but completely serviceable. It will bring you 'out' at Fryeburg.

    At this point you'd have a choice, depending on how much of your available time you've already used and how much you have left. There are two basic routes between Bar Harbor and Portland. One slow and scenic, the other less scenic, actually a bit longer, but a bit faster and less prone to traffic slowdowns. If you're doing well on time at this point, I'd take the scenic route down (as in 'down east') to Bar Harbor and take the quicker route to Portland the next day when I had a plane to catch. The scenic route is basically just US-1 which you would reach from Fryeburg by taking ME-113/ME-114/ME-25 to Portland, using I-95/Falmouth Spur/I-295 around the city and on to US-1 out of Brunswick. The 'fast' route back to Portland would be ME-3/US-1A up to Bangor and I-95/I-295 down to Portland. Using I-295 instead of I-95 (the Maine Turnpike) between Randolph/Gardiner and Portland saves you the toll.


  6. Default

    Fantastic advice, as ever. Thank you so much. Here's hoping that the snows will have cleared by mid-April on some of the unpaved roads (such as ME-113)... Your recent US East Coast snow dump had manifested itself as unbelievable rainfall over here in Scotland.

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