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  1. #1

    Default New England in the Fall_ changed from Road trip from sanfrancisco to east coast.

    Hi, our bucket list includes visiting all of the 50 states and we are about half way. Thoughts on our next trip would be to travel across the northern states by leaving from San Francisco through Portland and Seattle and then across Montana the Dakotas and either flying home from Detroit or going all the way to the east coast .....perhaps flying back to the U.K. from Boston. Thinking of the bulk of the trip being in September. Can you advise of the optimum timescale to allow for this trip? I’m hoping 4-6 weeks would enable us to feel that we had done it justice. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default That would work.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you could create a nice leisurely trip as you describe with 4-6 weeks but there are many, many sightseeing options along the way. You should get a good map and do plenty of research and start making notes of places that interest you and how long you may want to stay there, sort of building a plan and then you can see how your trip may (or may not) fit into an itinerary that you would find leisurely enough. As you move forward with your planning we can answer any specific questions and make suggestions to help you get the best from your trip. Just searching the forums and many other road trip planning pages on this site will give you plenty of ideas.

    Enjoy the planning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Personal Decisions Are, Well, Personal

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoedixon
    Can you advise of the optimum timescale to allow for this trip?
    The simple fact is that if 4-6 weeks is what you have available, then 4-6 weeks is the 'optimum timescale' to allow for this trip. I will simply note that I've made a few Grand Circuits of the United States over the years. Each of them has been a complete loop returning to the same point at which they started, and each has lasted three weeks, because that's what I had available. You can read about one of them here. As you can see, your timescale is downright leisurely compared to that, and yet I still managed to see and do quite a bit. What matters more than the time you have at your disposal (assuming you have enough to make the trip safely) is how you dispose of it.

    So what I'd suggest you concentrate on is what you want to accomplish on this trip. Start looking for those places that you would regret not including. Yes, you can wander a bit to include more states towards your goal of all 50. And yes, you can hit the traditional highlights of such a trip such as Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone and other National Parks. But you can also take the time to settle down on occasion, take a break from the road, and explore an area in depth such as southwestern South Dakota where there is a cluster of scenic and natural sites including Badlands NP, Devils Tower NM, Wind and Jewel Caves, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore.

    Once you know what you want to see, even in the most general sense, we can certainly help you find both places that meet those desires and scenic routes that connect them and hit as many states as possible. But to answer your immediate questions: Yes, 4-6 weeks can certainly make for a leisurely trip, since you could conceivably cross the country in one week. You can, indeed, get all the way to the east coast and, if you're making this trip in September (or a little bit later) I would strongly suggest that you do that so you can experience fall in New England if you haven't done so already.


  4. #4

    Default New England in the fall.

    After a change of mind about dates we can travel we now think New England in the fall would work for us. Can I have your thoughts on this draft itinerary for a road trip to New England please and any ideas on suggested routes etc.

    Day 1 24/9 Arrive Boston pick up car rental drive to cape cod (70 miles 75 mins )

    day 2 25/9 cape cod (Martha’s vineyard/Nantucket

    Day 3 26/9 Cape cod

    Day 4 27/9 drive to Rhode Island (providence and /or Newport) 75 miles

    Day 5 28/9 Rhode Island (where to stay?)

    Day 6 29/9 drive to mystic Connecticut stay the night or move on??

    Day 7 30/9 drive to berkshires where to stay in Berkshire’s? (Great barrington /Lennox) 120 miles 2-3 hours

    Day 8 1/10 Berkshire’s

    Day 9 2/10 drive to Manchester 90 miles 2hours

    Day 10 3/10 green mountains /drive Vermont 100 head for Burlington 3 hours 150 miles

    Day 11 4/10 Burlington

    Day 12 5/10 drive to white mountains 100 miles 2-3 hours

    Day 13 6/10 white mountains

    Day 14 7/10 white mountains (drive the kancangamus highway)

    Day 15 8/10 drive to Acadia 5 hour drive?

    Day 16 9/10 Acadia

    Day 18 10/10 Acadia

    Day 19 11/10 Acadia

    Day 20 12/10 drive to camden/ Rockport 80 miles 2 hours

    Day 21 13/10 Camden/Rockport

    Day 22 14/10 drive to Portland Maine 90 miles 2 hours ( Columbus day??)

    Day 23 15/10 drive to Portsmouth nh 56 miles / 1 hour 40 (take route 1? Also stop at Ogunquit and walk the marginal way.)

    Day 24 16/10 drive to Boston 60 miles 1 hour

    Day 25 17/10 Boston

    Day 26 18/10 fly out of boston to Sarasota.

    Moderator Notes: Even though this new trip plan is different from the original thread, we've elected to move it into this thread. -- And the thread name has been changed to reflect this development.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-20-2019 at 08:04 AM. Reason: Explanation for moderation of thread

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Home

    I lived in northern New England for many years and if home is where the heart is, it is still my home. I will tell you that your plan hits all the 'high spots' and will perforce be immensely rewarding. However that is also a possible flaw in your plan - it hits all the high spots at the most scenic time of the year, so things might get a bit crowded in some of the more popular sites such as the Kancamagus Highway and Acadia. That's not to say that you shouldn't include those but just be aware that there are alternatives that are almost as scenic and can be even more rewarding because you will have them more to yourselves. Such sites and roads are what I will concentrate on.

    But first things first, I will first suggest that you consider driving your basic loop in a counter-clockwise direction rather than clockwise. There are a couple of reasons for this. Yes, it will put the Atlantic on 'your' side of the road as you drive from Boston up to Acadia, but that is a relatively minor consideration. More important is the fact that the foliage color change starts in the northeast and works its way southwest through the fall. While your current plan almost guarantees that you'll hit 'peak color' at some point in your drive, reversing your direction means that you're likely to have more, if not 'peak' color throughout your drive. Just as a point of reference, when Columbus Day was fixed on Oct. 12th, it was the traditional marker for peak color and reversing your loop would put you (very roughly) in southern Vermont/western Massachusetts at that time - near perfect.

    OK, now onto some 'back' roads where you'll get essentially the same great scenery but far less traffic. NH-1A between Hampton and Portsmouth is a chance to get a taste of beachfront when it should be practically deserted, and Odiorne State Park was always one of my favorite refuges when I worked in Portsmouth. Then at York ME I would invite you to drop down on US-1A through York, taking time to have a good look at the statue of a Civil War soldier in the center of town. The story always was that they got a Confederate statue by mistake; you can make your own decision. Then continue on to Cape Neddick and the Nubble which sits on a small island just offshore. Between there and Acadia, there's one more side trip I'd recommend and that's Colonial Pemaquid. You really should drive down one of the many rocked ribs of the coast of Maine and you might as well make it one with an interesting and historic, as well as scenic, destination.

    Next up, after Camden/Rockport and Acadia would be the drive to the White Mountains. I think most mapping routines will tell you to take US-1A and I-95 to Augusta, but I'll suggest something a bit different and that's US-1A to Bangor but then US-2 west to New Hampshire. This is a road that isn't used much by tourists but will take you through Maine logging country and several small towns. Just before entering New Hampshire you'll enter the town of Gilead where I strongly suggest that you take ME-113 south through Evans Notch, as hidden a gem as you'll ever find. One word of caution though, check your rental agreement carefully. Although this is a state highway (actually two, as it wanders back and forth across the NH state line) and thus 'maintained', back when I was using it, portions of it were unpaved. Still, it is spectacular and essentially unknown to most tourists.

    ME-113 will bring you out at Fryeburg where US-302/NH-113 will take you to Conway and the start of the Kancamagus Highway, NH-112. This is, of course, a beautiful road and well worth the drive, but in the fall it WILL be crowded and slow. Try your best to drive it on a weekday rather than on Saturday or Sunday when traffic is at its worst. If it helps with the timing, you can take a side trip from Conway up to Glen NH and drive to the top of Mount Washington. On the west side of the Kancamagus, head north up US-3/I-93 through Franconia Notch and hike up the Flume Trail.

    Continuing west into Vermont on US-2, Stowe is worth considering for a side trip with several covered bridges in the area, Ben and Jerry's, and the Trapp Family Lodge. (The Baron and Maria are buried in a small private plot on the grounds.) But for something truly different, unique and enjoyable, be sure to stop in Barre, outside Montpelier, at Hope Cemetery. This is where the local stonemasons bury their own and the markers are ornate, whimsical, and utterly unlike anything you'll see anywhere else.

    While in Burlington, you should plan on taking one of the ferries across Lake Champlain. Just leave the car in Vermont, enjoy the 'cruise' over to New York, wander around the town on the far side, and return on the next ferry. You can combine this with a visit to Shelburne Farms by using the Charlotte-Essex Ferry. South through Vermont, VT-100 is the scenic road and passes through Plymouth which is preserved as an historic site. 'All' that would be left at that point would be to continue south into the Berkshires and then head east back to Boston using as much of the Mohawk Trail as you like, OR to head down through Connecticut and Rhode Island if you so choose. But I've written enough for now, I think.

    You're in for a treat.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-20-2019 at 02:16 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Me-113

    I don't think I've driven ME-113 and it sounds like a road I want to experience.

    One more thing for my personal bucket-list-routes.

  7. #7


    Thank you so much for the invaluable info on which back roads to use this is exactly what we need. However I have conflicting info about the direction of travel and am getting more confused. Originally I had set out our trip counter clockwise please see itinerary below. I was then told by several people that I needed to flip the route and that On arrival at Boston I should immediately get the car rental and head south to Cape Cod, RI and Conn.Then swing west visit the Berkshires and get up to VT which peaks during week4/Sept. Head east to the White Mtns. They typically peak week1/Oct into week2.Then head over to Acadia Natl Park and Bar Harbor. They will typically peak Week2/Oct.
    Then head south down the coast.F inishup in Boston as Boston should reach it's peak mid-Oct and Boston is just brilliant with all it's trees.
    With a little luck, we should be close to peak the entire trip from maybe the Berkshires, but definitely VT forward all the way to Boston with VT and the White Mtns of NH will be most stunning.

    Day 1 24/9 Arrive Boston
    day 2 25/9 Boston
    Day 3 26/9 Boston
    2 full days in Boston - hopon tour/freedom trail/state house/cheers bar Quincy market, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Harvard uni/ MIT/ Boston harbour for tea party history?)
    Eat at bogeys place a hidden room in JM Curley linked to prohibition
    Check out places to stay as Boston is super expensive
    The Copley House (Back Bay, 8.1 rating on
    Boston Park Plaza (Theatre District, 8.3 rating on
    Godfrey hotel??
    Airbnb? Stay close to a metro link or downtown.

    Day 4 27/9 Boston MA to Portsmouth NH via Salem 60 miles.

    Day 5 28/9 Portsmouth NH to Portland Maine 60 miles take route 1 up coast (at least from York to kennebunkport. Also stop at Ogunquit and walk the marginal way.

    Day 6 29/9 Portland Maine to Rockport Maine 80 miles check out staying at Camden rather than Rockport. Also checkout visiting samoset resort in Rockport.

    Day 7 30/9 Rockport Maine to Bar harbour /Acadia national park Maine 80 miles

    3 days at Acadia
    Day 8 1/10 Acadia
    Day 9 2/10 Acadia
    day 10 3/10 Acadia

    Day 11 4/10 Acadia to White Mountain national Forest (drive the kancamangus highway) 200 miles 4 hours

    3 days at white mountains
    Day 12 5/10 white mountains
    Day 13 6/10 White Mountain National Forest
    Day 14 7/10 White Mountain National Forest

    Day 15 8/10 White Mountain National Forest to Burlington Vt via Stowe (use the 302 for beauty) 100 miles allow 3 hours.

    Day 16 9/10 Burlington Vt to Manchester (drive the Vermont 100 /see green mountains)

    Day 17 10/10 stay around Manchester
    Day 18 11/10 Manchester to Berkshires MA (stay around Berkshire’s?) 100 miles

    Day 19 12/10 Berkshires to mystic 100 miles
    Day 20 13/10 mystic to Newport Rhode Island 50 miles
    Day 21 14/10 Rhode Island
    Day 22 15/10 Newport Rhode Island cape cod via providence ri 74 miles
    Day 23 16/10 Cape cod (Martha’s vineyard and nantucket)
    Day 24 17/10 cape cod
    Day 25 18/10 drive to Boston via Plymouth.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 03-20-2019 at 07:20 PM. Reason: removed misformatted quote

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It's Different Each Year, BUT....

    Fall foliage in New England varies a bit from year to year, and with Global Warming it is getting just a little bit later each year. The best indicator you can have is current reports, but of course you need to plan and make reservations well ahead of your trip. Thus the best I can do for you is to point you to last year's Columbus Day color map. As you can see, the foliage has barely started to change colors in Connecticut, Rhode Island and on Cape Cod and the Islands. As I mentioned, color at that time of year is near perfect in northern New England and in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Compare that with last year's color in the fourth week of September! That's why I suggested you start by heading north first, circling around through the White and Green Mountains, and save the southern New England states for last. You can't hit peak everywhere but I truly believe such a strategy gives you your best shot at seeing spectacular color at some point and good color throughout your trip. And to be fair, coastal areas including Maine's have their own beauty that will delight you even if you don't hit them at peak.


  9. #9


    I have tried to take on board feedback, and have revised things as follows.

    Can I have your thoughts on this itinerary and routes incase I’ve misunderstood anything.

    Draft itinerary

    Day 1 Tuesday 24/9 Arrive Boston on BA0213 from LHR arrive 1335 local time. (Time for a DUCK TOUR?) if not then perhaps visit cheers bar in beacon hill.
    Day 2 Wednesday 25/9 Day in Boston
    Day 3 Thursday 26/9 Day in Boston

    Things to do in Boston duck tour (better than the hop on hop off) walking tour to include freedom trail, foodie walking tour in north end (little Italy), cheers bar, Quincy market, Harvard uni, Boston harbour,Public garden, beacon hill, make way for ducklings statue, Omni park house for original Boston Creme pie, Boston public market for New England produce, sunset dinner cruise, lunch at Quincy market/Faneuil hAll, dine at bogeys place a hidden room in JM Curley linked to prohibition, also check out buttermilk &borbon, Tatte Bakery and cafe, bell in hand tavern)

    [Freedom trail 16 Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church ,Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel and Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, USS*Constitution, Bunker Hill


    DAY 4 Friday 27/9 BOSTON MA to PORTSMOUTH NH via Salem.
    Boston to Salem on route 107 17 miles 45 minutes. Stop at witch museum.
    Salem to Portsmouth NH get on the route 1A and hug the coast road through Hampton and jenness beach. Perhaps Check out odiorne state park although fee of $4 applies) 40 miles 90 minutes.

    Visit discover Portsmouth (12 minute video and a small museum) and consider a walking tour. Try to book b&b in Martin hill inn 404 Islington street 03801 quaint b&b and recommended breakfast . ($130 + taxes)

    Day 5 Saturday 28/9 Portsmouth NH to Portland Maine take the US 1A from York.
    Stop at the statue of a civil war soldier in YORK (did they get a confederate statue by mistake?!) continue on to cape neddick and photograph the nubble (the most photographed lighthouse in USA) stop at Ogunquit and walk the marginal way (a short 1 Mile walk along the ocean) 65 miles 2hours 10 mins.

    Day 6 Sunday 29/9 Portland Maine to Camden Maine take route 1 - divert off onto route 130 to Colonial Pemaquid (you should drive down one of the many rocked ribs of the coast of Maine and this one is interesting and historic as well as a scenic destination) the drive to C.P. Will take a couple of hours although it’s only 60 odd miles and then back track to pick up route 1 and another hour drive to Camden stop at rockland and Rockport before staying at Camden.

    Day 7 Monday 30/9 Camden Maine to Bar Harbour route 1 (77 miles 100 minutes)

    Day 8 Tuesday 1/10 bar harbour Acadia national park (fees apply)
    Day 9 Wednesday 2/10 bar harbour Acadia national park
    Day 10 Thursday 3/10 bar harbour Acadia national park

    Day 11 Friday 4/10 drive to white mountains (advice is to use US1A to Bangor then US 2 west to New Hampshire) about 4-5 hours 200 miles plus

    Day 12 Saturday 5/10 white mountains consider travelling to fryeburg for the fair and travelling route 113 through Evans notch.)
    Day 13 Sunday 6/10 white mountains
    Day 14 Monday 7/10 white mountains

    Day 15 Tuesday 8/10 drive to Burlington vt via Stowe VT (use US2 or sr302??) 90 miles 2 hours to get to Stowe. Burlington is approx 40 miles west of Stowe. (several covered bridges in the area, Ben and Jerry's, and the Trapp Family Lodge. (The Baron and Maria are buried in a small private plot on the grounds.) But for something truly different, unique and enjoyable, be sure to stop in Barre, outside Montpelier, at Hope Cemetery. This is where the local stonemasons bury their own and the markers are ornate, whimsical, and utterly unlike anything you'll see anywhere else)

    Day 16 Wednesday 9/10 stay in Burlington ferry across lake Champlain to NY state /Shelburne farms? / ausable chasm?

    Day 17 Thursday 10/10 drive south through Vermont using vt100 through Plymouth to Manchester (100 miles 2 hours plus) stay in or around Manchester.

    Day 18 Friday 11/10 drive Manchester to Berkshire’s (stay Lennox??) approx 70 miles 90 mins

    Day 19 Saturday 12/10 stay in Lennox a second night?

    Day 20 Sunday 13/10 drive from Lennox MA to mystic ct via old Sturbridge village (60 miles 90 mins to old Sturbridge and then a further 60 miles 90 mins to mystic).stay in mystic?

    Day 21 Monday 14/10 drive from mystic to Newport Rhode Island (50 miles 1 hr)
    and onto cape cod (75 miles 90 mins)

    Day 22 Tuesday 15/10 cape cod Martha’s Vineyard and/or Nantucket

    Day 23 Wednesday 16/10 spare day - extra day at cape cod or add a day in earlier on??

    Day 24 Thursday 17/10 visit Plymouth Rock on way back to Boston and stay close enough to airport for early start tomorrow (drop rental car back today??/airport hotel??

    Day 25 Friday 18/10 fly out of Boston at 0830

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona



    I make no claim to any special expertise when it comes to the autumn foliage in New England. I can only speak from my own personal experience, and from that limited perspective, I see one major flaw in your plan: you need more time in Vermont! I took a two week road trip in Late September/early October, around about 5 years ago. I drove from Washington DC to northern Pennsylvania, where I picked up a friend, and from there, we headed east, ultimately passing through four of the New England states. The back roads and covered bridges of rural Vermont, threading through those mountains cloaked in their autumn finery? Wow! I'd have to say that Vermont blew the doors off everything else we saw.

    I have a slide show of photos from that trip at this link: Autumn Leaves: Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Hampshire

    Whichever way you go, it's going to be a beautiful trip!


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