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Question: Seeking Travel Advice in New England

VickiK

Angel Diva
Hi New England divas, is this tour (blue line) overly ambitious for 4 days? Would it be do-able if I cut it in half (yellow line)? I'm wondering if I can pull together a last minute fall colors/sightseeing trip.
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VickiK

Angel Diva
Contemplating first weekend in October.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
It's an ambitious 4 days...overly ambitious? Depends on how much time you want to spend in the car sightseeing vs. out of the car sightseeing. You could pretty easily spend 4 days on the northern route of NH you've marked out between spending time in the Conway area, driving across the Kanc and heading up through Franconia Notch.

As for cutting it in half (with the yellow line), which way are you thinking about cutting it? Personally I think the northern part of your trip is significantly better, so if you're gonna cut...I'd cut the southern part out.

Couple things to consider:

Depending on when you're thinking about going, the fall colors can be pretty different from the northern to the southern parts of the route you marked out; Brattleboro's leaves will change after Franconia's.

If you're going during peak leaf-peeping season, traffic will be worse and will add a bit of time to your driving.

Consider taking Route 1 from Boston to Portland if you do have time...it's a lot more scenic than I-95, takes your through some neat little New England towns, however... it will take you quite a bit longer.

There's tons of different fall festivals that go on in New England in the fall (e.g. Keene Pumpkin Festival, Dover Apple Harvest Day, etc.) that might be of interest for a morning or afternoon during your trip.

Lastly, you could always start out and depending on how long it takes you to get to Montpelier, make a game-time decision to continue on or cut it short and head south on 89 to 93 back to Boston pretty quickly.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, definitely ambitious. Hey, you gotta stop and smell the roses (see the leaves)! I'd do the upper part and leave out the lower. And let me know if you do the yellow line part. That's my neck of the woods.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
Oh, just saw that you're looking at 1st weekend in October...North American Wife Carrying Championship is taking place at Sunday River that weekend...just a FYI, use the information as you choose.:becky:
 

VickiK

Angel Diva
Yeah, all this sounds really good. I'll research more and pare down the route. Thank you!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Yeah, all this sounds really good. I'll research more and pare down the route. Thank you!

I would vote to skip the MassPike as well and go farther north. First weekend is early, you will get better foliage further north. And mountains. The coast is beautiful, but the traffic can be a bear.

From Montpelier, south on 89 and 91 is a beautiful trip, which I prefer over the New York route. I AM biased, though!
 

Tvan

Angel Diva
Ditto on the upper route, following the yellow line. You'll be driving through some beautiful countryside...you're going to want to stop and enjoy along the way!

You might want to swing north to Stowe as you travel between Burlington and Montpelier on your northern leg, and you might want to stop in Hanover as you pass by Lebanon on your southern leg. There's a fun independent bookstore in Rutland (although the mothership of all independent bookstores is further south in Manchester...off your path. Next time, though). Looking forward to Lake Placid with the Divas in January, myself!

I'm envious - you'll have a great time. So much to see and do!
 
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ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
More notes: Woodstock, VT, is a beautiful little town, well worth exploring. There's also great hiking all along Route 4 in Vermont. You could stop at Long Trail Brewery in Bridgwater for some local beer and Simon Pearce in Quechee to watch them blow glass. There are a lot of covered bridges along the way, too. If you go to Burlington, treat yourself to a cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Alan for a geologic and historic perspective of Lake Champlain. And off of I-89 in Waterbury, you can visit Ben & Jerry's.
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
@VickiK - if you want details on specific recommendations for must see/do/eat places on the seacoast of NH/ME or northern NH, I can give you plenty of ideas.
 

TeleChica

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
According to these foliage maps https://www.discovernewengland.org/fall-foliage-maps, VT will be right about peak 1st week in Oct, and only the northern areas in NH at peak. So you may want to re-think your route based on that. Maybe start in VT, then head over to NH. I might cross through Crawford or Pinkham Notch, rather than the Kanq, which is a bit further south. Plus I think the views in those two notches--is really more spectacular. Driving 302 past the Mt Washington hotel with views of Mt Wash and the Southern Presis is hands down stunning. Evans Notch is much less traveled, but also spectacular, although it's a bit of a leaf tunnel with fewer views.

If you haven't already, nail down lodging NOW. I was trying to book a trip to Kingdom Trails, and lots of places were booked.

Have fun--it's a glorious time to be in New England.
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
@VickiK I just saw this post! I always think the first weekend in Oct up to Columbus Day is our Peak Colors.
if you fly into Albany I=87 North up to lake placid used to be one of the most scenic highways in US! Albany to LP about 3.5hrs
Spend the day/night next day in LP. Take the Ferry (45min) across Lake Champlain to VT then take any of the high routes mentioned
for spectacular vistas!! Maybe even drive up Mt. Washington (may have snow)
You'll be in for a spectacular fall foliage tour for sure!!!


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Albertan ski girl

Angel Diva
@VickiK - just saw this post - so I'm going to chime in since I lived in Hanover, NH for 4 years and Boston for 8 :smile: I would skip the NY part too (I'm totally biased) and take 89 or 91 up. Stop in Ascutney - easy almost drive to the summit there from which you can see amazing views and foliage! Great food in Norwich, Vt and Hanover, NH. I also LOVE Woodstock, Vt and Quechee - if you can do a stay at the Quechee Inn, you'll love it. And +1 on Simon Pearce for the glass and the food. I definitely also think they northernmost route is the way to go. I love North Conway. And then come back along Highway 1 instead of 95 to Boston.

I would take MA-2 from Boston to North Adams - have food there and visit Mass Moca (best art museum in New England for me), then I would go from North Adams along highway 8 to Searsburg and east to Brattleboro. Then go north from Brattleboro along 91 with stops along the way - Ascutney, Hanover, Woodstock, Quechee then join up to your northern route, and make your way back south along highway 1.

Sounds like an amazing trip! Have fun!
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Just chiming in to second the recommendations for the Quechee/Woodstock area. Quechee has been my second home for about 20 years now, and it's well worth a visit. I'm a little jealous, actually, because being a teacher I almost never have a chance to get up there during the foliage. Simon Pearce has fantastic food as well as the glassware. There's a short trail at the Quechee Gorge that takes you down to the river, and it's a really pretty hike. In Woodstock, right adjacent to town, you can do a quick hike up Mt. Tom for great views.

Down in Windsor, as Albertan Ski Girl mentioned, Ascutney has some great hikes to the summit and if you stop by the base lodge area of the old ski resort while you're there you can see the very cool rope tow that local volunteers built so as to provide free skiing for kids and beginners. I know you're thinking "Why would I go out of my way to see a rope tow?" But it's honestly really impressive, especially considering that it was build solely with donations and volunteer/donated labor.

The Harpoon brewery in Windsor has good food and beer (of course) but beware that they close at around six p.m. which is an insane closing time for a brewery and makes no sense. :noidea:

Up by Killington, across from the Long Tail Inn, you can do a beautiful 3-mile hike up the AT/LT to the top of Pico Peak for some really spectacular views.

I know you're doing just a quick trip and wouldn't have time for all of this, but I just thought I'd throw out some of my favorites.

Safe travels!
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Just chiming in to second the recommendations for the Quechee/Woodstock area. Quechee has been my second home for about 20 years now, and it's well worth a visit. I'm a little jealous, actually, because being a teacher I almost never have a chance to get up there during the foliage. Simon Pearce has fantastic food as well as the glassware. There's a short trail at the Quechee Gorge that takes you down to the river, and it's a really pretty hike. In Woodstock, right adjacent to town, you can do a quick hike up Mt. Tom for great views.

Down in Windsor, as Albertan Ski Girl mentioned, Ascutney has some great hikes to the summit and if you stop by the base lodge area of the old ski resort while you're there you can see the very cool rope tow that local volunteers built so as to provide free skiing for kids and beginners. I know you're thinking "Why would I go out of my way to see a rope tow?" But it's honestly really impressive, especially considering that it was build solely with donations and volunteer/donated labor.

The Harpoon brewery in Windsor has good food and beer (of course) but beware that they close at around six p.m. which is an insane closing time for a brewery and makes no sense. :noidea:

Up by Killington, across from the Long Tail Inn, you can do a beautiful 3-mile hike up the AT/LT to the top of Pico Peak for some really spectacular views.

I know you're doing just a quick trip and wouldn't have time for all of this, but I just thought I'd throw out some of my favorites.

Safe travels!

All great suggestions. Also, don't miss the Windsor-Cornish bridge over the Connecticut River, the longest wooden covered bridge in North America.

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