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Trip Report Columbus Day weekend shopping and leaf peeping trip

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I've been coming up to the BOS GTG for years (2005 I think) and I always stay a few extra days for shopping and touring. I've been to Nantucket and the Cape, back in the early days of coming to this big event. For the last 3-4 years, though, I've selected New Hampshire as my destination for that last couple of days.

Why New Hampshire? I really enjoy the leaf peeping! Yes, we get color in Illinois, but there are years when the color around the White Mountains in northern NH is really RED and YELLOW. This is not one of those years, but it was still lovely. Such friendly folks up here!!!!!!!! Sincerely mean that!!!!!!!

The BOS GTG was the reason for coming east (from ORD) and it was another grand affair. We love listening to each other's travel stories and adventures. This time we had several newbie couples and they were delightful! Soooo glad they came. Hope they come again next year! And I hope some of those of you who have considered coming, but are still balking at the idea.... don't hesitate. What a wonderful group of people to get to know.

OK. Norwood Residence Inn was the appointed hotel, and it was fine. I've stayed in a number of R I's and they are all just a little bit different. This one was fine. I'm platinum with Marriott so had a nice room with a door to the bedroom. Some had a more open concept layout. Breakfast was good, and plentiful. Dinner at Bob and Karen's on Friday night was fantastic. Karen went all out to make it special.... there was even a birthday cake for lcuy (Lucy) who had been travelling from Cambodia of all places, to make the GTG!!

Lunch on Saturday was at a very nice Italian place (the name escapes me now...Olivadi or something?) and I believe it was also in Norwood. I could have stayed on and on, talking to everyone who came, but you never get a chance to speak to everyone!! Travelribbon....Stacy... I sincerely mean that I am proud of you and I want you to report in and let us know how you are doing after making your big move!!! Nikki, I know you will have a fabulous time in India, if you just loosen up and take it all in. Asia can be overwhelming! If you enjoy it enough, you'll want to return, like some of us keep doing. I'll be making my 29th trip to Bangkok in less than 2 weeks time.

Saturday night Dinner was at the Thai place in Cambridge that we've 'done' for years. Always great! We get a few people at dinner who cannot manage to make the bigger luncheon, so more people to try to talk to!! Talk talk talk.... travel travel travel... it's always fantastic. One of my favorite weekends of the year.

Off to New Hampshire on Sunday morning after the farewell breakfast at the appointed hotel. Weather was a bit showery on my drive to N. Conway. I stopped off in Amherst and had lunch with a very dear friend. I drove up 93 (or is it 95) to the exit at Lincoln, got into the huge traffic congestion, and then took the Kanc (Kancamogus) Drive. Beautiful! Traffic was heavy, as expected, but a lot of it was going in the opposite direction. Lots of places to stop along this drive to take photos. One of my favorite roads in the USA.

My Residence Inn in North Conway for 2 nights had a fireplace!!! I loved using it, once I figured out that you just had to flip the timer switch to turn it on (gas). I had an upgrade to an executive suite, and it was really nice. Some folks say this is their favorite Residence Inn, and I can see that it has a lot of pluses. Breakfast was good, but very busy. They have lots of seating area, which is much needed during leap peeping time.

Shopping at the various outlets was really great this year. No sales tax, and also big sales at most places I shopped! I had to pick up another suitcase to get everything home! My first Travelpro light way zip hardsider. It's probably sturdy, but feels so light.... time (and lots of travel) will tell. I came for sweaters, and ended up with sweaters, shoes, Coach bags, and some items for DH.

My last night was at Fairfield Inn, near Manchester airport. Forgot to mention that I always fly in and out of Manchester rather than BOS airport. I hate driving in Boston, so avoid that by flying into MHT and driving to the GTG, which is always on the outskirts of BOS. This Fairfield Inn is basic, but close to the airport. There is a shuttle if needed. I always have a rental car.

Had dinner once more with my dear friends in Amherst, and visited the new outlet mall at Merrimac. Nice! It's the Premium, not the Tanger Outlets. Still having great sales. There is a bigger Coach store here, and the variety of items (all at 30% off) is better than at N. Conway and/or Tilton.

Now it's time to head back to Illinois. I've just finished my last pumpkin spiced coffee. Somehow it just tastes so much better up here. Maybe it is the fall color outside, maybe it is that crisp morning air.... who knows. It's delicious!

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