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Manchester NH to Barnard VT best route October

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Hi everyone, well sadly with all the best laid plans, my Vermont farm was washed out with Irene coming through so I have been madly securing a new accomodation for Oct 3&4, and luckily have now found a lovely place in Barnard. My question to you is, considering all the road closures etc what is our best route to get to Barnard after collecting our car from Manchester NH? Obviously I am looking for the prettiest option not necessarily the quickest.

After Vermont I am heading over to Chocorua NH so any tips on this direction would certainly be appreciated also. I hear the Kanc is out of action at the moment but am sending positive vibes that the roads will be fixed in 3 weeks time or is that a bit ambitious? If anyone out there can guide me with some back roads to alternative routes that would be great.

Once I do get to complete my trip I will definately give back a momentous report as you have all helped me so very much!

Aussie still hoping for spectacular foilage!
Dreams64

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    Work on the Kanc is progressing. Everyone wants Loon Mountain and Lincoln to be accessible for the Highland Games on Sept 16/17. But my favorite east/west route is actually just below the mountains esp from Center Sandwich to Tamworth and then over to Rt 16. There is more farmland and old homes.

    From Manchester Airport, the quick way to Barnard VT is up I293/93 to I89. I89 is actually pretty scenic. But, if you want a slower route, get off the highway and take Rt 103 instead. It's up to you whether to get off in downtown Concord NH and turn left onto Pleasant St or take I89 and then the Clinton St exit. Turn right as if heading back to the city then take your next left over the new road to the hospital. Turn left and you're on Pleasant St/Rt 103.

    This will take you through the towns of Hopkinton, Contoocook and Warner. At the far end of Warner when you see the gas stations/shopping, you can get back on I89. Depending on when you arrive, if there is time to stop, you can get a huge variety of apples at Gould Hill Orchards which is just a slight detour off Rt 103. They have a nice little view.

    Downtown Hopkinton is mostly old colonial homes. Contoocook is also nice but gets a little scruffy past the high school. There's a new little cafe in an old schoolhouse you'll go by. We haven't been there to eat but the desserts they catered for an event were wonderful. I like downtown Warner. You can stop for ice cream at the Velvet Moose which doesn't have a lot of flavors but carries Shane's of Maine ice cream. The Kearsarge Indian Museum is on the road that goes up Mt Kearsarge. There's a nice independent bookstore.

    Instead of getting on I89 in Warner, you can follow the route to New London where you can also get on I89. Between Warner and New London there's not a lot to see but you could take a short detour in North Sutton to Musterfield Farm. It's a pretty drive past a small lake then up a hill to what is now a farm museum but also a working vegetable farm. The man who used to own the farm collected old buildings but unless they are having an event day, I don't think they are open.

    New London is a beautiful college town. Some of the homes have wonderful views. If you have a lot of extra time, there's an auto toll road up the Wilmot side of Mount Kearsarge with a nice little state park (Winslow) at the top with nice views. It can be windy. I haven't hiked the trail to the very top so I'm not sure how long it takes. I like the drive because of the nice views and switchbacks.

    We just did a drive to the Brattleboro VT farmers market (lots of vendors and food stalls) and then up to Norwich VT for a stop that included some shopping at King Arthur Flour. If you like to bake, they have some amazing hard-to-find ingredients. Some of the VT farmers markets include ethnic food stands, crafts and music. When you visit, that will probably be one of the last weekends for the markets.

    The shopping district in West Lebanon NH was flooded but we had no problem taking Rt 4 which is one of the suggested routes over to Chocura.

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    Thanks again dfronstnh, I can always rely on you for a thorough detailed answer! I love all the different little towns you have mentioned here, many of them I did not have on my radar, so I will look closely at them - my travelling friend loves to bake incidently so Norwich might be a wonderful stop for her. I have been trying to work out if we can get to Barnard by passing Brattlebro as I would hate to miss this town even though we wont make it for the market, we are going up on the Monday (3rd Oct).

    Regards
    Dreams64

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