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New England Fall Foliage

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Hi everyone! I've been reading many posts on trips to the New England area for the fall foliage. I'm planning a trip for my mom and I for the fall of 2011 and wanted to get a jump start, mostly to be able to make some accomodation reservations. We are driving from Wisconsin so will have a car at all times to go wherever we want. We are leaving Wisconsin September 23 and should arrive in Maine late in the day on September 24. We plan on heading back home on October 15. So we will basically have 3 weeks to enjoy the area. We do not have any decided upon "base" areas where we want to stay and branch out for day trips, so definately open to any suggestsions. We are looking for outdoor photography ops, enjoying quaint villages and towns, and anything in-between. We aren't huge shoppers except for maybe little shops that contain items that are "special" to the area. Does anyone have any recommendations for must-sees, great accomodations and resturants?

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    First, search thru Fodor's posts for foliage. You might check out Yankee Magazine's foliage forum. Jeff Folger also has a facebook page. He's an avid photographer with a preference for fall foliage. You might see some shots that he's taken and want to go to the same place. You're getting here a little early but you can head up to northern areas/visit Acadia. On the weekend you should be able to catch a real Maine lobster shack still open. Most close after Columbus Day. We see some early color here in NH in swampy areas when the swamp maples turn red. By Oct 15 the best color will be more in southern New England. There are several historic village areas you may want to visit such as NH's Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth NH, Canterbury Shaker Village in NH, Sturbridge in MA, etc.

    We really enjoyed staying at the Dunes in Ogunquit because the rooms are in old-fashioned white cottages. This would be a good location for southern ME. Make sure to plan a boat trip perhaps Portland's Casco Bay or Portsmouth's Harbor or inland rivers foliage cruise.

    Polly's Pancake Parlor in NH's White Mountains is probably a good stop. If you don't stay at one of the grand hotels you might want to enjoy a drink on the porch.

    Maybe post a suggested route for so we can all critique it. Do you want to see places like Newport RI? Boston? or just small towns?

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    Since you are starting out in Maine, I recommend Acadia National Park. I think the foliage there should be nice in late September. Drive over to the Schoodic Peninsula, which is beautiful & untouched. We stayed at the Inn at Southwest Harbor because it is quieter & less touristy than Bar Harbor. I highly recommend Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard, in ANP. Plenty of outdoor photography opportunities at ANP. Take an easy hike to Otter Point. Go to Sand Beach.

    If you want mountains, then head over to the White Mountains in NH. North Conway is built up & touristy but there are smaller towns in the area you could stay in. Drive over the Kancamangus Highway for beautiful scenery. Lake Winnepausakee area is pretty, too.

    Do you want to follow the coast after you leave Acadia (assuming you go there)? The coast from Acadia to Portland is beautiful. You can make stops in Camden, Rockland, Bath, Brunswick & drive out to Harpswell, Orr's & Baileys Island for more beautiful coastal scenery. I recommend the 3 Estes restaurants for lobster in this area. You can sit by the water on a picnic table & enjoy your lobster!!!

    If you want to diversify your trip, Portland is a great, small city. In MA, I recommend Boston, the Cape and/or the Berkshires.

    I agraee with dfrostnh, you should post a suggested itinerary & we can give you more specific ideas.

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    One thing that glares at me is the leaving on the 23 and arriving on the 24...??? I'm the first one to admit that I drive to much in one day and while you might do this, you will be dead to the world for the next few days... I would keep it to 300 miles per day... Are you driving up into Canada and down into Maine? I didn't think of that... but either way it's a long drive for just a day and a half. It takes me 8 hours with only a stop for gas from Erie PA to Salem MA and I'm estimating 400 (conservatively) miles further than that.
    Let me know what you planned route is and I can make a better guesstimate on the route.
    But depending on route I might say if you were coming in 90 you might get off around Utica and head north on 87 through northern NY state... (Very pretty in it's own right) (don't let anyone know I said that... ) Just between you and me..
    Where was I.. oh yeah as you get to the border you can cross over into northern VT and start your leaf peeping there.
    (oh one note you could go to Fort Ticonderoga and take the ferry across there... Very nice)
    From St Albans you could travel into the NEK and over into Sugar Hill Nh and over into Maine near Rangley and depending on timing even up to Greenville. Up to this point I would have spent 5-10 days and at this point I would be coming back slowly on a slightly more southern route heading home..

    All of this depending on what routes you like and how much driving you want to do.
    As Donna said you can ask questions over on the Yankee magazine fall foliage forum as well as here (http://www.yankeemagazine.com/forum/list.php?22)
    I don't get in here too often so you can also find me on Yankee's facebook page for fall (http://www.facebook.com/YankeeFoliage)
    Jeff "Foliage" Folger

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