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New England in the fall road trip

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My husband & I are planning a trip to New England for 8 days and need some advice. We're flying into Portland, Maine on the October 5th. Plan to head up the coast for just a couple of days then meander through New Hampshire, Vermont and the Adirondacks. We fly out of Portland on the 13th. I've found a few websites with suggested leaf viewing routes. Does anyone else have any "Must see" areas of these states?

Most importantly, do we need hotel reservations mid-week? I know it's a busy time of year but we really enjoy not having a set schedule and to meander until we feel like stopping. We were in this area 30 years ago and that plan worked well except on the weekends.
If it is recommended that we get hotels - any good suggestions?

Thanks much,
Sandy

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