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Only 10 days in New England?! Need your advice please!

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I have been granted a precious 10 days, including travel, to see as much as I can of the 6 states of my dreams. I'm planning this for the last week of September in hopes of catching some color without getting lost in leaf peeping traffic. But the purpose is also to see and touch tangible evidence of our country's history. I'm currently reading through Fodor's guide to New England and my head is swimming with all the possibilities.

My 69 year old mother will be with me, but she's letting me drive this trip (literally and figuratively). I planned our last vacation to Ireland, England and Scotland (also 10 days). She is fairly mobile, but we won't exactly be hiking Mt Washington. We are also country folk from Oklahoma, and cities are definitely not our thing. For instance, in Ireland, Dublin was our least favorite stop and we couldn't leave fast enough. The countryside, however, was a dream come true.

All that said, if you were me and had only 10 days, what would you do? Skip Boston and spend it all in the sticks? Or is Boston a must? Flying into CT actually looks cheaper ATM. Also, what do you think about skipping Cape Cod but ferrying out to Martha's Vineyard for a day? Do we need a car the entire time, or could the train save us money on our coastal days?

TIA!

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