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2 nights each in Maine, NH, VT & Mass - need help!!!

2 nights each in Maine, NH, VT & Mass - need help!!!

Aug 10th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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2 nights each in Maine, NH, VT & Mass - need help!!!

We're planning a two-week trip this Sept/Oct. flying in and out of Boston from Arizona.

After spending 3-4 nights in Boston, we'll have a car and will drive through Maine, NH, Vermont and Mass.

I thought we'd spend two nights in Portland (other suggestions???), stopping on the way in Portsmouth.

Then we'll head inland.

I'd like some recommendations for places (towns) in which to stay. We like quaint, beautiful scenery and character.

Our interests are: foliage, the cheese trail in Vermont, wineries if possible, galleries, great food, light hiking. NOT interested in outlet shopping.

I posted an earlier question and got some great input, but our plans have slightly changed.

Thanks in advance!
clehrman is offline  
Aug 11th, 2010, 03:58 AM
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If you can make a detour from Portsmouth, the Flag Hill Winery in Lee NH is also a distillery making General John Stark vodka. Interesting place because it's a former dairy farm and had to change. The vodka is made from apples but it's not an apple flavored vodka.
Do NOT miss stopping at a good orchard. If you are coming from AZ, perhaps you haven't had a good, fresh apple before. Some orchards like Gould Hill in Hopkinton NH grow a variety of antique apples.
Travel from Portland to the Conway/Ossipee area is about an hour. Don't miss Wolfeboro NH on the northern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and do a detour thru Center Sandwich/Squam Lake (check hours at Corner House Inn, they have lunch in summer but not sure about fall) area before spending the night in Meredith. It's busy, but pretty, overlooking Lake W. The Inn at the Falls is popular and would give you opportunity for evening stroll by the lake. From there it is easy drive to the mountains. Also in Meredith, one of the shops for the League of NH Crafts. Very upscale handcrafts.

We've stayed at the Golden Eagle in Stowe and like it. From NH's White Mountains, head to Littleton NH, cross over into VT and head to Danville for the Great Vermont Corn Maze. This will be light hiking (it's on a side hill so gives you a workout). This is a lot of fun and if you get too frustrated you can take the emergency exit to the top for the view.

We usually either camp or stay in budget accomodations or simply do day trips from home. Eastern VT/Rt 100 area is wooded and mountainous but the western side of VT esp near Lake Champlain is beautiful farming country. This will be a big difference between what you've seen in ME and NH. One of the nicest small, but artsy, towns in VT is Brandon. If you are interested in folk art, Warren Kimble lives there and according to his website, sells at a local gallery. It's an easy drive to Middlebury and I must have blinked when we were driving around because I swore there wasn't any McDonalds in that area of VT but there is one in Middlebury.
dfrostnh is online now  
Aug 11th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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Thanks again for your wonderful information! I'm planning on looking at all the places you mentioned and the orchard is a great idea (especially since I'm a vegetable gardener!)
clehrman is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Do you have an idea of your exact travel dates yet? This may dictate when and where to go in order to see the best fall foliage. The mountains of NH and VT typically peak by the end of the first week in October; the lower elevations of northern New England and western MA tend to hit peak around the end of the second week; most coastal areas (most of southern NE) tend to be around peak by the end of the third week.
TerrMys is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:08 AM
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You need to book your hotels/inns ASAP. Thousands of folks head north into NH/VT/ME for leaf peeping. I know I had some pretty slim pickins' a couple of years ago, when I headed to fall color viewing for my first (of several) time. Now I know, and I book months ahead to get what I want... and I still don't have some of the choices that I might have preferred!
simpsonc510 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 02:57 PM
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We'll be driving through New Hampshire and Vermont the first week of October (from Maine.) I still don't know where we'll be staying as I'm still working on our route. I've gotten some good suggestions for places to stay but would love to have more.
clehrman is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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You need to book now. Many book rooms a year ahead for leaf season.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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The best foliage at that time will be in the mountains. As for the White Mountains in NH, based on your preferences I would avoid North Conway. Jackson or Lincoln might be better places to stay although they're still fairly tourist-oriented and might not have quite the "character" you're looking for. North Woodstock is a good alternative to Lincoln and very centrally located.

Sugar Hill, Franconia, or (to a lesser extent) Bethlehem might be more up your alley -- very quaint, more off the beaten path, beautiful scenery, and still easy access to the main attractions of the White Mountains. Any of those towns would be great places to spend 2 nights.

Depending on how far the foliage has progressed, you could easily make a day trip north (towards the Lancaster / Weeks State Park area) or south (towards the Lakes Region) from your base. One of my favorite easy hikes is Rattlesnake Mtn. off Route 113 between Holderness and Sandwich, which offers a stunning view of Squam Lake (from "On Golden Pond"). The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park is another fantastic very light hike (worth the entrance fee IMO).

As for Vermont, Stowe would be a great central location, I think. It's a popular choice but still has retained its charm and beauty. If you're interested in Vermont cheese, you could pass through Cabot on your way there and visit the factory. Stowe gives you easy access to the Green Mountains, scenic Route 100, and the Burlington / Lake Champlain area.
TerrMys is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 06:33 PM
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Oh, and if you're looking for an alternative to Portland, then Kennebunkport is smaller and more picturesque, but Portland's a nice city anyway.
TerrMys is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 07:16 PM
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Possibilty that most of the more popular areas are already booked solid for that week. Condos at some of the ski areas like Mt. Snow, Killington, Okemo, Attitash tend not to book up for foliage season for some reason. Guess tourists don't think about them then so that could be an alternative if you have trouble with availability.

Agree with TerrMys, would prefer Kennebunkport or Ogunquit/York in ME to a city like Portland but it's OK for an urban environment. Be aware that driving from coastal ME west to NH/VT can be time consuming for the distance traveled bcs there are no major highways. All highways in New England go north/south.
irishswampyankee is offline  
Aug 19th, 2010, 08:16 PM
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Portland is not what I'd call quaint. You might consider the nearby Sebago Lake area with a drive into portland for a dining excursion.

Cape Porpoise is a quieter alternative to Kennebunkport....again just a short drive to Kport for dining.
Alton Bay in New Hampshire.
joesorce is offline  
Aug 20th, 2010, 03:29 AM
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The foliage festival in Vermont's northeast Kingdom has lots of good events if you are visiting during the week it takes place. The Great Corn Maze mentioned in the other post is in this part of the state
If you are in VT at this time of year, it will probably be too early to see foliage around Lake Champlain.

The traditional church supper for fall foliage time in Vermont is the chicken pie (my favorite) or ham dinner, so look out for those events wherever you stay.

If you go to the Stowe area, try some of the cider donuts at the Cold Hollow Cider mill in Waterbury Center

There is a thread from last year about interesting historic places in NH and VT if you want to add in a little culture with your leaf peeping.
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 20th, 2010, 03:57 AM
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This is the thread I meant with sightseeing suggestions. The dates of events are from last year but usually they take place at approximately the same time every year
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 21st, 2010, 11:59 AM
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Wow - thanks for all the new info. I'm still planning but am taking everything into consideration!
clehrman is offline  
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