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portobelloB Jun 13th, 2021 02:57 PM

Advice for New England Trip, Sept-Oct 2021
Hello Fodorites,
We are in the planning stages of a trip to New England for Sept 27-Oct 8, 2021. Here's are tentative itinerary so far.

2 nights - Boston
3 nights - Bell Harbor, Maine (Acadia NP)
3 nights - New Hampshire (Meredith but still deciding where to stay)
4 nights - Vermont (Burlington but maybe 2 locations? Still deciding where to stay)
1 night - Boston

Little background on us, we are young 60's who like to travel, do day hikes (5 miles to 10 miles), farmers markets, arts and crafts fairs, photography and birding. We prefer staying in quaint B&B, lodges or boutique hotels. Able to spend up to $400 a night. What I need some advice is what area in Boston would you recommend to stay and a car rental location to leave the city from? Note: we did look into taking the Amtrak train to Maine but I don't think it will be an option for us. So any advice from those who have made this similar journey and can give recommendations on car rental location in Boston, restaurants, lodging and stops along the way through New England would be much appreciative. Thank you in advance.

dfrostnh Jun 14th, 2021 12:57 AM

You might want to look into concord Coach bus service from Boston to either Concord NH or Portsmouth to see if you can get better car rental deals. There's bus service from Logan to South Station. I think the procedure is to get on a Concord Coach bus at Logan and then buy tickets when the bus stops at South Station.
Norwich VT is so far my favorite farmers market which is in saturdays. Like the Norwich Inn. King Arthur Flour is also in Norwich. Across the river in NH you could also visit St. Gaudens.

Favorite farmers market in Maine is Brunswick held on Fridays. But since you are going to Acadia you might visit Four Season Farm in Harborside which is owned by Elliot Coleman and his wife. Coleman is author of several gardening books and has done a great job promoting season extending techniques. If you can come a few days earlier, the Common Gound Fair promotes organic gardening and has a wonderful handmade crafts area and great food vendors. You would have to stay in the Camden ME area.

If you stay in the Meredith area you could take a nature cruise on Squam Lake to see eagles and loons but see the schedule since the schedule ends around Oct 11.

You might try a fun hike in the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville VT.

Michael Jun 14th, 2021 06:42 AM

For quaint boutique hotels I would choose a smaller town than Burlington. perhaps Woodstock with a hotel like this one:

or Grafton with a hotel like this one, but much more limited otherwise:

or Manchester which would be more centrally located than Burlington.

portobelloB Jun 27th, 2021 01:46 PM

Advice for New England trip
Thank you for your responses and beautiful photos.

My DH has now had a chance to do some research and has changed our itinerary.
He wants to skip Boston and do this visit along with Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod on a different trip.

We are going a bit later and plan for 10/4-10/16 arriving and departing from Portland, ME. We are flying from Seattle.

Kennebunkport, ME 2 nights
Stowe, Vermont 2 nights (Woodstock?)
North Conway, NH 2 nights (Meredith?)
Bar Harbor, ME 3 nights
Camden, ME 2 nights
Portland, ME 1 nights

What do you think? Any recommendations on towns we shouldn't miss on this visit?

Thank you in advance.

dfrostnh Jun 27th, 2021 11:52 PM

You,ve picked the most popular areas that will be the most crowded. One summer we did a quick drive from the I93 area NH over the famous Kancamagus Hwy to North Conway. Did a quick look around and then drove south on Rt 16 so we could drive the more southerly east/west route thr Tamworth and Center Sandwich endind up at a Moultonborough take out place for lunch. But traffic will be slow moving in October. Since Meredith is convenient to I93 and situated on Lake Winnipesaukee, I would pick that over North Conway although you should visit there for the magnificent view of Mt Washington from the main street. But perhaps you should choose location based on what hikes you would like to do. The Sandwich Fair is Columbus Day weekend so that will add to traffic although it,s a small agricultural fair.Oct 8-11

We generally take I95 north from Portland until we get to Brunswick and then travel rt 1. If you can fit in a boat trip to Monhegan Island it would be fun hiking. Take a picnic lunch.

clarkgriswold Jun 28th, 2021 11:53 AM

Have you secured a rental car yet? It's apparently a nasty fight this year, with some folks resorting to renting just a U-Haul truck and paying 70cents per mile on top of the rental fees and insurances.

HappyTrvlr Jun 30th, 2021 11:17 AM

Burlington is fun and funky but does not give you the historical small town New England look. Burlington has a wonderful lakefront walking and biking path, great dining, interesting immigrant population, currently dominated by Nepalese.
In VT ,for New England charm, look at Stowe, Waitsfield, Grafton, Shelburne, Manchester among many others.

portobelloB Jul 1st, 2021 09:57 AM

Thank you all for your responses. Yes, we have secured our car rental and now working on our airline tickets and lodgings. A couple popular lodgings are already full so I know I have to get going.

Please keep the hotel, restaurants, scenic spots suggestions coming.

dfrostnh Jul 2nd, 2021 01:30 AM

If you go Kennebunkport to stowe it will be about a 4 hour drive. The good news is the I89 portion from Concord NH to VT is quite scenic. I do not like the I95 to rt 101 portion since it's a limited access hwy. I95 to Rt 16 to rt 4 to concord is more scenic thru Northwood's “antique alley”. If you are looking for upscale crafts, there is a League of NH Craftsmen shopon Main Street. On the outskirts of town there is the McLane Audubon Center but of more interest would be the hawk migration deck at Carter Hill Orchard.
If you don't have lunch by the time you get to New London NH there's not many choices until you get to the Lebanon/Hanover area before crossing over to VT. Norwich and Woodstock VT are across the river. The cafeteria at King Arthur Baking is pretty good and the baking supply store is fabulous but a more upscale lunch would be Simon Pierce in Quechee. Also known for glass blowing and glassware.

You can easily spend all day getting to Stowe.

if you decide to go to Meredith NH before going to Stowe, I93 north is also pretty scenic. Just north of Concord you could visit Canterbury Shaker Village which is very beautiful. Canterbury Farmers Market is on Wednesdays. Apple Hill Orchard near exit 17 has great bakery products as well as a great variety of apples and local products. I93 is also a suggested route north to Stowe. Even if you don,t hike the Flume, the visitors center is fascinating. Meredith is off exit 23 south of the mountains. You could do a day trip to North Conway.

Several years ago we took the northern route from NH to Bangor ME and then near Bar Harbor. This was very rural but interesting. More apt to see a used skidder for sale on someone's front lawn than a used car. Make sure you know where you can stop for lunch.

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