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Best driving routes in Vermont in 2 days for foliage/ leaf peeping

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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Best driving routes in Vermont in 2 days for foliage/ leaf peeping

My husband and I with our 4 year old son will be arriving in Boston on 3rd Oct Saturday night ... Will start driving from Boston on Sunday morning ... Staying two nights at the Ten Acres Lodge in Stowe ... So we basically have Sunday all day to drive through Vermont and reach Stowe ... Then we have Monday all day to spend driving around in Vermont ... Tuesday we will head out to the White Mountains in NH ... Need help with planning out the best way to get from Boston to Stowe with maximizing scenery and foliage viewing on the way ... And then what remains can be done on Monday ... We are looking for vintage towns, obviously foliage, covered bridges and classic new england feel ...Also looking for photographer's delight hidden gems (my husband is a budding photographer) here is what my preliminary research told me ... Please take it apart ...

- Sunday - Drive from Boston to Rt 100 in VT .. Go all the way to Stowe on RT 100 passing through Weston (must see), Killington etc... Is this do-able in one day if we start from Boston at about 9 AM??
- Monday - Drive up to Jeffersonville vis Smuggler's notch and come back down to Stowe .. Maybe revisit the northern portion of Green Mountain

Thanks,
Vibhav
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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:55 PM
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Vibhav -

My husband and I stayed at Ten Acres Lodge last September when we sought out foliage in Vermont and Quebec. We drove into Stowe from the east, in the St. Johnsbury area. There are a ton of covered bridges once you go from Stowe through Smugglers Notch - we grabbed a map at one of the towns and drove on some smaller roads to find them.

Anyway, if you want to read my report and check out some photos, see my blog: http://caroundtheworld.com/fall-foliage-quebec-vermont/

Hope it helps! You are in for a great trip!

Chris
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Sep 16th, 2009, 03:15 AM
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When you head out to the White Mountains you could make a visit to the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville which is a lot of fun and they have a special children's play area. From Danville it's pretty close to Littleton NH.

You might want to check out Yankee Magazine's Foliage section. Your husband could enter the annual best foliage photo contest.
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Sep 16th, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Thanks a lot Chris ... Your photos are very nice and loved reading your trip report ...We are definitely planning for the Smuggler's Notch drive ...

dfrostnh, Thanks a lot ... We have put the corn maze thing on our radar definitely ... you spoke very highly of it on our otehr post too ... And will definitely have my hubby enter the foliage contest ... Just need to get some good shots first

Still need to know if driving all the way on Rt 100 from South Vermont to Stowe, is advisable ... Are there portions of the RT 100/ or towns on the way, that should NOT be missed ... Worried about it being too long a drive from Boston to Stowe, via Rt 100 ...
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Sep 17th, 2009, 04:21 AM
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We've never driven the entire length since our usual route is from Concord NH via I89 into VT then north. We traveled a section of Rt 100 summer 2008. It's very wooded, very rural. I would suggest having a lunch destination picked out since there are long stretches without a lot of options. I can't even remember the name of the restaurant/town where we ate. It was decent enough but later a VT friend asked me if we had had their famous bread pudding. Didn't even know they were famous for something so didn't try it. With a 4yo in the car, yes, it's too long a drive. Although right next door in NH, I'm not very familiar with the southern portion. If you can find a good activity plus a lunch stop, that might break up the trip nicely. Even a stop to pick apples would give your 4yo a chance to run around. A friend recommended the Friendly Farm in Dublin NH on Rt 101. Rt101 is a lovely, rural route that will take you to Keene NH and then you can cross over to VT to pick up Rt 100. You would, however, miss the southern start of Rt 100.
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Sep 17th, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Thanks dfrostnh .. Will definitely keep in mind the Friendly farm in Dublin ...

We were planning to stop at Weston for lunch ...

Trying to see if the southern portion of RT100 is worth it or not ? Or should we take the hwy then cut across to Weston and then do the northern portion of VT?

Can anyone help us with absolute must do drive in VT on the way from Boston to Stowe? Should we do all of Rt100 (which might be too much) or do a portion of it. If a portion, whihc one, whihc towns to absolutely pass through??

For our next day in Stowe we are planning for the drive to Smuggler's Notch .. so will have that covered... If we need to come South of Stowe, we can ... Just need help planning it based on the drive first day ...
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Sep 18th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Topping the chain for some more feedback hopefully ...
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Sep 18th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Rt 100 is beautiful, but also fairly slow. You might play it by ear and see how far you get. You can cut over to 91/89 pretty easily at several points, and once there speed on up towards Stowe. Thinking of it in those terms will allow you to stop along the way when the spirit moves. I love Weston - save time to check out the big Yankee store there. Lots of fun. Where do you plan to start on 100? Another way to do it would be to take 30 up from Brattlesboro toward Weston. Or you could stay on 91 and cut over on 121, which would take you through Grafton - a darling town. Its all beautiful. One thing to think about would be what is the leaf report? Are they turning early or late? You can google a Vermont state website that contains reports of where the best color is. Sometimes in early Oct., the best color may be further north, in which case it might be best to start on 100 around Weston and go from there. Woodstock is wonderful by the way. Enjoy!
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Sep 18th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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Keep in mind that sunset will be around 6:30 in early October. That gives about 9.5 hours of daylight if you leave Boston at 9:00 am.

According to Google Maps, driving from Boston to Weston by Interstate and then from Weston to Stowe by Route 100 takes about 6.5 hours. That is just the driving, not including lunch, bathroom & stretch breaks, stops for pictures, etc. That also does not account for any heavy leaf-peeper traffic you might encounter (and since it is Sunday, there is increased likelihood of "Sunday drivers", both local and visiting).

That would leave you three daylight hours for all your stops.

If you go all the way over to Shelburne Falls, MA, and then take Route 112 to Route 100 and then up to Stowe, Google's driving time increases to almost 8 hours, leaving you about 1.5 daylight hours for all your stops plus traffic.

Whatever route you choose, plan on it taking longer than you expect.
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Sep 20th, 2009, 05:18 AM
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I think the foliage may be past peak in the Smuggler's Notch area in two weeks. We are already seeing what is considered early foliage in north central Vermont. You can stay flexible for a day trip from Stowe and check the foliage web site for good color when you arrive.
http://www.vermontvacation.com/seasons/report.asp
(The site suggests 20 scenic drives which might be helpful in planning)

I agree with dfrostnh that your planned day of driving Boston to Stowe sounds awfully long for a 4 year old. If you wanted a stop near Woodstock, the Billings Farm & Museum is fun with a young child and has plenty to interest adults. There is a pumpkin and apple harvest festival that weekend
http://www.billingsfarm.org/index.html.
From there you could take Rte 12 north then 107 west briefly and connect with 100 north.
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Sep 20th, 2009, 06:03 AM
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Thanks a lot to nancythenice, Cranachin, VTtraveler and definitely dfrostnh ... I am taking your all advice and changing our plan ...

-- On our first day driving from Boston to Stowe, we are planning to NOT go to RT 100 ... Go from the big highways ... Should we maybe take the small detour to Woodstock and the billings farm?? and then head back on the highway ... If we reach in time to Stowe (like by about 4 PM), then maybe we can attempt the Smuggler's Notch drive .. or will it be too late by then?

-- For the second day, we will probably start from Stowe and come down on Rt 100 up till Weston and then go back

-- On the third day, before heading out to Bartlett in NH, we might do smuggler's notch, if we were not able to go oon the first day up to Stowe

What do you all think???
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Sep 20th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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I think you would enjoy the Billings Farm site to break up the trip from Boston. You could do that then head up route 12 to rte 107 east and then right back on I-89. Really, the interstate drive north of White River Junction is quite beautiful.
If you do take this route you will have a good opportunity to see covered bridges. There is a group of them very close together in Northfield Falls, south of Montpelier
http://www.central-vt.com/visit/nr/cv14.htm
You would get off I-89 at exit #5 and go west on Rte 64 to Rte 12 north

Smuggler's Notch is a very winding slow road so probably not the best thing to do at the end of the day

It is hard for me to judge what the Rte 100 drive south then back would be like for your second day. I don't think I have ever driven this long stretch of Route 100 even one way. We tend to do our leaf peeping in smaller segments and more in the northeast Kingdom of Vt. As others have noted, parts of Rte 100 have very few towns. South of the Mad River Valley area (Waitsfield/Warren) you are skirting the Green Mt National Forest for quite a while.

One of my favorite spots in central Vt. just off Rte 100 is the Calvin Coolidge homestead in Plymouth Notch
http://www.historicvermont.org/coolidge/

When you leave Stowe to head to New Hampshire you could go north on 100, southeast on 15 to Rte 2 at Joe's Pond, then east to St. Johnsbury where you pick up I-91 to I-93
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 03:20 PM
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Thanks a lot Vttraveler ... your insights and help is much appreciated ... we will definitely be visiting the Billings farm and the covered bridges ... Thanks once again!!
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