Coastal Maine in October-which week?

Old Jan 15th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Coastal Maine in October-which week?

My husband and I are planning a week long trip to Maine in October 2013. We're coming from southern California and we're going for the beautiful foliage and some good seafood. We are available to go pretty much any week from late September through October. Based on recent years and this coming years "expectations", which week do you think would be ideal to get the best color??
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Not too long after Columbus Day.

No one can "pick the peak" but things start closing fairly early in October. If you can find reservations at places that are open, you won't have too many crowds. They will all be in NH and VT for the foliage, but you can certainly make a good day trip to the White Mountains from the Portland area to up your chances of seeing good leaves.

This is a good time to experience New England fall (not winter) weather. On a bad day, you can curl up with a book and a toddy in front of a fire, but you are more likely to have crisp, college football, beginning of hunting season kinds of days. You will need a few layers, and LL Bean in Freeport will be happy to provide them, 24 hours per day. I would also suggest hats and, for women, gloves. And a goretex jacket for rain/drizzle/wind.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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So would you suggest I go as early as the last week of September instead? Like maybe 9/21 - 9/29??

Or I can go 9/28-10/6 OR 10/5-10/13.

If it were you, which would you choose?

I'm good with crisp cool weather, but really don't want to see brown leaves, we have enough of that here in California .
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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I would go 10/5 to 10/13 myself. If it is too green for you, go farther north (Bethel, Maine) or higher up (White Mountains). Both are day trips from the Portland area.

It won't look too brown, but it won't necessarily be too brown, either.

But you do know that Maine isn't quite as well known for its leaves as NH and VT? But then they aren't known for their lobsters, either!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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Yes, I do know Maine isn't quite as well known for their leaves, but we've been all through New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut & Massachusetts about 10 years ago and we always regretted never making it up to Maine. I LOVE being on or near water, and LOVE seafood so that's kinda the main draw for us on this trip...but hoping to get some beautiful colors as well.

I think I agree with you, 10/5 - 10/13! Can you suggest any other small towns to visit in the area besides Portland? Would you advise staying in one town (Portland?), and then doing day-trips out to see other areas, or should we split up the trip?
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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You can't really plan on "a week" for the colors as the peak is different every year. Come summer, the predictions for best week will be a little better, but still no guarantee. If seafood and the coast is your main draw, go in September when the weather is better and more restaurants and shoppes are still open. The coast is not where you'll see the colors anyway. We were there mid Sept and colors were already changing and startling, that was enough for us. Just take a day to drive inland to the lakes regions etc for some color, anytime after Sept 15th.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 05:45 PM
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There are no guarantees for leaves. This year wasn;t great - adn esp in the more southern areas many leaves just turned brown and fell off - since the first killing frost came too late (we had a very warm fall).

But you can count on the closing of hotels, restaurants and shops starting in mid Sept - esp along the coast. I would time your trip based on that activity on the coast - and work the leaves from there - since different areas change at different times.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:05 PM
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We too had a very warm fall! Here in California we were still in the 90's in September , and by then we usually can't wait for the heat to break.

Hmmm, I realize there's no guarantee for leaves, but I would really hate for everything to be closed. So you don't think we'll find what we're looking for on the coast in October? I mean we're not going there to get IN the water, but ON the water in a little boat might be nice . We can go in September, but would we really get that "fall feel"? Where would you suggest we go if we want nice crisp cool air, beautiful fall leaves AND delicious lobsters?
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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I'd fly into Portland and spend a night or two. It is a great city with a fantastic food scene and a very quaint and interesting old town with lots of fun shops. Go out on a mail boat! Then pick up a rental car.

From there head to Acadia with stops at either Boothbay, Camden (Mount Battle) or Rockport. I agree to not make foliage your main focus, as weather patterns have been so crazy the last few years and a draught or wet weather or early cold snap all play on foliage, and the coast has lovely colors but not the let's see peak foliage experience.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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I meant to add, I would personally plan to travel before columbus day weekend. It's the last harrah for seasonal businesses
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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Yeah, I don't need "peak", I'd just like some greens, gold, oranges, reds...a nice mixture will do .

And thanks for the town suggestions! That gives me somewhere to start!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:22 PM
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add rockland and lincolnville to your list for lodging - they are all in the same area and a mid point to acadia national park/ bar harbour. There has been quite a bit of interest here this past year in northern maine, so you might do a maine search
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 06:34 PM
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Thanks! Will do...
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 03:28 AM
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I'll vote for 10/5 -10/13, too. Yankee magazine voted Camden as the nicest foliage spot in Maine and one of the best in New England. Sometimes we get those golden days when it's warm enough to eat outside so if the weather is really great, check out any lobster shacks that might be open Columbus Day weekend. You'll find lobster easily enough in restaurants it's just that some of the place with outdoor picnic tables have great views. Five Islands comes to mind. You might visit the location even if they are closed.
The Portland Mail Boat Cruise is nice if the weather is good. If you take the morning trip you can be back in town for lunch but I like the well narrated cruises out of Portsmouth NH better. You could easily do a day trip from Portland.

I would split the week between two locations. There are too many places to visit north of Portland. Rockland and Camden in the same day trip would be too much driving, I think Rockland is about 2 hours from Portland. South of Portland and north of Portland are quite different. It gets quieter the further north you go. Expect lots of traffic on weekends in southern Maine.

Portland might be more expensive than Manchester NH. You could end your trip with a swing thru NH's White Mountains although that might be better to begin your trip. If you fly into MHT you can take the long way to Portland. Drive up I93 which goes right thru the mountains, take one of the routes across heading east. North Conway to Portland is about an hour. When you drive north on I93 you get to see the mountains getting closer and closer. Love some of the views. If you want to go straight to ME from MHT, go north to Concord NH and then east on Rt 4. The GPS will tell you to go Rt 101 which is faster but also a very boring road.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Thank you so much for all those wonderful details!

Boothbay? Camden? Bar Harbor? Decisions...decisions.

Anyone think its worth staying in one of these towns for about 4 nights, and then drive to somewhere in Vermont for another few? My husband thinks he'll get antsy in a quaint little town for too long...
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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I would consider the last week of September too, The resort towns in southern Maine start winding down right after Labor Day.

Portland is definitely good as a base for a few days without being bored and is really a year round city (60,000 population but with even bigger city amenities). You can day trip to some of the smaller towns if you think staying in one isn't for you

I also like the idea of heading inland to Vermont as you can then have both mountain and sea vistas. Vermont is harder and much more expensive to book at that time of the year so see if you can do midweek there when it's much less crowded
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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Actually, I think we'd prefer a small town over Portland, just not the whole 7 nights in one town. Big cities aren't really our thing. We'll be arriving on a Saturday so if we stayed on the coast Sa-Su-Mo-Tu, that would put us in Vermont We-Th-Fr. We do love road trips when the scenery is beautiful.

Any particular town in Vermont I should be considering?
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