Fall foliage itinerary--please comment!

Old Jun 25th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Fall foliage itinerary--please comment!

We are 60 yr olds planning our first fall foliage trip to new england. We will first fly to New York and then want to go to new england. We have flexibility with the dates. We need to end up near an airport to fly back to California. We will spend about 10 days in New England. We would like to see the foliage of course, bridges, water, beautiful scenery, mountains. we like to walk and hike. We don't want to change B&Bs/hotels every nite or spend hours driving.

Does starting October 7 sound good? or is it better to start a few days earlier? i know it depends on the year.

Please comment on the itinerary below. Should we add vermont? or?

Day 1: fly into Portland, Maine, drive to Jackson new hampshire

Day 2 and 3: stay in Jackson

Day 4: drive to Bar Harbor (or shld we break up the drive somewhere?)

Day 5-7: bar harbor

Day 8: Camden and?
find our way to an airport
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 02:28 AM
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Since you are headed to the White Mountains, I would go a little earlier. Keep in mind the Columbus Day weekend will have the most traffic esp in NH and VT. Oct 7 is a Monday, which is good for avoiding the high traffic days.

The legendary lobster shacks in ME will be open weekends only and Columbus Day weekend is usually their final weekend. You'll find lobster all over the place but these are the places where you can enjoy lobster at a picnic table overlooking the water.

You should check the airfare to Manchester NH (MHT). It might be worth the few extra hours of driving.

Camden was cited one year by Yankee Magazine as one of the prettiest fall foliage spots. The coast plus NH mountains should make a nice trip. If you get the State Atlas and Gazetteer published by DeLorme, you will have a detailed road map with the location of all the covered bridges.

I know the Kancamagus Hwy is most popular but you can make a nice loop east to west by going one way over the Kanc and then heading a little south to go thru Tamworth and Center Sandwich. The Squam Lakes area is beautiful.

The quickest route from Jackson to Bar Harbor is inland. Not sure where I would break up the route. My choice would be to do some extra driving and head for the coast:
Boothbay Harbor - Maine Coastal Gardens
Rockland - Farnsworth Art Museum and/or Owls Head Transportation Museum and short hike to Owls Head Light
Bath - Maine Maritime Museum
Harpswells (east of Brunswick) - various hiking/driving opportunities in rural area

Of course, you could hit any of these on your trip back to the airport.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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thank you for your suggestions.

we also thought of flying into burlington vermont and driving to Stowe for 2 nights and then on to jackson, new hampshire and bar harbor, etc.

would you recommend this? wld we see something different than what we wld see in jackson/bar harbor?
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 02:33 AM
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It's funny, DH and DS drove over to the Woodstock VT area this week and DH commented on how pretty the backroads of VT are with all the hills and farms. There is a lot more farming going on in VT than in NH. VT's Green Mountains aren't as tall and craggy as NH's so what you see can be very different.

I think Burlington VT is too far apart from the rest of what you would like to see. It's a great city. Stowe is probably going to be crowded with leaf peepers. We don't visit any of the popular places during peak tourist times. Also, you'll get sick of just seeing foliage so I would recommend going places where there is something else to see like a museum or special hike. From Jackson NH you might consider going further north and crossing over to VT to visit the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville. Google maps says it's 1 hr 26 minutes.

It's only an hour south to Norwich VT but you could make a longer drive over to Montpelier. We seem to do most of our VT traveling along the Champlain Lake area south of Burlington. Lots of farms. Then you can cross over the mountains back to NH. The Quechee/Woodstock area is very popular and pretty. All this would be a long day trip from Jackson but do-able. I like to visit perennial nurseries which will take us on back roads but Oct isn't a good time for plant shopping!

I'm itching to visit Hardwick VT (we may have driven thru) which is the subject of Ben Hewitt's book "The Town that Food Saved". He's a great speaker who we've heard a couple of times thanks to our local independent book store. If you have any particular interests, you should see if you can combine them with your trip (DH likes antique tractors). King Arthur Flour in Norwich VT is a great stop for bakers. You can get a cheese, wine, ice cream trail map for VT and NH.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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I would do EITHER VT or ME, not both. I think the map, and people's notions about how small New England is, is deceptive. It takes awhile to get from VT to ME, and Bar Harbor is not just across the border!

While I live in ME, and the colors are lovely here (especially in the Camden area!), I did the VT trip last year, and would highly recommend it. If you are looking for quintessential New England rolling hills and farms and maples, that is it. Throw in an incredible amount of covered bridges, and I think you'd be very happy.

Also, we get lots and lots of leaf-peeping cruises in Maine. Most of them stop in Bar Harbor. I would check some of the cruise sites to see if the town will be overrun when you plan to visit. That might help you decide!
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:12 AM
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My route would be Portland, drive over to anywhere along Vermont Rte 100 and head north; Fly home out of Burlington, VT
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