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Leaf Peeping with Ira

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Oct 15th, 2006, 11:15 AM
  #1
ira
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Leaf Peeping with Ira

Hi all,

We went up to New England to view the changing of the leaves from Oct 1 - 12.

We had a lovely time, thanks to those Fodorites who helped us with our itinerary.

Here is the first part of my trip report.
..............

We flew from ATL to Burlington BVT nonstop on Delta. We traveled by car through VT, NH, a bit of ME, some of MA and a bit of NY.

Leaves were anywhere from just before to just after peak.

Accommodations ranged from pleasant to luxurious. Food from good to very good.

We drove about 1900 miles in 11 days. Gas ranged from $2.22 to $2.54 in NE. NY was about 20 cts/gal more expensive. Our car (Nissan 3) got about 30 mpg.

Hotels and B&Bs

We stayed at the Middlebury Inn (www.middleburyinn.com) in Middlebury, VT - a very pleasant, friendly and accommodating hotel on the main square. For no particular reason, I asked if they gave discounts to AARP members. Lucky us – we got 10% off the room bill.

We had a small, but pleasant and comfortable, room on the 1st floor in the main building. There is an elevator, but it is not self-service.

Breakfast was from a buffet of scrambled eggs, various freshly baked goods – scones and cinnamon rolls were VVG – cereals, fruits, jams, jellies and some odd kind of Northren grits called “oatmeal”. An outstanding part of breakfast was wild blueberries – YUM.

The Inn also serves afternoon tea (included in the price) – scones, muffins, cookies, cakes and choices of juices, teas and coffee.

The Inn has a pleasant restaurant/lounge.

One can sit in a rocker on the porch and watch the world go by.

In New Hampshire we stayed at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen (http://bernerhofinn.com). Lovely people, very friendly and helpful staff. Our room was the GoldenWood, which is the one just above the canopy on the Inn’s website. Very large, nicely appointed, with windows facing in 3 directions. We could have invited another couple to share the bed.

There is a different breakfast each morning: typically a cup of fresh fruit, a fresh baked muffin, eggs of some sort, pancakes or waffles or French toast, maple syrup, jams and jellies, juices, teas and coffee – all served at your table.

Miss June, the innkeeper, makes breakfast. She is also a very lovely person and is quite ready to help with anything that you might wish.

The Inn also has a bar, lounge and restaurant.

We chose the 1896 House - Brookside (www.1896house.com) just outside Williamstown for our MA base. This is an old motel, that has been recently refurbished. The rooms are not large, but comfy and appeal to those who like old-fashioned quaintness. It should be noted that some of the motels we saw in New England had cabins so small that my Lady Wife was sure that they had privies in the back.

Breakfast was the “large continental” buffet in the refurbished barn: three kinds of bread, bagels and English muffins for toasting – cold cereals and milk, hot cereal from packages, coffee cake or muffins, hard boiled eggs, fruit, yoghurt, coffee or tea.

The 1896 House has a babbling brook (Brookside) and a duck pond (Pondside). Both are quite pleasant and conducive to sitting quietly and letting the cares of the world fade away.

There is a family restaurant on near the Brookside (the barn) and a more upscale restaurant (Le Jardin) near the Pondside.

The last night of our visit we stayed at the Boathouse B&B (http://www.boathousebb.com) in Bolton Landing, NY. This is an old home built right on the waters of Lake George. We stayed in the Ciara room – not large, but we were very comfortable. The accommodations range from delux to very luxurious.

Breakfast is prepared fresh each day by Patti, the innkeeper, and is served family style in the Great Room. The day we were there, we had a glass of freshly squeezed juice, cup of bananas in almond cream, baked French toast (cream cheese and fruits baked in), sausages, homemade plum granita, coffee cake and tea or coffee.

Patti and Joe are both very pleasant and helpful people.

Guests are offered (for a fee) a ride on the Lake in their 33’ Hackercraft sport boat – a real treat if the weather is warm.

The Middlebury Inn had the best cost/benefit ratio. The Bernerhof Inn had the most friendly and accommodating people. The Boathouse was our luxury splurge. The 1896 House was very pleasant.

We would stay at each of them again.

ira is online now  
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Oct 15th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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I am jealous. Leaving Boston was the right choice for me for now, but what I wouldn't give for a New England Fall.
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Oct 15th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Oh , ira, it all sounds wonderful. Thank you for posting! Welcome back too!
I love Williamstown, did you go to the Clark ? We actually considered buying a house there once, but the winters worried me. Now I sort of wish we had
Didn't you just love the lake views from Boltons Landing? We stayed in a small place there years ago, then later at the Sagamore, the fall is so amazing there, and the quiet .. I am now quite homesick, thank you very much
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Oct 15th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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Ira,
I'm so glad the leaves cooperated with your vacation. Of course, I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing the links to the various places where you stayed - looking forward to reading more about your adventure to an area I've never explored (much less, seen leaves other than green or brown!)
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Oct 15th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Glad you had a happy time and enjoyed my part of the world. You didn't stop in Boston?
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Oct 15th, 2006, 12:06 PM
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OO
 
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How well I know the 1896 House and how happy I am to hear it is still going strong, Ira. It sits right along route 7, and I must have passed it hundreds and hundreds of times in my treks around the county in my youth. Sigh...makes me a little homesick too Scarlett, but you were RIGHT to worry about the winters, yes indeed! Interminable.
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Oct 15th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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How romantic...we would love to do this some day.

LOL, I love your title...I can just see you two standing there holding hands in (I hope) the serene quiet of a beautiful fall day. Cannot wait to hear the rest.
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Oct 16th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Ira, Welcome back! Thanks for sharing.

Our family has happily travelled through New England many times but never in the fall. The last time we visited we were surprised to discover that rates at hotels were higher during leaf changing season than during the summer!

Leaves are just starting to change colour here in Toronto and Niagara. They are unusually late this year.
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Oct 16th, 2006, 04:31 AM
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Glad you enjoyed a nice trip, Ira!

"... cup of bananas in almond cream, baked French toast (cream cheese and fruits baked in), sausages, homemade plum granita..." Yum!--how could you ever leave?!? ;-)
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Oct 16th, 2006, 05:44 AM
  #10
ira
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Hi all,

Hi Scarlett,

We sort of looked around the Clark. I must admit that this was where my planning broke down, as I didn't know just how good a museum it was until we got to Bolton Landing.

It's on our must see list for next time.

Hi Cigal,

>You didn't stop in Boston?<

Nope, didn't get to that part of the State.

Hi MCG,

>I can just see you two standing there holding hands in (I hope) the serene quiet of a beautiful fall day.<

Well, not all of the time.

Hi Moolyn,

>..we were surprised to discover that rates at hotels were higher during leaf changing season than during the summer!<

We were told that about 550,000 people were expected to visit NH over the Columbus Day weekend - that's about 1/2 the native population. That could account for high rates.

I shall continue my report soon, and get some pix online.



PS
The car was a Mazda, not a Nissan.
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Oct 16th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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So glad you enjoyed New England and the beautiful foliage - and glad to hear the Middlebury Inn still gets a good review - we spent many a night there - it is an oldie but goodie - when our daughter was at Middlebury College and keep saying we need to go back to the area, but never have...

Did you love the drive from Burlington to Middlebury? I loved that road and the scenery - did you get up to the campus at all to see the views from there? Did you see Mass Moca when in Williamstown area?

I love that downtown too, we spent some time there one summer during the theater festival.

can't wait to see the photos!

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Oct 16th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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Thanks, Ira. I was fortunate enough to visit a tiny corner of western MA this past summer. I really enjoyed it and would love to visit when the leaves are changing. Can't wait to see your photos!
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Oct 17th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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ira - What a nice holiday. Hope to go to this part of the world some day. Thank you for sharing all the details and including web links.

Terrific report.

Sandy
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Oct 17th, 2006, 06:49 AM
  #14
ira
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Hi all,

Foodie Report:

Dinners:

Middlebury Inn. We had two dinners there.
Crab cakes, Confit de Canard, Rabbit All very good. Nice Wines

Swift House Inn, Middlebury VT Fixed Price Menu from $28 pp.
Excellent wine list: We had the Placet Rioja Blanco 2003, which went very well with our meal.
Amuse bouche of chanterelle mushroom soup – VVG
Roberta had 2 appetizers: Bruschetta and Hummus Cakes Both VG
I had the Fall Squash Ravioli and the Sea Scallops. Ravioli was quite good.
My dessert was an Earl Grey tea flavored Crème Brulee with roasted almonds -Excellent.

Bernerhof Inn, Glen NH
One dinner was (a) the sausage appetizer (3 kinds) and Wienerschnitzel (veal, not pork) with spaetzel, (b) crab cakes. Wine was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Our second dinner was the tasting menu (included with a 2-night package) which they printed out for us –
Cocktails in the Lounge
Sherried Lobster and Crab Bisque
Scallops in Raspberry/Grand Marnier sauce
Mixed Greens with blue cheese, apples, raisins, almonds and house vinaigrette
Intermezzo – Sorbet
Peppercorn crusted Filet Mignon with a cherry/Port reduction – Green Onion/Potatoe cakes
Chocolate Fondue with fruit and gingerbread.
A sauvignon Blanc and a Reisling for the lighter fare and a David Bruce Pinot Noir with the meat and chocolate.

Definitely up to international standards. Very well prepared, nicely presented and well served, despite the restaurant being somewhat crowded that evening.
The sorbet – plums and cranberries – and the scallops were both delightful.

The only possible complaint is that we were overfed.

Conway Scenic Railroad – North Conway NH (www.conwayscenic.com)
We took the Sunset ride in the Chocorua dining car. A very pleasant, well-restored Victorian car. Beautiful scenery. Friendly, efficient service. Food was acceptable.

After dinner, we retired to the Parlor car (also very well restored) for a pleasant journey back.

Both the dining and parlor cars have lights under the carriage, so that the local scenery is illuminated at night.

Our other dinners were nothing to write home about, as we did not search out any exceptional restaurants for this trip.

More later.

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Oct 17th, 2006, 06:54 AM
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Great, Ira, now you're making me hungry! My gosh, all that food sounds wonderful, right up my, uh, food chain! ;-)
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Oct 17th, 2006, 06:57 AM
  #16
ira
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Hi ES,

>Did you love the drive from Burlington to Middlebury?<

South of Shelburne, yes.

>did you get up to the campus at all to see the views from there? <

Yes, we did. Middlebury's campus is almost worth the tuition.

>Did you see Mass Moca ..<

Afraid not. We only passed through N. Adams on our leaf peeping drives.

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Oct 17th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Yes, south of Shelburn is so pretty - and I am laughing you are so right, my husband and I kept telling ourselves "the view was almost worth the tuition" hehe - which is why we did take advantage and visit Middlebury as often as possible over those four years ! But truthfully, she took advantage of everything there and her four years there made the tuition seem worth it !

So interesting to hear about your meal at Swift House- we'd stayed there many times also, when we had the grandparents with us b/c it was easier for them to negoitate 'no stairs' so we'd stay in that carriage house behind the main house - but we never actually ate dinner there, which is even more of a shame now that I read your review !!

a wonderful report, thanks.

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Oct 17th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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p.s. - photos Ira, we need those photos !!
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Oct 17th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Thanks, Ira. You have managed to make me both homesick and hungry on the same thread. I can't wait to see the pictures.
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Oct 17th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Ira - that sounds amazing. The fam and I are going to be in NYC over Thanksgiving. Any suggestions for a side trip away from the big city so that we can see some nature? How far is Rhode Island? We will not have a car.
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