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Maine, Vermont and The Berkshires travel itinerary. Is this feasible please?

Maine, Vermont and The Berkshires travel itinerary. Is this feasible please?

Old Sep 1st, 2019, 05:18 AM
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Maine, Vermont and The Berkshires travel itinerary. Is this feasible please?

Hello all.
Many thanks for the advice we received so far. It is much appreciated.
After the Boston and Cape Cod legs of our US trip from the end of September-early October, we are planning to spent four days in Maine (home rental in Portland), five days in Vermont (home rental in Grafton) and two days in The Berkshires (an inn in Stockbridge). This is how we are considering planning these stays. We like to explore and don't wish to merely drive from town to town. We have timed our stay with the hope of enjoying the fall colours.
Could you please advise if we being way too optimistic in terms of what we hope to see?

Morning of Monday, 30 September: Cape Cod.

Afternoon of Monday September 30-October 4: Leaving Cape Town and heading to Portland, Maine: Driving time is 3 hours and 45 minutes. Possibly stopping at Salem, Oguquit and Kennebunkport along the way. Probably, only stopping at Kennebunkport due to time pressures.

Tuesday, 1 October: Explore Portland town and harbour. Fort Williams Park with views of the lighthouse (Portland Head Lighthouse).

Wednesday, 2 October: Belfast, Bar Harbor (Bar Harbor is three hours from Portland) and Camden, possibly head up Mt Battie for views. We thought we'd make a very early start, head to Bar Harbor and work our way back at a more leisurely pace, stopping at Camden, Bar Harbour and Belfast. We'd like to do the Camden to Rockport walk but I can see this is our problem day in term of trying to do too much.

Thursday, 3 October: Rockland, Damariscotta and Wiscasset.

Friday, 4 October: Brunswick, Boothbay Harbor and drive to Grafton, Vermont.

October 4-8: Grafton, Vermont

Afternoon of Friday, 4 October - Grafton, Vermont. We understand the scenic route is Rt 4 to Concord and then to Warner NH. But both suggested routes west from Concord NH are rural and scenic. We've read that we can take local roads from Concord to Warner through some quaint towns with possible slight detour to Gould Hill Orchard for a pleasant view toward the mountains.

Saturday, 5 October: Rangeley and Bethel, Vermont. Drive time from Grafton to Bethel is 90 minutes. Afternoon - explore more of Grafton.

Sunday, 6 October: White Mountain National Forest circular route through Conway, Franconia Notch, Woodville and back to Grafton.

Monday, 7 October: Middlebury, Montpelier, Stowe - Green Mountain National Forest and Mount Mansfield National Forest.

Tuesday, 8 October: Drive from Grafton, Vermont, to Stockbridge, The Berkshires (drive time is around three hours on the state highway but we might want to choose a more scenic route, maybe via Manchester). VT 30 from Brattleboro and then VT100 are, we understand, the roads that goes up the center of Vermont and pass through many of its small picturesque towns.

October 8-10: Stockbridge, The Berkshires

Wednesday 9 October: Mount Greylock. Towns of Lenox and Williamstown also suggested.

Thursday, 10 October: Explore in the morning but in the afternoon drive to Boston International Airport and back to the UK Maybe taking Route 2 rather than the Mass Turnpike east (i90). Much more scenic and at that time of year and we understand there are nice farmstands along part of the route.




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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 06:59 AM
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Too much! We've driven Rockland area to Ellsworth but we make stops so that takes up much of the day. We always stop at the Chicken Barn on Rt 1 near Ellsworth because the second floor is all used books. This summer I didn't get to all the Rockland places I wanted to visit and we looked around Rockport, too. Since on previous visits we had visited the Farnswoth Art Museum and Owls Head Transportation Museum we didn't try to visit them again last summer. We did a little walking around Rockland's walking path along the ocean (not the breakwater). We have also been on the short hike to Owls Head light more than once. When we go to the top of Mt. Battie we usually take some snacks and binoculars, drag out the folding chairs and look at the ocean. Maybe add up how much time you want to spend doing different things even if it's 30 minutes to explore the deli or 1 hour to look at used books. There's a lot of boring miles between Camden and Bar Harbor so you have to decide if the extra miles are worth it when you have limited time.
Brunswick has a really nice farmers market if you're there on the right day. It is also a college town but we've never been to the museum. There's some interesting shops including a nice used bookstore. I didn't care much for the restaurant in the old mill building but the building itself was worth the visit and view of the Androscoggin. You're in Maine you ought to know something about the importance of the Androscoggin and lumber. The Coastal Gardens near Boothbay might still be interesting for a short visit even if it's late September. In summer they are incredible.


Wednesday, 2 October: Belfast, Bar Harbor (Bar Harbor is three hours from Portland) and Camden, possibly head up Mt Battie for views. We thought we'd make a very early start, head to Bar Harbor and work our way back at a more leisurely pace, stopping at Camden, Bar Harbour and Belfast. We'd like to do the Camden to Rockport walk but I can see this is our problem day in term of trying to do too much.

Thursday, 3 October: Rockland, Damariscotta and Wiscasset.

Friday, 4 October: Brunswick, Boothbay Harbor and drive to Grafton, Vermont.

October 4-8: Grafton, Vermont

Afternoon of Friday, 4 October - Grafton, Vermont. We understand the scenic route is Rt 4 to Concord and then to Warner NH. But both suggested routes west from Concord NH are rural and scenic. We've read that we can take local roads from Concord to Warner through some quaint towns with possible slight detour to Gould Hill Orchard for a pleasant view toward the mountains.
You must have read one of my old posts about Rt 4. In addition to the apple orchard there are some small covered bridges in Contoocook and Warner. You'll see the old railroad covered bridge in "downtown" Contoocook because you'll drive right by it. If you have any interest in David Carroll's work (Year of the Turtle, etc) he has a gallery in Warner and he and his wife sometimes have work in the small gallery in the rear of Main Street BookEnds.

I would not go near NH White Mountains on a Saturday or Sunday first weekend in October unless very early in the morning. There is just too much traffic. In addition to road traffic there have been a lot of complaints about crowded parking areas at trail heads. At least you wouldn't be trying to drive south on I93 on Sunday.

Timing is important. If you drive south from Brunswick to Grafton VT you would have a lot of restaurant choices in Maine and Portsmouth NH. One you head west via Rt 4, there's not many choices. Good variety in Concord. Only a couple of places west of Concord and will you get to Gould Hill in time to try a hard cider tasting? Or buy some apples? You'll have to go from Contoocook west via Rt 202 to Grafton. There are a couple of restaurants in the Henniker/Hillsboro area and then nothing for quite a ways. Google maps says almost 4 hour drive from Brunswick to Grafton. I think you have to be careful planning this day.

Hope some others will add their thoughts about the other areas you want to visit.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 07:20 AM
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Thanks dfrostnh. Perhaps, in retrospect, adding Bar Harbor was too ambitious.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 07:22 AM
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I'm no road trip expert to comment on exact details, but I used to live in states of MA/NH/VT. Too much driving not enough time stopping is my impression of the itinerary at first glance.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 07:59 AM
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Thanks Suze. We will probably revise the Bar Harbor day but, to be honest, we don’t mind a few early starts in the pursuit of exploration.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 08:49 AM
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Your drive times are overly optimistic. And some of your day trips are very long. I do see the benefits of staying in one place for several nights and doing day trips but some of yours really don't make sense.

I would suggest you cut one or two nights from Portland and spend them in Bar Harbor. That way you can drive up leisurely and actually have time to stop a few places. Two nights/one full day is a minimum to see anything in Acadia National Park. Then drive from there through NH White Mountains spending one night somewhere there. So now you are taking a night from Vermont. Then do the shorter day trips from your Vermont base.

As for the trip from Stockbridge to the airport. I don't think you really want to go Rt 2 (it would make sense if you were staying in Willamstown). After Greenfield it's really not scenic, it's just a slightly slower version of Rt 90 (Mass Pike). One route you could do is take Rt 9 from Pittsfield to Northampton (1.5 hr). Have lunch or a snack there. Then hop down I91 to the Mass pike. If you have time you could stop in Sturbridge (Old Sturbridge Village - but that needs a couple hours to see). Or skip Northampton and just do the Mass Pike to Sturbridge and visit that, then continue on to the airport.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 09:03 AM
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I would skip Kennebunkport just get to Portland and then drive out to see Cape Elizabeth/Two Lights Park and then maybe down to Higgins Beach. Kennebunkport is a place to stay and relax, not really a "drive by and see", not much to see except for a few shops and restaurants. The beach and lodging-by-the-ocean is the reason that people choose Kennebunkport. And to explore things nearby which you won't have time for with just a drive-by.

Skip Damariscotta and Wiscasset....plan your day around Rockland, Owl's Head, Camden and Rockport. Check the foliage map, there may be a lot of color around the lakes and ponds between Camden and Augusta....if so drive to the Maine State Museum and then hit the freeway back to Portland.

From Portland a full-day trip down to Kennebunkport, Wells Nature Preserve, Ogunquit, Shore road drive down to Cape Neddick and York.....or if the foliage map leads you, out and around the Sebago Lakes Region or the Shapleigh Lakes region.

Portland doesn't seem at all central to what you want to see and do, and it puts you in and out of Portland city traffic every morning and evening. . I would have rented in Camden/Rockport.
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Old Sep 1st, 2019, 09:29 AM
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Thanks very much Isabel and Clarkgriswold, Much appreciated.
We’ll be sure to consider the points you’ve made.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 01:57 AM
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I know a lot of people come to see the foliage and experience "New England". You might try exploring Yankee Magazine's website for ideas. It would be nice if you had specific interests you could focus on. Right now an occasional tree is already colorful. Nights are cold (40s) and days aren't too hot. There's a big difference between the southern Maine coast i.e. Kennebunkport and north of Portland. I agree with Clark that Rockport area might have been better location for exploring but last summer we split a week between Rockland area(next door to Rockport) and Brunswick. BUT Portland has a lot of great restaurants, the mailboat cruise would be a nice break from all that driving, and you might enjoy shopping in the Old Port area. North of Portland the beaches get rocky and stretches between towns is more rural. Bath is a blue collar type of town with a wonderful Maritime Museum. I like driving over the bridge because you get a view of Bath Iron Works and was US Navy ship they might be working on. The crane is huge.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 03:13 AM
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Based on the time of year, and due to the large number of leaf-peepers (foliage tourists), double the amount of time to travel from place to place.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 03:26 AM
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My post never loaded but set gps to back roads. Mass does not have toll booths where you can pay in cash. Middlebury and Bristol are great and Weston has the big Vermont country store. The foundation of the Alcott house is done and open in Concord. I love that area.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 04:31 AM
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I think you should stay flexible about the day trips you take from Grafton, VT and the route you take to the Berkshires. There will be updates on foliage websites showing the places that color is best during your trip.

Routes 30 and 100 are indeed scenic but so are many others in Vt. Here are descriptions of some scenic roads/byways
https://www.visit-vermont.com/state/scenic-drives/

If you find yourself on a route near Plymouth, Vt, the Coolidge homestead is a beautiful spot -- kind of like a VT Brigadoon.

There is a good foliage festival in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont during the first week in October. Chicken pie suppers are the traditional local fund raising dinners.
https://www.jeff-foliage.com/fall-fe...all-festivals/
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 10:34 AM
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Thanks everyone. All the feedback is much appreciated.
We don’t mind a few early starts in order to make the most of our time. We are members of Ramblers here in the UK, so also like to get out and about, stretch our legs and explore.
My husband and I enjoy the outdoors, natural beauty and photography.
We chose Portland as a base because we don’t wish to pack and move constantly. We have some lovely accommodation there and the restaurant scene seems very appealing.
We wanted to have a rough itinerary, including some must-see spots, but we certainly will be influenced by foliage reports and, I imagine, a fair bit of whimsy.
All your input is gratefully received.
Lisa
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 11:00 AM
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Day 7 is over ambitious.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 11:56 AM
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I agree with the others. Too much driving, too many different stops, and not enough time in any particular place just to enjoy being there. We’re currently in mid coast Maine so I’ll come back another time with more details.

Damariscotta and Wiscasset are simply pass through towns for us. We’ll stop for a few min in either town for a specific errand or shop to visit but would not go out of our way to travel there. This past week we enjoyed some oysters in Dam. at a place right on the main road into town - shuck shack. Great selection of fresh local oysters right from the river. In Wiscasset we enjoy lunch at Sarah’s - usually get a bowl of fish chowder. We avoid Reds like the plague due to the traffic their patrons cause. There are lobster rolls all over Maine - no need to go agog and wait in a long line for Reds.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2019, 03:06 PM
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A few more thoughts. Your distances each day seem ok, but too many stops for my liking. Each small town on your list while "cute", or "quaint" or "worth the stop" by themselves they may just blend together into a blur. Lots of similar small shops, bookstores, typical restaurants, etc, Perhaps list out for yourself what draws you to each town/stop you list and how long you want to spend there. We can certainly help with ideas for each location.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 09:41 AM
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Thanks all. Really useful feedback. We’ll give it some thought.
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