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Need advice on New England Itinerary

Old Jan 9th, 2004, 03:56 PM
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Need advice on New England Itinerary

Planning a trip now for fall foliage seems a bit early, but I LOVE the planning stage. We need to fly in/out of Boston (more options):
Take a late Thurs. flight to
Boston and stay (3 nights) Freedom Trail, museums;
Stowe, Vermont area (3 nights) Lake Champlain shopping and scenice drives;
White Mtn. region of New Hampshire (any suggestions - perhaps Jackson?)(2 nights) drive to top of Mt. Washington and also Castle in the Clouds;
Providence or Newport (2 nights) for the mansions;
fly out late on Sunday.
Anyone know anything about the Simon Pearce glass blowing and where we can see a demonstration? Should we extend a day? I'm not certain of driving times/distances. Any suggestions on B&Bs or Inns moderately priced (~$100-125) would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 04:23 PM
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It's never too early to plan a foliage trip. Inns book way in advance. I would consider scrapping Newport and focusing on the north, perhaps Ogunquit/Kennebunkport Maine, or Ipswich/Essex/Rockport MA. Only because it is much more accessible to your other choices, with plenty to see. And do eat at the North End in Boston! There are so few real little Italy's left. Fun!!!
 
Old Jan 9th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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I agree wtih gyppie -- it's NOT too early to book for foliage season, in fact it's too late for many places.

I also agree that unless you have your heart set on Newport, then you'd be better-off visintg the North Shore area, it's just as charming and historic in its own way.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Ooops, hit "post too soon.

Your rental car company does NOT want you driving their car up Mt. Washington -- take a ride up.

We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblowing at Simon Pearce in VT, but that was several years ago (hmm, 10 or 12 now that I think of it) so you'd best check their web site for current details.

Your drive times/distances all look OK to me, but for reassurance, why not check with mapquest or one of the other sites that can give up specifics to weigh.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 05:57 PM
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Anonymous
Why not drive a rental car up Mt. Washington? Is there something I NEED to know about the drive??? As far as Simon Pearce glassblowing, which location did you go to? There's one near Quechee with a restaurant and another one further south nearer the border with NH. Is there a demonstration at both?
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 06:19 PM
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Jill, I can't answer your question about whether you are allowed to take a rental car up Mt. Washington, but can tell you that my husband and I were SO glad that we took a narrated van ride.

The drive, if heights and sheer dropoffs bother you, is scary! And the narration provided by a knowledgable guide added much to the experience. That said, I believe that a taped narration is provided with your ticket if you decide to drive the auto road yourself. The cog railway is another option.

The trip to the top of Mt. Washington was an unforgetable experience. We experienced hurricane-like winds in June and amazing scenery. Try to choose a clear day.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 07:15 PM
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Molly, did they mention to you at Mt. Washington that the highest wind speed ever recorded (worldwide) was on Mt. Washington? 230 MPH!

Jill: why three whole nights in Stowe?
There's so much to see in New England, and it's so easy to cover a lot of territory by car it seems a rather disproportionate amount of time at the expense of Woodstock, Champlain area, coastal Maine, etc.
If you have your heart set on the Newport mansions, it's a very doable trip. As an overview I don't think it's difficult to surf through Providence and Newport in 1-2 days. But I'd put in some extra time for coastal Maine personally.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 07:32 PM
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Travleis
3 nights in Stowe is actually 2 full days. The first day is basically a travel day to get there (from Boston), then 2 full days for the Stowe/Champlain area. Does anyone have any idea how long it takes to tour the Lake Champlain islands? Any information on the Lippizan horses?
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 04:04 AM
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travleis, I couldn't remember the highest windspeed, but the day we visited, we couldn't walk for more than a few steps without being blown off our feet. I can't imagine what 230 MPH would be like!

jill, not sure about the lippizans, but the Morgan Horse Farm is interesting to visit in nearby Middlebury.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 06:11 AM
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Last fall we did the foliage trip thru NH and Vermont. In NH, the highlights were having drinks and appetizers on the porch of the Mount Washingington Hotel, seeing the Flume and doing the loop on Route 16B through Jackson. My favorite stop in Vermont was the Shelburne Farm.

I'd recommend the foliage part of your trip for during the week; way too much traffic on weekends. I probably started going B&Bs about 2 months ahead of time and was surprised to find vacancies. I called most places recommended in other posts here. Ended up booking with The Christmas Tree B&B in Jackson, didn't end up staying there, but it looked very nice but it might be just a tad more than your price range. It was also one of the lesser expensive places. I'd also recommend the day trips suggested by the online version of Yankee Magazine.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Caution: Once you click-to-enlarge the photo of the lakeside garden patio on this website, you'll just HAVE to spend a night at this beautiful New Hampshire spot!

www.bayside-inn.com
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Old Jan 11th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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We stayed in Fairfax (north of Burlington) last June and devoted a half day to touring the islands. Beautiful but don't expect to make a lot of stops. We ended up with lunch in downtown Burlington. If you like to sleep late and having a big breakfast in Stowe (Dutch Pancake House!)you might aim for having dinner in Burlington, maybe the Church St area. There is a challenging corn maze near Lyndonville VT near the NH border (Littleton) that is a fun spot and change from driving. Great views from the top. Vermont's rolling hills are a good contrast to the craggy NH mountains but things are few and far between in northern Vermont. Beautiful country though!
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Old Jan 13th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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I wouldn't discount Providence and Newport. You can probably take in the mansions in an afternoon and then you have great shopping and siteseeing throughout the Newport area. While there are lovely homes in Maine, NONE compare to what you'll see in Newport- I guarantee it. Plus you can't visit the interior many mansions in Maine - if any! What you can also do is visit nearby Little Compton - a tiny village on the ocean that has one of New England's best vineyards - Sakonnet. Around the fall they have the annual harvest festival as well as great vineyard tours. They have a B&B on premises if memory serves me correctly. Also, be sure to make it up to Providence on Saturday night. I am pretty sure they have these great "waterfire" festivals where they lite small fires in the river downtown. Its really great on an autumn night - plus they had Venetian style gondolas floating in the river for hire. Providence has really good restaurants too. In the morning on sunday take a walk up on college hill (hoem to Brown university) - you'll get a bird's eye view of the city as well as a great look at stunning eighteenth and nineteenth century homes not to mention the lovely college buildings themselves all surrounded by trees in full foliage. Having discounted this city in the past, I would definately not make that mistake twice.

As far as folliage in Vermont and New Hampshire go, trim Vermont down and consider western Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. One can climb Mt. Monadnock in Jafre, NH and get a spectacular view of the folliage stretching for over 30 to 40 miles! The town itself is very charming. I do it every season if I can. Shoudl take no more than 4 hours to climb and descend - but I will say it can be tough in spots though I've seen grandmothers hiking up with no problems.

Finally, one more suggestion is to not forget about Salem. Though it has become a tourist trap as of late it is still an autumn tradition - especially in October and you'll have fun time. Its great for an evening when you just want to stroll around, maybe shop, and people watch.
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Old Jan 13th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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an excellent responce magellan98. The thing about New England is there is always more to discover. I actually walked the full cliff walk about 8 times last summer, as well as hanging out at my new favorite beach - East Beach - ssshhhhh!!!! - in Charlestown....ssshhhh!!!!
 
Old Jan 14th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Jill H - Unless you are seriously into Halloween the only thing worth seeing in Salen is the Peabody Essex Museum. The rest of the town is dieing. For better examples of New England seaports visit Newburyport or Portsmouth.

Personally 3 nights in Stowe would be great for me. I live their Recreation Trail. I've gone in the summer and have loved it - I bet its beautiful in the fall also. Stop in at Ben and Jerry's and have an ice cream sitting on one of the Adirondack chairs over looking the hills. Very nice.

Consider staying at the Mt. Washington or at the Bretton Arms ( a smaller inn on the property of the Mt. Washington). Like the previous poster stated sitting on that porch with a good gin and tonic (or whatever your pleasure) is heaven.

New England has a lot of great places. You won't be able to see them all but I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Its all about small pleasures.
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. We're really looking forward to our visit - keeping our fingers crossed for great foliage colors!!
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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I am tired just reading your itinerary, Jill. We have found that trying to do and see too much results in a "memory blur" later on. As I am sure you know, New England is an expansive and varied area with many, many miles between some of the locations you have mentioned--all worthwhile,by the way. If your main interest is in foliage, then you might want to omit Boston and concentrate on New Hampshire and Vermont aroound the second and third weeks of October. Foliage season can vary in time and intensity, depending upon the weather and amount of rain that year. You will not see much color in Rhode Island seacoast locations until the third week or so in October. No matter, Newport is lovely and well worth visiting. While in that area, you might visit Sakonnet (nice beach, and vineyard with tastings, etc.). From Point Judith, you could ferry to Block Island and take an organized tour around the island.
It might be chilly, though. Providence does have WaterFire presentations, but the schedule is erratic and dependent upon corporate sponsorship. While Providence is a revitalized city, you might omit that in the interest of time. Vermont in the fall is just wonderful. The glassblowing takes place in Queechee at the Simon Pearce Restaurant and galllery. I understand the food is very good there. Woodstock is a bit farther north,
but has a fine inn, The Woodstock Inn, the Rockefeller State Park, and a neat downtown area with good shoppes and restaurants. Stowe is a favorite location of ours and from there, you could visit Burlington and the Champlain Islands. It took us a full day to drive around the islands. There is a wildflower farm on the way to Burllington, the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and a wonderful restaurant, the Dog Team Tavern, The White Mountains are also beautiful any time of year. North Conway is a good location with a highway that is just magnificent, Kancamaugus running from N. C. to Lincoln, N. H. N. C. has many places to stay, eat, and shop. From there, it is an easy drive all around the area. I
It would be helpful to know what your interests are.
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Old Jan 17th, 2004, 03:14 PM
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Jill, I agree with those posters who encouraged you to visit my adopted state of Maine, it is beautiful in summer and at folliage time. You can stay on the coast, or more cheaply inland where there are lots of lakes and beautiful folliage. Most tourists stay on the coast however, either in the southern areas already mentioned or further north.

Also, the accomodations here and other northern NE lodgings are likely to be significaqntly less costly than Boston, Newport, RI, etc. perhaps a combination of the two areas would balance things out. You seem to be planning to cover an very large territory if you are looking for a leisurely trip, but perhaps you simply want to see as much as possible. I personally would go to Vt, NH, ME and then briefly to Boston, returning another time for Boston, Cape Cod, and RI.

In any event, I echo the suggestion that you get the forecast for Mt. Washington before you head up there, it can get pretty windy and wild. Also, I agree with the comments about Salem. I have visted there for family reasons, but it gets very old very fast.

OK, speaking of advance planning, I am going back to research for my summer trip to Hawaii.

Wherever you decide to go, you will have fun leaf peeping in New England.
Marcia from Maine
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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Just to clarify my previous suggestion of visiting Salem... As I said, it is a tourist trap... And yes it gets old fast - for those of us who have been many times that is. But for a person with an evening to spare (not a weekend, not a day - just a few hours), who happens to be in the area in the fall, it is well worth a visit! fun trinket shops, goofy and sometimes interesting witch museums and haunted houses, great up and coming restaurants, and just interesting people watching.
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