New England Fall Color Itinerary

Nov 11th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 5
New England Fall Color Itinerary

Hi fodorites. I've posted out here before and you've been very helpful. My mother and I are going to be taking a trip out east next year for the fall colors and we've got our itinerary and reservations made. We have about 2-1/2 weeks in the east. Just wondering if you'd be willing to take a look at it and offer suggestions on what things are a "must-do". I've listed a few activities that interest us. Thanks in advance!

September 24 & 25, 2011 – Saturday & Sunday (2 nights)

Stowe, Vermont

Activities: Ben & Jerry’s
Quechee Gorge
Middlebury-Vermont State Craft Center
Gondola – Mt. Mansfield

September 26 & 27, 2011 – Monday & Tuesday (2 nights)

Center Sandwich, New Hampshire

September 28, 29 & 30, 2011 – Wednesday, Thursday & Friday (3 nights)

Bethel, Maine

Activities: Mooswokmequntic Lake
Artists Bridge in Newry
Grafton Notch State Park

October 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2011 – Saturday, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday (4 nights)

Bar Harbor, Maine

Activities: Acadia National Park
Cadillac Mountain
Puffin sighting

October 5, 2011 – Wednesday (1 night)

Camden, Maine

October 6, 2011 – Thursday (1 night)

York Harbor, Maine

October 7 & 8, 2011 – Friday & Saturday (2 nights)

Chatham, Massachusettes

Activities: Provincetown

October 9, 10 & 11, 2011 – Sunday, Monday & Tuesday (3 nights)

Mystic, Connecticut

Activities: Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island
travelingbug_wi is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Sorry, I guess I should have added that we enjoy photography, natural scenary, easy hiking, local artisan shopping, and the like.
travelingbug_wi is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I hate to say it but I think that your trip is at least a week too early. the prrime leaf-peeping time is Columbus Day weekend for mot of New England - and probably a week later along the coast - as in Newport.

When you are starting you will probably find colors only in Canada or the highest elevations. Iw ould move the trip a week later.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Fall foliage will be started in the Stowe area in late Sept especially on the mountain tops but peak will probably be a week to two weeks later on average. Peak in CT will be around the last ten days of Oct and into early Nov. A nice place for an easy hike in Stowe is Weissner Woods.
Jeff_Connor is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 01:49 AM
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Simon Pierce is a wonderful (and pricey) restaurant in Quechee. Even if you don't eat there, you can explore the building. There's glass blowers, potters and gift shop. They generate their own hydro electric power. I've only had lunches there so get there as soon as it opens for a table next to a window overlooking the river.

If you're going to Middlebury, you might also be able to drive thru Brandon. Nice small town with a lot of artists. Check to see if any events going on. There's a cooperative gallery.

Center Sandwich! Have you read some of my posts? It's a very small, beautiful NH town. I have not been to the artists' cooperative there. NH League of Arts and Crafts has a shop in nearby Meredith. Last Labor Day weekend we drove the famous Kanc but return to Thornton from North Conway/Rt 16 on the rt thru Tamworth. The Kancamagus offers dramatic mountain scenery but I prefer the route thru Tamworth where people live and work. You might want to take a foliage cruise on the SS Mt Washington on Lake Winnipesaukee. Visit the Sandwich Creamery. Twice we've seen black bears near the road when we've driven in this area. When one crossed the road in front of us, DH slowed to a stop and the bear was still in the bushes next to the road looking back at us. Drive with caution at night, I've had several deer bound across the road and barely missed hitting one. Good thing my passenger saw them and yelled stop. There are hundreds of hiking trails. There will be a lot of people paying to hike The Flume or Lost River. We did the Flume (DH didn't think he'd ever been there before and we live in NH) and it's very nice. Popular with tourists from a lot of different countries.

Between Ellsworth and Camden, don't miss the Chicken Barn. Antiques on first floor. Used books on 2nd floor. Take a look at interior structure. DH was fascinated by building (it's huge). You might find an out-of-print book about Squire's Farm, a series about living on a farm in Maine in late 1800s. DH loves that series. Recent post on Chowhound is Just Barb's on Rt 1 in Stockton Springs (south of Ellsworth) is still a great, local place to eat.

Camden Maine is beautiful. Go to top of Mt Battie for incredible view overlooking harbor but Camden is also a very popular tourist town. If you like wine, look into tastings at Cellar Door Winery but at their original location in Lincolnville. Don't miss easy hike out to Owl's Head Light near Rockland. Don't miss the Farnsworth Museum which features Maine artists including all the Wyeths. Bath is home to the Iron Works ship builders and is more of a blue collar town. Next is Brunswick which is a college town. Hang a left to head out to Harpswell and S Harpswell. Chowhounders like Dolphin Marina. It's in this area we discovered a small nature preserve on the water. Our waitress said there was nothing there. Exactly. A few locals fishing and enjoying the water. No crowds. A nice place to sit for awhile and take a break from driving. Bag chairs are so cheap I would buy some for the times when you want to sit and look. Donate them before you leave although I've carried two, which I was able to fit in an LL Bean Duffle bag as a second suitcase back when it didn't cost money to take a suitcase when you flew. Top of Mt Battie is a great place for a picnic lunch.

Portland Maine: mailboat cruise of Casco Bay. Old Port Area is fun place to browse shops.

York has beautiful beaches and the famous Nubble Light. It won't be crowded like it is in July but keep in mind south of Portland is very built up along the coast.

I would not spend 3 nights in Mystic unless I had a very good reason. Last time I was there I was lucky and there was a wild mushroom festival at a small nature center (it was third week in Sept several years ago). My friends and I had a great time sampling the mushroom dishes. Enjoyed a lobster roll at Abbot's. Best part of the weekend was stopping at the Native American museum near Foxwood's Casino. Outstanding. Figure at least a half day. Considering it could still be very green in southern CT, that would be another reason to add a day to VT, NH or ME.

Plus you've skipped Portsmouth NH home to Strawbery Banke Historic Area. Should you decide to spend time in that area, our favorite drive is Rt 1B from Prescott Park out thru New Castle. There's one place as you drive across a narrow causeway that you can see the old Navy Prison in Kittery ME on one side and to the other you can see the roof of the fabulous Wentworth by the Sea hotel. New Castle is very old homes and then there's an area of very expensive homes. Rt 1 in Rye goes past beautiful private mansions. Downtown Portsmouth is also interesting to walk. You should find some interesting small boutiques and galleries. Also another chance for a boat ride.

Do you really want to skip Boston? If you are interested in history and food, the culinary tours of Boston's North End (Italian) and China Town are great. (another reason for me to shorten stay at Mystic)
dfrostnh is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 06:39 AM
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I don't know that I'd stay in Mystic if I wanted to be in Newport: there is much more to do there, more restaurant options, shopping, etc. Plus, there are plenty of reasonable lodging options close to Newport - look in Middletown; also as it's not the summer season, you might have good luck with cheaper rates in Newport proper (last November we got terrific rates at the beautiful and centrally located Hotel Viking).

I do like Mystic and it's a cute town, but definitely not for three days. If you do stay there, check out Kitchen Little for breakfast, and the adjacent Seaview shack for fried clams. Sea Swirl is top-rated for fried clams...

In Chatham, try the Impudent Oyster for dinner:​impudent-oyster-the-chatham

And a quick note on the Maine side, we loved the work of Edgecomb Potters. It's sold in a number of shops in Boothbay Harbor, Freeport, etc., but going to their studio and shop in Edgecomb itself was special (and they have great sale stuff there!)
ggreen is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 03:41 PM
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Agreed with ggreen -- Mystic is excellent, but two days is plenty enough time to explore it. There's several days worth of stuff to see in Newport, and if you're a historic house junkie and completest, you could easily spend as much as 4-5 days here. Plus, Newport isn't that easy a day trip to take back and forth with Mystic as a base -- there's a lot of non-highway driving involved through small RI towns regardless of the route you pick.

Will second the Impudent Oyster for Chatham eats. Also another thumbs up for the Pequot Museum at Foxwoods, but call to check their open days and hours, which apparently have been reduced from what many guidebooks say -- and be prepared to spend a good 2-3 hours there, as it's a large place with plenty to see.
bachslunch is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 07:32 PM
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Thanks, bachslunch, for saying much more concretely what I thought I was saying but in rereading only alluded to-! Re: Newport/Mystic, it's neither a short drive nor necessarily an easy one, no matter which route you take.

Also, if you are driving between the Cape and Newport, you might want to take a small detour to Tiverton Four Corners (RI). This area has been set up over the years as an oasis of artisan shops and eateries, many of which are stars in their own rights. While there, for lunch eats check out the Provender; and you can't miss some of New England's best ice cream at Gray's!
ggreen is offline  
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