New England Itinerary

Old Mar 29th, 2021, 05:44 PM
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New England Itinerary

Hello, we are going to be taking a trip out east in September. We'll have a week, and at first our hopes were to fly in to Boston with stops in Vermont, New Hampshire, Portland ME, and then back to Boston for a couple of days with a day trip to Cape Cod. We typically fill our trips and don't require much downtime, but this one might be a bit too full. We had planned to do some hiking in both Vermont and NH. It sounds like the hiking is better in NH than in Vermont, so we may skip Vermont. So, first question. Looking for suggestions for a cool small town in the white mountains close to hiking. In Boston we're looking for more historic accommodations than modern. We'll be hoping to stay close to some neat old bars. The only things on our to do list are Little Italy (looking for Italian restaurant recommendations), and hitting the market. So, we would fly into Boston, spend 3 nights in New Hampshire to hike, a couple of nights in Portland, and a couple of nights in Boston before flying out. We're open to any kind of suggestions as far as the itinerary is concerned, where to stay, where not to stay, where to hike, eat, drink, etc. Thanks!
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 02:23 AM
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You might want to take a food tour of Boston's North End. What market are you talking about? The Hay Market vendors are outside on Fridays and Saturdays last time I checked. I do not care for Quincy Market since it is usually very crowded and the food court wasn't very good.
My favorite small town in the White Mountains region would be Center Sandwich but you would probably have to stay in Moultonboro. Here's the "visit Sandwich" list of trails Welcome to Sandwich, NH I'm putting this out there because the most popular trails in the White Mountains have been overcrowded even before the Covid crisis. To the west of Sandwich is the Squam Lake area and if you want a rest from hiking I highly recommend a nature cruise to see loons. We went in early September a couple of years ago - large pontoon boat is used. Tour info and tickets are through Squam Lakes Science Center. To the east of Sandwich is Tamworth. You might want to visit the distillery if only to admire the bottles and equipment but they do offer a tasting. Then continue south to Rt 16 and then Rt 25. It's slightly more than 1 1/2 hours to Portland. I would avoid staying in North Conway because of congestion/traffic, sprawl. Meredith is also very busy but a beautiful town on Lake Winnipesaukee where you can find some nicer accomodations. Fun tasting at Hermit Woods Winery. Where you stay might depend on whether you want a hotel with a bar.
OTOH if you stayed on the west side of the mountains somewhere along the I93 corridor which runs thru the mountains, you could make an easy day trip over to Danville VT for a different kind of hiking at the Great Vermont corn maze. Depending on your tastes, there are plenty of breweries and microbreweries around. Also depends on how far you want to drive to hiking trails and what kind of trails you are looking for. Do be careful. I think September is one of the months when hypothermia and sudden weather changes can be dangerous. But, in general, September is usually a beautiful weather month.

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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 08:51 AM
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Have you been to New England before? Because, nothing against NH (I used to live there) but you aren't seeing any of the coast, which I find the most unique and interesting part of the region. There are hills with hiking in many states, but only New England has the coast that it has. If you google 'hiking on Maine coast" you'll get lots of suggestions. With only a week you can't see that much, especially if you want several days in Boston. I'd consider heading north from Boston to the southern and mid coast regions of Maine and leave VT and NH (except for the 17 mile section you go through to get from Mass to Maine) for another trip.
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 09:13 AM
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If you want to rent the car in Boston, that's OK. If you would rather rent the car in Maine, you can take the Amtrak Downeaster from Boston North station (BON) to either Portland or Freeport Maine. The flagship store of LL Bean is in Freeport within walking distance of the station.
Renting the car in Boston, drive first to Waterbury VT (off I-89) to the Ben & Jerry's factory. The factory is on the Waterbury to Stowe highway. From Waterbury, head east to Barre to get on US 302. Take 302 east to Woodsville New Hampshire. Drive the beautiful Kankamagus highway (112) east all the way to Conway or North Conway NH. There is a very nice farm inn in North Conway.
There are many hiking opportunities off the Kankamagus highway and at Echo Lake State Park near Conway.
From Conway NH, take US 302 to get to Portland ME. If you still have some time, head up to see Acadia NP before heading back to Boston.
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for the info! That's good to know on the market. My wife was in Boston years ago and wanted to return to the market, but Quincy doesn't sound like it's up our alley, so perhaps we'll look into the Hay market. I appreciate the info on North Conway as well. While we are adding to the traffic, we'd like to avoid it when possible!

This is our first time in NE. We had only looked at the hiking in Vermont and NH, but will look into Maine as well. We certainly like the idea of being close to the coast.

Last edited by boffey; Mar 30th, 2021 at 05:54 PM.
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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 01:06 AM
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Haymarket is mostly grocery vendors.

Concentrating on the Maine coast after Boston is a good suggestion and I would recommend at least a brief stop in Portsmouth NH. It's a cool big town/small city. There's a row of restaurants with decks overlooking the water. Scroll down on this website to see what one restaurant deck looks like River House Restaurant|Easygoing spot for a broad seafood menu & drinks in harborside digs with a scenic deck on the river. (riverhouse53bow.com)
There are actually hiking opportunities in the Portsmouth area. It has been years since my school field trip chaperoning days. Odiorne Point is popular. You could do a slight detour heading toward Durham and Wagon Hill Farm. You don't realize what's over the hill unless you actually hike it. There's a trail that leads down to the water's edge and then you can continue along the shoreline circling back to the farmhouse/parking area.

I would vote for staying in the Rockland area which is close enough to Camden for some more arduous hiking up Mt. Battie. We take the auto road. The view from the top is one of the best in Maine. Sometimes we picnic there. Be advised that some of the lobster shacks are weekends only after Labor Day. We also like the Brunswick area which has a great farmers market on Fridays. It's also a college town but close to the Harpswell area where you can find lobster shacks and restaurants plus several conservation areas for hiking. Very rural.
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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 02:38 AM
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If you tell us what you consider good hiking we can give you better info. To some people it's a 2-3mi walk through the woods, gentle rolling hills, some interesting meadows or bogs or other wildlife viewing areas. As mentioned above, conservation areas with that type of hike (or walk, depending on your perspective) are all over the place.

On the other hand, if you're talking about an all day 12 mile hike in the deep woods, with significant elevation gain then there are different options. If you want back to back to back days of that, then you'll need different advice alltogether.

Personally I like the middle ground... 3-4hr hike with some interesting terrain and a destination, eg lake or mountain top. If that's what you're looking for then there are great options all through NE. I've found great hikes all over western MA and VT, but since I live in the foothills in NY I have plenty of nearby options locally and don't typically drive farther just to hike.
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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 08:16 AM
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I guess "good hiking" is pretty vague! We'd like at least one arduous hike in the mountains. So, we'd be looking at the latter-a trail that we can spend most of the day on. No distance requirement, but probably no more than 12 miles if there is elevation involved. We'd like to get out butts kicked on a hike and ideally be close to our lodging with a "fun" place to get a beer. By fun, I mean a brewery or someplace with a patio and a good tap list. Ideally, that would also be close to our lodging. We'd probably look at a conservation area for our other hike. The alternative being what you mention, a 3-4 hour hike on back to back days. I'm intrigued in the suggestions on staying close to the coast also. It looks like Acadia would also have the hiking we'd be looking for. I haven't looked at lodging options up there, however.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
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Old Apr 1st, 2021, 10:45 AM
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Even though the states are not huge in New England, trying to do justice to four of them in a week is too tight. Do not skip Vermont and I think western Massachusetts is really special.

I've lived in VT, NH, Mass, but never Maine or Boston. I am not a hiker so more into the smaller towns, scenic outlooks, antique stores, farm stands, nice drives, covered bridges (depending on Sept weather) swimming holes...

What I'm trying to say is everything you are considering is great, just need to trim it down into a more reasonable itinerary for your time frame.

Check out The Marina if you happen to find yourself in Brattleboro Vermont! https://marina.restaurant/



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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 12:58 PM
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Your plan sounds too ambitious even if by a week you mean saturday-to Sunday... 8 days
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 05:40 PM
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The ferry to Salem from Boston is very scenic and Salem is beautiful. You can take the ferry to Provincetown from Boston if you really want to go to the cape. I also love Concord for the history.
Set the GPS to back roads or get the toll thing from rental agency. I did ok without it. The rental agency forgot to give me one. It was probably the best thing seeing all the little towns.
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