New England road trip Oct. 8-14

Old Sep 29th, 2014, 06:53 AM
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New England road trip Oct. 8-14

Flying into Boston - Oct. 8, renting a car, driving to Meredith, NH (staying 2 nights). Driving to Waitsfield, VT (2 nights). Driving to Portland, ME (2 nights). Back to Boston for a day (have been before, just hitting the highlights again). Turning in rental car and walking the city, flying out in evening.
Recommendations for travel (specific routes from each point) and what to do in each area would be greatly appreciated! We want to see the scenery but this Florida/Georgia girl is a bit afraid of the really steep, hairpin curvy roads. I really need some honest feedback about the roads. Don't really want all interstate either! Is there a really good compromise? We would like to see local things, eat local food, hike a little, buy handmade/local items, see some beautiful scenery, step out and do some things we can't do at home. Thanks so much!
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Portland is a bustling city and most of the "scenery" is going to be traffic. Drive out to Two Lights Park/Cape Elizabeth one day after picking up some treats at Scratch Bakery in South Portland. Another nice drive will be out to the Sebago Lakes Region.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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I am also one who fears hairpin curves on mountainsides with no guardrails. I have never encountered such a road in New England.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 04:56 PM
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What a relief, Gail! Sure hope I don't encounter one either
Thanks for the tips, clarkgriswold.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 03:45 AM
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Color is early this year so check when you get here. Meredith is close to the White Mountains but I think color is going to be past peak in the mountains by then. Saw a report that it's happening now. Color is really nice right now around Concord NH. I93 out of Boston will be pretty industrial looking until you get into NH. You have the option of taking I293 in Manchester NH which splits off from I93 but rejoins it further north. I293 goes along the Merrimack River in Manchester NH so you can see beautiful old brick mill buildings on the opposite side. Concord NH is a good stopping point if you need anything. If you take exit 12N or 13 you can drive Main Street (parking might be hard to find), several good lunch places. You can reconnect with I93 by turning right at the Holiday Inn. Exit 14 brings you to several fast food chains and grocery stores. My current favorite whoopie pies are made by Crust and Crumb Bakery on Main St, Concord across from State House. The bakery was started by a former 4-H member and she does food articles for AP. If you need healthier food, Concord Food Coop on South Main Street is open to public and has a food bar.

I think I93 gets prettier the further north you go and for an interstate, isn't so bad. It eventually goes right through the mountains but you will probably be getting off at exit 93 and Meredith is very pretty. I would also make a visit to Wolfboro while you are in the area. Nice little shops and right on Lake Winnipesaukee. Make sure to visit Center Sandwich NH while you are in Meredith area. Squam Lake is also beautiful. I think this area is beautiful any time of the year.

There is a League of NH Crafts store in Meredith and some nice galleries in Wolfboro for handmade things. (There is also a League store in Concord NH)

Check to see if Norwich and/or Montpelier farmers markets are still going on if you are headed to Waitsfield on Saturday. You can find lunch at both from prepared food vendors, get some fresh apples, cheese, pastries, etc. There's music and very festive atmosphere but many markets are closing for the season this week or next. King Arthur Flour in Norwich is a must stop if you bake and they have a great café. Norwich is also a sweet little town.

I would take a southerly route to go from VT to ME because color is going to be better when you visit. I89 is actually a pretty drive. If you get off I89 exit for New London you could take a short side trip up the Wilmot side of Mt Kearsarge. There's a state park (fee) near the top with terrific views and you can hike to the top. There are switch backs but this is a quiet country road and no problem at all. Or get off at exit 9 in Warner NH. Quiet and pretty town. You can go up the other side of little Mt Kearsarge. The independent book store in town has a small gallery. Continue thru town for a pleasant drive to Concord NH. The School House Café in Davisville is a great place for lunch (breakfast and lunch only). Rt 103 and 202 parallel I89. You can take a slight detour to Gould Hill Orchard which also has a nice view from their small parking lot. You will also pass Diamond Hill Farm with a very nice but pricey farmstand in their barn. Also nice views. You'll end up on Pleasant St connecting with Main Street in Concord NH. Turn left and continue north where you can connect with I393 to bypass the commercial district and go to route 4 which sends you to the seacoast and a very pretty approach to Portsmouth NH over Great Bay. Best to take I95 north to Portland. Agree with visit to Two Lights Park. The Old Port Area is nice to visit. You can park in the parking garage and take mailboat cruise of Casco Bay. Leave car in garage and do some shopping. If you head out of Concord on Rt 4, Valley Artisans in Epsom is a consignment shop for arts and crafts. Haven't been in years but it may still be very nice and not as high priced as a League shop.

Ignore GPS to take Rt 101 to seacoast. That's a very boring limited access hwy.

If you like ice cream, get the ice cream trail map from the state of NH.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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dfrostnh, Thank you so much for the detailed itinerary. I'm going to print your reply!! We certainly appreciate all the effort you put into this post. Can't wait!!
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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When we skied at Sugarbush we went here:http://americanflatbread.com/restaurants/waitsfield-vt/
Great place to eat in Waitsfield.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2012...DvL/story.html
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 03:33 PM
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Can't thank you enough, snowgirls, for the article on Waitsfield! And you are not the first person to recommend American Flatbread. We WILL hit that one, for sure!

Thanks everyone for all the great tips. Just can't wait to get there.....praying color will last until we complete our trip!!
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Old Oct 4th, 2014, 04:18 AM
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Here is a good listing for the Waitsfield Mad River Valley area, showing events in October. The Joslin Round Barn is an interesting building with an art show on at this time of year.
http://www.madrivervalley.com

The Montpelier VT Farmer's Market will be in operation next weekend (Saturday) and is a good one
http://www.montpelierfarmersmarket.com/

You could also tour the state house
http://www.vtstatehouse.org/tours.htm

You could easily go over to the Lake Champlain area where there is likely to be more color left. Shelburne museum and Shelburne Farms are both great places to visit.
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Old Oct 4th, 2014, 11:30 AM
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When you are in VT you can get foliage updates via this web site
http://www.vermontvacation.com/foliage-central.aspx
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Old Oct 4th, 2014, 05:59 PM
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Downtown Concord, NH is worth a stop (it's basically several block on Main St). It's eclectic. If the capitol is open the day you are there, it's absolutely worth going in (It's on Main Street to). They have a large collection of flags on display going back to the Revolutionary war and there are about 300 large oil painting portraits of a whole host of important people who had something to do with NH or NE over the past 200+ years. There's no fee. You are free to roam the first 3 stories and look at your own pace. From there, you are already on Main Street which is a nice walking area.

I'm a big fan of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH. This is off exit 18 along I-93 on your way to Meredith. Plan on a few hours if you go.
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