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Patti_lovestravel Nov 3rd, 2018 09:29 AM

New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont Trip help please
4 adults going to NH, ME and VT 2019 for 2.5 weeks. Looking for short hikes, waterfalls, covered bridges, lighthouses, coastal and mtn views, and great food (lobster of course!)/beer/wine. Starting w/1-2 days in Boston and need help on where to stay otherwise. Here are the places we definitely want to hit:
-Bar Harbor - Acadia National Park
-Stowe and Burlington, VT
-White Mountains
-Green Mountains
-Quechee Gorge
-Marsh-Billings Farm
-Lincoln Gap Road
Having a hard time deciding where to stay in NH/ME coast - Portsmouth I heard is very pretty as well as Camden. Camden is so close to Bar Harbor though. Portsmouth may not be central enough on the coast on our way to Bar Harbor? Is Kennebunkport or Portland as pretty as Portsmouth is said to be? Is it worth staying in more than one place on coast besides Bar Harbor?
Where to stay close to White Mountains? Franconia vs Conway or other recommendations?
I've heard Woodstock, VT is very nice too. Is that close enough to the Green Mountains & White Mountains? Other recommendations?
We also like more of a quaint, small town feel rather than bigger, cities.
Would appreciate any assistance and input. Thanks

lit_traveler Nov 3rd, 2018 07:04 PM

First off, I've never lived in northern New England but have spent many vacations in all three states and love the area. I also have family from the region,

A few comments off the top of my head:

Originally Posted by Patti_lovestravel (Post 16819343)
We also like more of a quaint, small town feel rather than bigger, cities.

Try looking for accommodations in Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor rather than Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a good starting point for many tours (whale watching, kayaking, etc.) but it focuses on t-shirt shop tourism. Northeast Harbor is full elegant old summer homes with beautiful gardens while Southwest Harbor is slightly more down to earth and much less touristy than Bar Harbor. If you don't mind driving, I like Blue Hill. It's a charming town with a wonderful bookstore and couple of good restaurants and several lobster shacks, It is about 1 hour away from Acadia National Park. Another option is Stonington, ME. It is still a working harbor and also about an hour from Acadia.

Portsmouth and Camden are both very pretty. Portsmouth is a (small) city while Camden stills feels like a town. Portland is much bigger than either one of them. All can be enjoyable destinations, just depends what you're looking for.

I think it is worth picking two place on the Maine Coast. Towns like Camden and Rockland (actually a very small city) are more manicured than smaller villages like Stonington or Belfast. It's fun to experience both. However, if you decide you would rather stay in one place longer (and I certainly understand that!) try looking into a rental house. In the summer, most rent Saturday to Saturday. If you have a kitchen then you can go down to the town dock one day and buy lobsters straight off the boat. They will be the freshest lobster you've ever had. If you decide on Stonington, ME or a village near by, try the Stonington Lobster Co-Op.

Portsmouth will have breweries, harbor views, and Strawberry Banke, a historic village.

Camden is a lovely place to wander around (very picturesque) and also has nice restaurants. I can't comment on hiking for any of the destinations, but watersports (canoeing, kayaking, etc.) should be easy to find. Camden can be crowded in the summer! If possible, try for June, July, or the end of August, after schools resume.

Woodstock, VT is lovely. Other towns in the same area to look at are Norwich (King Arthur Flour and famous farmer's market that I will visit one day) and Queechee (Simon Pearce). A little farther south, I really like the Grafton Inn: in Grafton, Vt. It is managed by the Wyndham Foundation and the inn occupies many historic houses in the village. It is close to hiking and has some charming art galleries. It is also home to the Grafton Cheddar Company and the inn has a nice restaurant. There is a small artisan market if you wanted to buy sandwiches, a bottle of wine, or picnic supplies.

Please feel free to ask me more questions!

dfrostnh Nov 5th, 2018 02:39 AM

I would buy a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for each state, at least NH and VT because each atlas contains detailed road maps with the locations of things like covered bridges and waterfalls. We also have one for Maine. Portsmouth is too close to Boston for an overnight but deserves some time to explore. We like the harbor and inland rivers cruises. You can walk to the dock from the parking garage. If you want to explore Strawbery Banke then you might need to do an overnight. Our favorite drive is Rt 1B starting from Prescott Park area (next to Strawbery Banke) out thru New Castle and past the fabulously restored Wentworth Hotel. Rt 1A is the coastal route thru Rye past beautiful mansions. We like Petey's in Rye for old time seafood restaurant but you get fancier menus and better views in some Portsmouth restaurants.
Bar Harbor - Acadia National Park
There's a lot of beautiful Maine coast between Portsmouth and Bar Harbor. I'll second previous poster's recommendations for areas to stay. We usually stay in the mid-coast area. Rockland is a small city with a busy harbor but a great location for exploring. Favorite lobster shack is McLoon's in South Thomaston. But we also like Claws on Rt 1 Rockland. Rockport has a beautiful little harbor that is easy to miss. We've had good luck choosing cottages and air b&b type places. I loved Maine Coastal Gardens near Boothbay but we visited in June before the peak tourist travel. Google "best Maine lobster rolls" and choose a place to stay with best access to where you'd like to get lobster. Keep in mind if you have kitchen facility where you stay, you can buy steamed lobsters even at supermarkets to take back for dinner and some lobster shacks don't have much of a menu so some people bring their own side dishes. Just lobster, chips and a piece of pie is enough though. Don't miss the view from the top of Mt Battie in Camden. It's one of our places to set up our bag chairs and enjoy an iced tea break. Don't forget binoculars. Depending on when you visit, you might find some special boat tours. i.e. 4th of July trip around Deer Isle with great narration by historian and also boat captain. We stayed in Brooklyn. The Blue Hill peninsula is very low key compared to Bar Harbor area.
-Stowe and Burlington, VT
Burlington is a great small city. Don't miss Shelburne Museum a bit further south.
-White Mountains
You can drive thru the White Mountains on your way to VT. The inland route from Bar Harbor to Gorham NH is a little too far north and very rural but quite a bit is along Androscoggin River. If you go further south in Maine, maybe back to Portland, it's an hour cross country to Conway area. We don't care for the Conway area since it's aimed for tourism and outlet shopping. Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee is also a popular tourist area with easy access to I93 (north/south route) but good location for visiting the lake area and also White Mountains. We took an early September pontoon boat nature cruise with Squam Lake Science Center that was terrific. Anywhere on the north shore of Lake W is pretty good. The further east you go the closer you are to Conway. Also, I like the winery in Meredith, Hermit Woods. Take a tour if you can. They specialize in local fruits.
-Green Mountains
-Quechee Gorge
-Marsh-Billings Farm
-Lincoln Gap Road
after visiting Burlington/Shelburne area you can continue south thru beautiful farm country and then take Lincoln Gap Road to cross Green Mountains to stay in the Woodstock/Norwich area. Highly recommend Norwich Inn and Norwich is much quieter than Woodstock. You can walk across the street to great restaurant. I'm not a fan of Woodstock since it has too many tourists but everyone else likes it. Definitely plan your visit so you're in Norwich on Saturday for the farmers market. Very festive and plenty of food samples and prepared food. You can also take a baking class at King Arthur Flour. Definitely visit if anyone likes to bake because the store is fantastic. Since you also want to visit Billings Farm you'll probably want to spend a couple of nights.

Back to Maine, YES, stay in the mid-coast area as well as Bar Harbor. Kport is full of shops. Portland's Old Port Area is fun to explore but the highlight is probably restaurants and maybe a Casco Bay mailboat cruise. Keep in mind sandy beaches are mostly south of Portland. Beaches north tend to be rocky. Get a list of wineries and breweries which might help you plan your trip. I also like Cellar Door Winery in Lincolnville (just north of Camden and their original location) and there's a nice one in Rockland. Some areas like Portsmouth offer a beer tour so you don't have to worry about driving. I think Portland does too.
Depending on when you visit you might be able to take advantage of a garden tour which are usually held in June and July. It's a great way of seeing some back roads. Although my husband is not a gardener, he has enjoyed seeing some backyard views of the ocean and some very interesting rural retreats in Vermont. We have also done a couple of old barn tours which I think tend to be held in August.
In addition to the small waterfall on Lincoln Gap near Bristol VT, you might look for Warren Country Store which has great sandwiches and a little deck overlooking a tiny gorge. Walk out back to see more of the gorge.

Vttraveler Nov 5th, 2018 06:33 AM

For VT: Woodstock is full of beautiful restored buildings and has more restaurants than other towns that have been mentioned. The Woodstock Inn is an upscale resort and generally as dfrost says the town is touristy. The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park is located there next to the Marsh Billings farm. It would have a lot of short hikes.

I would second dfrost's recommendation for The Norwich Inn. it has a brew pub and good food and there is another very good restaurant right across the street.

The Lincoln Gap road which you consider a must see runs from Warren to Lincoln. The towns of Warren and Waitsfield are in an area called the Mad River Valley that has lots of inns and restaurants. It is to the west of the Woodstock area. .
There is a cluster of waterfalls south of the Lincoln Gap road

Patti_lovestravel Nov 6th, 2018 07:56 AM

There is some great info and tips here. It will surely be helpful in our planning. Much appreciated. Can't wait to delve into this further. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond!

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