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Oct. 4-16, 2021 NEW ENGLAND TRIP (Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine)

Oct. 4-16, 2021 NEW ENGLAND TRIP (Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine)

Old Oct 23rd, 2021, 07:06 PM
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Oct. 4-16, 2021 NEW ENGLAND TRIP (Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine)

We were so fortunate to have sunny and warm weather for our New England trip in early October. All the locals told us this was unusual weather for Oct. We were very happy leaf peepers!

We flew in from Seattle to Portland, ME and drove a half an hour to Kennebunkport. Beautiful quaint town near the water. We had our first steamed 2 lbs lobster for dinner at Hurricane restaurant. Iím glad I made advance reservations as they were turning away walk ins. It was only a block away from the Inn so that was nice. We did a nice drive along Ocean Avenue that you can view the ocean and beautiful estates along the water. Itís a bit far too walk so drive was recommended. This is a very quaint New England town and it was busy with other leaf peepers.

The driving app we used for directions was Waze. It always found the shortest route and kept in mind construction and traffic. In advance, I had AAA map out our scenic routes, and surprisingly the route didnít include the famous Kancamagus highway drive. My DH saw the sign for it and we venture off course after we passed Meredith. I turned off Waze now since we knew we were going off course. It was a gorgeous drive and the colors were out. Just loved the scenic drive despite the traffic. Well, we ended up doing a loop and suddenly was back near Meredith again. So it was another 2 1/2 hr drive to Stowe, Vermont but the views were amazing.
When I started making accommodations in June most of the places were already booked for October. I decided to get a 2 bedroom condo that was part of the Greenwood Inn which was in the town of Stowe. The condo was around the corner from the inn. It was more space than we needed but I really wanted to be in the town. It was a very nice condo and parking was available.

I had made dinner reservations for the Whip restaurant that is part of the Greenwood Inn. Our dinner and service was very good and they had to turn away customers who didnít have reservations. I didnít have reservations for our second night and called all the recommended restaurants like Harrisonís and Plate restaurants but they were completely booked for days. The Plate restaurant looked very romantic when we strolled by in the evening.

In Stowe, we drove over to take the gondola tram up Mt. Mansfield. You can also drive up to Mt. Mansfield but there is a fee to do the drive and it cost as much as the tram fee. You should leave before noon as they closed off the driving around 2pm and if you take the tram up the last tram down is 4pm. The Cliff restaurant was open for lunch but we didnít have reservations. I highly recommend taking the tram as the views of the valley is amazing! We had the tram to ourselves and I was surprised they didnít put another couple in with us but probably due to Covid they didnít. The tram ride doesnít go all the way to the summit but there are a couple of hiking trails you can take to reach the summit. We took the rock wall trail and it was the toughest hike we have done. We are 60ís young and hike a lot but not used to all the scrambling. Some places I was on all fours climbing over the rocks. We almost got to the top but I could not swing my body to get over this gigantic boulder. The trail has some spots that it isnít for anyone who has a fear of heights. It was a nice view from the ledge before heading back down.

We did see a few restaurants outside of the Main Street of Stowe when we were driving out to do the tram. We went to Idletyme Pub but it was busy and the wait was an hour so we headed to Stowe Cider and found a table outside. I had the flight of ciders. Nice and dry ciders which I like. There was a food truck called ďEverything GoodĒ and it was all organic and I had the best salad here. It was really tasty.

We saw a nice Italian restaurant called ďSaluteĒ on our way to the gondola ride so I called and was able to get a reservations at 5pm. I learned that you can get in to some restaurants but need to plan to eat early.

The stores in Stowe are closed at 6 pm so plan on doing your souvenir shopping during the day.

We were lucky to be in Stowe for their annual Autumn Arts and Crafts festival which was going on through Columbus Day. It was held at the Topnotch field and most artists were under the white tents (which you needed to wear a mask). This was a juried arts and crafts fair and I love artisan crafts. There were all extremely talented artisans and I bought many souvenirs to bring home. This was one of the best fairs we came across on our trip.

When were leaving Vermont to go to our next stop in North Conway we decided to take the Kamagugus Highway again so I enter Lincoln in Waze and we were driving a very scenic road except it turned into a gravel road and we were going up a beautiful mountain. We discovered we were still in Vermont after driving two hours. My DH said there must be a Lincoln in Vermont and when I double checked in Waze it did come up with Lincoln, Vermont. I felt silly for not really seeing that but it happens. It was a very pretty drive through Vermont and we did another loop and was back near Stowe. LOL. We got to see more of Vermont but itís a beautiful state.

When we got to North Conway, the Buttonwood Inn was about a 8 min drive from where the shops and restaurants were. We didnít have dinner reservations for this town and had to wait an hour to get into Flatbread. It was inside a hotel so we waited in the lobby till they texted us. During this time, I called 4-5 restaurants to make reservations for our next night and all were booked for several days. We found a restaurant called Forty at Thorn Hill in the next town, Jackson. It was one of our best dinners we had. I had the best pumpkin soup and outstanding duck entree. My DH loved his prime rib. It was only a 15 min drive away from where we were staying so worth going there to dine for a special meal.

The White Mountains National Park is absolutely gorgeous. We did a nice hike to the Beemis Falls and Arethusa falls trail. We got there around 10am and got the last spot on the second tier parking lot. There is a steep scramble going from Beemis to Arethusa Falls so if you rather have a less challenging hike than go directly to Arethusa Falls. It took us about 2 hours going to both falls. Very nice hike among creeks and the woods.

We overheard the Bear Notch road heading for the Kamacungus highway was terrific so we did that after our hike. I couldn't stop taking photos along the way.

Our last week was in Maine and the colors were now catching up to Vermont and New Hampshire foliage. Just stunning.

The Holland Inn at Bar Harbor was within walking distances to the main street where all the shops/restaurants are. It was maybe 5-6 blocks walk away. Our Inn had parking so it was easy access to the main roads to see the rest of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

I had reservations for the Reading Room in the Bar Harbor Inn on the waterfront. Very nice dinner and I was glad that I didnít wear sneakers as many of the guests were dressed up a bit here. The sunsets were around 6pm and we saw some beautiful ones while here.

There is a nice walkway along the waters as you past the Bar Harbor Inn. At the end of the sea wall walk, we discovered another gem of a place for cocktails in the garden that had wonderful views of the water called the Veranda in the Rock Balance Inn.

We had dinner reservations for Havana on our last night. This was one of Bar Harborís top restaurants and we werenít disappointed. Great food and service. Excellent Mojitos here.

We took a nice drive to NE Bar Harbor where there were a few retail stores and a very nice marina. I thought it had a nicer marina than the SE harbor but both were worth a drive out for a visit.

We spent some time in Acadia National Park, the weather continued to be gorgeous. There is a fee to drive up Cadillac Mountain so we reserved it for the next day.

We did the Gotham Trail hike which had some scramble but manageable to get to the top where the views were amazing.

Leaving Bar Harbor we stopped at the Bar Harbor Weathervane
Place. Only place that still makes beautiful cooper weathervanes. We bought one that was custom order and we received it a couple days after we got home from our trip.

We drove to our next town, Camden, but stopped at Belfast first as it was noted to offer artisan and cute shops. Nice harbor and it was decorated for the fall. We had an early dinner at a nice Italian restaurant called Delvinos.

We couldnít believe the traffic heading into Camden. The Windward Inn was right outside the main street. It was all decorated for Halloween and just so adorable. I love Halloween so it was the perfect spot and the Inn served great breakfasts and it was my favorite Inn.

The hike to Mt. Battie was behind the Inn. It was only 1 mile but there was a scramble where you had to go up large rocks. The views of Camden and the marina was amazing. It was sunny and we had 95% humidity and we were sweating climbing over these big rocks but we did it.

We stopped in Boothsbay where it was another quaint little harbor town where a few shops were all decorated for Halloween. It was fun to spend some time here.

Higgins Inn was in a beachy residential area in Scarborough. There isnít much here except vacation homes but itís a couple blocks away from the Atlantic Ocean. We had enough time for a walk on the beach. There is a tiny restaurant called ďShadeĒ that was part of the Inn. We had surprisingly good hamburgers and local hard ciders for dinner. I must say the staff at this Inn were the nicest people. It rained during the night but we were leaving the next day so it didn't bother us. The drive to Portland airport was only 20 minutes away.

I would say to start making your reservations as early as possible if you are planning to visit. Most of the popular restaurants required reservations. Some places didnít take reservations and all places were suffering from shortage of staff.

Thanks to all the Fodorites who help with my planning. It was amazing visit!

Camden, ME

View from Mt. Mansfield, Stowe, Vermont

Leaving Maine

White Mountain National Park

Kancamagus Highway, NH

portobelloB is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2021, 12:54 AM
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Your timing was perfect. Nice photos. Today is probably the last sunny day before a week of mostly rain. By now foliage is past peak but we enjoyed a drive to a favorite farm stand to stock up on winter squash.
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Old Oct 26th, 2021, 02:33 PM
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You really did luck out with the weather and timing for bright colors. Thanks for the report.
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Old Oct 26th, 2021, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for posting this great TR, PortobelloB and I loved your photos. It reminded me so much of the road trip I did with an ex fodorite about 3 years ago. We covered a lot of the ground you did and she kindly took me on a "Higgins" tour which included a brief ptotostop at the Higgins Inn in Scarborough. It was nice to be reminded of a pre-covid trip through this lovely area.
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Old Nov 11th, 2021, 03:46 PM
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I love your report and your photos! I grew up in MA and still live here, and you have seen a few places in New England that I haven't seen yet. Still haven't been to Stowe, VT. Our youngest daughter lives in Vermont; they moved there 2 years ago, and we love visiting her and her family. Vermont is beautiful! We used to spend a lot of time in Maine when our oldest daughter went to college there. We love Maine, too, and have visited most of the places in Maine that you visited. We were in Bar Harbor last June for 4 nights with friends. It was our 3rd visit there. Acadia National Park is beautiful! I am impressed with the hikes you did. We used to hike a lot in our younger days, but now we are in our 70's and we choose much easier hikes than you did. There is no way I could get on all fours and scramble over rocks. Kudos to you!
KarenWoo is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2021, 07:57 AM
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Hi everyone, sorry for the delay in my response. Just returned from another trip to Hawaii where the weather was in the low 80's every day. It was wonderful. I retired last year during covid, (made my decision pre-Covid) and have been traveling ever since we were fully vaccinated in the Spring. Making up for all the trips we had planned last year. Glad to be home for the holidays.
Karen, you are lucky that you have a daughter that lives in Vermont and spent time in Maine with another daughter! I enjoy reading Fodorite's travel reports and so I really appreciate when I get responses from others who are reminded of their trips or get ideas for making new travels. It's great to have this Forum.

Thank you to all your kind responses.
portobelloB is offline  
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