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Return to New England after my exchange student year back in 1988

Return to New England after my exchange student year back in 1988

Old Dec 27th, 2021, 03:44 PM
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Return to New England after my exchange student year back in 1988

Hi there, 33 years ago I attend East Longmeadow HS as a Rotary exchange student from the Canary Islands ( Spain). After that experience I became a Newenglander at heart and two years ago my husband and I planned to go back on a road trip. Hubby passed away unexpectedly and I didnīt feel like doing this trip anymore but a couple of months ago I went back to it and would love some inputs about it. I wiil go by myself (it will be my first time travelling alone) and will arrive to Boston october 4th. Donīt want to stop at Boston because I have been there a few times so will get a car at Logan and will head Portland. Next stops will be Bar Harbor, Bangor, North Conway, Stowe, Burlington, Manchester, Springfield and back to Boston. Itīs going to be a two weeks trip and must stop two nights in Springfield to stay at my host family place. I appreciate your opinion about anything you consider as well as the nights I should spend at every town. I like driving but the route from Bar Harbor to North Conway and Stowe scares me a bit. My interests beside foliage are charming towns, picturesque little stores, rural life scenes...and maple syrup on pancakes for sure. Thanks so much.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 06:22 PM
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You can definitely skip Bangor, unless you have a personal reason for stopping there.
Maybe visit Ogunquit or Kennebunkport on your way to Portland. While in Portland visit Cape Elizabeth/ Fort Williams Park...and maybe take a drive out to the Sebago Lakes region.
Camden is a nice lunch stop on the drive between Portland and Bar Harbor. Are you planning on hiking in Acadia? If not then two nights in Bar Harbor is probably enough at that time of year...but you could easily stay 3 if you plan drives to Southwest Harbor, Bass Harbor, Wiinter Harbor. I don't think you have time to add the Moosehead Lakes area to your drive but it can be spectacular at that time of year. There is no real way to tell where the colors will be most impressive though, until a few days before your travels.

It's a popular time to visit the area so lodging may be expensive and you'll have to book by June or July. Let us know if you have a budget set so that we can recommend places to stay that may be within budget.

I would plan on 3 nights Portland, 3 nights Bar Harbor, 2 nights for the North Conway area, 3 nights near Stowe/ Burlington and then 2 nights in Springfield. Manchester I would skip, again unless you've added it because you have a friend there or something. I say 3 nights Portland because you'll probably be jet-lagged on day one and because there are several day drives that you could take outside of Portland.
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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 02:13 AM
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This is a really tough question because you are covering so many miles during a busy tourist season. Expect heavy traffic on interstates on fri, sat and sunday. Do you mean Manchester VT or NH? I agree wit Clark's recommendation for Fort Williams Park since it has a terrific viewof Casco Bay. You can take a nice mailboat cruise of Casco Bay which would give you a break from driving.
Although you can get lobster all year round, the rustic lobster shacks usually are open weekends only in Sept. you might find some open for Columbus Day weekend.
if you want to reduce miles I would skip Bar Harbor and enjoy the view from the top of Mt Battie in Camden.

Your route should include specific reasons for visiting. I live in NH and North Conway is one of my least favorite areas. If you want a scenic “hike” you might comsider The Flume on the other side of the mountains. But not on a weekend.

You shouldn't have a problem with the route from Bar Harbor to Stowe. You will find real maple syrup in many places although some restaurants charge extra for real maple. I think the locations you listed tend to be the opposite of rustic and rural. North Conway for example is full of outlet malls. I think you would enjoy farmers markets so check schedules. The big ones tend to be on saturdays but we liked the friday one in Brunswick ME. Bring some picnic supplies with you so you could enjoy fresh yogurt, cheese, apples, etc. some farmers markets have prepared food vendors.

I95 from Portland toward the Bar Harbor area is very boring and I thin you will see more pines than foliage. We prefer the midcoast area of Maine so if you want to consider Camden, get off I95 in Brunswick and switch to Rt 1. If the traffic isn't heavy I think you would enjoy Wiscasset. Plus you can stop at a Reny's Dept store if you need anything. There's a candy store in Bath that sells Needham candy made from potatoes. Bath is a shipyard town but has an old fashioned downtown which includes a Reny's.

Instead of North Conway you might like Meredith NH on Lake Winnipesaukee better. It's an upscale tourist town but fairly handy to I93 north to the mountains. You can enjoy the small stores and walking along the lake. You could visit Remick Farm Museum in Tamworth and one of the very smallest rural towns is Center Sandwich. They do have an agricultural fair which would probably be before you got there. Head over to Squam Lake Science Center to see NH wildlife. If they are still doing nature cruises on the lake, I would highly recommend going on one.

After Burlington VT if you are headed to Manchester VT the route south is thru farming country. Should be good foliage views. This is not the foliage route 100 that people recommend but you wanted farm scenes. The interstate hwy from Vt to Springfield goes thru rural western MA so should be nice.
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Old Dec 29th, 2021, 01:08 PM
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Thank you for your quick and detailed inputs. It seems I have the trip wrong. I donīt really mind to change my mind on my stops and am sure you are right on your recomendations. Probably I want to visit to many places for a two weeks trip and also a one driver route. I will definitely skip Bar Harbor and Bangor because the only place I have to stop for sure is Springfield (MA). Dfrostnh youre right I would love to see rural scenic but also dont want to miss the beautiful foliage, I bit of both. Clarkgriswold, I cannot afford to spend a lot of money thogh I know it will be an expensive trip and I am already looking for accommodation which is pretty expensive actually. Do you think I should stay out of towns, doesnīt seem too much cheaper anyway...
Also I will arrive to Boston at 15:00 and then will have to get the car. Thats why I am afraid wonīt be able to see much before getting to Portland unless with daylight . Hiking is not a must in this trip so will not spend time at that just the necessary to get to the viewpoints and come back.

I figured going from Boston up to the north but do you think by the time I get there (October 3-4) I should travel clockwise? In that case shoud I add any stop over night in any other southern town?

Again thank you so much and apologize for my out of practice English

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Old Dec 29th, 2021, 02:03 PM
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3pm is a difficult time to arrive into Boston because you will be into traffic between 4 and 6pm on your way out of the city. You might think of staying in Winthrop that night, it's a small town behind Boston Logan airport on the water. Then wait for the morning traffic to lighten up and head up towards Portland around 9:30am next day. Here is one idea of a place to stay in Winthrop that has a great cancellation policy: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/10297843
And this looks like a good one near Portland Maine that also has a lenient cancellation policy: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16124317 (Portland is one of your more expensive cities for lodging so I would jump on this one since you can always cancel if your plans change! )
And for mid-coast Maine, here is a tiny cottage that's walking distance to Camden harbor and village, also with a friendly cancellation policy https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/977150
By finding small but 'affordable" lodging in a few of your towns, you will hopefully be able to increase your budget for your other stays in the more popular spots along the route.




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Old Dec 29th, 2021, 04:52 PM
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I was a Rotary host mom about 15 years ago. If you haven’t spent any time with your host family since your exchange time, perhaps spend a little more time with them and plan some sight seeing. We would live to spend more time with our Rotary daughter!

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Old Jan 2nd, 2022, 06:05 AM
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Instead of renting a car at Logan, you could easily take a taxi/Uber to Boston North Amtrak station. Take a Downeaster Amtrak train (several per day) from BON to Portland or other Maine station. Rent your car in Maine and return it there. You might be able to fly home from Portland instead of returning to Boston.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2022, 02:47 PM
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I used to live in those states although I am on the west coast now (Seattle). Went to school in Springfield, then lived in western Mass, then NH, and my favorite VT.

With two weeks I would suggest something a bit different and with a lot less driving involved than your original plan.

From Boston (stay there the first night as your arrival is late in the day) head to Brattleboro VT (the southeast corner of the state). From there explore a bit, maybe the drive over Route 9 to Bennington, which would be beautiful in the fall. Maybe backtrack a bit over into southern New Hampshire or north up into VT a bit. Then head south to Amherst/Northampton/Deerfield area. Then further south to Springfield. And back to Boston.

Just a bit different idea, which I think would make a beautiful two-week trip. I am sorry for your loss. I wish you the best on this road trip. Welcome back to New England (I'd still be there if it weren't so darn cold with such long winters -haha). suze
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Old Jan 3rd, 2022, 03:09 PM
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Here are a few places that were favorites of mine, that might fit into your trip...

Skinner State Park in Hadley MA (between Northampton and Amherst, two college towns)
https://www.mass.gov/locations/skinner-state-park

Hogback Mountain Country Store and lookout point (between Brattleboro and Bennington)
https://www.hogbackmountaincountrystore.com/

Historic Homes in Deerfield (between Brattleboro and Northampton)
https://www.historic-deerfield.org/houses
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Old Apr 9th, 2022, 11:59 AM
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I would suggest you stick to your original route but not go quite as far north to save on some driving. The first night perhaps stay in Newburyport, Mass or Portsmouth, NH. That's as far as you will be able to get while it is still light out if you don't arrive in Boston until 3pm. Then head up the Maine coast. Towns worth stopping in are York, Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. After Portland go as far north as Camden/Rockland. The Boothbay Harbor area is worth exploring. Then head west to NH through the Lake Winnipesaukee region. Then west into Vermont. Woodstock is a very cute town (though will be crowded). Then south and/or south west through Vermont to Massachusetts. Before going down to Springfield spend some time in Western Mass. The places Suze mentioned are all worth stopping in. Though those all could be done as day trips from Springfield if you want to spend more time there. Then if there is still time, on your way back to Boston stop in Sturbridge Village, and if you have even more time (depending on how long you spend in any of these places) you could stop in Providence and Newport R.I.
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