Suggested New England Itinerary/Road Trip

Old Aug 1st, 2021, 12:54 AM
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Suggested New England Itinerary/Road Trip

After living in CT 30 years ago for 9 years, wife and I are returning to East Coast from HI in late September for family wedding in NJ. Looking to continue in rental car up thru CT, MA, VT, NH for 8 day or so autumn road trip starting 9/27-10/5 or 10/6 at which point we would head back down towards DE/PA area from say Hartford, CT where we used to live and have other family. We will have a rent a car. Because it is earlier than internet indicates "likely" peak leaves we were thinking we would have to go up pretty far into VT and NH to see things. We were looking at a Route up thru Litchfield - Mohawk Trail-Green Mountains-Kancamangus Hwy-White Mts-then back to Interstate down to Hartford for a night. I have hiked, camped, biked and skied around these areas but it was a long time ago and mostly daytrip skiing or 2-3 day weekend trips. My sense is we are trying to do too much and would miss "all the neat in-betweens". I figure at 64 this is the last time we do this and I would rather soak up a bit more than in the past. We want some leaf peeping, antiquing, revisiting some small towns, checking out microbreweries, that kind of thing. The decision to do this was a late one due to the whole Covid issue (still a little leery but I figure going North is better than South from DE). Are trying to do too much? I cant remember the distances as well anymore and I do recall that at least back then the mountain or rural roads often meant you had to plan for more time. Might we be better off just going up 91 from Hartford to Northern VT/NH and say focusing around that area before heading back down? All input appreciated...blunt and honest is fine. Aloha.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 03:03 AM
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I91 thru western MA is a nice drive for an interstate. Keep in mind that first weekend in October is going to be very popular and some places will require more than a one night stay. There is going to be some color and there might be a lot depending on where you are but the good thing is since elevation and latitude have a lot to do with the amount of color you can easily drive "further north". The neat in-betweens to me mean avoiding the most popular tourist areas like North Conway NH. If you are still biking, all kinds of biking have gotten very popular. NH has a rail trail and some ski areas have mountain bike trails. Our son does fat tire mountain biking. A small former ski area in Northfield NH is now a popular biking spot but there are numerous trails all over. He uses an app to find them. An example of an in-between might be last night's volunteer fire dept chicken barbecue chicken dinner fundraiser. We sat outdoors at picnic tables. My husband pointed out remnants of old train railway. Tracks are gone and it is now part of a rail trail. Sure enough an older couple cycled by.
Suggest you get locations of microbreweries to help you plot your route. You might also want to try some of the apple orchards that are now making hard cider and do tastings on weekends such as Gould Hill in Hopkinton NH (near Concord). If you are interested in stronger libations, Tamworth Distillery in Tamworth NH does tastings. It's on an east/west route south of the Kancamagus so it's possible to drive the Kanc one way and return on the southerly route. When you get to Center Sandwich you can head south and end up in Meredith NH on Lake Winnipesaukee which might be a good base for White Mountain explorations. We did the loop one summer stopping in North Conway for a very short visit and were back near our starting point by lunch time. We've had occasion to eat at the Corner House in Center Sandwich. Scroll down to see their draft beer list Drink — Corner House Restaurant & Bar (cornerhouserestaurantandbar.com)

Just avoid being on any interstate northbound on Friday and southbound on Sunday and Saturday late in the day.

I like the Norwich Inn in Norwich VT and they have an on-site brewery. This is just across the river from Hanover NH. Woodstock is just south in the I91 corridor. If it's a saturday, the Norwich Farmers Market is wonderful and festive. I'm not a fan of Woodstock but it's a popular tourist destination in a Rockafeller designed area. To me, Norwich is more Vermont. Dan & Whit's Store next to Norwich Inn is one of Yankee Magazine's favorite Vermont country stores. If you visit the Mad River area, we enjoyed lunch sitting on the deck at the Warren Country Store. The deck overlooks a small gorge and if you walk out back you can see where it connects with a larger one. We're not beer fans so haven't visited Lawson's Finest Liquids. We haven't been to Warren since the store changed hands and renovated. Hope the dining deck is still there. Lawson's is listed as one of the top craft breweries in VT The 7 Best Craft Breweries in Vermont • Hop Culture

It looks like it doesn't matter where you are in NH, there's a local brewery. Beer Map - Brew NH (nhbeer.org) Some have food trucks on certain days.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 04:48 AM
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Most years there should be plenty of color by those dates in Western Mass, VT and NH, certainly in the top half of VT and NH. I live in Western Mass and that is one of the "peak" weekends here. Distances are not that far (compared to other parts of the country - all six New England States can almost fit inside one big western state). A week should be fine for the area you are considering. If you were proposing seeing Boston and the whole Maine coast in addition (like a lot of people) I would say a week is not enough but for what you propose you should be fine. But yes there will be crowds, especially places such as the Kancamangus Hwy. So maybe try to stick to slightly less 'popular' routes.

You mentioned heading up through Litchfield but it might be too early for much color at the start of your trip that far south. From Hartford I'd go up I-91 to Deerfield, MA (you could stop for lunch in Northampton), maybe visit Historic Deerfield, then take Rt 116 to Rt 112 to Rt 100 (now you'll be in Vermont). Rt 100 is popular but nowhere near as bad as the Kancamagnus. Once up in Vermont you really can't go wrong. Same with heading over into NH. You could certainly do the Kancamangus (especially if you are there mid week) but there are tons of other roads just as scenic. And in terms of antiques, orchards, breweries - you can't 'swing a cat' without hitting those in all three areas. If you like covered bridges the town of Northfield Vermont has 5, red, covered bridges which are great. But if you google covered bridges in Vt (or NH) you'll get so many it would be hard not have some along whatever route you choose. Same thing if you google antiques, orchards or breweries. The area around Bennington, VT (and heading up Rt 7A) also has 5, red covered bridges, not to mention a ton of antiques places. If you did that, Manchester VT has a ton of outlet stores. It will be crowded but probably not as bad as North Conway, NH.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 07:02 AM
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From NJ why not go up the Hudson Valley, visit places like the Vanderbilt Mansion and Olana:



Cross over to NY 22 to go to Bennington to start your NE tour.




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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 10:10 AM
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For northern VT take a look at Stowe. We have seen fall colors there earlier than other places.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 03:17 PM
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We were out on the lake yesterday in the Adirondacks and some trees have started changing color. It was chilly when the sun went behind a cloud. I kept putting on and taking off the jacket. They have had a cold summer. Yes to Stowe, Vermont. I love Vermont.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 05:31 PM
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I'm from New England and it does sound like you're trying to get a lot into one trip. If you think about route 91, there are a lot of pretty areas off it, such as Woodstock Vt, which is super charming. I would also recommend traveling on a lesser road and experience the travel through the side roads, without trying to make huge distances. If you are spending a week in the north, then you could divid your time between NH and VT, but if your entire trip is about a week, you might want to limit it somewhat.
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Old Aug 1st, 2021, 10:03 PM
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Thanks for the input. I like the way you think. I dont know about the biking anymore it has been literally decades. I am more worried about fat me than going fat tiring...
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