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Trip to New England - Feedback on Possible Itinerary

Trip to New England - Feedback on Possible Itinerary

Old Jul 28th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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Trip to New England - Feedback on Possible Itinerary

Hello! I am planning a 10 day trip with two of my girlfriends to celebrate my 40th. Have always wanted to see NE in the fall. I realize it's pretty crowded but have always wanted to do this & since DH isn't too interested, this is my chance! Am planning for next fall actually as I have heard that some lodgings book up a year ahead. Here is what I have planned:

Fly into Burlington (Oct 2nd, 2009)
Would like to stay at the Brass Lantern Inn in Stowe as it has near perfect ratings on trip advisor & looks very nice. Spend 3 days (4 nights). Plan to visit the Shelburne Museum, Church Street Marketplace, Burlington Bike Path, hike/horseback ride, etc in the Smuggler's Notch area. Oh yeah, & Ben & Jerry's!

Tuesday October 6th: Head into New Hampshire by way of Franconia Notch & the Kancamungus Highway for some leaf peeping & hiking. Would like to stay in the Mt. Monadnock area, possibly at the Benjamin Prescott Inn. I have read that this is a quieter, peaceful area but very beautiful. Plan on climbing Mt. Monadnock, visiting Cathedral of the Pines, doing some biking & seeing some covered bridges. Will stay there for 3 nights.

Then head to Salem, MA by way of Concord & Walden Pond. Plan to stay in MA for 3 nights. Would like to go to Gloucester for whale watching, Rockport for the artist colonies, see the Peabody Essex Museum & some of the "witchy" stuff in Salem. Not sure about lodgings there yet.

Will fly out of Manchester, NH on Monday Oct 12th.

I feel pretty good about this plan. Have read a lot & tried to research the areas but I hate to miss out on anything wonderful. I have heard that Woodstock, VT is very beautiful. Would that be a better area to visit? Any suggestions would be wonderful! My goal is for a little shopping, plenty of outdoorsy stuff, a couple of museums & some downtime for just relaxing as well. Thanks!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 07:17 PM
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Hi Jencee,
I live in Vermont, and it's clear that you've done your research before posting. You've hit a lot of the highlights, and will be here during peak foliage season.

Can't help with the Stowe lodging (never heard of the place), but Stowe is a great home base. Waterbury and Stowe are next door, and Waterbury is home to a great touristy cider mill (Cold Hollow), a Cabot Cheese outlet (all the free samples you care to eat!), and of course, Ben and Jerry's.

Also, you mentioned Smuggler's Notch. If you park at the top, one side of the road has a hiking trail which leads to a great pond at the end (Sterling Pond), and the other side of the road has lots of rocks which have fallen and have formed caves to explore...a favorite of our family.

Also, either hiking Camel's Hump (trail starts in Waterbury), or riding the gondola in Stowe to the top of Mt. Mansfield would be great to see Vermont in all its glory during peak foliage season.

Not sure how much information you want, but here are a few more links of places I've been, and recommend highly. Enjoy yourself!

A great cruise to explore and enjoy Lake Champlain
http://www.soea.com/

A wonderful museum in Manchester, VT that was the home of the Lincoln family
http://www.hildene.org/

A must visit store also in the town of Manchester, VT. People come from far and wide for this place.
http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/j...Type=HOME_PAGE

Woodstock is a beautiful town as well, but very picturesque, without a ton to do. Has a great glassblowing place and restaurant (Simon Pearce), and a great farm musueum (Billings Farm and Museum). Has a lot of quaint shops and nice restaurants. Both Woodstock and Manchester are towns with lots of old money.

Next door to Woodstock is the town of Quechee. A stop in Quechee to look over the Quechee gorge is worth it. It's free, but is not for those with a fear of heights.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do. I'm sure you'll have a great time!

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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 03:06 AM
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I think a Stowe base is too far for visits to Burlington and Shelburne Museum. Check mileage. It could be a long day trip but keep in mind some people spend two days at Shelburne. Perhaps one night in Burlington to cut down on driving time even though I realize it would be a pretty drive. The area south of Burlington along Lake Champlain is full of beautiful rolling farmland and not much else. Recently spent a long weekend near Middlebury and don't recall seeing a MacDonalds etc. Had to search for Pizza on Earth which is only sold two days a week at a local farm. It was very good pizza and certainly unique to sit at a picnic table in the farmer's dooryard.
Simon Pierce is a great restaurant esp if you like upscale food. It is in downtown Quechee which is very near Woodstock. Keep in mind Woodstock will be overrun with tourists. My husband and FIL enjoyed visiting Billings Farm Museum. Don't miss Simon Pierce even if you don't eat there, the building is fascinating (their own hydro electric power) and you can watch glass blowers and potters making things for the gift shop.
Plan a full day to drive and hike in the Kancamagus area. Then perhaps 2 hours to the Mt Monadnock area which is in SW corner of NH. It's a lovely area and considered the quiet corner of NH. The NH Atlas and Gazetteer published by DeLorme will give you location of all covered bridges in NH ... the location of any in the Monadnock area doesn't come to mind. I think you'll find more further north and also west of Concord NH in Warner, Contoocook etc. Near Mt Monadnock is lovely towns of Dublin, Peterborough, Harrisville etc.
You might want to consider a visit to Canterbury Shaker Village just north of Concord NH. Kayak rentals should still be available if weather is good esp in the Concord NH area. You are so close to Portsmouth NH I would include that when you visit the coast. Check into sea kayaking if weather is good. Also Strawbery Banke historic area if you aren't museumed out by then.
It's kind of a lot for a 10 day trip. I think you might be better to spend more time in the White Mountains area then Mt Monadnock.
I don't particularly care for Woodstock because it's geared for tourists. I always wonder where the locals live but it's a good place to see what people from NYC wear when they visit the country.
You didn't mention what kind of shopping you want to do. There's an outlet mall at exit 20/Rt 93 on your way south in NH. But if you like artsy things look for League of NH Craftsmen shops. One of the largest is in downtown Concord NH.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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I disagree about Stowe being a bad base for day trips to Burlington. It's only about an hour, maybe a little less. Heck, people do that commute for work every day!
You are very smart to plan early-book your accommodations as soon as you decide on your route, which is great btw. I think you'll have a great time!
Oh, and dfnh-there is a McD's in Middlebury
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 05:06 AM
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What great ideas for you! I have only one correction - the Vermont Country Store is actually in the village of Weston, on scenic Rt. 100, several miles northeast of Manchester.

Traveling north from there, Rt. 100 passes through the Mad River Valley and the towns of Warren and Waitsfield, also a good central location for day trips to Stowe, Burlington and Woodstock. There is a great Farmers Market on the Green in Waitsfield every Saturday. The Inn at Round Barn Farm, also in Waitsfield, is absolutely lovely, but be sure to book ASAP -- same for anyhwere that time of year. I know that the first weekend of October is Parents Weekend at Middlebury College (unfortunately, yes there is a Mc D's), as well as peak foliage time, and there are no rooms to be had between Rutland and Burlington.....

Early October is a gorgeous time to visit Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but everyone else thinks so too!!

Good luck!
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 05:53 AM
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Thank you for the great feedback. It helps me to know that I am on the right track.

I realize that it is a bit of a drive between Stowe & Burlington. I would prefer to just settle in one place for a few days though. We may stay one night in Burlington depending on flight times. I am coming from Salt Lake City & distances to everything out here are further so I think I am not too put off by the drive times.

I had not heard about the glassblowing place which sounds worth seeing. It sounds like, for what we want to do, Stowe or the Mad River Valley will be better than Woodstock as a home base. Any suggestions on one over the other?

The covered bridges I had heard about in the Monadnock area were near Swanzey. There is supposed to be a loop with 5 of them on it. Thank you for the suggestions of other good areas to see them.

As far as shopping goes, I am planning to avoid any outlet/mall shopping. Would prefer more unique shopping rather than stuff I can do at home.

Any restraunt recommendations in either Vermont or NH would be great as well. Have heard the Blue Moon Cafe in Stowe is very good & also heard good things about the Five Spice Cafe in Burlington but have also heard that they had a fire & may not have reopened.



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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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For restaurants in Burlington I would suggest Leunig's Bistro or Smokejack's, both on Church Street. When at the Burlington waterfront, Splash, at the Boat House, is fun and the food is good. However, visit there only in nice weather, as the restaurant is on the dock, and is completely open air.

In Waterbury, just off I89, not far from the Mad River Valley or Stowe, is a fabulous restaurant, Hen of the Wood (www.henofthewood.com). The chef just won a major award. It is open for dinner only, Monday-Saturday.

As far as Stowe vs. the Mad River Valley, there is more to do in Stowe, including bars and nightlife. The Warren/Waiitsfield area is quieter, but a wee bit closer to Burlington.

You are wise to be making plans so far in advance. As mentioned before, the first two weeks of October are extremely busy and the nice places fill up fast!
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 08:20 AM
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hey bm, I'm glad I missed the MacDonalds in Middlebury. I vaguely remember going thru an area that was new since our last visit. My complaint about Stowe as a base has to do with trying to do both Burlington and Shelburne in one day or driving over an hour on two separate days.
I enjoyed the Dutch Pancake house for breakfast in Stowe. If you decide to enter NH via Littleton you might want to visit the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville. This is quite challenging and might test your friendships. When my husband and I did the maze we took turns leading and being the person who complained about which turn the leader chose. Ended up taking the "emergency exit" to the top. Nice view. It's a fun place but you need at couple of hours. There's a very good diner in VT before you get to Littleton but the name escapes me. I think it's Miss Lyndonville Diner?
If you stay in the Monadnock area there is a very popular place for an herbal lunch in Mason NH called Pickety Place. You would need to make reservations well in advance. The place is way off the beaten path and very popular. The cafeteria of the Peabody Essex Museum is quite good. Get timed tickets for a tour of the Chinese house. We ate at the Indian Restaurant one night and another lunch at a downtown spot, very old building sort of like a diner but not a diner - might have been called Red's. Very popular place and reasonably prices. Great menu.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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If you decide to stay 2-3 nights in the Burlington area, which would be advantageous, particularly since you want to visit the Shelburne Museum, here are a couple of suggestions: the Inn At Shelburne Farms (www.shelburnefarms.org)is a marvelous old structure, once home of the Webb family, overlooking Lake Champlain. It can be pricey, but is well worth the cost. They have an excellent dining room as well. Cafe Shelburne in the village is also a good bet for dinner.

Downtown Burlington, overlooking the waterfront, is a new Courtyard by Marriott that is walking distance to the Boat House, bike path and Church Street Market Place.

I think you would find a stay in the Burlington area very rewarding, as it is a lively college town with lots to do. From there head on out to the mountains.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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dfnh, I see your point about Stowe now.
To the OP, if you want to spend a couple days doing things in Burlington, then stay there. I just assumed you would do a 1-day trip from Stowe. I guess it depends on your tolerance level for driving.
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Old Jul 29th, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Thank you all for the great restaurant suggestions. Food is always a big part of our trips. And, no McDonald's is not one of them Hen of the Wood looks particularly great.

I am rethinking our lodging plans in VT. If we stay in Burlington for a night when we first get in we can have dinner, check out the nightlife, etc. Then we can spend the next day in that area before heading to our B&B in Stowe. They require a 3 night stay so we would only be able to do 1 night in Burlington. That should help with some of the driving & I think we will ultimately be doing more outdoor stuff in the mountains. I appreciate the feedback on travel in that area. Is an hour realistic for travel time between Stowe & Burlington?

Also, one other question. If we decide to opt for only one museum & replace the other with something different, has anyone been to both the Shelburne Museum & the Peabody Essex in Salem & would you recommend one over the other?

Once again, thanks for all of the feedback! It has been very helpful.
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 03:06 AM
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The Shelburne is much larger. Some people spend two days there. There are several buildings spread over a large area (but it is not a village museum like Williamsburg). There is a lot of history about the area. I think we spent just a couple of hours at the Peabody Essex. The China house is unique. There are a lot of artifacts from Asia and about the China trade. It's in the middle of the downtown area so you can easily combine a visit with shopping and other Salem sights. Just because of the large variety, I think the Shelburne is better ... but the Peabody Essex might be more unique.
But the best tour would be Canterbury Shaker Village. You might be astounded by their way of life and how much the Shakers invented.
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 04:24 AM
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Burlington to Stowe is 40 miles, gived or take. 45 minutes to an hour is a good estimate. It all depends on what kind of traffic you hit on Route 100 (mostly slow drivers soaking in the scenery).
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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jencee,I've been to both the Shelburne Museum (two days in a row) and the Peabody Essex (a few separate times) and really loved both

I would describe the Shelburne as a combination of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, with a little Disneyworld mixed in!
Spread out over a huge area, I really needed the 2 days (included in the regular price of admission, at least when I went) to get to everything. Some quirky folk art collections, fine art in one of the elegant historic buildings, a real lighthouse and ship to tour, a 1950s house interior---lots of different fun stuff to see.

The Peabody Essex is more traditionally museum-like. The highlights for me were Yin Yu Tang, the intact Chinese house, the tour of historic buildings (16th-19th centuries?) in the area, and some of the special exhibits that might be on. The main collections there, maritime and local art, were less interesting to me, but you can still spend a half day at the museum in total. Really nice gift shop too, if you go for that sort of thing

I'd have to give the edge--slightly-- to the Shelburne.
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Old Jul 30th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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That's right, I forgot about the Canterbury Shaker Village. That is on my list of things I would like to see.

One other thing. I am having some trouble with lodging in Salem. I had originally planned on the Hawthorne Hotel but it has quite a few bad reviews (as well as some good ones) on Trip Advisor which I have used fairly often for advice & have found pretty reliable. There seems to be a mixed opinion on that particular hotel. There are a few B&Bs that I like in that area but most require a 4 night stay in October. Has anyone stayed at the Hawthorne? Any good recommendations for lodging in Salem?

This has been my first time on Fodor's & I have been very impressed with all of the positive & helpful feedback. Thank you to everyone. I am sure I will have more questions come up in the next year. Would I want to start a new discussion or just add on to this one?
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 12:53 AM
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Re the Vermont portion...

We just did Shelburne Museum (our first visit there, actually, for my wife's birthday) and enjoyed the two-day tickets we had, but you CAN do it in one day if you run around like a crazy person. Ask about special exhibits that day. The walking tour of the 230-foot "Ticonderoga" (a steamship that once plied Lake Champlain) was kind of nice.

Eateries...

Go to the "Black Sheep" in Vergennes, but reserve ahead of time! They don't even bother to advertise -- they're that popular -- and they fill up fast! Food is fantastic.

Places to stay around there...

Do you want motels or B&B's?

We loved the Wayberry Inn, south of there a few miles, in East Middlebury. (This is the place where the Bob Newhart show was filmed. They told us, however, that they only shot there for two days, to capture the outside and such.)

Rooms are wonderful, but not cheap. We paid $150 for our room, but it had a big king size bed, so high you needed the neat little 2-step climber at the foot of the bed to get into it! Kind of neat if quirky!

Enjoy!
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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RetiredVermonter is right - if you do make it to the Middlebury area, the Waybury Inn (www.wayburyinn.com) is indeed a nice place to stay. Their dining room is lovely, serving excellent food and a great Sunday Brunch. The Waybury Pub is fun and a bit more casual.

Other good restaurants in the area - The Storm Cafe in Middlebury, Cafe Provence and Cattails (very casual) in Brandon.

Downtown Middlebury has some nice shops, including the Vermont State Craft Center at Frog Hollow. Also nearby, if you like horses, is the UVM Morgan Horse Farm.

As mentioned before, Middlebury College has lots of activities in the early fall, and reservations, particularly on weekends, are essential.
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Old Aug 5th, 2008, 02:16 AM
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Yes! Cafe Provence, in Brandon, sounds very "too too", and it IS chef-owned, but the food is both marvelous and surprisingly reasonable.

We sometimes drive to Cafe Provence (just up the road a few miles) for lunch and are amazed how well the prices compare to much more ordinary places to eat, but the food is truly excellent.

Vermonter
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Old Aug 10th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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If you're still thinking about Woodstock and the Billings Farm Museum, I have a podcast and interviewed their curator. You can listen at:
http://mysecretvermont.libsyn.com/in...post_id=355897
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 02:22 AM
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We just celebrated our anniversary -- more than 40 years, but don't ask how many!

We discovered another marvelous B&B, this time in Bristol, Vermont -- The Inn at Baldwin Creek and Mary's Restaurant. Dining is a bit pricey (mostly in the $20's but with some $30's), but it's worth it. Rooms are wonderful, and not unusually expensive.

The innkeepers do all in their power to make you feel comfortable. The chef also uses all local vegetables, most if which are grown right there in their own garden, with NO pesticides.

Of all the inns and B&B's we've been to, this ranks right up there with the best.

Just an observation.
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