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New England trip

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Chapel Hill, NC
posts: 17
reviews: 30
New England trip

This may be quite ambitious, so I'm asking for advice. I also know it's peak tourist season so we are quite late in planning this vacation. Is this even doable or would we be doing too much driving the whole time? If we cut something out, what should we eliminate?

October 13 Arrive in Manchester, Drive to Portland, Maine

Oct. 14 Portland to Acadia Nat. Park

Oct. 15 Bar Harbor/Acadia

Oct. 16 Acadia to Rumford, ME

Oct 17 Rumford to Jackson, NH, go hiking in state park

Oct 18 Jackson to Stowe, VT - Ben & Jerry's tour in Waterbury

Oct 19 Stowe to Woodstock VT

Oct 20 Woodstock VT to Manchester

Oct 21 Manchester, fly home

Maine
posts: 769
1. Re: New England trip

That's a bit of driving, but certainly doable. I would suggest getting going on your travel days early so that you have time to stop along the way if you see something that interests you.

I do wonder about the stop in Rumford, ME though. Unless you are visiting someone there it's not really a stop most people would make. I would either drive straight through to Jackson, or if you were just looking for a stop somewhere in western Maine, I would choose someplace like Bethel or Rangeley instead of Rumford.

Chapel Hill, NC
posts: 17
reviews: 30
2. Re: New England trip

Thanks. Yes, I was thinking of just a place to stop somewhere in western Maine. I'll look into the other two towns you suggested.

Peterborough, NH
posts: 444
reviews: 4
3. Re: New England trip

That October 18-21 will almost definitely be past peak in the northern parts of NH and VT and you might have better luck finding color in the lower parts of the states like the Route 9 corridor of VT or the Monadnock Region of NH.

Just some food for thought.

Edited: 6:16 pm, August 29, 2012
Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,693
reviews: 129
4. Re: New England trip

Rangeley might be a bit out of the way, but I'd agree that Bethel would make a better stop-over than Rumford.... a small, walkable New England village vs. a paper mill town....

and if you can't find anything in Bethel but don't want to try to get all the way to Jackson, take a look at Gorham, NH as an alternative.

Chapel Hill, NC
posts: 17
reviews: 30
5. Re: New England trip

Paper mill town? Wow, good thing I did post here. That would have been a real mistake!

Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for North Conway
posts: 11,083
reviews: 40
6. Re: New England trip

IMHO, too much driving.

and of all the amazing things to see in Vt- Ben and Jerry's tour really isn't one of them even for the small free ice cream. If it is a nice day, would rather you found a nice bottle of wine and sat on a hilltop or had lunch in some wonderfully quaint cute local tavern or something like that.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,693
reviews: 129
7. Re: New England trip

Rumford isn't "awful" but Bethel is a more scenic, more relaxing choice for someone who's visiting the area and hasn't visited either place before...

Antrim, New...
posts: 1,536
reviews: 13
8. Re: New England trip

I agree with neslaw and others - too much driving. What is your goal for this trip? IF you like to drive and want to check off places you've been, then maybe you are doing okay. But any one of those places deserves more time. Bar Harbor you've got the bare minimum. Jackson/White Mountains, I'd allow at least another day. Stowe, there is so much to see and do. I'd combine your time there with Burlington and can Woodstock. Burlington to Manchester is only about 2.5-3 hours drive.

That said, Little River makes a very good point. If you are hoping to see fall foliage, you are headed to a prime region about a week or two too late. I would recommend a route that takes you I-93 to I-89 from Manchester up to Lebanon/Hanover, NH (Dartmouth College) and neighboring VT towns. Then on to Woodstock, VT. Down Rte 100 to Wilmington, VT, then back across Rte 9 to Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH and through the Monadnock Region of SW NH. Rte 101 from Keene will take you back to Manchester. I think this is where you will see peak fall colors - especially along that southern route (9 and 101). These are all beautiful areas of NH and VT.

The above suggestion omits the coast. If that is important to you, you could plan on 2 - 3 days in Portsmouth, NH and/or Portland, ME, exploring and enjoying the NH and lower ME coast. Then double back through Manchester across Rte 101 through Monadnock region and into southern VT Rte 9. Maybe a day trip up Rte 100 from Wilmington.

Chapel Hill, NC
posts: 17
reviews: 30
9. Re: New England trip

We really are not as concerned about seeing the foliage. In fact, we are wondering if this is too much "prime time" for this region. Should we come another time? I am starting to think maybe we should stick to seeing Maine this trip after seeing some of other people's posts because I don't want to be stuck in the car the whole time. Would rather do some hiking. Where else other than Bar Harbor should we go in Maine during this time frame?

Antrim, New...
posts: 1,536
reviews: 13
10. Re: New England trip

I think you are on a better track, now. I would plan a couple of days in Portland, ME, unless you want to entirely avoid cities. Keep in mind that this is a small city with a population of about 64,000. Stay in the Old Port part of town. It is a lively area of old warehouse buildings with great dining, shops, entertainment, etc. Take a ferry out to one of the islands for a day. The art museum, a short walk, has a great collection of Andrew Wyeth and more. Portland is just a cool, hip city for any age. You can also use it as a jump off point for exploring the near coast to the north or south.

I would devote 3 or 4 days, at least, to bar Harbor. There is great hiking and excellent bike trails, with plenty of local rentals available. There is sea kayaking during the summer season, but they may close up shop after Columbus day. Also, consider a whale watch, again, if these are still running at this time.

Then, you could consider either a few days in another coastal location, or a drive over to the White Mountains for a few days of hiking and mountains. Coastal hiking is not quite the same, but there are a lot of long sandy beaches and craggy rocky shoreline to walk and explore. But if it is mountain hiking you are looking for, plan to swing over to the White - Jackson, North Conway, Lincoln or Woodstock, or other nearby towns for your overnight. But the entire region of trails is easily available from anywhere, and there are great hikes throughout the mountains.