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2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

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Santa Monica
posts: 80
reviews: 2
2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Hi, my husband and I are driving from California to Chicago to see our daughter end of Sept 2014. From there we plan to stop at Niagara Falls and then on to Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and work our way back home. We have never been in this area before.

We will be in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine first and part of the second week of October. Our main goal is seeing the foliage and small quaint towns. We are not into great adventures, but love nature, wildlife and would be delighted to see a moose!

Trying to put this together has become overwhelming and I know I am running out of time for reservations. I have done lots of research and have read about Rt 100 through Vermont (not sure if we should drive the whole length) and the Kancamagus Hwy in NH. I have a very long list of wonderful towns, villages, etc. to visit but impossible to see them all in that time frame. Not sure if I need to go up as far as Burlington.

If anyone has a suggestion as to a route from Niagara Falls that we can take that goes through a good sampling of these wonderful states I would very much appreciate it. I have been trying to work on a route to keep us moving forward with short daytime drives to take in the scenery and stop at the towns along the way, but can't seem to streamline it to fit in timeframe. Would like to end at Acadia National Park in Maine then down the coast to pick up Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.

Thank you in advance, I know I am asking a lot.

Linda

Ormond Beach...
Destination Expert
for Vermont
posts: 5,979
reviews: 41
1. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Hmm... Interesting. There's no great, direct route from Niagara Falls to northern VT, so perhaps head to Saratoga Sprongs NY, then hit Rt 100 and drive north. Rt. 100 is very pretty, as is the Kank in NH. That said, many other roads are gorgeous as well (and perhaps less travelled/crowded) during foliage season.

Soince you're going to Acadia...... In northern VT, Rt. 15 is very pretty, as are Rt. 104 and 108 - all nice to consider if you opt to drive the far northern route from Niagara, and/or are stopping in Stowe for a couple of days.

In NH, Rt. 302 is gorgeous. Rt. 2 is in most places very pretty, and is a direct east/west route thru VT, NH and Acadia in Maine. If you end up near Burlington or Stowe, VT - I'd either take Rt. 15 to Rt. 2, or I-89 to Montpelier, then Rt. 2 and poke around Rt 302 or the Kank, then head to Acadia.

Santa Monica
posts: 80
reviews: 2
2. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Thank you so much Chris/Liz. That is very helpful. It gets me going in the right direction. I am going to put a route together and repost to see if it looks like it will work. Everything sounds so wonderful up there, I am anxious to see it all, which of course we know isn't possible.

Ormond Beach...
Destination Expert
for Vermont
posts: 5,979
reviews: 41
3. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Good luck - there's plenty to see indeed! Since I'm a northern VT guy, I'd probably do something like the following:

Niagara to Saratoga Springs for a leg stretch, then on to Woodstock, VT for a day or 2. Up Rt. 100 to Stowe for a couple of days, perhaps tagging Burlington for an afternoon/evening. Then either.... a) drive the leisurely-like option, north on Rt. 108 (VERY scenic and narrow) to Rt. 15 east to Rt 2. Or....

b) drive east on I-89 to Montpelier/Barre, then Rt. 302.... then back to Rt. 2 or whatever your pleasure is to points-east.

Burlington, Vermont
Destination Expert
for Burlington
posts: 1,157
reviews: 7
4. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

You can drive a bit past Saratoga Springs for a night in Manchester, VT --- then over to VT 100 North etc. I find the scenery around Manchester to be a bit better than Saratoga, although the latter has a nice downtown strip for dining and shops.

Based on what you wrote up top, don't shy away from some lesser known destinations. Manchester, Woodstock, Stowe... are all great, but are where the majority of leaf peepers will be and it gets crowded!

There are some small towns along and near Route 100 with not much more than a general store, restaurant and a B&B or two. Those can be some hidden gems. Newfane and Jamaica are two towns that come to mind that have an authentic small town VT feel. Further north, Warren and Waitsfield in the Mad River Valley (along Route 100) have some very nice places to stay, such as the Round Barn Farm where I attended a wedding a few years back. Enjoy!

Santa Monica
posts: 80
reviews: 2
5. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Thank you Adam, more great ideas. I have received suggestions from the other forums as well so i can now figure out how to do this. I love your suggestions on the small towns.

Ormond Beach...
Destination Expert
for Vermont
posts: 5,979
reviews: 41
6. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Another thumbs up for Manchester - good suggestion.

Coincidentally, I used to live on Brockton Ave. in Santa Monica 30+ yrs ago. :)

Santa Monica
posts: 80
reviews: 2
7. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Very near me, I'm in the sunset park area. Have lived here my whole life since it was a small beach town. I love to travel to places that have beautiful foliage and country feeling. You would not recognize SM now. It is a big tourist town with tour buses lined up all along the palisades. 3rd street promenade is a sea of people for blocks, no road goes down 3rd street anymore. All the movie, video, music and all kinds of production companies have moved in and turned it into what they call silicone by the sea, lol. Traffic is unbelievable and they are out of control building condos, apts, business buildings, hotels, etc, they are close to finishing a light rail system from downtown LA to end where the old sears building is. now they are talking about rationing our water as they add thousands of new apartments, sigh

Santa Monica
posts: 80
reviews: 2
8. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Well thanks to everyone’s help I think I have this part of the trip figured out.

Would love your opinions and suggestions.

From Niagara Falls to Lake Placid: 61/2 hours

I-90 to Utica then take Rts. 12, 28, 30 & 3 into Lake Placid. Spend two nights there.

From Lake Placid to Montpelier VT: 3-1/2 hours

73 to 9N to 22 to 185. Cross the Lake Champlain Bridge and take 125 into Middlebury and across Mountain to 100. Head up 100 to 89 into Montpelier.

Plan on stopping all along the way. Spend night Montpelier

Montpelier to Jackson NH: 3 hours

from Montpelier take 302 to 112 into Lincoln, NH 112 to 16 to Jackson. spending the day exploring the mountain. Drive 302, Mt. Washington, maybe find the Appalachian Trail for short hike

spend night in Jackson

Jackson to Bar Harbor: 5 hours

take 16 up to 2 all the way to Bangor. Take 395 to 1A to 3 into Bar Harbor

Spend two nights

What do you think?

Burlington, Vermont
Destination Expert
for Burlington
posts: 1,157
reviews: 7
9. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

Sounds like a great trip to me.

If it was my trip (which it is not, so take it with a grain of salt), I'd opt for one night in Lake Placid unless I had certain things I was planning to do.

Also, I'd opt for a night in the Mad River Valley (Warren or Waitsfield) on Route 100, over Montpelier, again, unless I had a specific reason for wanting to be in Montpelier.

Alexandria, VA
posts: 270
reviews: 53
10. Re: 2014 fall foliage trip, completely overwhelmed

I agree, Montpelier isn't very interesting. I had planned to spend half a day there but was done in under two hours.