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Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

Hoffman Estates
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Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

Hubby and I are taking a road trip from Chicago to Maine and New Hampshire (and all points in between) in a couple weeks and I've been busy mapping out our route. I THINK I finally figured out the route we want to take from Chitown to Bar Harbor/Acadia, but I'm having a difficult time figuring out the best possible route from Acadia to the White Mountain National Forest. We are most interested in driving the Scenic Byway once we get there. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Scenic but not the longest route is what we'd be most happy with. And anything we should take note of to stop and see along with the way would be a bonus!

Thanks so much!!!

Hoffman Estates
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21. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

LOL Mariner!!! Is there a corner of this part of the world you don't know about? I'm totally impressed and will definitely take that little loop through Jackson! Thanks!!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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22. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

I like your final route. Yes, I did look at it. One more thing to watch for: You'll be on route two going through Rumford/Mexico. It's an odd little mill town, which has seen better times. Route 2 does a few odd turns in the town. One of them is a sharp right turn, very near the river. If you can stay alert to this and you're not in too much traffic, you might stop at the little park along the river, on the other side of the road from where you will be. There is parking. It's worth a short stop. There's some sculpture there and a nice view of the dam.

Hoffman Estates
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23. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

I can't say it enough.....the both of you were so helpful to me and I really appreciate your patience through my planning.

I did a bit more tweaking with regard to the rest of the trip. And my mapping is now officially finished. Now the rest is left up to how the wind blows while we are gone! LOL

I will let you know how the trip went when we get back! I might even sign in a few times from the road and let you know how things are going!

Thanks so much!

Central Maine
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24. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

If you have any on-the-road questions, don't hesitate to hop back on and ask-away.... If we're on-line at the time, or come back on in time to be helpful, will be happy to see what we can do to help.

Hoffman Estates
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25. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

Thanks Mariner!! Will definitely come looking if we need the help. :)

Hoffman Estates
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26. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

So guess who's back looking for yours and Bonnie's expert advice! LOL

I posted a question over on the White Mountains forum, but since I am so impressed with yours and Bonnie's knowledge, I thought I'd ask you as well. This is what I posted over there:

***************************

Hubby and I are doing a road trip from Chicago over to Bar Harbor and then going over to the White Mountains area. We are leaving in two days and we are all routed out for the most part but I was hoping for some advice on two different options for routes through the White Mountains. We will be coming in from Gorham and heading south (aiming eventually for I-93). Given that, which route below are we better of taking?

Route 16 south to 112/Kancamagus Hwy and then taking that over to I-93?

Route 16 south to 302 onto 3 (Daniel Webster Hwy) and over to I-93?

Is there another route instead that we should be considering?

We’d love to do some stopping along the way but we are completely unfamiliar with this territory. I keep hearing about Jackson and North Conway and from the map it appears that if we stay on Route 16 to Kancamagus Hwy, not only will we be on some beautiful roads, but there are also “things to do” in both Jackson and North Conway, as well as more hotel selections should we decide to stay over night (which I think we might be doing). But then on the other side of opinion, I hear Crawford Notch State Park is beatiful and if we don’t hook over to 302 we probably won’t encounter that, correct?

Also, I have heard from people that Mt. Washington a place we definitely need to go to. I’d love to take the drive up to the summit if that is highly recommended. From what I can see on the map, we can get to there by staying south on Route 16 and turning onto the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Is this correct? If so, how long does it take to drive up there and then drive back down? While I hear there are no guard rails on the road and that it can be a little scary, I’m not overly concerned. We’ve driven The Road To Hana in Maui, which is about as nervewracking as it gets! LOL But I know….caution on ANY mountain road needs to be taken.

We would love to see some beautiful waterfalls, scenery, covered bridges, LIGHT hiking/path walking, stroll through some cute small towns, etc.

**********************************

Any good ideas from you two? LOLOL

Bar Harbor, Maine
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27. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

I'd favor 16 South to the Kancamagus. Crawford Notch is nice. But it isn't nearly as nice as the Kanc. In Crawford Notch you are on the bottom of the mountains. On the Kanc you are crossing over the top with some nice overlooks and some trailheads for short hikes.

I've never been up the auto road to the top of Mount Washington, although I'd love to do it. Other than being scary, it is also often in the clouds, so that no view will be gained on the top in any case. I've flown over Mount Washington and I've seen it from the west when there are no clouds. It's very dramatic. Yes, the auto road up to the top is accessed from Route 16. I don't know how long the drive is.

Central Maine
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28. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

We spend a fair amount of time in the Mt Washington Valley area of New Hampshire (have a timeshare in North Conway)..... so let's give it a shot....

-- Your sense of the connection between routes and scenery is correct -- Rt 16 south takes you to Rt 112 (the Kancamaugus) and 302 will take you up through Crawford Notch.... both eventually leading to I-93...

Think Bonniemaev has pretty well summed up the difference between the two routes (looking at the mountains from the bottom-up on 302 or from the top (or nearly so) down on 112.... My personal preference is for Rt 112.... just because it;'s a bit more dramatic, a bit slower, and allows you to more fully appreciate the scale and scope of what you're seeing....

Jackson and North Conway are both great places to overnight if you decide to do that... but have a totally different "feel." Jackson is a very small, mountain village with several inns and b-and-b's, a handful of restaurants (several of them quite good), and a true small-village feeling. North Conway is the economic "commercial cener" for the entire Mt Washington Valley, with dozens of accommodations ranging from b-and-b's and country inns to national-chain hotels and motels and timeshare resorts. In addititon to its traditional "downtown" near the historic train station and town park, it has a huge outlet mall (Settler's Green), several smaller satellite-type outlet malls, two major regional supermarkets, and dozens of restaurants ranging from McDonald's to fine dining. Will definitely offer the greater number of opportunites for lodging if you have trouble finding vacancies, but a truly different feel from Jackson.... some folks prefer one, some like the other more....

"To-do" in and around Jackson and North Conway (included but certainly not limited to): drive through the covered bridge at the south end of Jackson Village; visit Cathedrail Ledge for a great view of the Mt Washington Valley (turn right at the traffic light as you come into North Conway onto River Road -- follow River Rd down the hill and across the river, watching for the Cathedral Ledge Road on your left (it's beyond the West Side Rd).... follow Cathedral Ledge Rd to the top, park and walk out to the viewing area at the top of the ledge -- fantastic views... watch the ledge-face as you drive in, you may spot some rock climbers making their way up the ledge face); check out the old train station just off Main St in downtown North Conway (it's on the far side of the village green)-- it's interesting by itself and now is home to the Conway Scenic Railway if you're inclined to take a ride; take the easy walk/hike into Diana's Bath (small waterfalls) -- check this website -- http://www.northconwaynh.com/diana's-baths.html -- for photos and driving directions; visit Zeb;s General Store, the Five-and-Dime Store, and the Penquin Shop in downtown North Conway (on your left as you drive south on Rt 16) for memories and fun shopping; or visit Settler's Green outlet mall further south on Rt 16 (you can Google it for a list of stores). And if you didn't get up Mt Washington on the Auto Road, a visit to the Mt Washington Weather Discovery Center, Main St in North Conway across the street from the Eastern Slope Inn, is a great place to visit (allow half an hour or so).... photos, exhibits, and a chance to talk with folks who have actually lived at the weather observatory on the mountain's summit.

Mt Washington Auto Road is a great choice -- if, and only if, weather is good at both the top and bottom !! And no matter what the weather at the entrance to the Auto Road, be sure to ask them what the weather is at the summit -- can vary greatly. We've been there when it was sunny and in the 70's at the base, but fully socked-in with clouds (think wet, humid, chilly) and in the 50's on the summit with a 20 mph wind !! Not much fun! The drive itself generally takes about half an hour or so; coming down takes about 15 minutes longer.... Their website -- http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com/ -- has some great photos of exactly what the road is like... and their FAQ section has some great information in it as well. And if you decide you'd like to go but aren't sure about driving, you can buy a ticket on one of their guide-driven vans and ride with the drivers who are up-and-down the road several times a day.... info on that is also on their website. The Auto Road entrance is on Rt 16 between Gorham and Jackson,,,, the actual entrance is on your right, but the Gift Shop, Guided Tours and shop with Road information is on your right (we'd start there and then go across the road and up the mountain if you decide to make the drive yourself). On a nice day, the view from the top is totally fantastic!!

Hoffman Estates
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29. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

Bonnie and Mariner,

You have both completely sold me on Route 16 to over to Kancangamus Hwy! No hesitation after reading both of your posts. We were leaning in that direction and you've now completely convinced me!

Thanks for the tip on asking at the information center what the clarity of the view is at the summit of Mt. Washington on whichever particular day we get there. What a great tip!! Actually, Mariner your reply was FILLED with excellent tips!! It might sound silly but Zeb's General Store and the Five and Dime Store.....seem right up my alley, just from the names!

I knew you would both have the inside scoop! LOL

K, time to finish getting organized....we have 1 more day to go and then we are on the road!

Oh! And not sure we are going to do this, but today while playing with the maps, I found the scenic byway for the Hamptons and then my hubby mentioned Kennebunkport when I got home from work! I don't know HOW we are going to fit all this in, but we are gonna give it our best shot! LOL

Hoffman Estates
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30. Re: Acadia/Bar Harbor to White Mountain Nat'l Forest

We are here!!!! We are driving the coastline on 1A right now....in York. Can see the Nubble Liighthouse from a distance. Heading there now. What a great road!