A Trip Advisor "Go List" I sent last spring has some places you should
check out.....It's entitled "10 great places to walk around in Upstate
Lake Placid is a great town, but Saranac is only 10-15 minutes away, and is very historic....The Robert Lewis Stevenson cabin is a must-see. Another 20 miles to the east is Tupper Lake, which now has a new natural history museum that's supposed to be Smithsonian-quality. I have not seen it myself, but have read many positive reviews. It has only been open for a few months.
From Lake Placid to Burlington, consider taking the ferry from Essex, NY to Charlotte, Vt, which should offer great fall foliage on Lake Champlain in early October. The towns along the lake are charming, but don't offer a lot in the way of shopping or attractions.
Franconia is rustic, but a great town. If the Robert Frost home is still open, it's worth a visit. There are some nice restaurants. The Franconia Notch State Park is beautiful; there are plenty of trails that are not too long, but offer wonderful scenery--especially "The Flume" trail.
Stowe offers Mt. Mansfield, the tallest peak in Vermont. Try the auto road if you're not scared of heights, and winding, curvy roads--my wife & I decided 3/4 of the way up was enought, but we still loved the view.
You may also want to check out another museum in blue mountain lake - which would be a bit of a detour, but the Adirondack Museum there is a great place to get Adk history. If that is too far off the beaten path - definetly consider the Shelburn museum in burlington, VT - allow a full day to see it - also in burlington is a great downtown area (church st.) with tons of interesting restaurants. You will absolutely want to go over to Burlington on the Lake Champlain Ferry that runs out of Port Kent, NY (they have a web site). It's close to an hour crossing and drops you right into downtown Burlington. The views on the lake from the ferry are wonderful. I believe they operate through Columbus Day weekend.
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