Kingfield will put you in the beautiful western mountains region of the state....and 10 days will be plenty of time to get a good look at that part of Maine.....
Among the things I'd put on a "to do" list from there would be:
1. Take a ride up Rt 27 from Kingfield to the Canadian Border -- some great country with some of the best early fall foliage in the state.
2. Check out the new "zip line" through the treetops at Sugarloaf USA. Supposedly a great adventure....
3. Take the ride from Kingfield north to Stratton and west to Rangeley....great look at the early fall foliage and a fairly good chance of seeing a Maine moose along the roadside. When you get to Rangeley, turn west to Oquossoc, then south toward Mexico and Rumford. Watch for signs on your left for "The Height of Land" scenic turnout -- a fantastic view of the Rangeley Lakes region from the highest elevation on the state highway system. Backtrack to Rangeley and follow Rt 4 to Farmington and Rt 27 back to Kingfield -- more great scenery and possible foliage.
4. Check out the Stanley Museum in downtown Kingfield. Home of the Stanley Steamer automobile invented by F.E. and F.O Stanley and a great tribute to the early photography work by their sister Chansonetta.
5. Check out the multi-use trail that follows the old railbed along the Carrabasset River between Eustis and Carrabasset -- nice, level walking along the riverbank for "getting out and seeing Maine" on foot.
6. If you golf, the Sugarloaf USA course has been ranked nationally and is definitely among the top three courses in Maine.
Am sure others will chime in, but this should get you started.
"my plan being to use this as a base to explore New England by car."
Gustavo - this part of your question causes me concern. MainerOnTheGo has expertly outlined the possibilities in the area you've chosen, but if you wish to explore more of New England, Kingfield is pretty far from the more regularly visited parts of the other New England states.
Thanks for your helpful suggestions, MainerOntheGo.
To go on this trip was a last minute decision, with very little planning. My main interest was to catch the foliage color near its peak.
Destination Expert's concern suggests that maybe I should try to spend about half the time elsewhere. Any suggestions in this regard will be welcome.
"New England" is really a six-state region that includes everything from big cities like Boston, MA and Hartford, CT to the smallest villages and towns in northern Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire...... You could spend the better part of each of ten days in the car and barely cover it all.....
But for "catching the foliage color" during the time you're coming, I'd stick with northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont..... To expand your trip, I'd try the following.....
Spend the first two days in Kingfield, checking out the ride to Coburn Gore, the Stanley Museum and the multi-use walking trail already mentioned.
On Day 3, head over toward Rangeley as already outlined, going through Oquossoc and down Rt 17 to Rumford, where you can pick up US Rt 2 west. Take Rt 2 west to Gorham, NH, then Rt 16 south to Jackson/North Conway in New Hampshire. Plan to spend at least two days there seeing the foliage in the Crawford Notch/PinkhamNotch areas in the White Mountains National Forest.....
Spend another day or two exploring northern Vermont (I'd ask for suggestions on the Vermont forum of Trip Advisor), before heading back to wherever it is you're flying home from.....
This itinerary will give you exposure to a much larger cross-section of northern New England and give you a broader chance of running into some good foliage color along the way.,,,,
The one word of caution I would offer is: you're trip is going to extend into the most popular times for thousands of people to come to northern New England to see the foliage. I'd get your overnight-destination decisions made as quickly as possible and get your hotel/motel/inn reservations made very, very, very soon -- otherwise you'll find yourself encountering "sold out" and 'no vacancy" signs/responses from many innkeepers and hotel/motel front desks..... Some people made their reservations for this year's foliage season when there were in the area last year...... Not saying you won't find anywhere to stay -- just saying the longer you wait, the fewer, and possibly less desirable, your options will be.,,,
Thanks again for your advice, MainerOnTheGo!
I have been looking at hotel availability in the VT and NH areas. You are quite right, choices are already tight.
I've decided to change my expectations and concentrate my visit in Maine. With so many lakes and so many miles of coastline, I'm sure I'll be able to keep myself busy hiking and taking pictures for the length of my stay :-)
Hello again, Gustavo. I think the idea to stay in Maine is a great one! I wasn't suggesting you go elsewhere, just making sure you knew that exploring the rest of New England from Kingfield would not be easy. As usual, MainerOnTheGo has outlined many great options for you.
If you kayak, there are many opportunities in the greater Kingfield region. It would not be hard to find a kayak rental.
Your point was well taken. I had understimated distances in New England. I appreciate it your having pointed out this in time for me to plan accordingly. Thanks also for the kayak hint!
I really look forward to a pleasant vacation in Maine which, I have just learned, its about half of New England!
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