They aren't going to see it all in for days. As for lodging need more info.
Four days in much to short of a time. What type of lodging are you looking for?
I totally agree that 4 days is too short a time. I might suggest Meredith, NH as a base. It's close to Ineterstate 93 if they want to cover distance, but there are charming less travelled roads as well. The Inn at Mill Falls is right on Lake Winni and in the heart of the small town of Meredith. www.millfalls.com/inns/church_landing.htm Wherever they are going to stay, the time frame is prime for foliage and many lodings will be totally booked. NH is blessed with many nice B&B's if they like that type of lodging. Jackson, NH would be a good choice for B&B's but it's not as centrally located if they want to go to VT. Good luck.
Four days is not that long. But, how are they coming? Are they driving or flying into one of the regional airports? If flying they could look into Bradley Airport just outside of Hartford CT. From there it is an easy drive to southern NH and VT. This is a great place to make a home base as it makes day trips into surrounding areas very easy. Keene, NH; Bennington VT, parts of north west Mass are places to start.
Four days may be short, but you can definitely see some of NH and VT in that time. At the risk of a less popular and inelegant solution, they might want to consider staying in Concord. It is not on a lake and has no spectacular mountain views. It is the state capitol, has a very nice Main Street, and is very central to all these locations.
30 to 40 minutes north and you are at Lake Winnipesaukee, including Meredith. An hour from Concord and you are Franconia Notch and the Kankamagus Highway, two major byways through and access to the White Mountains. An hour or less east of Concord and you are on the coast in Portsmouth and the beaches. An hour and 10 minutes northwest up I-89 gets you to the Lebanon-Hanover area, home of Dartmouth College, and the border with Vermont. Another half hour or so beyond and you are in the middle of VT with options to drive north or south on Rte 100 through the scenic mountain valley. An hour to an hour and fifteen minutes southwest from Concord puts you in the lovely Currier & Ives Mondanock Region - Peterborough, Keene, and other beautiful little towns.
And when you get back to Concord at night, if you haven't eaten dinner yet, there are many good choices, and a lovely main street to walk in the morning. And for more options, minor league hockey and baseball, entertainment, etc. Manchester is a mere 20 minutes south.
Probably the nicest hotel is the Courtyard-Marriott. But the Holiday Inn, which has been going through renovations, is right on Main Street, and is also very nice. There is also a lovely old inn, The Centennial Inn, in the downtown area http://www.thecentennialhotel.com/, a few blocks up from Main Street.
So yeah, I would strongly consider Concord. Meredith is beautiful, but it puts an extra half hour to an hour or more on every destination except the White Mouontains.
Good suggestion, NextStop. Concord, while not a big tourist draw, is exceptionally pleasant, and centrally located as you describe.
Concord is good for getting anywhere via the highway, but given that it will be prime leaf-peeping time up north, I would probably suggest for them to stay farther north (and/or west) and enjoy drives along the back roads instead (even though, as others pointed out, they probably won't be able to see everything in both states).
Lake Winnipesaukee (namely, Meredith) is a good central location for NH, but it takes a long time to go west towards VT from here.
Although traffic could be a concern on the 7th and the 8th, I might suggest Lincoln, which puts them right on Route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) for easy access east and west through the Mountains, as well as I-93 for access southwards into the Lakes Region and northwards into Franconia Notch and Vermont beyond that.
A less common but highly convenient base would be the Hanover area, which is pretty much as central to the region as you can get. Again, access eastward towards the Lakes Region is slow-going, but with the proximity of I-91 and I-89 you are well situated for reaching the White Mountains and pretty much anywhere in Vermont.Edited: 2:32 pm, February 17, 2012
Good point about the small roads, TerrMys. I will say, though, that with Concord so central, each day, in any direction, can be spent entirely on small roads.
Why do so much driving in just four days? I would suggest flying into Manchester, then driving one hour north to Meredith, where they can enjoy the beautiful lakes and foliage. Meredith is a charming village, with gracious inns clustered around Meredith Bay, an arm of Lake Winnepesaukee. In Meredith they could choose a scenic cruise around Lake Winnepesaukee on the Mount Washington.
One hour north would take them to the White Mountains, particularly beautiful Franconia Notch where they could enjoy the Basin and the Flume for beautiful sites carved by water. Franconia Notch is also the site of a spectacular gondola ride up Cannon Mountain.
From Franconia Notch, they could opt to drive the lovely Kancamaugus Highway from Lincoln to Conway.
With all of New Hampshire's beautiful mountains, lakes, and foliage, they could skip Vermont.
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