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Old 09-17-2014, 03:31 PM
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Hi - My husband and I are going to be vacationing in New England in mid-October. We are flying into Boston on the 17th and will head out of there on the 19th. The plan right now is to drive up to Acadia and then spend the week working our way back to Boston either late Friday or early Sat on the 25th (we fly out the evening of the 25th).

We want to visit places in Mass, Maine and Vermont. Of course the main thing we want to see are the fall leaves. Besides visiting the coast and seeing the leaves, we would like to visit some "picture postcard" towns, eat good food and visit some art galleries, antique stores and ???

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Old 09-17-2014, 04:03 PM
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We're heading up to Acadia ourselves on the 26th for a full week of camping up there. It will be our umpteenth time to that area.

Some suggestions? Leaf peeping should be in full swing by the 19th forward so you'll be in the middle of it. I would STRONGLY suggest you search for lodging now because it'll be eaten up quickly. Dress for chilly (but not cold) weather.

Bar Harbor is a given and you'll love it as well as doing some of the sites in Acadia. The loop road will take you though some of the most scenic and quintessential New England views you'll ever see, period. Try to eat at Jordan Pond on MDI.

I'm sure there will be a number of friends here who will help you decided what else to see but I'd recommend that when you begin your trip back, you stay on Rt1 along the coastline. It'll take you all the way down to Kittery and you'll get a chance to see a plethora of places to stop, shop, view, and just enjoy.

Vermont will be a challenge because it's all the way across NH, quite a hike. You'll find Portsmouth, NH very enjoyable, too.

Have fun.

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Old 09-18-2014, 10:13 AM
Location: North of Boston
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Foliage in most of Maine will be past peak by October 19 but it will still be scenic.

Many places in Bar Harbor close after the Columbus Day weekend so you may want to call ahead if there are specific places you hope to stay or dine.
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:21 PM
Location: too far from the sea
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Here in northern MA the leaves are already starting to change and usually the peak is around the middle of October. You may miss the best foliage but I hope not.

I don't know much about Boston so all I can say is take some sort of a tour of the historic sites there. The Museum of Fine Arts is wonderful, so is Newbury St. with cafes and expensive shops.

You could drive north from Boston on rte 128 and get off around Cape Ann/Glouceser/Rockport. You might want to visit Ipswich, a picturesque town, which is at the same exit but is not off the beaten path so would save time. If you are interested in early New England history and antique houses, this is one of the best places in all of New England. It has more 17th century houses than any other town. It also has Crane's Beach but it will be too cold, of course, to do anything except look at the beach.

Russell Orchards Farm Store & Winery a true New England tradition is to drink apple cider and eat apple cider donuts--this is one of the best places to do it. You can get the cider warm, to take the autumn chill off and they take their hot donuts right out of the fryer and hand them to you. They sell many kinds of apples and home made pies and there is a nice gift shop. You really get the New England spirit at this farm and it is not very commercialized, instead it is old fashioned and charming, lots of fun to go there in the fall season.

Maybe take rte 1 or 1A north out of Ipswich up to the New Hampshire border. There are loads of antique shops on the southern NH seacoast and there is no state sales tax! Of course there are also loads of antique shops in Essex, MA, next to Ipswich if you want to spend more time in that area. Rte 133 is where they are, also galleries, but things may start closing down for the winter. Nearby Rockport and Gloucester have famous art colonies, and are fabulous for unique shops too but some things will probably be closed at this time of the year.

At any rate, I'd recommend driving on rte 1 or 1A through seacoast NH and if you want to see a few towns I'd recommend rural Exeter or Stratham for picturesque towns and Portsmouth for a wonderful, booming small city with restaurants all over the place.

From Portsmouth you cross over a bridge into Kittery Maine. I'd recommend York, which is the next town up for another charming place with inns to stay at and more fabulous places to eat. From York you just head north again but I'll leave that to the Mainiacs. Dress warmly in layers-- sweaters, light jacket because the weather is changeable but on the cool side.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for all the help. I guess we will miss the peak but hopefully there will still be some color. Darn - I wish we could go a week a earlier but it's just not possible. I also wish we had planned a longer trip - there is just so much to see. Ipswich sounds like just the kind of place I want to see!
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:35 AM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
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Be sure to check out Newburyport, MA as you leave Boston. We stumbled upon this community by accident and were immensely charmed by it! Other places you won't want to miss include Salem, MA; Portsmouth, NH; Portland, ME; Freeport, ME; Bath, ME; Rockland, ME; Camden, ME; Belfast, ME; Ellsworth, ME; and, of course, Mount Desert Island, including Bar Harbor, ME. The majority of these communities are located right along U.S. Route 1, which is much more scenic than I-95. Bangor, ME is only about 40 minutes northwest of Ellsworth and is also a great small city if you'd be in for a bit of a dog-leg side-trip.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:04 AM
Location: Lebanon, OH
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I will second the advice to use US 1 up the coast, the further up you go the more interesting the view gets. Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Lincolnville, Belfast, Searsport, the Waldo-Hancock bridge, etc. If you are open to getting off the beaten path Schoodic Point, Millbridge, and Rouge Bluffs is worth a side trip.

There are a lot of pics in the Maine photo thread to check out and help you decide where to go.
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Old 09-29-2014, 03:59 PM
Location: Maine
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There will probably still be some nice fall color south of Boston around those dates. Plymouth is less than an hour from Boston and has a waterfront and lots of shops. You can't get more New England than Plymouth Also on your way to Acadia I would recommend a stop in Ogunquit ME. Things are open and hopping there right through Halloween now. If you like chocolate, The Harbor Candy Shop has some of the best chocolate around IMO. You can continue N on rt1 from there and pick up the Turnpike again in Wells or Kennebunk. Lots of Antiques shops along the way. Also shops, galleries and restaurants aplenty.

Also the mid coast of Maine From Brunswick/Bath area up to Camden is quite beautiful.
And yes, pack layers. Last weekend we had a morning temp of 28 with highs in the 50's and just yesterday we were in the 80's again. New England weather is unpredictable.
I agree that Vermont might be a bit out of the way for a short trip. You could cut west across Maine if you had the time and visit N. Conway NH right over the border near Fryeburg ME. The views of the White Mountains are beautiful.
Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:50 AM
Location: Somerville, MA
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Acadia is a must. Arguably the most beautiful destination on your trip. To get to VT don't just "pass through" NH. Enjoy it. Set your route so you pass through the White Mountains region which is home to the Northeast's talles peak, Mt. Washington. It's a gorgeous area. I'd suggest a drive from Acadia hitting destinations along the Maine Coast (Route 1 as has been suggested already) down to Bath (you'll hit much of beautiful Mid Coast Maine that way), jump on Route 115 and take it to route 302 (junction is in Wyndham). Follow 302 through scenic Raymond, Naples, Bridgton, and Fryeburg until you get into New Hampshire. North Conway is just across the border. It's a little crowded and touristy, but it's nice and is the gateway to the White Mountains (Jackson is a nice nearby alternative if you want a little quieter and a little more picturesque near North Conway). Continue on Route 302 past North Conway and you'll go by the Mt. Washington Hotel (definitely DEFINITELY worth it if you can stay). There's the Cog Railway nearby which takes you to the summit of Mt. Washington (6,288 ft) and is an experience in and of itself. Follow scenic 302 to Littleton NH which is a charming little town and also marks the junction of I-93. I-93 will get to to Boston from Littleton in about 3 hours (and you pass through beautiful Franconia Notch). Alternatively, you're only a few minutes on 93 from the Vermont border if you'd like to continue into Vermont.

Alternatively, you can take the Kancamagus Highway from Bartlett (Near North Conway) and cut over to I-93 that way. The Kancamagus is gorgeous, if a little scary with some of the turns and dropoffs. You'll miss Mt. Washington if you do this through.

Foliage in the White Mountains is considered to be among the best in the world. I'd try incorporate it into my Autumn Maine drive if you can (it's too close to pass up) if I were you; and I'd DEFINITELY incorporate it if I was heading to VT anyway.

I think a brief stop in Boston combined with the Maine Coast and New Hampshire's White Mountains is just about the perfect fall trip. Vermont, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, etc. are all great as well, but if you can only fit Maine, NH and Boston in, you won't regret it.
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