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Visiting Maine in the Fall

North Carolina
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Visiting Maine in the Fall

We are trying to plan a trip for about 7 days to the New England area with a 10 month old baby this fall. We love pretty drives, beautiful scenery, coastal views, beaches, hiking and biking. We're definitely interested in seeing the fall foliage too! The dates that we could potentially come would be 0ct 7-13 or Oct 18-25. I'd love to get some input and advise on the best time to come, and best places to visit. We would love to see Acadia NP and perhaps even a little bit of vermont or new hampshire. We would probably be flying into Manchester and renting a car. Any advice on places to see, lodging, and kid friendly activities would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

Maine
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1. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

I would say Oct 7-13 would be the best time as far as the better chance of seeing the best foiliage, the downside to those dates though is it will be much much busier that week and over Columbus day weekend then the next week. You may have trouble finding a place to stay in the more popular areas. I had been looking for lodging in the White Mountains over that first week and there is very little available and is very very expensive. I opted to go the weekend before which was a littel better and the Fryeburg fair is going on.

If you do fly into Manchester then my suggestion would be to split your time between the White mountains of NH area and Acadia, although realize you will pretty much have to alot a day to travel in each direction.

The mix of the two locations should offer about all that you seek one in the mountains and one by the ocean with some mountains to boot. Both should have great scenery. The White mountains area has quite a few kid friendly activities but I think a lot of them close early Oct so you might want to check on that.

Good luck planning and have fun.

North Carolina
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2. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Thanks for your advise countymounty! I think we will probably try to go Oct 8-14. I know it will probably be very crowded though. And I will have to see is there are any reservations available. Is the traffic really bad during the weekend? Would you suggest staying in acadia first and then white mountains, or vice versa. Does anyone have any good lodging suggestions in acadia or surrounding area that are infant friendly ( i know a lot of B&B don't always like to have infants). I would also welcome any advise on scenic, but not terribly congested routes to travel. Thanks Again!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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3. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Typically, the onset of fall color comes first to inland areas, then to more coastal areas, so you might want to start in the west and then wander on eastward.

You are correct; most B&Bs in this area (Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park) do not accept infants or toddlers. The Bar Harbor Motel perenially receives good reviews on these forums. You might check the lodging options at:

http://www.acadiamagic.com

Central Maine
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for Maine
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4. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Would agree with the suggestion you start in the White Mountains of NH and work your way toward coastal Maine. Will give you a much greater chance of catching some good foliage.

Depending on where you stay in NH, you might look at taking the route from North Conway up through Pinkham Notch to Gorham, NH, then turn eastward into Maine. In the notch, you'll have some good elevation change, again increasing the chance of better foliage at some point along the way. Depending on your time constraints, you'll want to at least stop at the base office of the Mt Washington Auto Road (see www.mountwashingtonautoroad.com). It's the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi and you get a reasonably good look at it from the base, If you have time, you can drive your own car to the summit or ride one of their vans (all weather permitting). If you do decide to do this, remember to take a warm coat or jacket -- temperatures are much lower at the summit than at the base.

From Gorham, NH, turn east on US Rt 2 for some outstanding forest scenery between there and Bethel, ME.

From Bethel, you have several choices, all offering good potential for foliage viewing....

...continuing east on Rt 2, which will eventually take you all the way to Bangor where you can pick up US 1A to Ellsworth and Rt 3 to Bar Harbor

...turing south off US 2 in Bethel onto Me Rt 26 -- taking you toward Norway and South Paris. In South Paris, look for Rt 119, which will bring you to the Auburn area, from where you can turn north toward Bangor and Bar Harbor.

...continue east on Rt 2 toward Farmington and Skowhegan, turning south on Rt 27 just east of Farmington toward Augusta. It offers good scenery opportunities and easy access to I-95 toward Bangor from Augusta, or the option of Rt 3 from Augusta to Rt 1 in Belfast and on to Acadia.

...If you decide to go to Bangor, Rt 1A from Bangor to Ellsworth also offers some good scenic opportunities as far as foliage is concerned.

For current foliage conditions in Maine, check out the Maine Department of Conservation's official foliage website at www.mainefoliage.com It's information comes directly from Forest Rangers around the state and is updated regularly.

Hope you have a great trip.

North Carolina
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5. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Thanks for the advise! We'll definitely have to look into which routes will be easier for us to travel on--you've given us a great start. Do you know, approximately how long it would take to drive from manchester to white mountains and then from there to acadia and back to manchester? Our flight on the 15th from manchester would leave late in the afternoon, so I'm not sure if we need to head back from acadia area the day before or if we should pick a spot closer to stay for the night.

Maine
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6. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

The following are estimated times of straight travel at posted speed limits and normal traffic according to the Delorme Street Atlas program. Obiously you will have to account for stops along the way.

Manchester airport to North Conway is about 2 1/2hrs

(the "White Mountains" area is fairly large but I used North Conway, the western parts of that area would be almost an hour closer due north on the interstate from Manchester)

North Conway to Acadia via Gorham and then RT2 to all the way to Bangor would be about 5 1/2 hrs

North Conway to Acadia by quickest route would be about 4 1/2 hrs

Acadia to Manchester via quickest route (the interstates) would be about 5 hrs

North Carolina
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7. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Thanks to all for the advise.... I have finally secured some reservations in White mountains and in Bar Harbor...wasn't an easy or inexpensive task! But nontheless, I excited about it. I hope the Lincoln area will be ok, since I couldn't really find too much in the Jackson area. Also wondering anyone had suggestions on a good midway stopping place along the coast between Acadia and Manchester. We would probably leave Barharbor on monday, travel down roue 1 maybe and check out some coastal towns. I was thinking about boothbay or ogunquit. We're just looking for pretty coastal views, intersting scenery, maybe a nearby lighthouse or bridge....Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks!

Oh also, what is the weather generally like in White mountains area and in barharbor/acadia/coastal maine. Is it generally clear or predominantly rainy/cloudy/foggy in the fall?

Central Maine
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8. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

One of the things most Maine natives really enjoy are what we describe as "the crisp, clear Fall days."

Weather in Maine in September-October is generally low humidity, low pollution (not that we have as much as most places any time of year), clear and just cool enough to be invigorating.

That's not to say it's never foggy on the coast, but foggy days are less frequent than in mid-summer.

As far as precipitation is concerned, my only real concerns as a visitor "from away" would be the possibility of coastal storms -- the occasional hurricane that makes it this far north (we haven't had a real hurricane in a decade or more), or the remains of a hurricane that came ashore further south. For example, it's supposed to start raining this afternoon and rain for the next two days or so -- remains of, I think, Hurricane Ike. But, the reality is that there isn't much anyone can do about those kinds of rain except find goor indoor activities (some great museums, historical homes and other indoor things to do in Maine).

But, in general, Fall is our favorite time of year weather-wise. The non-hurricane-related rains we do have don't last long and the weataher in between is absolutely fabulous.

Maine
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9. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

You will want to pack a good variety of clothing and be prepared for cold nights. You can probably leave the shorts behind it wont be that warm, maybe 60's in the day and 30's at night. It is quite possible that it will be near or even below freezing at night especially in the White Mountains. As Maineronthego said that time of year generally has a lot of great clear, crisp, and coolish days, just perfect in my opinion. You do want to keep an eye on any tropical storms/hurricanes though because they have a tendancy to come right up the east coast this time of year, they general dont pack much of a punch when they get this far but do bring a lot of rain. Kyle is going to hit us this weekend, hopefully, not straight on and not as a hurricane. We are due to get several inches of rain and the whole weekend is going to be a "washout", too bad for anyone visiting now.

I'll be in the White Mountains next weekend, cant wait. Lincoln is fine, from there you can quickly travel north or south via the interstate or head east to the rest of the white mountains area. You will definately want to take the scenic drive on the Kancangamus over to the Conway area and then maybe come back via 302 making a nice loop. We are going to make sure to take one of the trams up a mountain to check out the foiliage, probably Wildcat because it is closer to where we will be, Cannon is closer to Lincoln though.

Have a great time.

North Carolina
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10. Re: Visiting Maine in the Fall

Thanks again for all the advise! I just got a packet in the mail from the White mountains visitor beureau and I'm really excited about all the fun things to see! My husband and I live for these kind of nature/park road trips. I love waterfall hikes, and beautiful scenery. Photography is my passion and I'm sure i won't be able to put the camera down.

Since we'll have a 10 month old baby with us this time...I was wondering if there are some good, scenic, paved or relatively level (i.e stroller friendly) trails in the white mountains area and acadia national park. I'm debating whether it's worth it to bring a backpack carrier for the baby or if we can get by with just a stroller. The less stuff we have to lug on a plane the better. i feel like we'll be mostly driving and then doing several short hikes to waterfalls, bridges, coastal/lighthouse, views etc.