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October Trip

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October Trip

Planning to drive from Portland, ME., to Bethel, Oct. 10, 2013, Take Hwy 26 and make the loop into N.H. (Colebrook, Lancaster, Glen and Back to Hwy w back to Bethel and Spend th night there). Will this be too long a day? Should we still see some folliage? Oct 11, 2013, go to Rangeley up Hwy 16 and down to Farmington to spend the night. Want to see moose. Does this sound like a day trip? Day 3 would like to go to Pemaquid Point light House and stay close by on Oct 12th ( The Hotel Pemiquid has a 3 night minimum then). Day 4 we plan to drive to Acadia National Park where we will stay for 4-5 days and take day trips. What would you suggest we see on the Day there. We will have a few days before we fly out of Portland on Oct 24th. What should we visit South of Portlalnd and where should we stay nights. Would like one nice place overlooking the water. Thanks for your help.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
Sacred & Religious Sites, Educational sites, Historic Sites, History Museums, Farms
Central Maine
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1. Re: October Trip

Day 1 -- Portland -- loop -- Bethel... About 260 miles and six hours or so of just driving time, not counting any stops along the way for gas, food, photos etc.... A "full day" -- I'd get an early start.... The "peak" foliage is usually over in that part of the country by Oct 10, but unless there's a major wind or rain storm that strips the leaves off the trees, you still should see some color...

Day 2 -- Bethel to Farmington via Rangeley and Stratton -- definitely do-able as a day trip -- might even want to consider a drive north on Rt 27 from Stratton to Eustis for more scenery, then turn around and head south on Rt 27 to Farmington. Including the Eustis side trip, this would be about 150 miles; allow three to three and one-half hours driving time -- so plenty of time for stops along the way... Your route today will give you as good a chance of seeing moose as any public-road drive in the state. Whether or not the moose cooperate is a totally different question -- wild animals come and go on their own schedules....

Day 3 Farmington to Pemaquid -- about 85 miles... allow two to two and one-half hours... Don't know of any one-the-water lodging close to the lighthouse that hasn't already been mentioned; multiple-night stays are fairly common at popular on-the-water destinations during foliage season. Hope you find something...

Day 4 Pemaquid to Bar Harbor -- About 120 miles and three hours driving time... With 4-5 days in Acadia, you'll have plenty of time to see the major attractions and many of the lesser ones. Several recent posts here on Trip Advisor have lists of things to see and do in Acadia. Or, to more customize your time there, make your first stop the day you arrive at the Acadia National Park Visitors Center -- it's on your right as you climb the hill on Rt 3 coming out of the village of Hull's Cove before you get to Bar Harbor itself. Rangers and staff there can help you put together an itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the Park.

South Portland -- Definnitely see Portland Head Light lighthouse, Bug Light lighthouse, and maybe have lunch at The Lobster Shack at Two Lights.... Not familiar with on-the-water lodging in S. Portland so can't help there....

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2. Re: October Trip

The six hour drive sounds like a long day. How could I best cut the time? I could cut across Hwy. 2 at Lancaster. Would I miss too much sout of Gorham on Hwy 16? Should I forget folliage and go directly to Acadia National Park to be sure I get pretty folliage there and then go into N.H. in the second week of our stay. Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate all the details you give.

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3. Re: October Trip

Have a shorter route for your Day 1 that still includes New Hampshire -- did that for two reasons: 1) the scenery is impressive with or without fall foliage (White Mtns are impressive)... and 2) if the foliage happens to come in a little late, you could hit some good color, especially since this alternative route is south of your original one (and remember, foliage color tends to move from north to south...)

Start in Portland, ME. Take US Rt 302 north through the southern Maine "lakes region" to Bridgeton, ME and on toward Conway, New Hampshire. After you pass through Fryeburg, ME, Rt 113 joins US 302 and they run together into New Hampshire. After you pass through Center Conway, NH, you'll come to a traffic light where US 302 turns right toward North Conway and Rt 113 continues straight ahead toward Conway -- stay on Rt 113. Follow Rt 113 through Conway Village and watch for a right hand turn onto NH Rt 112 (the Kancamagus Highway -- one of the most scenic routes in the state). Follow Rt 112 to Lincoln, NH, where you''ll pick up I-93 North toward Franconia Notch. As you proceed north on I-93 through the scenic notch, US Rt 3 North will join I-93. Continue north on the combined routes to Exit 35, where you'll follow US Rt 3 north toward Twin Mountain, NH. In Twiin Mountain, pick up US Rt 302 South toward Bretton Woods, Bartlett and Glen NH. Follow US Rt 302 South to the traffic light in Glen, NH, where you'll turn left onto NH Rt 16 North toward Gorham, NH. In Gorham, turn right onto US Rt 2 and follow it to Bethel, ME. Totals for today would be about 200 miles and four and one half hours driving time.

Along the way today, places to watch for might include:

-- On US 302 between Portland and Bridgeton, watch for "the causeway" area in the town of Naples, ME... it will on your right after you cross a newly built bridge over the waterway between two lakes. You'll spot a big marina on your left just before you get to it -- nice views across the lake from the parking spaces on the causeway.

-- On US 302 between Fryeburg and Conway, NH -- some nice valley views out to the right at various places along the way

-- On Rt 112 between Conway and Lincoln -- numerous scenic turnouts, some with an opportunity to see the river and foliage, others to look out over the countryside.... usually worth at least a brief stop...

-- On Rt 93/3 between Lincoln and Twin Mountain -- several attractions that you may want to Google first (to check hours, levels of interest, etc)... The Flume requires a fair amount of time out of the car, but could be worth it if you get a nice day.... likewise the Cannon Mountain Tramway up Cannon Mountain (Exit 34B off I-93/US Rt 3). At Exit 34B, you can also visit the Old Man of the Mountain Museum -- a tribute to a NH legend that lvies on today on their state license plates.

-- Between Twin Mountain and Glan, watch for the Mt Washington Hotel on your left -- it's an historic hotel where a major international monetary treaty was signed in the early 20th century. Not sure whether or not the hotel itself is open to non-registered guests, but if you can visit it, the view of Mt Washington from the hotel-long covered porch on the back side of the hotel is fantastic! If you can't visit the hotel, watch for a scenie turnout on your left just beyond the hotel driveway -- not quite as good as the view from the hotel porch, but still impressive. On a clear day, you can pick out the path of the Mt Washington Cog Railway on its climb to the summit and sometimes see some of the summit buildings. Beyond Bretton Woods, watch for the AMC Highland Center on your right -- some interesting information about the natural resources and geography of Crwaford Notch State Park and the White Mountains National Forest. After leaving the Nature Center, the road pitches sharply downhill. Watch to your left for a lenghy waterfall beside the road... (sorry, I can't remember if the parking lot for viewing it is above or below the falls themselves, but it will be on your right).

-- Between Glen and Gorham, watch for signs for a junction with NH Rt 16A to your right.... take it, driving through the covered bridge and into the small village of Jackson. As you drive through town, watch for Rt 16B to your right and the Jackson Post Office. Right next door to the Post Office is a small deli (name has changed in the past few years but it stays consistently good). Pick up one of their sweet treats and something to drink, return to Rt 16A, turn right, cross the stone bridge, and immediately turn left up the hill, watching for parking spots on your right. Get out of the car, sit on the rocks or picnic table, and enjoy the rushing river and scenery as you munch... Then back down the hill the way you came, turn right at the stop signs and it quickly takes you back to Rt 16 north toward Gorham. Further along Rt 15, watch for the entrance to the Mt Washington Auto Road on your left and their gift shop/stage stop on your right. Pull into the parking lot on the right to check out the view of the mountain. (You could consider driving up the Auto Road or paying to ride on one of their professionally-driven "stages -- think vans -- but it will take you at least a half an hour to drive to the top and a little longer than that to come back down, plus whatever time you spend at the summit. And, quite frankly, unless the visibility and weather at the summit are both good, it's probably not worth going up. The attendant on duty at the Auto Road entrance can tell you about weather conditions on the summit -- which can be vastly different from those at the base of the Road. And be sure you have sometihing warm to put on when you get out of the car -- temps at the summit can be 30-49 degrees cooler than in the valley).

-- Between Gorham NH and Bethel, ME -- some nice glimpses of the Androscoggin River on your left, and you'll pass through the historic Shelburne Birches just east of Gorham....

Should make a shorter, but still scenic drive for your first day and give you a feel for northern NH and "the White's."

Boothbay Harbor...
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4. Re: October Trip

Your original loop going through Grafton and Dixville notches still has merit -- they can be quite impressive. And the northern Connecticut River valley can be scenic, as well. Route 2 cutting across from Lancaster to Gorham offers some mighty fine views, especially of Mount Washington and the northern Presidential Range as you are coming through Jefferson and Randolph. Once in Gorham, you can take a quick side-trip south on Route 16 to Pinkham Notch, before continuing on to Bethel.

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5. Re: October Trip

I love the detail you give and will get out my maps today and study this route. You have been most helpful in every question I ask. Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge.

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6. Re: October Trip

Thank you for the information. This is what I need to help make my plans. I know my husband and I will love Maine. Another question: Are we still going to get good lobster in October?

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7. Re: October Trip

You said in a previous post that Rangeley would be a great place to chance seeing a moose. How early in the morning should we leave Bethel to be there at an optimum time to see moose. Also so would we be better off to go on a moose tour than chancing it ourselves?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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8. Re: October Trip

I'd definitely go on the moose tour. Any moose you see by getting up at dawn and driving a likely route will just be standing there on the side of the road -- not real scenic. Often the moose safaris take you in a boat and you get to see moose in their true native environment, with vegetation hanging off their snouts and flies buzzing around their nostrils.

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9. Re: October Trip

Thank you. You advise was very helpful.

Mid Coast Maine...
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10. Re: October Trip

Re: lobster......you get better lobster in October (than the summer) because the water is colder, the shells are harder and fuller.