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I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

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I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

My husband and 1.5 yr old are planning a fall foilage drive in New England this year and ending in Montreal. We're driving up from CT with a stop in Stockbridge, MA for a night to see the cute town. (I really enjoy Norman Rockwell and et al.)

My question is driving up from Lenox area, would it be best to drive to the Kanc / White Mountain area. Mind you, we have a baby with us so we won't be doing any hiking or sports but would like to see the foilage off the Kanc highway as I hear it's glorious. If we're not doing any of the hiking recreation, is it worth our time to stay a few days in this region? And if so, is it fair to say Jackson is more charming of a town than North Conway?? OR?

I've been reading that North Conway is pretty commercial and we're not interested in outlet malls. What we're looking for are vistas, a step back in time... rolling farmland, church steeples, covered bridges and quaint town strolling. You get the picture. Will Jackson town give me this? Or would it be best to forego the Kanc idea and head to another area BEFORE venturing off to Vermont VIA Montreal...that's not too out of the way. Your ideas and candid advice is much appreicated for this California girl...thanks so much!!!

Janel

Baltimore, Maryland
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1. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

Can't say if best from Lenox or any where else. You can see foliage without hiking, trees everywhere. Jackson is more quaint but probably can't stay for just one.night, it is expensive and books early. On the other hand more lodging options in NC and it isn't new York city. If destination is Montreal may want to consider staying in Lincoln area or VT as more direct route North

Oregon
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2. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

Not sure you needed to start another thread, but....Guess you know by now, no need to go to the Kank just to see the colors. But the area is worth the trip. Kank, Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, pretty country. You can pick where you think colors are best. we were there last week of Sept, colors were getting good, but better later I guess

We took boat ride on Lake Winni, but colors were not as good there yet.

Edited: 20 April 2012, 04:02
Central Maine
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3. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

Ooops -- posted a response on your other thread before I spotted this one -- take a look at my response there and see if it helps....

Antrim, New...
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4. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

First question is, when do you plan to be here? Depending on time, you go to where the colors are likely to be strongest. From very end of September to about Oct 10, The Whites are the place to be. Earlier than that, focus north of the Whites. Later than that, plan to stay south - Lakes region, Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee, and Monadnock region. Also, The Whites are heavily touristed for foliage, especially on the weekends, with COlumbus day 3-day weekend being most crowded. As noted, lodging is expensive and early reservations are essential, especially on the weekend.

Stockbridge to Lincoln, NH isa four hour drive. Lincoln is the base of Franconia Notch and the start of the Kanc. Staying in Lincoln/Woodstock is a lovely place to be, and much less commercial than North Conway. But it is a tourist area, the road through the towns is strippy with hotels, shops and restaurants (not the Kanc or the I-93 as it goes into the national forest in Franconia Notch).

By comparison, Stockbridge to Keene, NH is about a 2 hour drive. This is the major city (24,000 people - small, really) in the Monadnock region, a very Courier and Ives part of the state with rolling hills and small mountains, winding roads, many lovely small towns with white steepled churches, covered bridges, local cafes and restaurants, lots of charm, a strong arts community, and not over run with tourists. Still plenty of small inns and B&Bs in many of the towns. Fall colors are likely to be strongest through about the second and third week of October, maybe a bit longer.

All in all, it mostly depends on when you will be here, if you have flexibility in your time, and if the White Mountains are a must see on your trip.

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5. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

This was extremely helpful, thank you...

Nextstop, I appreciate how thorough your descriptions are and your explanation of towns. I have a better sense of the vibe. Sounds like Lincoln/Woodstock is more convenient than Jackson or even N. Conway as we'd hit it first before starting the Kanc drive from MA....that would make sense and that's what I needed to know. I'd hate to stay on the other side of the hwy coming from the south and then have to back track once we settle in to lodging. Jackson sounds more quaint but probably not as accessible from the foot or beginning of the drive but then again, I realize nothing is really too far away. Being from CA I am used to long drives.

I also really love the sound of Keene. That's what im craving, all that you describe. I might want to include it before venturing to the White Mountains but I need to figure out if I have the time or what I'd have to cut. maybe Keene is more quaint than Stockbridge, MA and if so, I'd cut out my MA stop. We'll be in the region the week of the 9th of oct. And whether to include White Mountains depends if it's worth it even without participating in any of the recreation as we have a baby.

Thanks again for the much needed clarity!

Hollis, New...
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6. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

Keene is really nice, but by no means is it more quaint than Stockbridge. For one thing, it's much larger. You said you like Norman Rockwell, so you really shouldn't skip Stockbridge or miss the Rockwell Museum there.

If you go to Keene and you want "quaint," there are plenty of smaller towns in the area that fit the bill admirably--Walpole, Harrisville, Hancock, Dublin, Peterborough. The area is definitely worth touring if you can find time.

The White Mountains offer scenery that is unique. They are higher and more rugged than any other peaks in New England. (In fact, although some summits in North Carolina and Tennessee are a little bit higher, I don't think they're as rugged or dramatic.) Only you can decide what is worth it for you, but you should be aware of this in making your plans.

EDIT: I know that as a Californian, you're familiar with mountains that are much higher than the White Mountains, but the character of the New England landscape is very different from that of Southern California.

Edited: 20 April 2012, 19:22
Antrim, New...
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7. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

wpsuakee's comments about Keene and the surrounding towns is right on the money. Keene is a very nice small city with a quintessential broad main street. There is a circle at the top of main Street which is like a little park with aband stand that has concerts in the summer, and a beautiful church with a big white steeple. It is a nice place to walk around and explore. It is still a vital place with many unique shops and some great restaurants and cafes.

But, as wpsaukee said, you will want to explore the towns in the region. Peterborough, a small town of about 6000 people, it is a commercial center. There is a wonderful art gallery and shop (Sharon Arts), as well as other arts and antiques shops and galleries. The Mariposa Museum is a nice museum of international culture. Some excellent restaurants and two quintessential diners.

There are great chocolate shops in Wilton, Peterborough, Marlborough, Keene and Walpole. Burdick's Chocolates in Walpole is a transplanted chocolatier from New York City whose fans continue to worship at their alter. They also have an excellent but pricey restaurant. Better pricing for lunch.

There is a lot of live music, including a lot of it for free. Monadnock Music has several major concerts each summer, and then has a complete schedule of performances in many of the towns in the region. These are professional performers, and there is a concert in one town or another many nights of the week. Many towns have their own schedule of free outdoor concerts, with a range from town bands to rock, folk, country, jazz big band and more. Greenfield is Tuesday night, Antrim and I think Walpole and Jaffrey on Wednesday night, Hancock on Thursday night.

As for the Stockbridge option, I think that you will find that Stockbridge and the Berkshires has a different feel to it from the Monadnock region or even the White Mountains. All are worth seeing.

BY the way, part of the reason I had suggested staying Lincoln/Woodstock is that I know how traveling with a 1.5 year old can add layers of unpredictability. That, along with wanting to stop and explore along the way, and I figured there is a benefit to having that as your destination, rather than Jackson, which might be another hour beyond, maybe even a bit more. Either one has its charms and afford easy access to the area. The choice is yours.

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8. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

If you stay in Lincoln you can settle in room then drive up to the Franconia Notch with a few stops or not depending on how you feel. At least get to the lake. There. play area by lake.

Then next morn you can drive the Kank in a fresh day then head for Crawford notch and west into Vermont.

Edited: 21 April 2012, 15:33
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9. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

Wow, you people are wonderful...thank you! I'm set on Stockbridge or sure. I'm also keen on Keen.... Did I just say that?

I was set on Jackson but I didn't think it was an hour fom the kanc as I called the Wentworth today and asked and they told me it was a half hour... In any case, I probably would trade the extra driving time for the quaintness of Jackson. But, thanks for the heads up! My son, Christopher is pretty happy baby and accommodating, knock on wood!

What I've gathered from your notes is that all these regions are worth a stay...and fortunately they are not too far away from each other. Love the concert info, too!

Tentative itinerary

Day 1 - Mystic or Litchfield

Day 2 Stockbridge

Day 3/4 Keene

Day 5/6 Jackson

Day 7/8 Stowe or Burlington

Day 9/10 east Townsend (maybe) there is a gorgeous relais chateau property there suggested and it looks dreamy....

Day 11-13 Montreal

This itinerary may be a bit ambitious but I know some of the towns are small so we're moving at a pretty steady pace. I may opt to cut out East Townsend in leiu of staying in the Bershires or Keene and VT longer....then i could add another 3 days. While i enjoy hopping from place to place, would like to relax on this trip too and take it in.

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10. Re: I'm at a loss...itinerary help needed

2nd thought...we're getting quaintness on this trip galore so maybe I will take the suggestion of staying in Lincoln / woodstock for one night or so for the convenience of being close to the notch. Getting a fresh start on the Kanc appeals to me especially if Jackson really is an hour away. Will think on that....