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New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

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New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

My wife and I are currently planning a holiday in New England this autumn. We will be there for 2 weeks at the start of October. We fly into JFK airport and fly out of Boston Logan. This is the itinerary so far:

Day 1: Fly into JFK airport

Day 2: New York City

Day 3: New York City

Day 4: Train to Beacon, then Stewart Int. Airport, where we pick up a rental car (midday).

...

Day 13: Drop rental car off at Boston Logan Airport (evening)

Day 14: Boston

Day 15: Fly out of Boston Logan Airport

As you can see, the 9 days in the middle are currently unplanned, and we wondered if you could give us any advice on what to see and do in that time? We'd like to take in as much as possible, but we don't necessarily want to be driving for miles and miles every day. Our only constraints are that we are visiting friends in Brattleboro, VT on Day 5 but other than that, we have nothing planned.

Any ideas?

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1. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

You'll be touring at the same time as thousands of fall color seeking tourists aka leaf peepers. I suggest that you begin to carefully search for lodging in the areas that you think you'll be visiting after Brattleboro. Availability may be extremely limited. Don't plan to just drive and find a place to stay on the spur of the moment. This is the busiest time of year in New England. Rates will be high and No Vacancy signs will be everywhere. Advance reservations are essential, or your days could require many added hours f driving and frustrating searches.

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York, United Kingdom
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2. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Oh no, really? We had hoped to "see how it goes", maybe book somewhere if we know we're definitely going to be there, but otherwise just see what happens.

Will it really be that bad?

If so, we better get an itinerary together pretty quickly! ;-)

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3. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Use your Internet to search for rooms. Don't be surprised to find many places sold out already. I'm not trying to discourage you. Just making you aware of the reality.

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4. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Unfortunately, "Yup -- it can be that bad" -- we had friends try to "see how it goes"... start looking for a

Vacancy" about 3:00PM one afternoon, and, after driving 100 miles with no luck, end up sleeping in the car for the night. Fall Foliage Season has become as big an attraction as winter skiing and summer camping....

I'd start targeting a few potential destinations that you could use as "bases" for day-trips in various areas -- maybe around Lake Winnipasaukee (sp?) or the North Conway area in New Hampshire and a couple of other destinations in Vermont and start checking availability. Don't be surprised if some lodging options require more than a one-night stay....demand for rooms in some areas is high enough they can, and do, get away with a minimum-stay requirement.

As RedRox says, not to be discouraging but to provide a reality-check, many of the folks who will be visiting NH and VT the same time you will made their room reservations for this Fall when they were in the area last year....

Doesn't mean you can't or won't find good places to stay -- just means the longer you wait, the harder it's going to be to find them....

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5. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Crikey, we better get planning then. Thanks for the info.

So, in light of this, can anyone recommend places to go? Our approximate route is to snake up through Vermont, then across to New Hampshire, maybe Maine, and down to Massachusetts.

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6. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Hi David,

Great advice, you need to get cracking and I mean, yesterday!!! Playing by ear is fine most other times of year, not in foliage season.

1st question, just curious, why pick up the car in Beacon, rather than JFK or somewhere in NYC? I'm guessing either rates or avoidance of trying to drive on the right side of the road in NYC traffic. Probably a good idea.

OK, just to get you started, here's a quick plan that gets you to VT, NH and Maine. Mostly 2 night stops, but if there is a 3 night requirement then so be it - adjust. If you have to, steal days from VT and do your 3+days in the White Mtns of NH and Acadia Nat'l Park in Maine.

day 4, pickup car drive to Brattleboro, sleep in Brattleboro.

day 5, Brattleboro, sleep in Brattleboro.

day 6, drive to Montpelier or Burlington or anywhere nearby or in between, sleep there.

day 7, sleep there 2nd night.

day 8, drive to NH, sleep in either Woodstock, Lincoln, Conway/N.Conway or Jackson or anywhere thereabouts.

day 9, sleep there 2nd night

day 10, drive to Bar Harbor/Acadia in Maine, sleep there.

day 11, sleep there a 2nd night

day 12, drive south, sleep in Portland Maine or anywhere between there and Newburyport Mass,.

day 13, drive to Boston, drop car, stay in Boston

That's a plan. I'd make good use of the hotel search sites and googlemaps. What you'll find is that New England and the states of VT, NH and Mass are pretty small geographically. So, find a hotel and you can take leisurely drives to get where you want to visit. Don't worry too much comparing and contrasting hotels. Just find something, your choices will be slim to begin with.

Also don't worry about attractions and things to do - yet! There is plenty to fill your days. Find a home and we'll help from there.

Let us know how you are doing....

Enjoy your trip, 2 weeks is a great vacation!!

Kevin

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York, United Kingdom
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7. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Thanks for the suggestions folks, that's really helpful.

Thinking about "bases" and the ease of getting about, would you suggest a number of little bases (2-3 nights each) or one central base for the entire duration? For example, we've seen cottages available around Lake Winnipesaukee that we could rent for a week. Would that be do-able? That, to me, feels like less of a "road trip" but if availability is as limited as you suggest, it might be a sensible option...

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8. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

Definitely a few little bases as suggested by Kevin. A central base is far too confining. This is why we stress the importance of making the plan and pre booking.

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9. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

We're thinking of spending our first night somewhere around Schenectady / Albany or thereabouts. Does anyone have any recommendations of places to stay / visit around there?

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10. Re: New England in the Fall - Trip Planning

I remember visiting several mansions and estates along the Hudson R. many years back. Do a googlesearch. I think there may be an FDR birthsite or maybe it was Elenor's, can't remember.

THen again, Brattleboro is not really that far a drive after picking up your car.

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