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Self drive New England

dublin
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Self drive New England

Hello there

Looking for some advice on a self drive holiday in New England next May. this will be part of our honeymoon and we will 11 days in the area. Our current plan is to fly into Boston on the 14th of May, and fly out on the 25th. We thought we would spend three nights in Boston, hire a car and spend some time driving through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Places we would like to visit in particular are Acadia NP, White Mountain area and perhaps also the Green Mountain area of VT. Thoughts at the moment are to drive from Boston to Bar Harbour and overnight here for 2/3 nights, then head across to WM for another 2/3 nights. After this would welcome suggestions of other bases to stay in for the last couple of nights.

We like to take in some walks, perhaps horse back riding, and love to stay in nice towns and get a feel for the place. Also my boyfriend loves to try local beer so we would definately like to take in some microbreweries along the way.

Any advice would be very welcome !

Thanks

Anne

Vermont
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1. Re: Self drive New England

Sounds like a nice trip.

In Vermont, there are a lot of nice hikes that you can take.

http://www.greenmountainclub.org/

Because of mud and erosion issues, most hiking trails in the state are closed until Memorial Day (May 28 in 2012). But the Green Mountain Club will have some good suggestions.

The Stowe Rec Path is a really nice walking path through the town. Beautiful views. It's mostly paved, so no issues with mud.

For horseback riding, try Edson Hill Manor in Stowe. Really sweet little spot.

The Mountain Top Inn is another place to try. I've never been there http://mountaintopinn-px.rtrk.com/

For microbreweries, try the Alchemist in Waterbury. Amazing beer. They brew it in the basement and nobody is alowed down there. But the beer is great.

dublin
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2. Re: Self drive New England

Thanks Truman for your message, i wasn't aware of the mud / erosion issues so thats good to know.

The Alchemist in Waterbury sounds good - I was thinking of that area as I am a big fan of B&J !

Woodstock, Vermont
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3. Re: Self drive New England

Afternoon Anne08Dublin,

After your White Mountains stint I would suggest a stay in Woodstock VT (www.woodstockvt.com) and base yourself here to see a number of different sights. For your drinking partner you can 'do' the Longtrail Brewery, the Harpoon brewery & the Norwich Inn all within 30 minutes or less of the village.

In south Woodstock you have the Green Mountain Horse association school which is a winner and there are numerous hikes around the village either on the Appalachian Trail or the Mount Tom National Park.

The drive back to Boston Logan will take you less than 2.5 hours and is an easy one via the I89 and I93 and if you do hit B & J for ice cream take route 100 south to Woodstock which is a beautiful drive and there should still be some snow on the hill tops if you are lucky.

Enjoy the planning....

Burlington VT
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4. Re: Self drive New England

Welcom and hope you enjoy the visit!

Often there aren't issues with mud/erosion in mid-late May. Tha's not a busy tourist time too, so you can easily adjust plans if/when needed. You're itinerary is a bit heavy on driving, but doable.

Acadia is wonderful, and that time of year will tend to be quiet, with plenty of accomodations available, and generally pleasant weather. 2-3 days is a short amount of time to visit, since it's about a 5 hour drive from Boston. But there's excellent hiking, walking. biking, seafood, and generally classic New England scenery, so I'm a fan and would agree that it's a great stop - even if briefly.

The White Mtns. are spectacular. My favorites place to hike is on Rt. 2 - the most direct road from Acadia/Bangor heading west. The Appalachia Trailhead parking area on Rt. 2, between Gorham and Jefferson, NH is a great place to do many hikes of varying degrees. My fav short one is slightly east of the parking area - up one side of the Snyder Brook on the Brookbank trail and down the other side on the Fallsway Trail. There are numerous pools and cascades, as well as 3 marked falls. Total hiking time is about 90 min and it's not super challenging. Let me know if you want other details.

There are great places for microbrews all over. If you make it to Vermont, I particularly like Stowe - about 20 min north of Rt. 2 from Waterbury. Great little mountain town, with lots of artsy shops, a handful of good restaurants and several excellent pubs - including The Shed, which has good on-site brews. Again - details if you want. Enjoy.

dublin
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5. Re: Self drive New England

Hi David, Chris

thank you both for your detailed replies and great advice. I'm pleased to hear the drive from Woodstock to Logan is relatively short - we had thought we might need to spend the night before our flight in Boston but it seems we won't.

So taking into account various advice received, we are thinking now of the following itinerary:

Bar harbour / Acadia - 2 nights

White Mts (Sugar Hill Inn) 2 nights

Stowe - 2 nights

Woodstock - 1 night

this option gives us one extra night to spend in one of the above places - i am thinking of spending it in either Stowe or the White Mts to elongate one of the stopovers between "packing up and moving on" days. Would either of you have an opinion either way on where the extra night could best be availed of?

Chris - thanks for your offer for more details - a few questions for you please; with regards to Stowe - can you recommend nice accommodation that would be within walking distance of the town if not right in it? we always enjoy going for dinner and a couple of drinks after a day of exploring, and it would be nice to be able to walk rather than drive and not be able to sample the local brews !

thank you for your suggestions re hikes in the WMts region, sounds like a great area. We like the look of the Sugar Hill inn to stay, near Franconia - would you think this would be a suitable base for 2/3 days or would you recommend another area within the region?

David thanks for the Woodstock website link, and recommending the breweries. Am looking forward to B&J already :)

thanks again both of you , really appreciate the info

A :)

Woodstock, Vermont
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6. Re: Self drive New England

Morning Anne,

I would suggest another night in Stowe or Woodstock, but it's a toss up as the White Mountains are also impressive! If you want to stay and walk for dinner Woodstock has I think the best options if you are looking for smaller lodging places. Stowe seems to me to be more spread out, and thus walking more difficult, but I'm sure Chris can give you more information. Woodstock is unusual in the US by being set up for walking and it does have a real tight centre.

Woodstock does have a lot to see and do in the area and a one night stop is going to seriously reduce your ability to do a day tour. By spending two nights in each location you should really get a feel for all the area. Also it sounds as if a day of brewery visiting might be a great way to finish your vacation....

Burlington, Vermont
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7. Re: Self drive New England

Might put the extra day into Woodstock/ Quechee/ Norwich area.

In Stowe, the Green Mountain Inn, is a popular choice and in the heart of the village, and has the Whip Bar & Grille also enjoyed by many. That said, the town spreads out from the village, so many options are not within walking distance, but are a within a 5+ minute drive.

Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville is 9 miles north of Stowe. Check www.rockartbrewery.com for details on tours, hours, etc.

Baltimore, Maryland
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8. Re: Self drive New England

This could help you decide to stay in the white mountains.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i19621-Circling…

You will have a great trip no matter what- do agree that it is a little heavy on the driving.

Charlottesville...
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9. Re: Self drive New England

I just wanted to reiterate that you have chosen an absolutely beautiful part of the country to explore. I used to camp in Acadia and drive across the mountains each year and still remember the trips fondly. I never stayed in any inns as I was a poor grad student :-).

My in laws live not too far from Woodstock and Quechee in Chester and I've been lucky enough to spend some time there. It is lovely. A lunch at the Simon Pearce workshop, assuming it is as nice as it was years ago when I went, is a treat. David can probably advise on that. Chester is much smaller but also a nice town. Actually has what I have been told is an authentic Scottish Pub started by a couple from Paisley, Scotland. Looking forward to trying it when we go for Thanksgiving this year.

If you go further North the area of Waitsfield is very nice. It is near Sugarbush and has a nice arts community and is close to Burlington. I prefer the area in Southern VT probably because of familiarity and because it is so much easier to get to, but it is beautiful up there, too!

Burlington VT
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10. Re: Self drive New England

Anne - Most welcome and glad to give whatever input we can. The Green Mtn Inn comes well recommended, though we haven't stayed right in town ourselves. Indeed, \Stowe is quite spread out, so it's not a big impact staying a couple of miles up Rt 108, since there's really not a dense downtown area anywhere, and the good pubs/restaurants are mostly spread along 6-7 miles of Rt 108. Well worth taxi'ing around I think. There are plenty of previous posts on the various places to eat around town. My favs are Trattoria la Festa, Gracies, and Foxfire. The Shed has superb microbrews, tho their food isn't worthy IMHO. The Matterhorn is my fav pub oerall for local color and good service.

Our favorite place to stay is the Golden Eagle. Large grounds, wide assortment of rooms, good amenities, and close (~1.5 miles) to "town". I've stayed at a handful of other places - Mtn Road Resort, Moutaineer, Grey Fox, and a few others.... The Golden Eagle is my go-to place by far, with rooms from plain & comfortable to those with hot tubs and fireplaces... generally in the $130-160+/- range, including a good full breakfast for 2.

When in Stowe, the top 2 things to do IMHO are to walk or bike along the rec path, and to drive up the toll road & explore the top of Mt Mansfield. Both are superb... two of the best activities VT has to offer IMO. There are many previous posts in this forum with details.

The Franconia area is superb for hiking. One of my all time favoites for a long (8-9 hour) hike is the popular Franconia Notch loop, with gorgeous views and varied terrain. That area in general is wonderfully scenic. Sugar Hill is excellent - my wife Liz has stayed there years ago and liked it a bunch. Polly's Pancake Parlor has always been an iconic place for breakfast.

That all said, if you want a nice short 1-2 hour easy-moderate hike, nothing beats that Snyder Brook loop from Rt. 2 - about 25 miles' drive NE from Franconia. There are many other great scenic hikes too within an hour - Beaver Brook is another all time favorite.... Steep, but short (~.8 miles) with non-stop waterfalls, pools, and cascades. When in the White Mtns, there are a few home bases to consider, including Franconia or Attatash (to the south), Bethlehem (in the middle - my fav), or Jefferson/Gorham (to the north). They're all great and withing an hour of each other. There are a few nice looking places in Jefferson that might be right on you path to Stowe, vs. Franconia which would be 30 min south of Rt. 2.

Enjoy!

Edited: 18 August 2011, 03:51