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New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Swansea, United...
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New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

I’ve only just joined this forum and would appreciate some local advice from this friendly bunch of experts.

My wife and I have recently retired in the UK and will be visiting New England from 4th – 18th October 2011 flying in and out of Boston. We are staying in Boston for the first three nights and then hoping to explore further a field – depending on how the foliage is developing.

Many of the places mentioned on these forums appear to be ideal for those wishing to get out of their cars and cycle or hike etc. – neither of which we will be doing (oh, to be young again!!) – but I’m unsure if they are as interesting to the less mobile amongst us.

We are looking for attractive scenery, relatively straightforward driving, interesting towns & villages and places with perhaps some historical or cultural attractions.

Given our circumstances, how would you rate places like Burlington, Stowe, Conway, Woodstock, Meredith, Quechee, Bar Harbor, Portland, Salem, Sturbridge, Plymouth & Cape Cod during October?

I was wondering if there are particular places to stay for 2/3 days that are useful bases from which to explore or to keep moving after a one night stop.

Any information gratefully received.

Bernie

Chester, Vermont
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for Chester, Ludlow, Vermont
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1. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Very good question Bernie....and I see it often, you are not alone.

First of all, you will definitely be here for the peak of foliage.....GREAT for you! I will take your list of towns and give a short set of directions about them:

Burlington: is in Northern VT.....when there you will enjoy the lake and Shelburne Farms on the NE shore, a few vineyards and the beautiful drive south on route 7 to the south where you will come into Woodstock. This is a very busy tourist town. Quechee is only 4 miles away and was hit hard by the flood. However the Simon Pierce glass blowing facility will reopen by then....well worth the visit. Their additional facility in Windsor is outstanding. Further south by about 45 minutes are the SouthCentral villages of Weston, home of VT Country Store, Grafton home of Grafton Cheese, Windsor home of the longest covered bridge in VT crosses the CT river, Chester the central point of several villages in the area sporting the arts, antiques, cheese, etc. Further south is Bennnington in the SW corner of the state.

All of these drives are outstanding.....no worries. The hills are everywhere and you can't help but see beauty all around you.

Welcome to the States!

Swansea, United...
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2. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Hi Innvic

Many thanks for the information. They all look like places we can include on our route and the sort of places we'll enjoy.

Sorry to hear about Quechee. Do you think we should forget about calling there for this trip?

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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3. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

While i understand the physical limitations, hopefully you are able to see New England other than from the car. There are many pull offs to just get out of your car and see the views, The Equinox toll road should still be open in southern VT or a visit to Hildene in Manchester is great (house owned by Robert Todd Lincoln).

In NH, check to see if the cog railway is still running so you can visit the summit of Mount Washington. Have a drink at MW hotel.

Another great view is from the top of Canon Mountain and there is a tram to take you there. There is a scenic railroad in Vt and in NH.

I don't have all the info at my finger tips but not hard to find- google knows all.

I hope you don't visit 15 places in 14 days.

If you search for itineraries here, you will get hundreds of ideas.

A loop could be 3 days Boston, 2 days in BH, 3 days in NH, 3 days in Vt, 2 on Cape Cod or Berkshires and back to boston.

This would still be more than I like to do, but you could fill in the specifics and have a great trip where ever you end up.

Swansea, United...
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4. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Hi Neslaw1

Thanks. I can promise you we will be getting out of our car but not walking too far as my wife has a problem with her knee - so the suggestions of cable car, rail etc are much appreciated. I've checked and the Cog Railway and the Canon Mountain tram are both open so we are likely to build one or both into our schedule.

I know I mentioned lots of places in the original question but, we are just investigating which would be the best to include. There is always the possibility of another visit in future.

I've googled lots - possibly too much!! But we value the views of people with local knowledge.

Many thanks again.

Bernie

Woodstock, Vermont
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for Woodstock
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5. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Evening Bernie,

You've already been given some good tips...

Firstly you're in for a treat as the leaves and colour this year should be fantastic. Woodstock should be on your radar for a 2/3 day stay...BUT i hope you've already booked accommodation, speaking as an inn keeper I know that most cancellations have now been rebooked. If you haven't reservations fr lodging make them NOW and do not try and wing it!!!!!

Woodstock VT has good pavements something unusual in the US, and I know this as I only moved from the UK 6 years ago to run my inn. Other towns and villages you mention should be fairly easy to get around and again basing yourself in a place for a few nights makes your day trips out more enjoyable as you know where you are going back to.

In Vermont I would suggest you base yourself in Stowe and Woodstock for a few nights, In Stowe you can do day trips to Burlington and also the north east kingdom. In Woodstock you can do day trips to Manchester VT, Weston, Grafton and Chester and if you want Brattleboro and Bennington but you can pick these up on the way down to Sturbridge.

The mountains of Vermont are really hills....think Shropshire meets the Lake District.

Rest assured Quechee is still worth a trip and the gorge is a little more impressive than Chedder in Somerset but not as impressive as the Grand Canyon! There are many slower paced activities for you both to do from watching glass & pottery making, to supping a pint in a local brewery to wandering historic homes and museums.

Edited: 13 September 2011, 23:44
Chester, Vermont
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for Chester, Ludlow, Vermont
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6. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Quechee is 4 miles from Woodstock.......there is plenty else to see in Quechee.....go for it!

Swansea, United...
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7. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

Hi Dave & Innvic

Thanks for your posts - particularly the comparisons. I'd envisaged the mountains to be more substantial.

We'd planned on booking accommodation as we travelled but are leaning towards arranging more in advance - even more so since we realise our first weekend coincides with Colombus Day Holiday.

Woodstock & Quechee and on the list no matter which route we take.

Bernie

Baltimore, Maryland
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for North Conway
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8. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

The White Mountains in NH are more substantial. NH has about 30 4,000 footers vs Vermonts 5. Not talking alps or rockies but very nice to see.

http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/index.html

Definitely book in advance. Most (read all) B&B's will require a multiple night stay.

Edited: 14 September 2011, 18:10
9. Re: New England in the Fall without hiking or cycling

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