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Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Baltimore, Maryland
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Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Hi--Is it realistic to plan to drive from Bath to Franconia Notch, spend a couple of hours there, then drive to Brattleboro in a (long) day in August? We are limited in travel time but would love to see the area. Any help would be much appreciated!

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Hollis, New...
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1. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

It's realistic in that there are enough hours of daylight in which to cover the route, with enough time to spare to let you stretch your legs a bit. It doesn't sound relaxing or like the best way to enjoy the area, but if you're up for a day spent mostly in the car, you can do it and you will see some beautiful scenery. I'd recommend taking the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) through the mountains from Conway to Lincoln. I don't know how you're getting to Bath or how much time you're spending in that area, but I trust you'll find a way to do some exploring of the coast--and doing that en route to Franconia isn't ideal, since you'll probably want to cover most of the distance pretty fast.

Antrim, New...
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2. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

My first reaction is...Why?? I checked Google just to be sure, and the driving alone is nine hours, round trip. That is with no stops. Yes, it is doable. Realistic depends on your reality...your goal. What do want to do? Why Brattleboro? Not that it is not a desireable place to go. But just a direct trip to Brattleboro is 3.75 hours - 7.5 hours RT. Not exactly a relaxed day trip, unless you have a special reason for going there. And if you do, then you want to have time for it. Combining Brattleboro with Franconia means very little time for either place, each of which is worth a day or more.

Further complication to your question and considering wpsaukee's suggestion. Is your destination Franconia the town, or Franconia Notch? The route that Google suggests takes you through Crawford Notch on Rte 302 and over to the town of Franconia. But that does not take you through Franconia Notch, as they recommend continuing west from Franconia. Taking the Kanc, as wpsaukee suggests, and truly a beautiful and iconic White Mountains Drive (though 302 is, too), will add 15 to 30 minutes to your drive, as it takes you across the mountains and up through Franconia Notch to Franconia. If you take the Kanc instead of 302, and omit Franconia or the notch, your drive time will be the same 9 hours, but you will miss the notch and/or the town, which may be one of your objectives. So, no getting away from at least 9 hours of driving just to hit two totally unrelated points on a map.

Hollis, New...
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3. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

I assumed this was not to be a round trip. That would be beyond the bounds of "realistic," in my opinion.

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4. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Thank you all so much for the help. You're right, this would not be a round trip--just one way. We are spending several days on the ME coast this August, then wanted to head through the mountains to the Franconia Notch area and sightsee in NH and MA our way back home to MD. Looks like we should try to add a day to the trip?

Thank you for the advice on the Kanc--we will definitely take this route.

We're planning to spend time in Brattleboro and points south on the day after this drive.

Lincoln, NH
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5. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Why Brattleboro? Unless you have a very specific reason for going, I'd cut it out of the itinerary.

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6. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

@LoonMountainMan, Brattleboro was recommended by a friend as an interesting stop and a good place for a hotel, plus we are limited in time to drive home to MD. We're planning to spend time in Shelburne Falls as well--do you all have any other suggestions for places to visit along 93 in that area or south? We still have quite a ride back to MD and are trying to get home in 2 days from Brattleboro. Would love to have your inside knowledge! Thank you!

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7. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Beacon -- well, I looked at Mapquest and learned what you already knew -- that from Bath Maine to Brattleboro, via Lincoln NH only adds a couple hours -- so, heck, why not, and Brattleboro would be a good little town to stop in on your way home to Baltimore. So drive the Kancamagus from Conway to Lincoln. Stop at Sabbady Falls, see The Basin, and eat at the Sunny Day Diner in North Woodstock before you leave the area.

LMM

Antrim, New...
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8. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Yes, this makes more sense. No need to rush to Brattleboro. You can enjoy the Notch and get to B'boro late. There are plenty of new chain hotels on the outskirts - Exit 3 off I-91. Fine to stay there. But the attraction of Brattleboro is the downtown. Real alive and vital, with good nightlife, too. Drive into town, park the car and walk around. There is a nice little art museum down the hill at the old train depot. Great food everywhere. Sam's is an awesome Army-Navy store with good prices and great selection. Lots of arts and antiques, alternative stuff, awesome guitar shop (Maple Leaf Music).

The ride to Baltimore is really not that long. I've done it for years, especially the last four when my daughter was in college there. It should be about 7 hours, maybe even a bit less, from Brattleboro. The big trick is to avoid NYC traffic, and especially the George Washington Bridge and all its approach roads. I-95 will take you onto the Cross Bronx Expressway to the GWB, one of the most consistently worst traffic snarls in the city. I usually take I-287 to the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Garden State Parkway, and reconnect with the Jersey Turnpike down around Edison and Metuchen, NJ, where it crosses with I-95 and I-287. This has usually been my best bet. As a native NYer, I actually listen to traffic reports on the radio (AM 880 on the 8s; 1010 on the 1s)and then choose my route accordingly. But that is not for the unfamiliar.

The other alternate route, which avoids a lot of traffic but may be an additional half hour or more, is to take I-84 from Hartford, to I-81 in PA, down to I-83 to Baltimore. THis is a nice option when you are traveling at a high volume time and cannot avoid dense traffic through much of the I-95 corridor.

Hollis, New...
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9. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

Without explicitly saying it, NextStopIs hints at a suggestion that occurred to me: Baltimore isn't really that far, and if you're willing to make the Bath-Franconia Notch-Brattleboro trip in a day, I would think you'd be up for driving from Brattleboro to Baltimore in a day. You might want to consider spending the night somewhere in NH (or two nights in Brattleboro) instead of en route back to Baltimore. (I do see that you're also trying to work Shelburne Falls into the equation.) But anyway, I wouldn't take two days to drive to Baltimore, and I'd rather slow down a bit in New England than spend an extra night on the road heading south. Just a thought.

10. Re: Franconia Notch from Bath, ME, then Brattleboro, VT

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