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Leaf peeping suggestions

Boston, MA
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Leaf peeping suggestions

Does anyone have suggestions for a good route to follow for a long day of leaf peeping? We'll be traveling from Boston to NH on the first weekend of October. The only days we can do this is on Sat or Sun, and I realize that there will be lots of traffic on the road as others will be doing the same. Do you have any suggestions for spots to stop along the way? Thanks for any help you can provide!

Central Maine
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1. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

A little more info would help us frame a better answer for you... You say you're traveling from Boston to NH -- any specific destination in NH or are you planning to end your day back in Boston? If you have a specific destination, or something special you'd really like to include, that would help us offer more meaningful suggestions.... Or if you're just looking for an up-and-back the same day kind of get-away that would also be nice to know... Lots of choices to offer and knowing a bit more about what you have in mind will help get a more meaningful response. Thanks...

Boston, MA
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2. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

thank you for responding. We're very flexible with where we would go in NH and had no specific destination in mind. We anticipate a long winding drive through the mountains, eventually making our way back down to MA, but will stay overnight if we can find a reasonble room during our travels. We realize that rooms are scarce during peak weekends, but don't want to book ahead in case it's raining that weekend. We've been to the white mountains several times, last time a few weeks ago, in the summer and would like to enjoy the fall version. I came across a map titled White Mountain Scenic Byway that incorporates a 100 mile loop along rt 93, 302, 16, snf 112 (Kancamangus). Will this route be bumper to bumper, or are there other areas that are less crowded or more colorful that we should consider. The map on this site also references a north loop and south loop. Are one of these better to do than the National Byway?

visitwhitemountains.com/things-to-do/scenic-…

Central Maine
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3. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

The Scenic Byway Route is defintely the most scenic -- at least in my humble opinion...and for that reason probably will, indeed, have the most traffic. The section of it that uses Route 112, the Kancamangus Highway (sp?) is extremely well known and popular.

That said, the Northern and Southern routes on the map will also have their share of traffic as well - all there for the same reason you are... There might be an argument that the northern route will have slightly less traffic because it's further from population centers and takes longer to get there, so you might keep that in mind.

One other variation to consider, that would still get you a nice day-loop trip with perhaps slightly less traffic -- take one of the suggested routes to North Conway, NH, take NH Rt 16 north from there through Pinkham Notch and the White Mountains National Forest to Gorham, NH, then turn east, following US Rt 2 through the Shelburne Birches into Maine. In Bethel, ME, turn south on Maine Rt 26 and follow it through the western Maine mountain countryside to Gray, ME, where you can pick up I-95 southbound for your trip back to Boston....or for a slightly shorter loop, in Conway, NH, pick up US 302 south into Fryeburg and Bridgton, ME and south through the lakes region of western Maine, rejoining I-95 in the Portland area. Either of the Maine loops will probably have marginally less traffic than the mapped routes in New Hampshire....but keep in mind that leaf-peeping is big business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and weekends are the prime time for people to get out and see the Fall color.

Don't let that stop you from coming -- just bring your patience as well as your camera.

Boston, MA
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4. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

We've been to Conway/Franklin areas, but the alternate routes you mapped out will bring us to areas we have not yet visited, which I find appealing. Thank you for the suggestions!

Boston
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5. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

KathyM,

I have a good scenic drive for you so get your map out it's a good one. Head north on 135 from Littleton, NH to Bridge Street in Landcaster to Rte 2 West - then 115A South to Rte 3 South to Franconia North toward 93S & head toward the Lakes region. It's SO beautiful during the foliage season thru there.

Have a wonderful time wherever you end up.

Definitely check out the Maine roads too as the previous poster suggested. I've done that from southern Maine starting at the Outlets in Kittery over by Kittery Point then all the way up the back roads to Fryeburg near Conway via Portland, Maine. It took us the whole day but we didn't care, it was well worth it. We didn't hit the foliage traffic that way & saw brilliant, stunning colors, probably more than every one else that are on I-93,so remember that!

We're hearing this year is going to be spectacular for brilliant colors due to the mix of rain & sun, just keep your fingers crossed & we'll find out soon enough.

Have a wonderful drive!

Central Maine
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6. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

You're welcome....have a great trip!

NewEngland
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7. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

Sorry, but I feel that most of these trips will require an overnight stay or good supply of stamina. From Boston I would head over NH Rt 101 through southern New Hampshire, maybe lunch in Keene, across the Ct River to Vermont over Hogback Mt, over Prospect Mt to Bennington, down Rt 7 to Williamstown, head back to Boston on Rt 2. Any of these towns are great places to stop and the foliage should be great.

Central Maine
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8. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

Just for the fun of it, I checked out the Boston- southern New Hampshire-Southern Vermont-Western Massachusetts route suggested by New England Weaver on one of the on-line mapping services. They showed it as taking roughly seven hours and fifteen minutes.

Then, for the sake of comparison, I checked out the Boston-North Conway-Gorham,NH-Bethel, ME- Gray,ME route. It also came up at roughly seven hours and fifteen minutes of driving time.

Sounds to me like it's a toss-up time wise. The only real advantage I can see in one over the other is the possible variety in foliage. Foliage color typically develops from north-to-south. The New Hampshire-Maine route takes you further north, offering a better chance at more colorful foliage somewhere on your trip. The southern NH-VT-western MA route takes you basically east-to-west, so color variation won't be as great -- of course, if you happen to hit that region at peak color, that would be ideal -- but if you're a bit early, colors won't be as brilliant as they might be somewhere further north....

Am sure either one would make a great drive....have fun!

Boston, MA
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9. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

Well I'm certainly not opposed to taking the northern route the first weekend of Oct and then trying the southern route the weekend after! Of course I would need to somehow convince my husband that the double trip would be worth it! :-) Thank you for all your suggestions!

10. Re: Leaf peeping suggestions

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