With America’s vastly varied landscape, and countryside stretching out seemingly forever, you might be surprised to find that you can tick off several of America’s states in a relatively short period of time. We had two weeks to drive through the breathtaking scenery of New England in the Fall. The flexibility of being a happy, free-spirited pair on a roadtrip was wonderful. We got to see famous sights as well as hidden backroad beauty. That said, we could easily have spent two months exploring the region; New England was simply stunning.
The adventure started when we flew into Burlington on a little plane (we’re usually more wide-bodied Wandas to be honest). We had a late afternoon arrival, so we picked up our rental car and headed to the hotel which we’d booked for the night. It was on the shore of Lake Champlain, which was great because we woke up in the morning to the most beautiful view over the water. Even if you are on a budget, I always think its worth spending money on a proper hotel for the first and last night of your holiday. Travel is exhausting, but if you can rest well and allow your body to relax and recover on the first day, you’ll be ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
That’s what we did. We slept well, we ate breakfast and then we were ready to hit the road; off to see New England’s autumn shades. Now I want to highlight that we did have target destinations which we wanted to reach by the end of the day. Vermont’s scenic byways are a good way to go, and Route 17 was our starting point at Lake Champlain. That said, we had no set road we wanted to take, so we made detours left, right and centre. We had the flexibility to stop whenever we felt like it, including at the Ben & Jerrys factory.
From one gorgeous state to the next, New Hampshire was awe inspiring for its mountain ranges and quaint towns. We went in search of some adventure but we were met with some disappointment because it was in between seasons. Summer activities such as white water river rafting had stopped, whereas it was still too early for winter activities such as skiing and sledding. We opted instead for walks along peaceful rivers, where the only sounds were of birds and the water cascading over the pebbles and rushing around the boulders. While you’re there, don’t miss the Mount Washington Cog Railway. It takes you to the highest peak in New Hampshire. Stunning panoramas stretching across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to the Atlantic, and as far north as Canada reward visitors.
Our base was a bit on the extravagant side. On the grounds of the Mount Washington Resort sits the historical and utterly charming Omni Bretton Arms Inn. The rooms were warm and cosy. They arranged for us an incredible afternoon of horse riding through the surrounding White Mountains. For the more sporty types, there is golf and tennis. Those in search of pampering will love the tranquillity of their spa.
The next part of the roadtrip took us to magical Maine. We loved Acadia National Park with its coastal areas and rugged beauty. The diversity of plants and wildlife is impressive. It is possible to camp in one of the designated grounds in the park. This is especially worthwhile if you plan on climbing one of the dramatic granite peaks in time to watch the sunrise. Entry passes for the park can be bought online here in advance to save you time. You’ll also find information there about what dates during the year the park has free entry.
Nearby, the town of Bar Harbor was bursting with character and the friendly locals made it all the more memorable. Built on Mount Desert Island, it’s worth waiting for low tide so that you can walk across the rocky flats for a different view. To really get the feel of the area, we highly recommend you join a boat tour. Whale watching trips, sunset sails and even lobster-fishing boats are available. For something quieter, try kayaking as you go in search of seals and seabirds. Pick yourself up a souvenir, the shops in Bar Harbor sell the most unique little items. Speaking of unique; lobster ice cream anyone? Yes, really.
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