Planning A Trip - Would Love Input

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Planning A Trip - Would Love Input

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Editado: Maio 9, 2012, 8:24 am

Good Morning!

I was raised on the Connecticut shoreline, and lived in the state for 22 years, before relocating to the Carolinas.

In all that time, I never went to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine...go figure.

This year for our anniversary vacation in mid-September, my dh and I are thinking of driving through New England, taking about three days to see some of the areas.

I'd love input on sights to see, not touristy things, but real heritage (like covered bridges) and nature.

At this time we're planning on driving from Connecticut (where my in-laws still live) through eastern Massachusetts, to Portsmouth NH, up to Rockport (I have an old friend there), and then across NH and VT, driving down through Bennington, to western CT and then back to central CT.

Any suggestions would be very welcome...and appreciated. :)

Maio 9, 2012, 8:45 am

One thing I would suggest is to check the school schedules of any college towns you plan to drive through on the weekends. It can take several hours to get through Bennington when there is some event going on (and the town is only about a mile wide).

Otherwise, you're north of the places I usually go. Franconia Notch and Mount Washington are the usual destinations on that route. Haven't been in decades. They were pretty touristy when I did go.

Maio 9, 2012, 11:21 am

aulsmith, thanks for the heads up on the colleges: that never occurred to me.

I've been checking out motel prices and was surprised to find them so high...and then I realized that the prices are due to the "foliage" season...oh well.

Editado: Maio 14, 2012, 6:44 pm

I loved the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport by the bridge. Wonderful clams - the best I had in New England on my last trip there.

In Portsmouth, NH, you probably want to see the old houses in the Strawberry Banke Museum property. There's a boardwalk and so forth at Hampton, NH -- too commercialized for me, but the beach is nice. I also liked the older part of the town. The old settler cemetery where many settlers were buried was interesting as well.

I enjoyed the Portland Head Light. Most tourists also want to hit the L. L. Bean store in Freeport. It's too bad you aren't going as far north as the Bar Harbor area. Everyone I know loves Acadia National Park and the Bar Harbor area. My mom enjoyed Camden, Maine which is in the Rockport area when they went up there.

Maio 13, 2012, 9:13 pm

My father has been to Acadia, and said if nothing else, just drive 'through' it. We might, nothing is "cast in stone", but we do have to watch the length of our trip (have to get back to work) and have to stay on budget, too...$$$.

I love LL Bean, just bought a hat to keep the sun off my head while gardening.

And the Vermont Country Store (now, that's a fun place to browse!) could also be a planned stop on the way through Vermont.

Thank you for your suggestions. :)

Maio 15, 2012, 2:59 pm

Well, what kinds of things do you like to do and see? Mica mines? Shaker villages? author homes? scenic panoramas? historic homes?

If you are going up as far as Rockport, it's nice to go out to some of the islands, but three days to cover three states doesn't allow for much (unless you mean three days each state...)

Heading up to Rockport, you could stop at any number of lighthouses (Nubble at York Beach, Cape Elizabeth, or Portland Head Light). In Bath and take in the maritime museum and perhaps do a tour of the Bath Iron Works and then follow 209 down to see Fort Popham (

If you are heading back from Rockport along the coastal route to the turnpike, you could catch Route 302 in Westbrook and follow it north and by Sebago Lake (Naples would be a nice spot, there's a state park there. And maybe ride the Songo River Queen ). Sebago Lake (the big lake) has the softest, cleanest water on the planet, imo. You can continue on 302 west to Fryeburg and enter New Hampshire in the White Mountains near Conway.

Lots of shopping and stuff in the Conway area. From there you can take the Kangamangus Highway through the White Mountains until it connects to Route 3 in Lincoln where you should stop and see the flume at least ( There's some other lovely spots in the same area.

From there as you travel down Route 3, it should not be too far off the beaten track to visit Canterbury Shaker village. Once you get to Concord, hop on Route 89 which will take you straight out to Lebanon. I would highly recommend that from Lebanon (NH) you go south to Cornish to see the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge ( and visit St. Gaudens National Park ( great grounds and gardens, historic house, AND lots of his sculpture.)

From there I would suggest connecting up with Route 4 (either from the Vermont side of the covered bridge or back up to Lebanon and over) to see Quechee Gorge before heading down Route 4 to Rutland where you can connect up with Route 7 to Bennington. You will probably go through Manchester, VT where there is a fab bookstore.

If you had more time, I will tell you to go from Quechee Gorge to Route 89 north again and take it to Burlington. Maybe take the ferry out and back over some part of Lake Champlain, find the Ben & Jerry's headquarters and pig out, and or visit the Shelburne Museum ( before heading down Route 7 from there.

A lot depends on what you like to see and do though. I think you are probably okay going through most of the college towns if you are on a highway.

Btw, on your way through Massachusetts, if you are going up Route 495 to Maine, it's just a short hop west at Route 2 to Fruitlands, the site of Bronson Alcott's failed utopian community. The original farmhouse is there, as is a smallish art galley (nice collection of Hudson River painters), a Shaker building, and a Native American museum building. There's also a decent restaurant with a fab view and a lovey little gift shop.

If you are looking for places to stay, I'd recommend searching on - I've found the recommendations there to be very reliable.

Maio 15, 2012, 6:40 pm

Wow, thanks for all that information, avaland! I'm going to keep a copy of your post for planning purposes.

Editado: Maio 16, 2012, 7:40 am

You're welcome!

btw, you should be able to find things to do via TripAdvisor, where they are rated, so you could see what the 'top ten' things to do in Maine (for example). I use this site when I travel anywhere, although I don't use it as much locally because I live here:-)

An alternate to stopping at Fruitlands on your way through MA to Maine would be stopping at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth ( Or stopping in Salem, MA if you haven't been. If you are familiar with the witch trials, avoid the witch museum (I thought it goofy) but see the House of the Seven Gables and other historic buildings, and the memorial.

Or stop in Lowell, MA (again, if you are traveling Rte 495) and visit the National Park. I'd recommend visiting the Boott Mill, maybe a canal boat ride (if they are still running in September), visit the American Textile's just a lovely little city center with the vestiges of the Industrial Revolution all around.

Maio 16, 2012, 5:12 pm

::making notes::

Thanks a bunch! I have a lot more to consider, now. :)

Maio 17, 2012, 9:29 pm

10: If going to Lowell, figure out where you're headed ahead of time. We didn't find it particularly tourist friendly the day we drove around looking for Jack Kerouac's grave.

I love Fruitlands and highly recommend it, but it is in Massachusetts, and, therefore, not in your target area. I haven't been the Canterbury site in NH. There are real living Shakers in Sabbathday Lake, ME and it looks like they run a museum, but I'm not sure how far off the regular routes between Maine and New Hampshire they are.

If you end up in Burlington (which is a great little city and you could easily spend your three days there), check out Crow Books.

Maio 18, 2012, 12:51 pm

Books! Books! Woo!

And thanks. :)

Maio 19, 2012, 9:59 am

>10 aulsmith: yes, but she has to drive through Massachusetts to get to Maine:-) And if she takes 495 to do so, she can easily pop over to Fruitlands or Lowell or into Concord, for that matter (Fruitlands is west two towns from 495, Concord is east one town but probably about equidistant). Concord would offer the Alcott home and Sleepy Hollow cemetery where you can see the gravesites of Hawthorne, the Alcotts, Thoreau, Emerson and Daniel Chester French.

I do agree about Lowell, especially if it's outside the National Park system. I live in the area and haven't bothered to chase down Kerouac's grave (not a terribly big fan)

Maio 19, 2012, 5:04 pm

thornton, I enjoyed your blogs and pictures.

My uncle lives in Concord, North Carolina. When I mentioned I was going to "Concord", I was told by a native North Carolinian that it wasn't pronounced 'Con curd', but 'Kahn coard'. I think the pronunciation I used was based upon what I had heard in the past, from my childhood in New England. Or maybe not?

Maio 19, 2012, 9:03 pm

Yes, Southern pronunciation of many words is quite different from the New England pronunciation.

Maio 20, 2012, 1:30 pm

In NC they pronounce "Beaufort" as the French do, "Bow fort" (rhymes with crow).

However, the same town name in SC is pronounced "Beuw fort" (rhymes with stew).

Go figure...

Maio 20, 2012, 11:59 pm

A thread like this on Librarything would certainly have to include the Readmore Bed & Breakfast (& Books) in Bellows Falls, VT.

(I've never been there, but it seemed so fitting for this site that I had to mention it.)

Maio 21, 2012, 7:28 am

I added that one to my bookmarks so that I'll remember it when I go to Vermont.

Maio 21, 2012, 5:11 pm

Oh! On your way back down from Vermont to Connecticut, maybe a trip to the Montague Bookmill in north centralish MA--with a motto like "Books you don't need in a place you can't find", how could you resist?

Maio 21, 2012, 7:35 pm

Thank you, Marissa! Woo!

Maio 21, 2012, 10:51 pm

Yes, the Montague Bookmill is pretty great. And it's such a beautiful area. :)

Maio 29, 2012, 6:52 am

>19 Marissa_Doyle: However, don't pick a hot, humid summer day to visit Montague. I don't remember any A/C...

Maio 31, 2012, 11:50 pm

Just drive to Provincetown - you won't regret going by way of 6A. And the last spot - PTown is the first spot for my ancestors. And then go to Fenway Park and see the greenest grass in the world.

Jun 1, 2012, 8:13 am

I love Fenway! I've been there before, 2 or 3 times in my youth, to see the Sox play. We took the trolley into the city, where it turns into the cutest little 'subway'. :)

(22) I've been spoiled living here in NC, where it gets SO hot and humid that every retail place has to have AC or die...

Jun 12, 2012, 4:11 pm

>24 fuzzi: There's a few fabric shops in the garment district of NYC which use some A/C!!!

Jan 1, 2013, 3:52 pm

Coming to this a bit late...
Hubby and I love to day trip around New England and visit places we've never been before...sometimes we'll plan an over night trip or two. We love to find the out of the way places and just explore.

Although a life long New Englander, I've never been to Maine until this past summer. We found a nice B&B in Scarsborough and explored nearby Portland. Lots of great art galleries, museums, restaurants, and bookstores in the city! And of course, some great cemeteries. My favorite place? The Green Hand Bookstore on Congress St., near the Cryptozoology Museum. Came out of the shop with a mile-high pile of books. Michelle, the owner, is super cool, too! Highly recommended!!

Jan 1, 2013, 5:57 pm

We've postponed this trip until later in 2013. :)

Jan 3, 2013, 9:49 am

OK then, with the delay, you can buff your plans to a very high gloss. I would offer two suggestions you'll probably never see anywhere else on LT. In northwestern Maine, try to visit the Wilhelm Reich home between Rangeley and Oquossoc. I'm not sure what it's status is right now, but my visit there was one of the great adventures of my (then) young life. Now, as to Vermont, please understand that that single name effectively covers, in reality, several mini-states, such is the topography. If you are in the north-central section, visit Barre, granite capital of the world: take the granite museum tour, but better yet, visit the various cemeteries (especially Hope) under God's good blue sky. -- Goddard

Jan 3, 2013, 7:05 pm

Thank you, Goddard! I will definitely put your ideas in for consideration (and that's not just being polite, either). :)

Editado: Ago 23, 2013, 8:21 pm

We are about 3 weeks away!

We'll be coming to New England by way of Lancaster, PA, then the Delaware Water Gap, and Port Jervis, and up to Manchester, VT, where we'll stay with friends.

On the way to Maine, we're planning to stop in Rockingham to visit the Vermont Country Store.

We are planning to spend a day in Acadia National Park, then drive down to Brunswick, ME where I have reservations at a motel. My friend in Rockport has had something come up, and will not be at home when we pass through. :(

Salem, MA is scheduled for the next day, and then on to the family who live in Manchester, CT.

Bookstore suggestions that will be close to our route would be GREATLY appreciated!

EDIT: after rereading this thread, I might make a small/medium change in route...for the Quechee Gorge, or the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge or the Lincoln flume...

Ago 24, 2013, 6:53 am

>30 fuzzi: Exciting. You will have to report back after your trip.

Set 28, 2013, 3:15 pm

I took almost 1000 photos on the trip. In fact, after about 500 pictures were taken, my digital camera died.

Good thing I'd brought my 35mm SLR as a backup...I used it in Acadia National Park. It did not fail. :)

Out 13, 2013, 7:28 am

Nice photos! You should make one of those the group's picture.

Out 13, 2013, 9:07 am

Thanks, avaland, I like that suggestion.