THE QUESTION ON A SCENIC
DRIVING ROUTE IN NEW ENGLAND...
Recommended New England Scenic Fall
Photo on left: Vermont fall foliage (Photo credit:
Curran/Vermont Vacation Media)
Article by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on July 28, 2017.
England travel article with your friends...
I am interested in traveling to the New England states between October
5th and October 14th. I am looking for a driving route that will show
us the best of the fall color and New England . We are also interested
in antiques, museums and historical sites. I also noted whale watching
is a possibility. I have found many driving routes for each state but
not one that shows a good route for all (or most) - best direction,
etc. I can fly into any airport since I have no reservations at this
point. Also, is it better to book hotel rooms ahead of time or just
where we end up each night?
Any help or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. We have
never been "leaf peeping" before and look forward to the adventure.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
THE ANSWER ON A SCENIC DRIVING ROUTE
IN NEW ENGLAND...
New England overflows with great color during the fall foliage season,
so even if you can't cover it all, it will seem like you will even if
concentrating on a few areas.
If I had to choose one place to start a New England tour, it would be Stowe, Vermont
This charming little village epitomizes New England at its best with a
general store, tall white church steeple and beautiful mountain views.
It is a bit commercial on Mountain Rd. off the center, but not in an
obnoxious way. Stick with the downtown and a wonderful bike trail, and
you'll know you're in New England. I also recommend driving through the
notch from Mountain Rd., where the incline, and twists and turns takes
you through some incredible, remote forested scenery.
I would land by plane in Burlington,
Vermont, if possible, and take Route 89 to
Route 100 to arrive at Stowe. From Stowe, take route 100 south (one of
Vermont's great foliage road) to route 2 to Route 91 to Route 93 south
into New Hampshire. Here, you'll arrive in White Mountain National
Forest where the scenery is more rugged than gentle Stowe. The foliage
is spectacular. I would taking the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway from
Lincoln (off Route 93) to North Conway. The Kancamagus is one of the
best known foliage driving routes, a wonderland of colors. North Conway
is a pretty place with lots of shopping, dining, lodging and one of the
great views of Mt. Washington -- the highest peak in New England at
6,288 ft. I would recommend staying in North Conway and can serve as a
great White Mountains foundation to see surrounding towns like
Woodstock, Twin Mountain and Jackson -- where river rapids and a
covered bridge exude a true New Hampshire feel. The White Mountain
region is a couple of hour's drive from Stowe.
You can read more about Stowe and the White Mountains at our "top
towns" article at http://www.visitingnewengland.com/toptowns.html.
From North Conway take route 302 east to the Sebago Lake area in Maine
-- one of Maine's largest lakes with some great foliage views. Portland is
about 45 minutes from Sebago Lake and is a great bay city with lots of
old neighborhoods with charming homes, and a revitalized shopping
district at the beautiful, brick-dominated Old Port Exchange. Portland
almost has a small-town feel even though it is a city.
From Portland, I would take Route 95 (not scenic) then take Route 62 (a
back road) in Massachusetts, all the way to historic Concord, Massachusetts.
It's about a three hour drive, ending up at a nice suburban town where
you'll be able to take great walks through Walden Pond, the Old
North Bridge area, a pleasant downtown with, shops, restaurants, a
great library, beautiful tree-lined streets and an overall wonderful
small-town feel. It is a great place to also go apple picking at nearby
places like Stow Orchards in Stow, Bolton Orchards in Bolton and
Nashoba Valley Winery, where there is also a first-rate restaurant on
the premises (with, yes, good wine options).
is about a 45-minute drive from Concord and offers some world-renowned
museums like the Museum of Fine arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Art
Museum, the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium. You could
spend a week in Boston, given its incredible mix of historical
preservation and modern attractions. If in Boston a while, I'd
recommend stopping at Faneuil
Hall Marketplace, with its historical buildings offering more than
100 specialty shops and myriad dining options.
About an hour north of Concord --taking route 2 east to Route 95 north
to Route 128 -- is Gloucester,
Massachusetts, where you can whale watch. Call (978)283-1601 for
From Concord, take route 126 south to Route 16 west to Route 169 south
into Woodstock, Ct. Here, you will find yourself in the "Quiet Corner"
of Connecticut, full of rolling hills, farmland, town centers with town
commons and not much else. Nearby Putnam is
rough around the edges, but has some of the best antique shopping in
New England. I would recommend staying at the Inn at Woodstock Hill,
set in the beautiful countryside of Woodstock. You can read a review of
the Inn at Woodstock Hill at http://www.visitingnewengland.com/woodstock.html.
With nearly 200 pre-1855 homes along with farms, historic churches and
classic Connecticut village green centers, Route 169 from Woodstock is
one of New England's true hidden gem scenic rides. The gentle rolling
hills, historic landmarks and roll-down-the-windows-and-feel-good
breeze of this scenic byway make Route 169 one of the most beautiful
bucolic drives in New England.
From Woodstock, take scenic Route 44 west to Route 91 North of
Hartford, CT, to Bradley International Airport, en route to your return
Regarding lodging, I stress that you make
reservations during the fall foliage season sooner rather than
later. Fall foliage is big business and as I have found out, rooms at
quality places fill up very quickly. I would not recommend taking any
chances and reserving rooms along the way!
That's it for now, more on the way soon!
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VisitingNewEngland.com Publisher Eric Hurwitz
Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions:
Best Diners in New England
-- If you love
classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on
50 top local diners.
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