It’s the most beautiful time of the year. Bright oranges and yellows are seeping into the leaves, radiant reds are bleeding into green. Since we’re lucky enough to live in New England and experience the stunning colors that dominate fall, we thought we’d compile a list of road trips that you should take before autumn turns into winter and the foliage is gone. New England is home to some adorable little towns, some amazing mountain ranges, beautiful lakes and stunning sights. Don’t miss them. Here is your guide to hitting all the right spots this fall, as part of our new blog series, ‘Alpaca Sweater.’ As in: I’ll pack a sweater…Get it?
1. The Maine Coast. For an ideal alternative to 95, cruise up the coast by hitting Brunswick, Bailey Island, Bath, Reid State Park, and end up in Boothbay Harbor. The point of road trips is often to see as much as you can for as little money as possible, and that’s the goal we’re trying to maintain with this series. So, when you’re in Brunswick, head down historic Maine Street and take in the beautiful atmosphere while sipping on a cup of coffee or apple cider. As you continue to Bailey Island, decide if you just want to cruise through and see the sights or if you want to do some hiking on one of the excellent trails. When you get to Bath, you NEED to check out the extremely historical Bath Iron Works before stopping off at Reid State Park. See the sights, feel the crisp air on your face. Love life. Finally, find yourself in the beautiful Boothbay Harbor, which is often overlooked in favor of the more famous Bar Harbor. But Boothbay has tons to offer, including some delicious places to grab a bite to eat after driving for a while.
2. Burlington, Vermont. If you’ve got a free weekend to make the trip, taking the long way to the neat little town of Burlington is an amazing idea. Not only does Burlington have some great things to offer (like the Ghostwalk and the OJ Walker), the ride from Portland to Vermont is a beautiful one. Heading West out of Maine via Route 113 will take you through the charming Fryeburg, home of the state’s most famous fair. Then, you’ll hit North Conway – a great place to be if you want to get out and do some shopping – before heading through the White Mountain National Forest. I promise you, the views are amazing, the foliage is beautiful, and it doesn’t get much better than this. You’ll even grab some views of Mount Washington along the way. This route takes you through Montpelier, which boasts the state capital (a beautiful building) as well as Camel’s Hump, a great hike with a killer view. Not long after that, you hit Burlington, where you’ll find plenty to do by way of eating, drinking, and being merry. This is a great road trip for a long weekend, as the drive is a little long for just an overnight and definitely too much for one day.
3. Salem, Massachusetts. Fall means Halloween and Halloween means witches. Why wouldn’t you want to take a little jaunt to the witch capital of the world? The drive can be an easy hour and forty-five minutes, but there are a few things you might want to do along the way. You’ll never want to overlook the glorious Portsmouth, New Hampshire which, with its throwback cobblestone streets and stunning ocean views, reminds us of Portland in a lot of ways. After hitting New Hampshire, you might want to buckle back in and cruise straight to Salem. The beautiful views along the way, including a lovely one on the Newburyport Bridge that makes you want to park it in the middle of the highway, will hold you over until you get to Salem and can really explore and enjoy. Once in Salem, make sure you don’t miss the the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and Pickering Wharf. If you’ve got time, hit up the Misery Islands and drop a couple dollars on Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery.
4. The Kancamangus Highway. One of the most beautiful stretch of highway in all of New England, this is must-see in the fall. Head out of the state the same way you would if you went to Burlington, but don’t go too far. Instead of heading into Vermont, cruise along 112 into the Kancamangus. You don’t have to have a destination in mind, and all you’ll have to pay for is gas and an optional cup of coffee at any of the little, local shops you’re sure to find along the way. Just keep going for a while, take in the views, snap some Instagram-worthy pictures of the foliage, and go as long as your heart desires. North Woodstock/Lincoln is a nice place to turn around, and then you’ll get to experience the beauty all over again!
So, there you have it: four New England road trips to take this fall. They don’t have to be expensive and they don’t require extensive planning, just hop in the car and go. Consider your destination after you’re riding down the pavement with your hair blowing in crisp fall air. Stay tuned for more Alpaca Sweater installments, and feel free to comment on our Facebook page or send us a tweet if you have ideas for New England trips!