I flew into Boston’s Logan Airport and was soon on the road in a little Nissan I rented from Alamo. I decided to drive straight out of the city and head north. First stop was Stowe, Vermont. Vermont definitely caters to the ski season, so you can get some great rates on accommodations in October. I stayed at a ski resort, the Spruce Peak Mountain Lodge, in an apartment I found through AirBnB.
I’ve always wanted to visit New England, especially in autumn. As per usual with America, there is so much to see—the country is huge! I decided to take a little bite and focus on Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine (OK, that’s not really a small bite. But here I go…)
The first highlight: taking the gondola to the top of Spruce Peak. What a view! Then there are some options: dine in the restaurant at the top (no reservations), walk back down the mountain, or hop back in the gondola and enjoy the views all the way back down.
I then spent four days winding my way south through the state, turning down little roads to see what I could uncover. The colours and landscape were amazing—breathtaking! People were stopped on the sides of the roads everywhere, working to get that next Instagram-worthy photo.
One especially refreshing thing I noticed during my drive: there are no large shops, no big glaring, flashing signs. I stopped in small shops or little town markets to buy groceries. I love that the world of big retail commerce seems to have missed Vermont.
After a week in Vermont, the inevitable hit me: the bug everyone I know is getting. I found a little apartment at the bottom of Pico Mountain in Vermont, loaded up on chicken noodle soup and oranges, and hunkered down for a couple of days. The timing was perfect as a big Northeaster’ storm passed through right then. It was all the locals could talk about for a couple of days.
No one wants details on my coughs and stuffy nose, so let’s move on. I got back on the road with my trusty box of tissues, feeling like a bear coming out of hibernation. Took a couple of great hikes to sweat my cold out on Pico Mountain and Mt. Ascuntey (I drove up to the top of this one then did the last mile by foot). Both had amazing views. Then it was onward to New Hampshire.
Thanks to my cold, I didn’t have as much time in New Hampshire as I’d hoped. But I was able to explore a wee bit. Using the trusty Expedia app, I found a quaint Inn on Lake Pleasant, just outside New London. If you’re passing through, make a stop, stay the night, and indulge in the Chef’s Tasting Menu from Chef Bryan Leary. You won’t be disappointed.
I have some good friends who live on the other side of the lake and we had a great time hanging out and catching up. A house on a lake on the back side of a mountain in New England. Not a bad view to wake up to!
Next stop: Maine. I chose to visit Portland then work my way down the coast on Highway 1 back to Boston.
Portland is a small fishing town. First on my list was to jump on a boat and take a tour of the lighthouses in the busy Casco Bay. I got a stunning close-up view of Maine’s oldest lighthouse, Portland Head Lighthouse.
On to Massachusetts, where Rockport was a surprise and delightful moment on the trip. It’s a small fishing town on the tip of Cape Ann. (Interesting fact, it was a dry town until 2005 when they finally allowed alcohol to be sold.) I found a brand-new B&B which had undergone a loving transformation. I am all about the details…and they knocked it out of the park!
It was a wonderful, leisurely trip. But of course, there’s still much more to see. I’m already planning a return trip to hit places I didn’t see, like Acadia National Park. But here are some of my discoveries and recommendations.
Places to stay in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine.
- Woodstock Inn
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak
- Inn at Pleasant Lake
- Check out AirB&B and all the little cabins you can rent
- Courtyard Marriott– Portland
- The Boathouse– Kunnebuntport
- Addison Choate Boutique Hotel– Rockport – technically Massachusetts
Things to do in Autumn
- Visit Woodstock, VT
- Take that Instagram photo of Sleepy Hollow
- Visit the lighthouses off Portland
- Get off the main roads and drive down the little side roads
- Drive to the top of Mt Ascuntney
- Visit Rockport
- Eat a Maine Lobster Roll – life changing