Monday, October 6, 2008

Driving the New England Backroads for Columbus Day Weekend


Article and Photo (Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA) by Eric H.

New England has always had a great sense of preservation. While developers have been obnoxiously encroaching upon our beloved cities, towns and villages, the chance is still there to experience the true essence of New England -- best viewed on the backroads that we call home. Here, you will find the slower-paced lifestyles, typical New England historical preservation, and incredible scenery that have always satisfied our traditional New England souls. Here are some drives -- perfect for Columbus Day Weekend -- that represent old-time, scenic New England at its best:

Route 169 from Woodstock to Canterbury, Connecticut
The "Quiet Corner" of Connecticut features some of the last unspoiled regions of southern New England, especially driving Route 169 from Woodstock to Canterbury. The mix of well-kept farms, downtown village greens, historic churches with tall white steeples and approximately 200 pre-1855 homes will bring you back to a previous era that is quintessentially New England. Stay at the 1816 Inn at Woodstock Hill in Woodstock, CT, for a relaxing lodging experience, a meal at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, set in a 1840s farmhouse, and grab some baked goods, including pies, cakes and other delicious baked goods, and the Sunday paper at Stoggy Hollow (Rt.198, Woodstock Valley). It's a a craggy-looking country store with friendly people and true New England rural spirit.

Acadia National Park Loop, Acadia National Park, Maine
As mentioned in previous postings, the 27-mile Acadia National Park Loop on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, features some of the most amazing ocean and mountains views in New England. The 17 mountains don't have the height of those in New Hampshire and Vermont, but when combined with the ocean views yield a most unusual, dramatic and ultimately spectacular look. Along the way Sand Beach will thrill you with its scenic solitude, Gorham Mountain (a short climb) with its commanding ocean views, and Thunder Hole with its sonic, ocean boom crashing into the rocks. Cadillac Mountain, at 1,562, offers wonderful sunsets and views of the unique Mt. Desert Island land and sea. Also be sure to drive past the fjords on Sergeant's Drive in Northeast Harbor, and experience the delicious fresh Maine seafood and popovers as well as pond views at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant.
Acadia National Park Lodging and Availability

Route 6A Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Route 6A maintains the integrity of the "real" Cape Cod with its big, old captain's homes and tree-shaded drives juxtaposed with pleasing, gentle Cape Cod ocean views. Also known as the Old King's Highway, you'll find charming bed and breakfasts inns and restaurants along the way in this 34-mile stretch of road that includes quaint Cape Cod towns like Bourne, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster and Orleans. When the fall foliage arrives, it's an unexpected treat as we often think of northern New England as the best New England autumn destination.
Sandwich, MA, lodging and Availability

Lake Winnipesaukee scenic drive, New Hampshire
If you're in the mood to see some of New England most charming towns and villages, along with one of eastern United States, most stunning lakes, then the Lake Winnipesaukee drive will leave you breathless. Small, unassuming places like Meredith, Center Harbor, Moltonborough, and Wolfeboro all have a scenic lake presence and plenty to do in the form of swimming, shopping, dining, lodging and, of course, picture taking. There are many great roads trips in the area, but recommended is Route 3 to Meredith, Route 25 to Moutlenborough and Routes 117 and 109 to Wolfeboro.
Wolfeboro Lodging and Availability

The Kancamagus Highway, White Mountain National Forest, from Lincoln to Conway
The 34-mile Route 112 Scenic Byway mountain gap eventually ascends to 3,000 ft. and features dense forestry and perhaps some of the best fall foliage in New England. Along the way, there are accessible trails that lead to the top of Mt. Kancamagus. After completing the drive, enjoy the famous New England town of North Conway where you'll find a splendid view of Mt. Washington from Main St., several nice restaurants and lodging options and quite a few shopping outlets.
North Conway Lodging and Availability
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