Next stop: Vermont and Maine Fall Foliage!

I know I said the Massachusetts fall foliage was the best of the best, but that’s because I hadn’t been thinking about Vermont’s rich, colorful, fall landscape. Think of it as a lightshow as you zoom down the highway and see a blur of colors surrounding you. One great way to see the length of the state is to take State Road 100, from Wilmington to Troy, scenic all the way. Side roads will lead you to Mt. Mansfield (you can hike or take the gondola), to Lake Champlain (gorgeous!), and Green Mountain National Forest. You can take the vintage railroad between White River Junction and Norwich (weekends only) for great views of the White Mountain foothills.

Head back over to the coast for Maine’s plush foliage scene. Peak time is mid-October. The rugged coastline makes for different scenery from the rest of the northeast, and the richly forested areas just scream for attention with their bold reds, oranges, and yellows. Check out Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park and Bradbury Mountains State Park (keep your eyes peeled for hawks), both north of Portland. (Make sure you stop at the L.L. Bean Flagship Shore Freeport—open 24 hours a day!) Go inland a bit to find the Sebago Lake region—climb Douglas Mountain to see the ocean in one direction and the White Mountains in the other. Southern Maine offers boat excursions from Bath, some to Casco Bay and some to Kennebec River. A ferry service also runs to the islands in Casco Bay. Camden is a perfect place to stop, for dinner or for lodging, and also offers gorgeous ocean and mountain views, all surrounded by to-die-for foliage. Don’t forget Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, in addition to the quaint and historic town of Bar Harbor.

Oh, and one more thing: whenever you’re in Vermont, make sure you stop by the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury. It truly is the greatest place on earth.

Happy Fall!


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Vermont Fall Foliage and More

Today is Labor Day and its time to plan this falls activities. Fall Foliage Trips are perfect for this year’s economy. For most of us, there are great Fall Foliage destinations within a tank of gas. Here are some favorites:

New England Fall Foliage

Mid-Atlantic Region

Rockies

And last but not least, for our fans in the South – Virginia Fall Foliage is at its best in the Western part of the state, in the Shenandoah, Blue Ridge and (further south) Smoky Mountains.

Places to go when you just can’t pay for gas anymore!

I just read an article in USA Today that will definitely appeal to everybody: about great car-free places to visit. CAN YOU BELIEVE GAS PRICES?! It’s to the point of unbearable where I don’t even know if I’ll ever make it back to Massachusetts with any money left in my bank account! So the clincher, of course, is that you have to GET to these places; but at least once you’re there you can park your car and make good use of your feet for a couple of days. Here’s where they recommend going:

Enjoy!

Clearing my head in Maine

I had just been through a horrible divorce that left me feeling broken, distant, and confused. I thought that I had had life all sorted out, until this bombshell landed on me leaving me unsure of what to do next. After some months of sitting in my new apartment all alone, my friends forced me out to some neighborhood bars and restaurants. I started feeling myself reawaken from my deep despair, but somehow felt like I needed to get out and do some exploring on my own in order to completely regain independence and realize that I could in fact live on my own once again. And that’s when I decided it was time for me to plan that trip I never took, to Maine, a place that had always seemed like a beautiful place to visit, but that no one ever wanted to go to with me.

I flew there (from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona) and rented a car at the airport. I had decided that I would split my time between woodsy nature and beaches. It was June, so I knew I’d be able to appreciate both of these two magical worlds. The first stop I made was at Moosehead Lake. I had rented a little cabin on the lake where I stayed for 2 nights. I spent my days swimming and jogging through the area (I was so out of shape—it felt great to get some energy back!) and my evenings bundled up in my cabin reading one of the many books that I brought at South Portland’s The Maine Mall (my real first stop after I landed in Maine!). Next I went to Baxter State Park where I spent the day hiking with a crowd that I had met in the visitor’s center. From there I went to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. Acadia National Park really was the ideal place for me, nestled amongst mountains and lakes with hiking and bike trails, but also included the beautiful Sand Beach which provided the coastal relaxing that I had only read in my books.

That was just the beginning of my beach run. I was feeling life coursing through my veins once again and I couldn’t wait to hit the beaches. I had been meeting such interesting people along my way and knew that the crowd would change as my surroundings changed, and I couldn’t wait to see who I would meet next. The beaches in Maine are perfect. I drove up and down the coast, stopping for a few hours or a few days (whatever I was in the mood for!) at Old Orchard Beach, Hills Beach, Ferry Beach State Park, and Popham Beach. I wish you could hear the tone of my thoughts as I type those beaches out. I suppose you could call it wistful? Relaxed? Maybe even happy. I ended the last day of my 12 day trip at Lake St. George State Park where I island hopped and celebrated the nature that was around me.

I think I’m going to do this every year. Maybe not Maine, but somewhere. I’ve always wanted to travel on my own, and I finally did!

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