Scenic Road TRIP (northern TOUR)
SCENIC NEW ENGLAND ROAD TRIP: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Along this scenic New England road trip you will see historic villages, cheerful country inns and enticing shops with antiques and crafts. Whether you hug the rugged coastline, swoop through wooded hills or meander past farms and meadowlands, the New England landscape is easy on the eye.
- Acadia National Park, Maine: Mount Desert Island
Rugged and rocky, with mountains, lakes, harbors and sandy beaches, this island is New England’s second largest and half of it is protected land. Stop at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, then drive the 27-mile Loop Road. Or, hike and bike; there are some 50 miles of trails and ‘carriage roads’. Out of the park is Bar Harbor, fashionable in the 19thC with artists and wealthy families who built spacious summer homes.
- Routes 17 and 4, Maine: From Mexico to Madrid
This route — the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway — of approximately 50 miles takes you through the dramatic lakes and mountains region that is home to moose, bears, bobcats and eagles. From Mexico to Byron, canoeists shoot the rapids on the Swift River; at the Height of Land pullout, views are panoramic. The village of Oquossoc stands between Rangeley Lake and the delightfully named Mooselookmeguntic Lake, all of 16,000 watery acres. Off Route 4, Saddleback Mountain rises to over 4,000 feet.
- Routes 1A and 1B, New Hampshire: Along the Coast
New Hampshire’s coastline is short but there is plenty to see and do. On this 18-mile route, you follow the ocean from Seabrook Beach to Portsmouth, past the miles of sand of Hampton Beach to Fort Constitution, raided by Colonials back in 1774. The state’s smallest town, picturesque New Castle, harks back to the 19thC; the Seacoast Science Center focuses on the environment; and the mysterious offshore Isles of Shoals are just a boat ride away.
- Routes 9 and 127, New Hampshire: Rural Charms
Rural New Hampshire, with its friendly towns, Colonial homes and lovely countryside, is typical of New England. The 75 miles from Keene to Franklin incorporate the Currier and Ives Trail, taking you to Hopkinton and Henniker, with their covered bridges, and the birthplace of 19thC statesman, Daniel Webster. To see the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, take a short detour to Warner.
- Route 100, Vermont: Long and Lovely
For some 230 miles, Route 100 runs straight up the middle of Vermont. For a taste of its pleasures, drive the 90 miles from Ludlow to Waterbury. Up in the Green Mountains, are famous ski resorts such as Okemo, Killington, Sugarbush, Mad River Glen. In the valleys are villages such as Warren and Waitsfield, with their craft shops. In Plymouth, the Calvin Coolidge birthplace is dedicated to the 30th President.
- Route 125, Vermont: The Middlebury Gap
Gaps are local names for the passes that run east-west, over the Green Mountains. Route 125 starts at Lake Champlain and cuts through the elegant college town of Middlebury. On campus, a bronze statue of a dog catching a frisbee bolsters claims that the sport was invented by Middlebury students. From East Middlebury, the route is known as the Robert Frost Memorial Drive: north of Ripton, a mountain is named for the poet; west of Middlebury Gap, fans should stop at the memorial and walk the Interpretive Trail. East of the Gap is Texas Falls, familiar in a thousand photos.