December 4, 2013 | By Jay Burghardt
My wife and I, to celebrate our 25th anniversary, took a trip to an area of United States that neither of us has ever seen before; New England, for the turning of the leaves. We seemed to have missed the peak of the colors by about a week, but still travelled many roads filled with beauty. Now, I will not swear to exactly what states are part of the New England name, but we hit portions of 7 different states and tossed in a Canadian province for good measure.
We landed in Hartford, CT, hopped in a rental car and headed toward Cape Cod. Our plan was to take a drive on the famed 10 mile drive in Newport, RI and then have dinner in the city. Our plan was going great until we got to Newport. The traffic had slowed to a crawl through town. It must have taken us 30 minutes to go a mile. It looked like a very neat town to walk around in but with the traffic, it wasn’t in our plans to battle for a parking spot. We made it through there and headed out to the 10 mile drive with world famous mansions, coastlines and vistas at every turn. I highly recommend you making this drive if you can, as the scenery is flat out spectacular, but perhaps try and get there mid week and avoid the scores of people. After we had our fill of zillion dollar mansions, we headed out to Cape Cod, where we stayed in a very nice Holiday Inn in Hyannis. This was a great location, and a good jumping off point for the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The down side was, the visitor centers and the restrooms were closed due to the Government shut down, but the good part was, we could still walk on the beach and the seashore at Cape Cod is beautiful. We then headed back off the cape and up to Plymouth where we saw Plymouth Rock, and across the street had the best Lobster roll ever. We saw signs along the roads about lobster rolls, but had never heard of them up to this point. It was sort of like a tuna fish salad sandwich, but it’s a lobster salad sandwich, in a toasted Kaiser roll with lettuce and tomatoes. This was just one of our many highlights on the culinary side of the trip. We had a few extra hours to kill that day and decided to veer off to see Salem and all of the witches. Here was our one regret. That we didn’t spend more time in Salem! A very interesting town but the time we got there the witch museums, and there are a couple of them, were closed. We would be sure to make more time to spend there the next time through. After spending the night in Amesbury, MA, we then continued north into Maine. We stopped for a few hours to walk around Portland, and this was very nice surprise for us, as the waterfront area had cobble stones walks, and lots of neat shops and restaurants. After lunch, we continued our drive up to Bar Harbor, which was as perfect a little town as you might imagine. Even more shops to walk around in, great lobster restaurants, and I even tried the Lobster ice cream while I was there. We stayed at a bed and breakfast called the Heartside inn, and it was only two blocks from downtown, so it was absolutely perfect location. The owners were great and made us feel very welcome.
We had headed to Bar Harbor to visit Acadia national park, but due to the government shutdown, the park was close. Fortunately, many of the roads that lead to the south side of the island have to go through the park, so we were still able to see some incredible scenery from lighthouses to crashing seascapes.
After Maine, we headed west, through New Hampshire on our way to Burlington VT. I loved the downtown area. Four full blocks are sealed off from cars and so it makes a great place to walk around in the evening. We ate at three 3 different restaurants on each of three nights, and each time had great food and great people watching dinners. While we were in Burlington we also went on a walking Ghost Tour of downtown Burlington, which was a little hokey, but a beautiful evening for a history lesson of the local ghouls and haunts. While based camped in Burlington, we took a day and headed north in Canada and spent the day in Montreal. It was big city as expected, and yes there were some neat old buildings and areas to walk around in. We didn’t think it compared to the many other parts of Canada we have visited.
Upon leaving Burlington, we headed south, back to Hartford and stopped at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. That was very enjoyable and it was interesting walking through the memorabilia of it and even spent some time shooting baskets on their full size court. This is well worth a visit if you are in the area. We headed home on Sunday morning, and both agreed that New England in the fall is a wonder place to visit and well worth making plans to visit the area during the turning of the colors.