A Pedacito Of My Leaf Peeping Road Trip Through New England, Part 3
If you've been following along, we set out our first leaf-peeping road trip through New England about a month ago. The first part of our journey was exploring Boston and Plymouth where we took in lots of the history of the United States' founding. If you didn't catch that story, you can read it here.
The second part of our trip is where the road trip actually began. We drove from Boston into Vermont and then went to several small towns in the Green Mountain State. Along the way, we enjoyed some iconic foods, including Ben & Jerry's ice cream, apple cider donuts, and of course some Vermont cheeses. You can check that story out here.
We start this leg of our road trip in Burlington, Vermont. I must admit, this is a destination city and we did not spend nearly enough time here. However, we did have an opportunity to enjoy a night and a morning in this town and the one thing I can say is that we will definitely be going back!
When we arrived in the evening, we visited the Vermont Pub & Brewery which is located next to City Hall Park. Keeping true to our dairy-filled adventure through Vermont, we started our meal with some poutine that featured some very squeaky cheese curds and luscious gravy. Additionally, I enjoyed a local bourbon from Smugglers' Notch and a couple of the brewery's IPAs. We each enjoyed the burger we chose.
The next morning was pretty chilly compared to Florida (where we live) but that didn't stop us from wanting to take a quick walk in the center of the town. As we drove towards Waterfront Park on Lake Champlain, we passed the University of Vermont campus and I must say that it is gorgeous. I would have loved to have more time to explore it.
The views on Lake Champlain were gorgeous. This lake extends into Canada and directly across from Burlington is the state of New York. I can imagine lively summers here with everyone enjoying sailboating on the water and watching the sunset over the mountains in New York.
We enjoyed taking a walk through the center of town and seeing the variety of the buildings as residents prepared for another workday. There are many small streets that had beautiful and surprising murals. I managed to snap a few pics of some of those.
After a brief walk through the brick-paved Church Street, a walkable roadway lined with unique shops and restaurants, we head back toward Waterfront Park where we parked to hit the road once more.
We left Burlington and began our drive to New Hampshire. Along the way, we enjoyed all of the beautiful colors of the heavy woods along the roads. We passed lots of small towns along the way but something compelled me to stop in Lunenburg, Vermont.
Much like all of the other small towns we passed, you'd miss Lunenburg if you blinked long enough. However, we stopped to admire the park at the center of town which was host to a beautiful veterans memorial.
This wasn't the only memorial we found during our trip so far. In fact, we observed several displays of support for veterans and for equality throughout Vermont. Every town seemed to have LGBTQ+ flags, Black Lives Matter murals, and a tribute to veterans. It made us feel welcomed and provided an opportunity for reflection as we drove.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Our next stop was a scenic drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.
At the very top is the Mount Washington Observatory which held the record for the highest wind speeds ever recorded from 1934 to 1996 at 231 miles per hour! The record was only beat by measuring tornado wind speeds, but this still stands as the highest non-cyclone wind speed ever recorded on earth. That's pretty freakin' amazing!
To drive up the road there is a fee that varies based on the time of year you visit. When we visited, during the peak fall foliage season, the rate was $45 per car. We were only able to drive about halfway (mile 4 of 8) up due to high winds, snow, and low visibility at the peak.
The drive up the mountain is very beautiful. We felt like we were time traveling from fall to winter as we ascended. The road is a bit narrow but two cars can squeeze by fairly easily. There are some very steep portions and I recommend driving in low gear, especially on the way down. This video is at about the 2-mile mark.
At the 4 mile mark, we felt like we were in another world. It was pretty windy and we were fortunate to see our first snowfall together. It was a winter wonderland up there but we were definitely not dressed for the freezing temperatures and quickly drove back down, seemingly from winter back to the fall.
Conway, New Hampshire
After enjoying the scenic drive up and down Mount Washington, we made our way to Conway, New Hampshire. This is a beautiful small town that is worth a visit. We only spent the afternoon here, primarily to take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
There were a few booking options that varied by duration and price. We opted for the short roundtrip journey through the Conway Valley. It was a beautiful and peaceful trip, but the highlight was really the experience of being in a historic rail car. If you have the time, you should definitely take the longer trip, called the Mountaineer, which is about 5 hours long.
The peaceful train ride was the perfect way to relax and let someone else do the driving for a while. Afterward, we took a quick walk around the town and enjoyed a great pizza at Flatbread Company where I enjoyed my first sarsaparilla; I really liked it! The food was great, only topped by the lovely service and ambiance of the open kitchen.
From here we continued our road trip headed toward Maine, with our next stop going to be Acadia National Park. I look forward to sharing that story with you soon.
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