Just days after returning from A Trip Through South Texas, I was off to New Hampshire and Vermont. While not specifically a county collecting trip, I can’t go near county seats I haven’t previously visited without mailing a few postcards. This mini-vacation was an opportunity for an end-of-summer/beginning-of-autumn jaunt to New England that was just too good to pass up. Had I been traveling alone, my days would have started early and ended late with many short stops in the county seats to mail postcards. Instead, my days tended to start a bit later and end somewhat earlier with more stops at interesting places along the way. Even so, I was able to weave in 9 county seats over the course of four days.
After arriving at MHT (via PHL), we were off to the CY in Lebanon/Hanover, NH by way of Concord and Newport. I followed sledchick's advice and tried Margarita’s for dinner just down the hill from the CY. The margaritas were great. I think the food was too, but after a couple drinks, I don’t recall.
Sunday, we headed from Lebanon across US 4 into Vermont and over the Green Mountains to Rutland with a quick photo stop at Quechee Gorge. As you can tell, the fall foliage had yet to appear.
From Rutland, it was up to Middlebury (a county seat I visited previously) before turning east and crossing the Green Mountains again, then turning north on VT route 100 and west toward Burlington. The primary reason for zigzagging across the mountains was in hopes of seeing a little fall color. While we did see some, we were probably a couple weeks early for prime viewing. We did stop at Texas Falls along the way to stretch our legs and take a few more pictures.
After checking in to the Residence Inn in Burlington/Colchester, we spent the afternoon and evening exploring Burlington. This was my third visit to the area, the most recent just a couple years back as part of my Counties and Lakes of New York trip. I was pleased with the upgrade to a 1-bedroom suite at the Residence Inn, complete with fireplace. The evenings turned decidedly chilly (upper 30s) so the fireplace was a welcome addition.
The other interesting thing at this property was that a number of rooms were set aside for the University of Vermont to conduct sleep studies. I’m all for quiet rooms, so having this sign just down the hall was fine by me.
Monday brought us to Montpelier, the state capital. In addition to my usual courthouse photo, I snapped a few of the capitol building.
By early afternoon, we were at the Vermont/New Hampshire border again. Looking for somewhere to eat, we found TJ;s lunch counter inside the Wells River Pharmacy. The place looks like it came straight out of the 1950s. Try their egg salad on their homemade bread.
After lunch, it was back into New Hampshire and onto state route 112 through Kinsman Notch. We stopped a couple times along the way, at Beaver Pond (see photo below), and the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves. This was one of the few tourist destinations we visited. I can see the attraction for families. Kids can duck into caves along the boardwalk (I tried a few). For me, the natural areas in the surrounding White Mountains National Forest are just as scenic, if not more so, and don’t require a paid admission (though some do have minimal parking or day use fees).
After leaving the Lost River Gorge, we turned north toward Franconia Notch, arriving at the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in time to catch the last ride to the top of the mountain. The ten minute ride took us from 1900 feet to the summit at about 4000 feet. The tram holds 80, but aside from the park ranger and one other couple, we had it to ourselves.
Despite the limited time we had at the top, it was money well spent (better in my opinion than the Lost River Gorge). From the top on a clear day, you can see parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Quebec. A half hour drive brought us to the brand new Fairfield Inn & Suites in Plymouth, NH (it had been open one month and three days when we visited). It’s a bit of a drive off of I-93, so my first thought after exiting the highway was “am I going the right way?” Turns out I was. If you happen to be in central New Hampshire, this is a property worth considering.
At breakfast, I couldn’t pass up the waffle maker. I’m curious if anyone else has seen the Marriott logo waffles.
With plenty of time the last day before our 6pm flight home, it seemed reasonable to drive to the coast. It took a few hours, as I needed to stop in Laconia and Dover, NH on the way, but shortly before lunchtime, we parked along the shore in York, ME. I hadn’t planned on collecting any counties in Maine, so this detour was purely recreational. It may be a crime to visit the coast of Maine without photographing a lighthouse , so just to be on the safe side, we stopped at Cape Neddick just north of York to take a picture. As a side note, my last visit to Maine (in 1985) took me through York County, so despite not visiting the county seat of Alfred, I did not add any new territory in Maine to my map.
Before heading back to MHT, we drove along the cost as far south as Hampton Beach at the southern edge of New Hampshire (actually, we did cross into Massachusetts for a couple minutes, but again into a county I had previously driven through). Over the course of the four days, I mailed postcards from 9 counties, 4 in Vermont and 5 in New Hampshire. I purposely omitted Manchester since Hillsborough County has two county seats (Manchester and Nashua) and as I did not plan on getting to Nashua, I opted to leave both cities for a future visit. Here are the before and after maps for the area.
With the days getting shorter, my travels for the year are nearly done. Up next will be my first county collecting visit to Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah in mid-October, followed by an early November trip to northwest Georgia. That should wrap up the county collecting for 2016. Check back in a few weeks for details from along the Winnemucca road. While I haven’t been to all the places mentioned in the song “I’ve Been Everywhere” yet, I’m working on it.