New England in the Fall!

Trip Start Sep 06, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Friday, October 9, 2009

We left Philadelphia's temperate climate in beautiful sunshine and as we drove north, we congratulated ourselves on our wonderful timing. Clear blue skies and sunshine – leaf peeping should be spectacular.  And certainly as we approached Albany, our stop for the night, the views were wonderful and we decided to take a detour to see the longest pedestrian bridge in the States, over the Hudson River.   Somehow or another we missed it and ended going over the vehicle bridge instead in peak hour traffic!  Despite this minor error, the sight was amazing – and the best bit was, as soon as we got over it, we had to turn around and do it again!  No great hardship, as it turned out.

The following day we got up early, keen to get out in the Adirondack mountains to get closer to the wonderful scenery we had glimpsed from the motorway the day before.   Unfortunately, the weather had turned slightly grey and misty on us but at least it wasn’t raining and we spent a wonderful day driving around the Southern portion of the park.    We managed to persuade the children to go on two short walks and it was great to get in amongst it all.  The trees were turning every conceivable shade of yellow, orange and red mixed with greens and almost purplish hues.  Fresh from our trip to the Barnes Collection with all those wonderful Cezanne’s, I found myself thinking that he would have loved to have had the chance to paint this landscape.

The following day we drove further North and West, via Bennington county, famous for its covered bridges which we really loved.  The weather remained doggedly grey and we were slightly disappointed that we were missing out on some of the brilliance of the Fall hues but the landscape we were driving through was extremely beautiful and the colours of the leaves were undeniably very beautiful.  We also loved seeing the weatherboard houses of New England which are so astonishingly Scandinavian I had to pinch myself to remind myself that I was not in Norway.  It felt so similiar that I soon felt an easy familiarity and fondness for this landscape.

We were staying in North Woodstock for two nights, right in the heart of the White Mountains National Park.  Unfortunately the following day the weather had worsened further and all the wonderful mountains we had come to see were shrouded in mist and low lying clouds heavy with rain…  To console ourselves, we set off to look at a few of the most famous covered bridges in the area, reasoning that if we couldn’t look at things on a macro level, then we’d take a micro approach

I have to say that I developed a real soft spot for these quirky constructions.  The reason they were covered was to simply protect the wood of the bridges from the elements which meant they lasted longer –many as long as 200 years!  They were certainly on to something.  Viewing them internally, we were struck by how beautifully they had been crafted with amazing curves created by sandwiching several layers of planks together to form these graceful arches.

Fortunately by the afternoon, the mist had lifted enough for us to embark on the Kancamagus Highway which snakes through the White Mountain valley and is considered by many to be THE best place to see the leaves in the Fall.  The scenery was every bit as wonderful as we’d heard and we loved meandering along that road.  At one point we came across a tiny early 19th century cottage which had been restored as a small museum to show what living in the White Mountains would have entailed 200years ago.  The caretaker told a wonderful story about the longest resident of the property, a lady who had fallen in love with a woodcutter and married him.  Some five years into their marriage her husband announced that he was going to the local town to buy some groceries and did not return.  She lit a lamp in the window that and every night until her death 41 years later but he never returned.  The final twist of the tale was that some time after her death, a man turned up stating he was her long lost husband and demanding his right to the inheritance of her estate.  I was glad to hear that the judge who considered the case threw out his application saying that he had lost any right to his former wife’s estate by his long absence and hard-hearted silence.  Excellent natural justice.

We would love to come back to the area again one day though perhaps in better weather!...

Next stop: Boston & the Maine coastline.
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ceebee28 on

Fall in New England
Hi Folks,
Shame about the weather, but still looks pretty fantastic.
Looking forward to the next one.

Carola on

hi, i found your blog by luck, looking for "typical new england" on the internet...=)
I'm going there this autum, from the 23rd of september to the 3rd of october..and as I really love your route I was wondering whether you've had a book or something...or whether you'd have instructions you would be willing to share... we also want to go to new hampshire, vermont, see all the covered bridges, just typical new england...

thank you already for your time,
best regards

john on

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