Hi there, you have joined us right in the middle of our journey in the north of New England. If you missed Part One of our trip you can read it here. So, where were we?
Vermont & The White Mountains
On to Vermont and what was an absolutely breath taking drive from start to finish. I had been very slightly disappointed with the fall foliage up until this point having been awestruck last year. While we were here before we kept hearing that it was the most spectacular fall for 20 years. It was only when we returned that we realised how unbelievable the previous year had been, that was, until we reached Vermont! The colours were like nothing I had ever seen before and those mountains were like something out of a movie. We stopped the car a few times to snap some photos but after realising that there was no way we could do the scenery justice we put the cameras away and decided to just soak it all in.
We arrived in Waterbury, VT in time for a late lunch before taking a very exciting trip to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. The first thing I will say about the factory is that it is incredibly busy but tours run every half hour and there is a fabulous park to keep little ones amused while you wait. The tour itself was short and sweet, made all the more enjoyable by some good old dairy farming puns from the tour guide. The grand finale of the tour, and highlight for us, is the tasting station where you get to try a generous sample of a brand new flavour and some Vermont exclusive flavours. Needless to say we all left with great big smiles on our faces, ice cream tends to do that to you!
The sun was setting and it was time to decide where we were going to settle down for the night. After visiting Stowe (which is on my list of places we must return to) we decided to break tomorrow’s journey – our longest stretch of driving – and do the first part tonight while Susanna slept, stopping in the White Mountains for the night in a ski lodge. After seeing a moose run across the road we arrived at our cabin, carried our sleeping girl into bed, poured ourselves a glass of wine and settled down in front of the roaring fire. I felt like we had arrived in one of my childhood dreams! I adore skiing and waking up at the foot of a ski slope was honestly like a dream come true. It was cold and sunny and absolutely beautiful so we didn’t rush away that next morning. We slowed the pace right down, played outside and drank hot coffee on our porch until check out.
From the Mountains to the Coast
Our drive felt like we were crossing into a new world. The towering trees and winding mountains faded out into cute little houses and vast sea views. Arriving in Freeport felt almost like coming home. This quintessential East Coast American town is one of my favourite places in the world. Home to LL Bean and the friendliest people you will ever meet we knew we wanted to spend a few hours here. We wandered through the streets and browsed the shops feeling like locals. There was a super sweet little ‘wooden village’ that Susanna played in and made friends while I got to enjoy a wander around the fabulous LL Bean Home, I honestly could have bought everything In that store but settled instead for pumpkin spiced coffee and a jar of maple syrup. We topped up on Ben & Jerry’s and grabbed some fries from the cutest McDonald’s I have ever seen before making our way to the beach in time for the Patriots game.
Opting for another hotel we had stayed in before we made ourselves at home for two nights in beautiful York, ME. Both mornings we woke up to sea views and a sunrise that was making the whole sky look like it was on fire. We grabbed fresh hot coffees and headed for the beach, taking time to run away from the waves before a nap time drive to Connors Farm, a place we had been talking about since our last visit. We let Susanna take the lead for the day and pretty much just followed her around doing what she wanted to do. It is just a wonderland for kids with a corn beach, huge park, animals to feed and pet, tractor rides, bounce pillows and a giant corn maze; more than enough for a day full of fun. To end our farm day we visited the pumpkin patch and munched on cider donuts before journeying back to the beach for dinner.
One thing we had decided was that we would do take away dinners as much as possible, realising that it would be a bit unfair to expect Susanna to sit in a restaurant each evening after driving for large parts of the day. This particular night we ordered spaghetti Bolognese, put a movie on Netflix and had a picnic on the floor of our hotel room. Susanna was in her element and it is now one of my favourite memories from the trip.
South Bound to Boston
Our next stop would be Boston, but knowing how expensive hotels and parking are we looked for a nice town close to the city to stay for the night and settled on Portsmouth, where we landed a lovely modern hotel at an absolute bargain price. I should say at this point that we had not booked any hotels in advance of our trip, opting instead for using Hotel Tonight as we had done on our road trip in California and our holiday last year. We wanted to be spontaneous and free to stay in places longer if we felt we needed to and so each day we would have a browse on the Hotel Tonight app to find somewhere to stay. HT only offers good hotels, rated from Basic to Luxe so you know for sure that whatever you end up with will be a ‘Premier Inn’ style hotel at worst and a Luxury Spa Resort at best, eliminating the risk of ending up in a grotty hotel with a toddler, grim. I adore this app.
After a morning in Barnes & Noble where my hygge tank was filled to the brim we were Boston bound, to the big city that we had fallen head over heels in love with just 12 months ago. Again, rain was on the forecast and we had decided we would probably not be able to explore as much as we had hoped. I booked what looked like and turned out to be the coolest hotel overlooking Fenway Park, The Verb. It is one giant ode to music with an abundance of vinyls, record players in your room, backstage passes as your key and the best retro vibes throughout. We loved this place.
The rain wasn’t showing signs of stopping and we were almost resigned to hanging out in the hotel all evening but after a quick ‘why not just get soaked’ chat we bundled Susanna into the pram, rain cover and all, pulled on our hats and coats and headed for the Boston Common. It was a good 30-40 minute walk from our hotel, and while we did get pretty soggy we also ended up having the best night. Boston Common is the most beautiful park area with stunning trees, play zones and the sweetest mother duck and ducklings statues from the gorgeous ‘Make Way for Ducklings’. A huge benefit of venturing out in the rain was that there were so few people in the park and so Susanna was able to play uninterrupted with the ducklings. As the sun was setting we made our way to Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall, an incredible atmospheric area of market stalls and street food under the blanket of twinkling fairy lights. Our Boston evening ended with one giant ice cream sundae and three spoons in Ghirardelli. They make incredible chocolate and mouth watering sundaes.
By this point it was past Susanna’s bed time and the rain had stopped so we popped Susanna up on Daddys shoulders and made our way back to the hotel, taking in all the wonderful sights and sounds as we went. Isn’t it funny how the most spontaneous things always end up being the real nostalgia inducing memories. I think Boston deserves a post in itself and so I promise that it is on my radar too. All three of us drifted into the most wonderful sleep after our Boston adventure, knowing that we were going home tomorrow with full hearts and memories to last a life time.
I could honestly write a book on our experiences over those 10 wonderful days. New England has so much to offer and we have come away this time with hopes and plans to return during the summer months some year and also to enjoy ski season when Susanna is older. Overall we covered 936 miles, 7 states, all the way opting to stay off the interstate’s in favour of driving through small towns and leafy suburbs. A decision which absolutely made our holiday. Our trip was centred around our toddler but you could easily make it more suited to adults or older kids, the possibilities are endless. If you would like to chat more about this trip or pick my brains about places to visit in New England then I will be more than happy to help, it is, after all, my favourite topic. Thank you for stopping by.