As more snow piles up outside and I sit here dreaming of warmer temperatures, I figured it would be a good time to get my act together and blog about the amazing trip we took from Vermont to Maine (or as those of you that follow me on Instagram probably remember it: #VTtoME2014) this past summer.
Chad and I both agreed this was one of our most favorite trips. The key, I think, was the amount of planning that we did beforehand. It made the trip go smoothly so we were just able to enjoy versus panicking to come up with a plan each day.
I (personally) love to research a place before I go to figure out what the best places to eat are and Chad loves to do the same for the different activities we can do. So together, we make a perfect planning team
We started in Boston and made our way up to our first stop: SHARON, VT
Chad’s mom lives in Sharon and it’s one of the cutest, most quaint towns I’ve ever been to. See here for previous time spent there.
WHERE WE STAYED: Chad’s mom’s house. I’m not sure if she’s currently taking bookings I would recommend The Woodstock Inn & Resort if you find yourself in the area.
WHAT WE DID:
1. Ledyard Canoe Club – Hanover, NH
I actually discovered this place thanks to my Instagram friend Zach. Chad and I instantly fell in love with it and were so incredibly grateful to Zach for helping us discover it. It’s this little, unassuming place that you would absolutely miss if you weren’t looking for it. It’s set back on the quiet Connecticut River and you’re able to rent canoes and kayaks to take out or even just peacefully sit on the dock and dip your feet in the water. We got super lucky with the world’s most perfect weather day and we both agreed we could have easily spent hours upon hours at this spot! (PS – canoe rentals for an hour were only $10!)
2. Dartmouth Campus – Hanover, NH
The whole campus is just beautiful. It’s super quaint and the town of Hanover is definitely worth checking out. I would especially recommend the Rauner Special Collections Library – it’s like no other I’ve ever been in before and became an instant favorite the moment I walked in.
3. Queechee Gorge – Hartford, VT
This is another one you have to be careful with or you could miss it (except for the many people standing on the bridge looking down at it). It’s beautiful in the summer and definitely taking time to see. They even have stairs leading off the bridge down to a hiking trail along the gorge.
4. Middle Covered Bridge – Woodstock, VT
This is a must-do for us every time we’re here. On our very first trip to Vermont together years ago we visited the Middle Covered Bridge and it’s been a special place (as has Woodstock!) for us ever since. There are TONS of bridges in the area worth checking out, but this one is our favorite. The whole town of Woodstock is worth checking out. It’s one of my favorite towns in all of the Northeast!
The drive back from Hanover to Sharon offers some pretty spectacular views (and lots of opportunities for new friends! ) Hopefully like me, you’re driving with some pretty patient people that are willing to pull over ever 2 minutes when you see something pretty you want to photograph
WHERE WE ATE:
1. King Arthur Bakery & Cafe – Norwich, VT
I visit King Arthur Bakery & Cafe every single time I come to Vermont. In fact, I visited it in the very first days when it first opened – before they even had flour on the shelves! I absolutely love it. The food and coffee are both amazing, the environment is relaxing and charming and I can literally get lost in the store for hours (it’s a baker/cooker’s dream).
2. Idlewood, The Restaurant – Sharon, VT
You should’ve seen me when we walked up to this restaurant. It’s in an old barn that they converted, which is basically my dream location. It is the absolute cutest place on earth with a beautiful interior dining area and a gorgeous sprawling outdoor patio where were got to sip our drinks while waiting for our first dishes to arrive. The food was out of this world. I don’t think we stopped raving about each of our dishes for the entire rest of the night. (PS – they also have an Inn right next to the restaurant you can stay at!)
3. Mon Vert Cafe – Woodstock, VT
Again, I just about died at how adorable this place is (clearly, it takes a lot to make me happy). The entire town of Woodstock is like walking through the set of Gilmore Girls. It’s cozy and small and wonderful. The food (and lattes!) at this place were amazing and the people were out of this world friendly.
Next stop: FRANCONIA, NH
This part of the trip was completely and totally dedicated to our 7-hour hike of Franconia Ridge.
The planning behind this part was all Chad. I love to hike, but know next to nothing about hiking safely (especially for 7 hours!). Definitely pack snacks and water! I feel like this list is a good place to start if you’re like me and have idea what to even anticipate needing!
The hike was challenging and at times I definitely felt like this:
But those moments always passed and in the end, the views we got from the top (and all along the way really) were so worth it. I highly, highly recommend it!
The waterfalls on the way up were also incredible:
We had to force ourselves to keep moving so we wouldn’t run out of light by the time we started our descent back down the mountain!
We drove straight to Maine from here so no lodging in NH – only a quick stop at a roadside pizza joint on the way. My opinion here may have be a bit biased after a 7-hour hike…but this tasted like the best thing I’d ever eaten.
Final stop: BAR HARBOR, ME
WHERE WE STAYED: Bar Harbor Days Inn – nothing fancy here but all we needed was a place to rest our heads at night and this did the trick. It’s an easy drive into and out of town and a price you can’t beat!
WHAT WE DID:
If you go to Bar Harbor, you could literally spend your entire trip here. There is SO MUCH to do. From sunset kayaks to hiking to spending time on the beach, to running trails. The list just goes on and on. We both agreed that if we came back, we would leave a good several days just to hit everything we wanted to do here. We didn’t even get to a quarter of all that we wished we had time to do!
While there we hiked Great Head Trail:
Then we spent some time post-hike at Sand Beach (this is where we both entered and ended the Great Head trail)
Afterward we both talked about how the Carriage Roads made us want to move to Bar Harbor. Having those peaceful, quiet and beautifully winding trails available for running, walking and biking all the time would be so great.
That night we snuck down to the Northeast Harbor on Mount Dessert Island at sunset
And on our last day we drove up Cadillac Mountain (we would’ve preferred to hike it but we didn’t have time so we settled for a drive up before heading out) which had AMAZING views.
We also spent a good deal of time just walking around Bar Harbor. It’s SUCH an adorable little town (I know, I know – you’re thinking ‘everything can’t be adorable’ but I challenge you to come up with another adjective when you visit these places!)
WHERE WE ATE:
AMAZING coffee and an even better atmosphere. This little hole-in-the-wall place is right by the water so we grabbed some soy lattes and enjoyed it waterside. The service was also great. Friendly and accommodating!
The food here was good, but certainly not my favorite meal of the trip. There were SO many other breakfast places that I had wanted to try over this but they were all packed and I was starving. It did the trick and the food was good, don’t get me wrong. I just feel like there were other more unique spots out there we could have gone to.
We sat outside at this little cafe that’s tucked around on a corner street. It was a great lunch spot and while we didn’t get super adventurous with the food, what we did have was good. The wait staff was friendly as well (this was definitely a trend we saw while in Bar Harbor)!
So, this ended up being a bit of a disaster. The food was good, but the kitchen was so backed up that we ended up waiting nearly two hours for our food. The waitress was very kind about it (and even bought us dessert to make up for it!) but it was definitely not our best experience in Bar Harbor. That said, the atmosphere (strung lights all around the back outdoor patio with live music) was what drew me in and that definitely didn’t disappoint! It’s also right next to a great little wine shop!
Another awesome coffee place with really good coffee. One of the things I said to Chad was that I wished we had more time in Bar Harbor just so I could try all the great coffeeshops I had read about. There were tons of others that I wanted to try but I highly recommend this one for sure! Cool atmosphere, friendly service and they have soy milk!
Awesome spot, delicious food. There’s not much else to really say about this. It was packed from the moment we got there to the moment we left (though we didn’t have a wait which was nice!) which I think can attest to what it offers. It’s also an Inn you can stay at!
OVERALL VERDICT: We LOVED this trip! Seriously, if you guys are ever looking for a fun (fairly reasonably priced) trip in the Northeast – I can’t recommend this one enough. We got the perfect mix of being active and relaxing and got to see some of the most beautiful views of the Northeast that I ever have in all my years living here. There was amazing food and good, strong coffee (with soy milk!) at each stop on the trip and not once did we have to rely on a chain restaurant – allowing us to really get the local experience (just the way we like it). If you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with this – to this day, we still reminisce about this trip and how amazing it was. It’s by far one the of the best we’ve ever done.1