Courtney and I spent a week exploring the New England area in search of fall foliage and apple donuts, and on those two fronts we succeeded. The trip was basically split into one two halves, one outside of Boston and the other in Boston. The first entry will focus on the first half, which was spent outside of Boston. Looking back through the photos I captured on this leg of our trip, I realized how much we were able to cram into the four days. It could be that I simply took more pictures than I normally do. Either way, it didn't feel like we were rushing ourselves to see the next thing on some checklist. Luckily for us It was the exact opposite. There was never a moment were we felt flustered or that we were missing out on something. Let's jump in and see what fall in New England had to offer us.
We flew into Boston and immediately picked up our rental car to make our way out to Vermont to the Norwich Inn, which was the place where we got engaged two years ago. We were lucky enough to get the same room we stayed in as well. It's a cozy atmosphere at the Norwich Inn. They have their own restaurant and pub, Jasper Murdock's Alehouse, on the premises. We caught dinner and breakfast once each during our stay. There are several charming inns like this one across New England, but if you find yourself in this specific area, check this place out. It won't disappoint. The inn served as our home base for the first couple of days of the trip. Norwich sits on the border of Vermont and New Hampshire, making it a great location to explore New England. If you head east along the main street from he inn, you will be in Hanover, NH, home to Dartmouth University. The drive is maybe five minutes, even at the posted 25 mph speed limit. After getting settled in for our first evening, we hopped across the border into New Hampshire for dinner at Murphy's on the Green. The food was excellent and the environment was relaxing, if you ever make a stop in Hanover, check this place out. It's right on the main street and close to the campus.
Our goal for the first full day was to explore the New England countryside and that's exactly what we did. The weather wasn't the best, but it didn't interfere with what we wanted to see or do. We started the day off with breakfast at Lou's, another Hanover staple. Courtney and I both tried seasonal specials on their menu. Courtney chose the gluten free maple bacon pancakes. They were certainly gluten free, but you wouldn't know that based on how incredible they tasted. To be fair, the pancakes had bacon in them and bacon always makes things better. I went with the apple sausage omelet. I can't really say much except that it was phenomenal. We needed a little bit of a walk after the heavy breakfast so we enjoyed some of the scenery around Dartmouth. The shot immediately below is from a park just outside of Hanover that overlooks the Connecticut River.
After our quick walk around the Dartmouth campus we made our way northwest towards Champlain Orchards. The shot immediately above is of a back road near the orchard. Champlain Orchards is located near the southern tip of Lake Champlain in Shoreham, VT. A short drive from the orchard heading west will take you to a ferry that crosses over into New York. The drive up to the orchard was beautiful. The foliage forecast we had checked before venturing out indicated that the most of the state had already past peak, but we saw plenty of vibrant colors along the way. Once we arrived at the orchard we were able to pick our own apples. It was near the end of the season, so the trees didn't have a ton of apples left on them, but still enough to allow us to enjoy the orchard. After some time at the orchard, we headed back south towards Woodstock, VT. We explored the town for a little while and then headed towards Quechee Gorge. The shots below are from the area around Quechee Gorge.
After our full day exploring the New England countryside, we headed south towards Martha's Vineyard for the weekend. The drive from Norwich to Falmouth, MA was about three hours. Martha's Vineyard is only accessible by air or ferry. Since we had a rental car, we opted for the ferry option. Luckily the ferry to the island only takes about 45 minutes. Once we arrived, we decided to explore the town of Aquinnah. The town sits on the southwestern portion of the island. Unfortunately, It was a little windy which made it feel much colder than it actually was. Despite the harsh wind and chilly temperature, we were still able to enjoy the beautiful sunset. We had planned on eating at a local fresh fish market in Menemsha, but unfortunately (like a lot of the restaurants) it was closed for the season. Apparently, our arrival was just a week after many of the local restaurants and shops closed up until spring of 2017. There were still plenty of options for us to enjoy though. One of my favorite places we were able to eat at was the Scottish Bake House. They had an excellent breakfast menu and a variety of pastries to choose from. They also had a great selection if you're looking for gluten free desserts.
We stayed in Oak Bluffs while we visited Martha's Vineyard. It's located on the northeastern portion of the island. It's one of the three main tourist spots on the island, the other two being Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. If you're a first time visitor to the island I would recommend choosing one of these three areas for your stay. There are definitely more remote locations on the island that you can choose from, but if you've never been, it might be beneficial to stay close to the restaurants and shops these locations provide. Menemsha and Aquinnah, for example, will be pretty active during the peak season, but if you were to visit in the fall (like we did) those areas would be really quiet. We finished up on the island by visiting Edgartown. This was probably the most charming of all the parts we visited on the island. There was an excellent coffee shop we visited called Behind the Bookstore, which surprisingly happens to be behind a bookstore. Afterwards, we headed out to the Edgartown Lighthouse to take in some beautiful shoreline views. This was only our second time on the island and the first time that we actually stayed overnight. Next time we stay, we'd like to try around Edgartown.
The first four days of the trip went by pretty quickly. We didn't have a specific itinerary, but we did have a general idea of what we wanted to do and see. We really wanted to approach this entire trip with as little pressure as possible. Relaxation was the primary objective and I think we did an excellent job of that. I feel like the pictures shared in this post don't really do it the fall colors justice. This part of the country is so beautiful during the fall. I think these shots only give an idea of how it looks. As always, it's best to see it in person. Below are some more pics from our time in Vermont/New Hampshire/Martha's Vineyard.