I’m not sure how I’ve managed to live in New England for ten years and not spent much time in our neighboring state, but for the very first time I spent a weekend in New Hampshire this summer. In Portsmouth, to be specific.
A few weeks ago we drove up to Manchester, VT for the night. The whole drive I channeled Danny Kaye a la “White Christmas” saying, “Vermont should be beautiful this time of year.” (Wrong seasonal movie, I know.)
It was…. rainy. It poured the whole drive. We were, however, still able to catch a lot of views of the majestic fall trees through the swishing of the wind wipers.
Cranberry. Auburn. Mustard. Tangerine. Fire. Aubergine.
So many beautifully colored leaves!
We stayed at the Equinox Hotel (a big thank you Starwoods Points). It was a beaut to say the least.
The hotel was lovely. Classic resort campus in the middle of mountains. There was hot apple cider to be had, fireplaces to be enjoyed and bellmen to be greeted by. Yes, they had bellmen.
The Equinox is over 200-years-old and the walls are filled with old photos of visiting Presidents and vintage social outings on the lawn.
Manchester Village is a quaint little town, filled with cute antique shops and a number of big-box outlet stores, like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Orvis. Orvis, the mecca of fly-fishing, was actually founded in Manchester by Mr. Charles Orvis.
And, while we are on the topic, the north wing of the Equinox Resort is the old Orvis Homestead.
On Friday night we had dinner at Seasons Restaurant. It had a casual atmosphere with tasty, and affordable (!) dinner options. The soups and (huge) panini sandwiches garnered four stars out of us.
On Saturday morning we toughed out the lines at the ever-popular Up For Breakfast. It was worth the wait! Delicious fluffy pancakes with, you guessed it, hot Vermont maple syrup and venison sausages were the highlights of the meal. It was a great deal too, since we split one of the breakfast specials between us. Five stars.
Then we drove down to the Equinox Nursery. They were having their annual Pumpkin Carving Festival. Scarecrows, gourds, pies and pumpkins abounded.
It was an autumnal feast for the eyes!
Two reasons to be happy on a gray, cloudy day in Vermont:
1. Boot season is official here. My feet are so happy. Hello wool socks. Hello toasty toes.
2. Crunchy leaf season is in it’s prime! Quick! Go outside and stomp on a few to the delight of your inner-child.
Before we left we decided to drive up Equinox summit. If you’re hardcore you can hike up too.
But first, let’s just say that we saw the group from our hotel leaving on the morning hike as we left. After we experienced a leisurely morning of maple-syrup-covered-breakfast-eating, independent bookstore browsing and pumpkin festival attending, we drove up to the top of the summit just as they arrived.
You can decide which sounds better to you.
The views from the top were stunning! (And yes, the sun managed to peek out for a few moments here!)
Earlier, while waiting to check into our hotel room, I met a man in the lobby who was from Colorado. We started chatting about how I had just been out there skiing earlier this spring. He boasted about their mountain ranges (yes, like he was solely responsible for the creation of the mountain range) and scoffed at the pitiful size of the Vermont mountains.
Scoff-worthy, I think not.
The drive UP Equinox Summit was quite colorful. We needed to make a few pit stops since our car brakes smelled like a BBQ gone wrong, with smoke to boot. Well worth the $12 acccess fee.
Plus the mountain is owned by a monastery. Does that make you feel better about the $12? No? Well, the views of bucolic farm life from the top will warm your heart. And wish you lived in the Sound of Music or something.
The ride home was rainy but just as lovely as the one up (we took a different scenic route for more sights). For having never laid eyes on a real covered-bridge before, I saw at least a dozen on our drive.
We also stopped at a sugarhouse on the side of the road and got fresh hot cider and cider donuts.
Don’t forget, those were #1 on the fall favorites list last week. ; )
Have you been to Vermont? Been in a covered bridge? Love cider donuts?
A few weeks ago we made a fall excursion to Nantucket with friends.
Most people think of Nantucket in the summertime, but we have gone the past two Octobers! It’s beautiful and a lot less crowded. AND you can usually get a better deal since it’s off-season.
We had purchased our ferry tickets on Groupon earlier in the spring.
(For those interested, we have been on both the Hyline and Steamship Authority traditional ferries. The Hyline gets you there in about 1.25 hours – but the boat is much smaller and provides a lot less seating options. The Steamship Authority will get you there in two hours and offers more comfortable seating and more tables.)
We stayed at the Scallop Inn on Nantucket Island, which is part of the Periwinkle Inn. A+ to price and location.
For my fellow whale-lovers, Nantucket provides a plethora of whale related paraphernalia.
Did you know that Nantucket was the Whaling Capital of the World from 1800 to 1840?
Author Herman Melville penned the famous novel “Moby Dick” after visiting the island in the 1840s. (This is on my to-read list! I own it. It’s on my shelf. Note to self: Stop going to the library and read the books I own.)
This time we rented a Wrangler for off-road driving. Nobody, for the most part, brings their cars across the ferry, so there are a lot of places that have vehicles for rent.
Last year we rented a scooter – that was fun too!
Driving on the beach was great fun and provided beautiful views unable to be seen on land!
Not a bad view out the rear windshield, eh?
We drove to Great Point Light at the tip of the northeast end of the island. The lighthouse is only accessible by sand roads.
And finally, we went to one of my favorite places on the island, Sconset.
AKA …Where you go to buy “fancy groceries”.
I decided if I ever become a hermit, you’ll find me in a little cottage on Sconset.
But don’t come looking for me. : )