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Off to New England after Retirement

Author: Richard Burroughs
Date of Trip: September 2007



As a junior high geography teacher for 34 years, my dream as been a trip in the Fall to New England. I retired May 25, 2007. During my last year of teaching I used books and the Internet to plan the New England trip for my wife and I to take during the 2007 fall foliage. My main homework in planning was to select the best bed and breakfast inns along a route that would take us through the Green and White Mountains, the countryside of New England, and the New England coast line.

We packed our 2007 Miata convertible, my retirement gift to myself, and set off from Illinois September 22, 2007. With beautiful weather, our top was down as we drove eastward toward our first destination, South Woodstock, Vermont.

During our third day of driving we traveled through the Lake Champlain area, Green Mountains, toured Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory and ended up at The Kedron Valley Inn. A beautiful B & B that was used on the Anheuser-Busch Christmas card and commercial. We selected the cottages over the main house and enjoyed the privacy and rustic settle with a creek out the window. The breakfast was served in the restaurant each morning and permitted us to order anything from the menu, including the famous Vermont maple syrup. Our visit include a horse back ride in the Green Mountain where we had great views of the countryside and maple trees tapping system for gathering the sap for syrup. Our two-night stay ended quickly.

As we drove to New Hampshire we toured the Rock of Ages granite quarry. It was a treat to see this large quarry and factory process. With the wind blowing our hair, as it happens in a convertible, we made our way to our second stop, The Notchland Inn in Hart's Location, New Hampshire. A beautiful stone house built by a Boston Dentist in the 1800's sits in the White Mountains, southwest of Mt. Washington. The tall windows facing the mountains gave us great views and much fresh air during the night. We hiked the mountains that served as the backdrop to the inn. Our destination of fun, on this leg of the trip, was to drive up Mt. Washington on the private toll road. With fog surrounding us, we drove the road that had no guard rails, loose gravel near the top as a road bed, and visibility that neared 30 feet at best. We enjoyed the mountain, but could not see much. We found out that 60% of the time, fog encases Mt. Washington, which is known for the worst weather in the world. Our two-night stay included great breakfasts and a planned 2 hour dinner at the inn.

Our third stop came after a nine-hour drive through the back roads of New Hampshire and Maine to get to Bar Harbor, Maine and the Inn at Bay Ledge. This became our favorite destination. The inn sits at top and 80 foot cliff on Mt. Desert Island overlooking Frenchman Bay. A 79-step rugged stairs takes us down to the rocky beach that experiences a 9 foot tide change. Our new learned hobby was search for sea glass. We were fortunate to find several nice pieces. The owners, Jack and Jeani Ochta, served great breakfasts and Jack entertained the guests with many stories, include Jenna Bush's engagement trip to the inn just two months before our visit. During our three-night stay we enjoyed a whale watching trip that included the sighting of 14 whales, a day driving through Acadia National Park and a stop for fantastic lobster stew at Jordan's Pond Restaurant, and hours a great shopping in Bar Harbor. We want to return to Bar Harbor and spend a week exploring the area. After three dinners of fresh lobster, our trip continued to our last destination, Rockport, MA.

Our drive to Rockport included a shopping trip to L.L. Bean in Freeport and a another 9-hour driving day with the top down. We stayed at the Yankee Clipper Inn, famous for the Kennedy's staying during the 1960 Presidential campaign. During our last three days, we spent time just relaxing on chairs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and watching lobster boats and their captain work the hundreds of lobster pods.

Our trip included ten nights at four different bed and breakfasts and three nights in motels during our drive out east and back home. After 15 days, and 3295 miles of driving my first retirement trip came to an end. We did not see the fantastic fall foliage due to a warmer than normal fall temperatures and the dry conditions. The four bed and breakfast inns were fantastic. My homework and planning paid off because we had a great trip and now have 487 pictures to scrapbook so we will never lose the images of New England.

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