Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We have always heard that fall in the North East is breathtaking... so we have been really excited about getting to see it in all its splendor.  I came across a very useful website in one of my magazines which turned into a great tool for all you leaf peepers out there!

So starting in mid September I started checking the leaf reports that show color coded maps for color changes.  Our thought was to go up to Vermont for a weekend and drive around.  Simple enough right!

Well fast forward to October, the maps are indicating high color for the upcoming weekend and I used google maps to map out our drive recommended by the weather channel and I get a bunch of warnings about closed roads... As you may recall Hurricane Irene hit Vermont pretty hard with flooding and they are still recovering.  I figure that I will just have to call the state hotline regarding the highways I have picked to make sure we can avoid the closures.  I look up hotels... and in all of Vermont there is not a single hotel room available on Hotels.com (we only wanted one night Saturday night)....This makes me concerned about how well this trip will play out... so I tell Seana and she does some research... She also couldn't find anything but she offers up a new plan... How about Sunday Night... She will take a day off of work and we go on Sunday instead of Saturday... and whalah! Hotels galore available!!  I came across this Hotel that looked FABULOUS called the Centennial in Concord, NH I booked it thinking that it s only an hour and a half away from where we want to go in Vermont... I then add it in my google maps road trip.. and freaked out, I read that it was almost 8 hrs to Concord.... which I was surprised to see... so I quickly cancelled our reservation and booked something in Vermont that was only 3 hrs away... I email Seana at work and inform her of the change... She calls me and is like what are you talking about??? Concord is only 4 hours away not 8!  So I looked go over my steps in my head and realize the total drive time I was originally looking at was the TOTAL trip not just the segment between Trumbull and Concord.  Grumble.  I really liked the look of the Centennial but now I am stuck with the place in Vermont I know this because I went to rebook it and nothing was available.  F$%k.   This is me frustrated. This is me done.  I tell Seana I don't want to talk I need to sulk.  Which Seana of course agrees to... she gets off the phone with me and does what she does best... she fixes it.  She calls me back and had somehow managed to book a room at the Centennial!  (This is how I know I am spoiled!!!)  She also took charge and picked out a drive in New Hampshire instead of Vermont so we don't have to worry about road closures!  So away we went toward White Mountain National Forest!

We decided to drive up and check into our hotel and then continue our drive up to White Mountain National Forest.  As we drove north we could see the transition slowly we saw more and more color!  

The hotel is fantastic, beautiful!! If you ever want to stay in Concord stay at the Centennial!!!  http://thecentennialhotel2-px.trvlclick.com/photogallery/index.cfm 

Anyway the drive!! What a great drive AND when we saw this sign... I knew we had picked the right drive!  That's right New Hampshire has a town named Thornton! Gotta love the east coast!
 Here we are in White Mountain National Forest!  I was surprised to still see a lot of green, most of it evergreens but there are still some trees who just haven't turned yet.
 Seana had mentioned that this forest is the home of the Old Man in the mountain... so to me that was a rock formation whoop dee do... ironically the freeway we were on drove us right to the old man observation point... Can you see the old man??  Neither could we!  That is because in 2003 it collapsed.  Seana was disappointed... and curious... It turns out this Old Man is a BIG deal to New Hampshire... it's silhouette is on the quarter and the road signs it is a symbol for this state.  In fact, there was talk of rebuilding it!  Turns out it is not just talk... they are building a memorial if you will it is going to be made up of 5 slabs of granite strategically lined up so that if you view it from a certain angle the 5 pieces become the silhouette of the Old Man.  So much for my whoop dee do.
 After viewing the location where the Old Man was, we headed back towards our hotel, I had read about this highway the Kancamagus (a real mouthful, often referred to as the Kanc for this reason)that is a must for leaf peepers and decided to just check it out.  We didn't want to do the entire drive because that would take 5 hours and we didn't have that kind of time left in the day.  Turns out just heading down the "Kanc" was a time investment because turning around to head back to the freeway meant getting in a LONG line of cars that had just completed the drive from the other way.  At some point we had to commit to turning around and getting into the traffic the further I drove in the other direction the longer our wait was going to be... so finally I found a place to turn off... I of course had a different motive... I wanted to find a spot to stop and take in the views and get a couple pictures!  And we found this spot!  There wasn't a ton of color but there were spots of color worth capturing!  Enjoy!

Seana and Maggie getting a close look!

 The hunt for the vibrant RED... found it!
 Johnny 5 looks right at home on this road!
 Maggie and I strike a pose and do some walking!

 Seana and Maggie having some fun!  I love these shots because the lighting from the flash makes these look like they are standing in front of a green screen... But these are the real deal!!

 Doing some walking and getting in some smile time with Muti!

 All that in just one day!  It did take us a while to get back to the freeway... with our hopes getting dashed to buy some ice cream but re-finding the joy when we see a road side stand with New Hampshire Maple Syrup at a great price... Umm Score!!!

The other must see for us in New Hampshire is covered bridges! So our return trip to Connecticut including a few stops to see some covered bridges!!

The first we saw was the Rowell bridge built in 1853. Here is a website that details the history of this bridge.  http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/bridges/p19.html 

 Next up the Henniker...  Some bridges are no longer used for driving or never were built for car use... this is one of those, used for foot traffic only.... well while finding a place to park to get close to it we saw the Michelle Bachmann bus!  Not a candidate we would support given that she is a huge supporter of keeping marriage between a man and woman only.... and thinking back I wish we could have jumped out and kissed in front of it!!!

 Any way.... Here is the Henniker built in 1972!  http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/bridges/p105.html

 Our last stop is the Carlton! Built in 1789 and reconstructed in 1996!  http://www.southwestnh.com/outdoors/bridges.html

We also saw the Slate Bridge listed on the Carlton website (link above).  We really enjoyed this trip!! And would recommend taking up leaf peeping as a fall hobby!

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