3-Day Road Warrior: Boston, MA to Manchester, NH
Why leave the same way you arrived?
If you’re flying to Boston, Massachusetts, whether on business or for pleasure, and want to experience some of America’s most beautiful landscapes, then follow these simple steps to make the most of driving the New England states in road-warrior fashion.
1. Rent a car: All the major car rental companies are in the Boston Logan International Airport and offer competitive rates for a three or four day rental. Starting prices are around $100.00 per day.
2. Head North: Drive onto I-93 North into New Hampshire for 165 miles to Whitefield, NH. Follow I-93 North to exit 35 and bear right, following Route 3 for 21 miles. Turn right onto Mountain View Road for another .25 miles and finish the drive at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa. This scenic route takes you through the western portion of White Mountain National Forest where there are plenty of places to stop and view, or photograph, some amazing landscape.
3. Stay at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa: Not only is the White Mountain National Forest a sight of New England wonder but so is the resort. This establishment began in 1865 and closed down in 1989 and was purchased by an entrepreneur who invested more than $20 million to complete a historic renovation. More than 57 mountain peaks, including the Presidential Range, can be seen from the resort. Visit www.mountainviewgrand.com to learn more about all that is available. Did I mention it is the only 8 Diamond Resort around the area and offers rooms at very affordable prices?
4. Wake up and enjoy the morning view while eating breakfast in one of the three restaurants on the property of the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa.
5. Leave Whitefield, NH and arrive at Stowe, VT: Drive the 21.25 miles back to I-93 North. Head North on I-93 and drive about 20 miles (crossing over into Vermont) and merge onto I-91 North towards St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Take exit 21 and get on US 2 toward Danville/Montpelier for 10 miles and then turn right onto VT-15/Grand Army of the Republic Highway for 13 miles. Take another right to stay on VT-15 for 12 more miles and then turn left on Park Street for 2 miles. Park Street becomes Upper Main Street/ VT -12 and follow this for 9 miles. Welcome to Stowe, Vermont. (Total Drive: about 87 miles).
6. Relax: Stowe offers plenty of things to do: shop, dine, hike, ski, tours, etc. Stay for a few hours and have lunch (my favorite is the Shed Brewery for local brew and dining).
7. Pack the car, you’re headed East: Leave Stowe and head for Waterville, Maine. This is a lengthy drive but worth every mile. Start out by taking Main Street back to VT -15/Grand Army of the Republic Highway East for 25 miles. Turn left on US 2 for 9 miles and merge onto I-91 South for 6 miles. Take exit 1 toward US 2 East and turn left on VT-18. Next, turn right on US 2 (crossing back into New Hampshire) and follow US 2 for about 118 miles. Be aware, you have to watch the signs to follow US 2 correctly but don’t forget to enjoy the scenery as well. This is a good time to let someone else do the driving so you can look out the window. Turn right on ME-156 and follow for 9 miles which turns into ME-41. Turn right, back onto US-2 for 17 miles which turns into ME-139. Follow ME-139 for 11 miles which turns into ME-104. Follow ME-104 for 3.5 miles and turn onto Pico Ter. Welcome to small town feeling Waterville, Maine! That wasn’t so bad was it? You’re drive isn’t over yet though. (Total drive: 210 miles).
8. Eat: In Waterville, Maine, eat at the Thai Bistro at 147 Main Street. Not only is the food (Authentic Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese Cuisine with plenty of dishes for everyone) outstanding but its chef, Thisakorn Allen, has received five star ratings and is called “One of Maine’s culinary gems.”
9. Leave Waterville with a full and happy stomach and head south to Augusta: I recommend following the ME-104 alongside the Kennebec River about 20 miles and into the heart of Augusta, Maine. This drive allows for many scenic river/bridge photos. The other option is to backtrack to I-95 South and follow it for 18 miles south and then merge onto ME-17 another 2 miles to Augusta. Either way will get you there.
10. In Augusta: Augusta offers plenty of places to lay your head for the night with all of the typical hotels, motels, and inns. However, if you wish to be enthralled by a captivating bedtime experience, I recommend the Benjamin Wales House Bed & Breakfast just another 2 miles south of Augusta on ME-27 in Hallowell, Maine. In Hallowell, turn right onto Temple Street, left on 2nd Street, and a quick right onto Chestnut Street. This historic 1820 Federal style B&B, listed on the National Registry of Historic Place, with English gardens, cobblestone patios, professionally landscaped grounds, ponds and waterfalls, with charming shops just blocks away is located on the corner of Chestnut Street and Middle Street. It may be just the kind of rest you require after a solid day of crossing the most northern New England states.
11. Wake up and enjoy an amazing breakfast that will provide enough sustenance to get you through the day. After breakfast, walk a couple of blocks to downtown Hallowell for more history and shopping or jump back into the car and return the 2 miles to Augusta to see view the Old Fort Western which was built in 1754 and is a National Historic Landmark and is America’s oldest surviving wooden fort. Tours of the fort are available from 1-4 p.m. at a minimal cost.
12. Leave Augusta, Maine: Head south on I-95 for 105 miles; merge onto NH-101 east for 5.5 miles; then turn right onto Ocean Blvd./NH -1A south; turn left onto D Street; and another left onto Ocean Blvd./NH 1A north, to Hampton Beach, NH. This is the premium beach location of New Hampshire and offers plenty of great places to eat and enough lobster to keep your claws busy.
13. Put your feet in the cool ocean and then eat fresh seafood. After all, you have covered about 590 miles thus far and your feet might appreciate the chilled waters. There are plenty of photo opportunities here or you may just enjoy sitting upon a rock at Sawyer’s Beach, south of town, to soak up the horizon.
14. Dry off and load into the car: Heading to Manchester, New Hampshire is simple and only 50 minutes from the Hampton Beach area. Turn left onto NH-101 W/Church Street; continue on NH-101 for 38 miles; merge onto I-293 N/NH-101 W toward Manchester for 2.5 then; turn left on NH-3A/Brown Avenue for 1.5 miles; Stay straight to go onto Airport Road and then a slight left towards the rental car return.
15. Drop off rental car and smile broadly as you have just completed a four state, 628 mile trip in a very short period of time. If you decide to stay in Manchester for an evening make sure to check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Zimmerman House. It is the only Wright house open to the public in all of New England.
Nicely done, Road Warrior!
By: Jaymes Ian Woode