” Autumn is the second spring when every leaf is a flower “
Fall happens to be my favorite season of the year when the air becomes crisp, sun steps back and the nature spills colors. #ChasingFall2016 is the series that we started on Instagram that contains pictures of us travelling to different places during the fall this year. Acadia National Park, Maine and White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire in New England were on our list for quite some time and we decided to plan a week and a half long trip there in the last week of September spilling into first week of October.
We started our trip from Jacksonville to Boston where we stayed for a night before driving to White Mountains National Forest. We do not see significant color change in trees in Florida where leaves just dry out and shed. It was fascinating to see the trees turned yellow and orange while we were on the road.
Flume Gorge was the first hike we took admiring the water falls, the fern, moss and plants. The best part of walking up the stairs was that you are right next to the water falls and hike up to the gorge. There were beautiful bridges on the way which gave outlook to the beautiful sceneries of White Mountains Forest.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway was our next stop. The drive up the mountain was smooth and the view was spectacular. It was 28 degrees F with the winds blowing at 60 mph. We didn’t expect a trail on top of the mountain but there was a 0.3 mile trail which would take us to the observatory. After pulling ourselves together, we walked up to the observatory (which indeed was open where it felt even more colder). The view was jaw dropping! We saw the mountains everywhere we laid our eyes and the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds made nice shadows over the trees of the forest.
After returning back from summit of the Cannon Mountain, we spotted a nearby Echo Lake. This lake was serene and there was not a single person present there as the sun was setting down. We utilized this time to get some portraits and saw the colors changing on the trees as the sun went down.
Not to forget, Gypsy Cafe in Lincoln, NH has to be a standout dining experience for us in our entire trip and is highly recommended if you’re in that area. Do not miss the local blueberry pancakes if you’re in the area.
Driving through this scenic highway reminded me of several Yash Raj Films with beautiful backdrops. The 32 mile drive through these mountains was spectacular. We planned the vacation after looking extensively at the Fall Foliage Map so that we are in the locations during the peak fall, but looked like the peak was delayed by almost a week as per the predictions. We still got to see a decent amount of trees change the color, but we definitely missed the view of the entire forest change the color to red and orange.
The highway had many lookout points so you can take pictures, stretch a leg, go on a short trail or have lunch by the river or the waterfall running parallel to the highway. Is there anything better than this on a road trip?
Second location in the White Mountain Forest was North Conway which is on the eastern side of the forest. We started our day by driving to the Mt.Washington via Auto Road to the summit at the height of 6288 ft. We were lucky that the sky was clear and it was sunny as it helped us stay there for a longer time to soak in its beauty. If one doesn’t want to drive on the steep road, they can also take a train ride to the summit which runs every hour.
Few recommendations for great food in Conway:
1. Spinach and Mushroom Panini and Grilled Veggie Melt at Peach’s cafe
2. Flatbread Pizza Company for Firewood Pizza
3. Margarita Grill for Mexican Food.
Kancamagus Highway is undoubtedly a must do when you are traveling to New Hampshire or White Mountains National Forest but Highway 219 is also one road you can take to enjoy the scenic beauty of the trees which make canopy over the narrow road. While driving from NH to ME on the 219 highway, we saw an apple orchard which was right on the road and is operated by a couple who have been growing them since 20 years. The farm was had around 70 trees with variety of apples like Empire, Granny Smith, Mac and Golden Crisp. The branches were loaded with fresh juicy apples and I was excited like a kid in a candy store. If you are a fan of apples or pick your own (like me) you should visit an orchard as no grocery store can provide you apples as good as these.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is a small picturesque town in Acadia National Park which was our base for next 3 days. It has a beaches, mountains, trails for people of all ages, local shopping places and great places to eat. Cadillac mountain is one of the most visited scenic spots in and around Bar Harbor. People who witness the sunrise at Cadillac mountain are the first few ones who get to see the first sunrise in US during certain months of the year. We traveled to the summit to watch the sunrise over the islands & it was a great experience to see trees on the mountain turning golden and the vibrant colors in the sky.
After witnessing the sunrise, we drove through the Park Loop Road and stopped by many places namely Schooner Drive, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Jordan Pond to name a few. The Gorham Mountain trail is one trail which we recommend to everyone as you get a great view from the top of the mountain. If you like challenges, Cadillac Cliffs trail (a section of the Gorham Mountain trail) is the one you should attempt. We also traveled west to Bass Harbor & a less traveled graveled road – Cape Road for more scenic points around the harbor.
If you made it till here, you would agree with me that Acadia National Park and White Mountain National Forest are nature’s master pieces. If given an opportunity, I can go travel there at the drop of a hat. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below about the pictures and the entire blog post.