Honest Thoughts On My New England Road Trip: Recap And Final Thoughts
In October of 2021, I planned a 9 day solo road trip through some New England states. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up only doing a 7 day road trip. Now that a few months have passed since that trip, I thought I’d do a recap on the experience and express my final thoughts on the road trip experience.
Related Post: 7 Day New England Road Trip Itinerary
Refresher of The Road Trip
To get more context about my road trip, why I decided to travel throughout New England, and to see the itinerary, check out the blog post above. If you’re all caught up, then let’s continue!
By the end of my solo road trip, I managed to travel to two new states: Vermont and New Hampshire. Massachusetts was another state I went to but the experience wasn’t new, as I’ve been to MA before. I drove hundreds of miles to a lot of different places, met some awesome people, and did a lot of hiking and leaf peeping!
I have to say, by the end of this trip, I was very tired from all the driving. It was tiring to drive varying distances every single day. In my everyday life, I drive 2 hours to and from home for my job. I’m used to longer drives. However, driving to new places each day had me exhausted.
Needless to say, I enjoyed the whole road trip experience. It was another solo trip, so I was happy about that! Plus, I love being in the car by myself, so I didn’t find this trip to be daunting or uneasy. Throughout the states I visited, I saw tons of beautiful fall foliage at varying stages. I also hiked a few trails, some in touristy places and unexpected areas.
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Creating the Itinerary
Before I left Pennsylvania, I created a rough itinerary which would serve as my guide for the road trip. Honestly, I wrote down things to see and do in Salem, MA, liked places in Vermont and New Hampshire on TripAdvisor, and that’s it. As long as I had a general sense of where I wanted to go, and what to do, I would go from there.
What I did know was that I wanted to start my trip in Massachusetts and end in Vermont. I could’ve done it the other way around but I felt that starting in MA would be a better fit for me. Basically, I outlined this solo road trip to like a loop. I mapped out locations I wanted to visit, took note of how far apart they were, and decided which places to hit up first. That way, I wasn’t wasting time or gas.
Now, while I was actually driving, I added and took away places from the itinerary. This gave me a lot of flexibility for the road trip so I could cater it to what was happening in the moment. In the end, I was, and still am, very pleased with how the final itinerary came out.
Recap of Road Trip
This was the first stop on my New England road trip. Of course, when it’s October, you have to visit Salem. That’s exactly what I did. My hotel was in Woburn but I drove to and from Salem. I did a lovely ghost tour, visited witch museums, the Peabody Essex Museum, and explored the area.
I also went to Fall River where I did a ghost tour of the Lizzie Borden house and was a little disappointed with how it was. Nevertheless, I enjoyed walking around the area. In addition, I visited the Pioneer Village which satisfied the nerd in me. And, I had some iced coffees that were not the greatest in the world.
One of the famous New England states for stunning fall foliage, you know I had to visit here. I started my visit in NH off with exploring Portsmouth. However, this ended in an unexpected walk around Maine, which was fun. From there, I hiked a trail on The Gonic Trails in Rochester, Sugar Hill, and in Franconia Notch State Park! I did a lot of hiking in this state.
I can’t forget about my drive down the beautiful Kancamagus Highway and my cool, unexpected pitstop at the Ossipee Conservation area. The views and fall foliage in New Hampshire are absolutely gorgeous!
The truth is, I really didn’t stay long in New Hampshire. At the time, I was very tired and didn’t really want to drive anywhere else in the state. Plus, when I finished my hike in Franconia Notch State Park, I was towards the northern part of the state. I didn’t want to back track and head south when I had plans to go to Stowe in Vermont, which is towards the norther part of the state.
Ultimately, I made the executive decision to cut my time in New Hampshire short and drive to Vermont. In hindsight, I’m glad I did as my road trip was coming to an end.
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Last but not least, Vermont. I only spent about a day and a half here before I had to cancel the remainder of my trip and head home. What I did see and do in Vermont was awesome. Just the drive through Vermont to get to Stowe was beautiful. Fall foliage in all its glory, throughout the whole state, there’s nothing like it.
When I made it to Stowe, I has some awesome lagers that are specific to New England. I also had pretty good food, did two lovely hikes in the rain, and explored the little town of Stowe for a bit. Overall, a lovely little area with charm and stunning fall foliage.
My final thoughts on my solo New England road trip are pretty positive overall. Although some things didn’t go according to plan, and I made some unexpected stops along the way, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It was a fun but tiring road trip, as I had to do a lot of driving, sight-seeing, and hiking over the course of 7 days.
I was also very pleased with the way my itinerary came out. More often than not, I stick to the itinerary but always leave some space for changes or adjustments. There’s something about having some structure but also going with the flow which gives you the best of both worlds, and the best experience (in my opinion).
Of course, there’s the solo aspect. After all, this was a solo road trip through New England, I have to speak to what it was like traveling solo. Though I do have a whole other blog post on my experience traveling through New England as a solo woman, I’ll briefly talk about it here as well.
Despite the fact that I was alone, I enjoyed being by myself. I’m learning that the more I solo travel, the more I like and prefer it. Don’t get me wrong, I like traveling with others but I do believe there’s a time and place for that. I did meet some sweet people on my first night in Woburn and on the Flume Gorge trail in Franconia Notch State Park, so I wasn’t completely alone all the time.
In terms of safety, I generally felt completely safe while traveling throughout New England. I did mostly visit outdoor areas, and I visited Salem where the crowds were abundant. Needless to say, even then, I felt completely safe. I followed general safety practices no matter where I went and was always aware of my surroundings.
This trip was so much fun, tiring, and freeing all at the same time. There’s nothing like traveling on your own, seeing some amazing fall foliage, and doing other cool activities along the way. I’d definitely go on another solo road trip in the future, only to a different section of the USA. I can’t wait to see what that looks like!