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Old 11th July 2016, 02:19   #1
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Default Lost in the United States in search of diversity

Traveling from one state to another in India is something that my wife and I always take pleasure in because of the diversity in culture, language, food, attire, and the list grows. We relocated to the United States of America last year owing to my job requirement. With a hope of adding more exciting experiences into our travel diary, we set out to exploring places. We have, by and large, covered a few scenic places in New England and cities on wheels. This travelogue is a compilation of the same.

Steed for all our trips - 2006 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL V6:
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It had run around 70K miles when I purchased last year. The present odometer reading is 130K miles. Have taken it on variety of terrains in different seasons and it just takes us everywhere without any complaints.
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Old 11th July 2016, 02:42   #2
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We stay at a small town called Westborough in Massachusetts. Hence all the route references, distances in this travelogue will be with respect to Westborough.

Townshend, Vermont:
Our favorite destination to visit on any weekend is Vermont state. This state is devoid of large cities, chain hotels and huge malls. The largest city in this state is Burlington which itself is a small town compared to other cities in other states. The state is full of small beautiful towns which are very scenic. Most of the places in Vermont can be covered as a day trip from our home.

Townshend is a small town in Vermont which has a reservoir and a state park. We started from home at 5 AM and took the scenic Mohawk trail (MA-2) and reached there at around 8 AM. We had gone there on a long weekend and expected lot of crowd but to our surprise, we were the only visitors there. Most of the scenic places in Vermont are usually deserted (except in fall) which is why we like this state the most. The place has well maintained rest rooms with other facilities such as shower, change rooms (facilities are only open from May - October).

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I regret not carrying swimming trunk and extra pair of clothes. This is the designated place for swimming in the backwaters marked by park authorities and it would have been a blast swimming there.
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The direct route which we took in the morning (https://goo.gl/maps/mJzhEgrzcer):
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I usually try to avoid the boring Interstate highways as much as possible and try to explore the scenic back roads if we have sufficient time. Hence while returning, I decided to take the Vermont Route 100 (scenic byway) and then join the MA-8A which is a very scenic road. MA-8A passes through some beautiful villages of Massachusetts. My original plan was then to continue in MA-8A South to join MA-9 and proceed towards home. But due to insufficient time, decided to cut short the exploration and took MA-2 to join I-91 and head back home. (https://goo.gl/maps/rt9Ey9JDPi82)
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Old 11th July 2016, 03:07   #3
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Mt Willard, New Hampshire:

Another destination which we love to go is White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire. Although it's more crowded and has more tourist traffic than Vermont, it provides stunning views of the Presidential range of mountains. It's one of the most preferred destinations for hiking and skiing.

Mt Willard is a small mountain in the White mountains which can be easily hiked. The relatively short trail offers very good view of Crawford Notch from the summit. We usually start from home at 4 AM for most of the hikes in the White mountains and reach there by 8 AM. Mt Willard trail is around 1.6 miles.

Parked the car at Crawford depot which has all the facilities (May - October)
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The trail is fairly simple:
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Centennial pool which can be seen almost half way through the hike:
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Stunning views of Crawford Notch from the summit of Mt Willard:
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Took the beautiful I-93 to reach White Mountains:
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Old 11th July 2016, 03:16   #4
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Crawford Notch, New Hampshire:

After hiking Mt Willard, we proceeded towards Crawford Notch to have our lunch which we had packed from home. Crawford Notch has a very scenic picnic area which I feel is the best place in the area to relax and to have some fun. We always go there after any hike, have food, relax for some time and head back home.

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Old 11th July 2016, 03:23   #5
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Mt Avalon, New Hampshire

This is another small mountain in the White Mountains range. The trail is rated as moderate and is around 1.6 miles to the summit. The first mile is an easy hike. The last 0.5 mile is a tough one with just boulders all around. The summit offers a good 360 degree view of the Presidential range.

Starting point of the hike is same as that of Mt Willard i.e., from the Crawford depot.
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Small streams are encountered on the trail:
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The last 0.5 miles is very steep filled with such boulders:
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Views on the way to summit:
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Old 11th July 2016, 03:31   #6
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Views from the summit of Mt Avalon. There is no well defined summit on Mt Avalon. We need to search for vantage points between the trees for the best views:
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Old 11th July 2016, 03:38   #7
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After spending few hours on the summit, we came back to home through Kancamagus highway just for some added driving pleasure.

Few scenic spots on Kancamagus highway:
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Old 11th July 2016, 04:14   #8
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Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire:

The best season to visit anywhere in New Hampshire or Vermont is the fall. The fall colors enhance the already beautiful vistas of the region. Pinkham Notch, which is in the White Mountains National Forest, offers some beautiful views of fall colors. It's located at the base of Mt Washington, the highest peak of New England region.

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Old 11th July 2016, 04:20   #9
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The scenic US-302:
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NH-16. Lots of scenic stops are present all along NH-16:
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I-93:
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Took the regular I-93 while going to Pinkham Notch:
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Returned through Kancamagus highway:
Lost in the United States in search of diversity-return.jpg

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Old 11th July 2016, 04:31   #10
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Waterville Valley, New Hampshire:

Waterville is a very small town in White Mountains area which is famous for ski resort. A lot of activities are present for summer too. We usually go there for cycling. There are many good bicycle trails in this area ranging from novice to expert. One has to clearly inspect the condition of bikes before renting. Good number of bikes here have loose chains which may come apart anytime.

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Took the usual I-93 to reach Waterville Valley:
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Took a small detour through Tripoli Road near Waterville. Tripoli road passes through deep woods before joining I-93:
Lost in the United States in search of diversity-return.jpg

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Old 11th July 2016, 04:33   #11
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Few more pics of Waterville valley.

After completing few trails, we took the bikes on the scenic NH-49 which connects Waterville valley with I-93:
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One of the trail leads through a beautiful golf course:
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NH-49:
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Old 11th July 2016, 04:47   #12
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Mt Sugarloaf, Massachusetts:

Mt Sugarloaf is a small peak located on the banks of Connecticut river near the town of South Deerfield. It offers panoramic views of Connecticut river and Sunderland town. The Amherst town also is visible from the summit. One can drive upto the summit or park the car at the bottom and hike. It's a small hike which takes around 45 mins to reach the summit. All facilities are present at the summit (May - October). The auto road to summit is not open during winter but one can park the car at the base and hike to summit. Restrooms on the summit are closed in winters and one has to plan accordingly before hiking. Also the parking payment system does not accept cards but only cash. The nearest ATM is in South Deerfield.

Connecticut river from the summit:
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Town of South Deerfield:
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Mt Toby can be seen on the left:
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The small hiking trail to the summit.
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Somewhere on MA-122:
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MA-122 passes through some beautiful Massachusetts villages:
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Took the direct route through Masspike to Mt.Sugarloaf (https://goo.gl/maps/igLKzVdh8mw):
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Decided to explore interior Massachusetts while returning. I took interior roads to US-202 from South Deerfield and then took the MA-122 to Worcestor to reach home. Both US-202 and MA-122 are classified as scenic byways of Massachusetts and it's worth exploring these two beautiful roads which passes through beautiful and peaceful Massachusetts countryside. I highly recommend these two routes. Wish I had a GoPro to capture these two beautiful routes (https://goo.gl/maps/qhzRPEQjMtB2):
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Old 11th July 2016, 04:55   #13
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I had been to Mt Sugarloaf during last fall too and it offers better views than in summer.

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Auto road to the summit of Mt Sugarloaf:
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I had taken a small detour through Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne falls on the way to Mt Sugarloaf in the morning. Recommend visiting this place only in Spring as it has nothing to offer in other seasons.
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Did not take the direct route while coming back but took some detours through MA-47 and MA-63 which passes through the Connecticut river valley and Massachusetts countryside:
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MA-63:
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Homer - Bridge of Flowers - Mt Sugaloaf (https://goo.gl/maps/KUKWGpi56g72):
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Mt Sugarloaf - MA-47 - MA-63 - Home (https://goo.gl/maps/uh5sw2QjarS2):
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Old 11th July 2016, 05:31   #14
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Echo Lake, New Hampshire:

Echo lake is situated on the base of a ski resort just off I-93 in Franconia notch State park. We used to just see it from the highway whenever we passed through it, but never ventured near it due to the crowd. We just decided on a winter morning to drive to Echo lake. We ensured the weather was fine without any snow storms and started driving towards Franconia. It's important to check weather forecast for the destination too.

It was completely deserted owing to the weather. The otherwise crowded parking lot was empty:
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The beautiful echo lake:
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Just a drive to Echo lake was considered too short and hence decided to try the Kancamagus highway in Winter. Confirmed from a cop that the Kancamagus highway is open and we just headed in that direction through the beautiful US-3 -> US-302 -> NH-116 -> NH-112.
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Mt Washington can be seen from US-302:
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Crawford depot:
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Route:
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Old 11th July 2016, 05:34   #15
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US-302 and Kancamagus highway in Winter which was completely devoid of traffic:
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Kancamagus highway in Winter.
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The scenic overlook parking areas were cleared of snow:
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This was the best drive on Kancamagus highway. We just encountered 4-5 vehicles on the entire 32 mile stretch. It's always a pain to drive through this crowded route during other seasons.

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