After lingering by the fireplace in our little room for as long as possible on Friday morning, we checked out of the Inn at Weathersfield and were back on the road.

Shane and I remarked several times on the absence of strip malls and ugly stucco box-buildings in Vermont.  The churches, the restaurants, the neighborhood post offices are all so incredibly charming.

Our first stop was at the Quechee Gorge just east of Woodstock – the bridge there offers a killer view over the Ottauquechee River.  We followed the river to Dewey’s Pond, and I found myself dreaming of a little waterfront cabin with a rowboat.

From the Quechee Gorge, we pointed our car toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Some last-minute Googling directed us to a scenic route past Stinson Lake, where we came upon this little gem of a waterfall.  We hopped around the rocks and enjoyed the feeling of being the only ones there – like we’d stumbled up some secret little place meant just for us.

A few miles later, we came upon this lookout and jumped out of the car to snap a couple of pictures in the sunshine.  Two minutes after this, we were showered with tiny balls of hail – we hit the road again and I cranked the heater up until Shane’s eyes watered!

We were a little disappointed to find that we’d missed peak foliage season – a lot of the trees around the White Mountains were already baring their winter limbs.  But Bear Notch Road, just a few miles from our hotel, was still a stunning tunnel of gold and orange.  I turned to Shane around each bend and kept saying “wow!” over and over.

We packed our things up for the last time on Saturday morning and headed east for a two-hour tour of Maine on our way back down to Massachusetts.  We spent just enough time in Portland to get a hot drink, walk past the shops on Exchange Street, and decide we’ll definitely have to come back someday (preferably in the summer – so many ice cream shops there!)

Our final stop was in Salem to catch up with my aunt, uncle, and cousins that live there – we chatted over a pot of tea and a loaf of zucchini bread, and then it was time to head to the airport to catch our flight.  And oooooohh, how I hated to say good-bye to New England.  This trip far exceeded my hopes and expectations.  A home in Vermont may not be in our future (let’s be real, I’d probably spend the entire winter buried under a pile of blankets, begging for mercy), but we will back someday.  So maybe this wasn’t good-bye, just “see ya later…”.  And thanks for everything.