Saturday, September 29, 2012
Bethel, Maine to Revere, Massachusetts

In the morning, we went to the continental breakfast served in the inn. Our room was in the motel part of the motel/inn, so we hadn't visited the dining room yet. It was cozy and charming and so much like I'd always pictured New England that it seemed out of a storybook. They even had a fire in the fireplace. The weather is foggy and misty today, about 50 degrees.

Near the end of our meal, the proprietress came over to chat about our stay, and I mentioned that the décor and the weather reminded me of Christmas back home. She laughed and said that to them, it's still summer!

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Norseman Inn

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Breakfast in New England

Mount Washington, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, at 6,288 feet (1,917 meters), and is famous for its dangerously erratic weather. Until 2010, a weather observatory on the summit held the record for the highest wind gust measured at the Earth's surface, 231 miles per hour, on April 12, 1934.

The Mount Washington Auto Road is a 7.6-mile, steep (average grade 11.6 percent), nerve-racking, scenic toll road that leads to the top of Mount Washington. The weather today is pretty poor for a scenic drive. In fact, visibility is probably close to zero at the top of the mountain. But crummy weather just goes with the territory on Mount Washington, and you get what you get. The drive is the experience, and we were ready to go! We checked out of our hotel at 10:30 and were on our way.

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Cool like a moose, Gorham, New Hampshire

At 11:15 we arrived at the Auto Road, only to be turned away because of yesterday's rain causing the dirt portion of the road near the top to be wet and slick. And of course they can't predict when it might reopen, but more rain and drizzle is expected today, so it doesn't look good. Rats!

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Mount Washington Auto Road

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Foggy fall foliage

Now what? Well, just down Highway 16, in Jackson, New Hampshire, we decided to take a gondola to the summit of Wildcat Mountain, elevation 4,000-plus feet. So at least we got to experience the view we would have gotten from the top of Mount Washington, which was nothing, but it was kind of cool up there anyway. We hiked a short ways down a trail and found a place where faires should live.

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Wildcat Mountain Gondola

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"View" from the top

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Fairyland

We ate lunch in the parking lot at the base of Wildcat Mountain, leftovers from last night's dinner, then drove back to the Auto Road, just to make sure it hadn't opened in the meantime since we'd last checked. It hadn't, so we headed south toward Boston, following Highway 16 as far as Dover. It was a beautiful drive for fall foliage, and we had an opportunity to meet some colorful New Hampshirites along the way.

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Autumn in New Hampshire

At 6:00 we arrived at the Four Points by Sheraton Boston Logan Airport Hotel, located in Revere, Massachusetts, just a mile or so from an MBTA station that goes to Boston. We'll be here three nights. It wasn't a bad price for a nice hotel in the Boston area, $146. The room was huge, with a king-sized bed (finally!), microwave, fridge, free parking, free wifi, and free breakfast. However, if you want a 12-ounce Sam Adams in the bar, it'll set you back 6 bucks. Ha! We walked down the road to The Dairy Mart, a convenience store/liquor store/keno lounge and bought a six-pack for 6 bucks instead.

We ate dinner at the Landing Cafe Lounge in the hotel, skipping the $6 beers. We each had a cheeseburger and fries. I really enjoyed listening to the Boston accents of the waitstaff.

Continue to September 30, 2012

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