Monday, September 2, 2013
Can't hike 2000 miles in one summer? Take a road trip along the Appalachian Trail
Not many people can hike all 2,167 miles of the Appalachian Trail, but plenty use a ROAD TRIP PLANNER to create a car or RV version of it. While some expert hikers can manage the footpath in one season, most of us don't even have that kind of free time available. So exploring the Appalachian Trail via car or RV is the alternative and you can cover the same distance in about two weeks at a leisurely pace.
This scenic road trip closely follows the Appalachian Trail, with many spots where the trail and road cross paths. This allows you to immerse yourself in the deep woods with a daily hike but also enjoy nature's colors unfurling before you as you cruise along the two-lane highway. Start your road trip planner with a date in the Fall because then you get twice the benefit: Experience the Appalachian Mountains AND see New England's legendary Fall Colors.
That's not to say your trip itinerary will include nothing but trees and trails. You're passing through 14 historically significant states so you'll come upon many cultural places like quaint villages, country stores, historical museums and memorials to add to your road trip planner.
Even though the Appalachian trail runs through 14 states, this blog will include details on the first 6 of them (not including Maine): New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania. This leaves New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia for another blog. Remember, in order to follow the Appalachian Trail, you'll be meandering through the states, so even though your initial road trip planning might indicate a 1200-mile route, you'll actually be driving an additional 200 miles on this road trip.
CHOICE SPOTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR ROAD TRIP PLANNER:
IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: You'll be traveling west from Gorham to Orford before turning south.
* Pinkham Notch Camp
* Mt. Washington in New Hampshire's Presidential Range
* Mount Washington Cog Railway
* The five granite ledges of Old Man of the Mountain at the Franconia Notch Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich
IN VERMONT: Your entry point is White River Junction; exit through Bennington.
* The historic town of Woodstock
* Gifford Woods State Park in the heart of the Green Mountains
* A panoramic view of Mt. Snow as you descend into Wilmington
IN MASSACHUSETTS: You'll be skirting the west on Highway 7 all the way from Williamstown to Ashley Falls.
* Mount Greylock State Reservation
* Hancock Shaker Village
* Mount Washington State Forest in South Egremont (stay at the Weathervane, a great B & B).
IN CONNECTICUT: Enter in Canaan on Highway 7 and exit through Danbury.
* Norfolk, for its sheer beauty, including its private forest
* The Appalachian Trail crosses Highway 7 and the Housatonic River at Cornwall Bridge.
* Allow one luxury stay at the Berkshires. The Berkshires is to western Connecticut what the Catskills is to New York and the Poconos to Pennsylvania.
IN NEW YORK: We're only going to include the Appalachian Trail segment in this road trip planner and keep the "other" New York for another trip (unless you really can't help yourself & decide to spend a few days in New York City...it's your vacation after all :>). Drive along US 6 to Highway 7, touching the southeastern part of New York and exiting through Port Jervis.
* West Point, the Army's famous military academy
* Bear Mountain State Park
* Harriman State Park
IN PENNSYLVANIA: Come in at Dingman's Ferry and exit through Gettysburg (you'll actually dip a bit in the Garden State of New Jersey).
* Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
* The Poconos
* Roadside America in the village of Shartlesville to see a scale model of bygone Americana.
* The Pennsylvania Dutch Country