Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast: 10-Day Itinerary in North America

Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip took place in October, when aspens, tamaracks, and red oaks reach their peak, resulting in a spectacular display of fall foliage with vibrant colours of gold, scarlet, and orange. The stunning fall foliage scene was one of the best things I loved during my years in North America.

Now, having lived in Germany for many years, the gorgeous foliage scene never goes away from my mind. When the autumn is coming, I could imagine stepping on the colourful foliage and feeling the crunchy leaves beneath my feet. The lingering warmth of the autumn sunshine is a constant reminder of the luxuriant foliage scene. 

Therefore, after detailed planning, we made the 10-day road trip itinerary and hoped to see the foliage on time. Given the changing climate facts and the distance between Germany and North America, we had difficulty judging when should be the best time to see the foliage. To avoid a disappointing situation, we added other activities and the east coast of Canada to the itinerary. 

Our 10-day itinerary of the Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip was:

1st Day: Boston Arrival, Overnight stay in Best Western Concord Inn and Suites

Our Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip started from Frankfurt, Germany. The Lufthansa flight arrived at Boston International Airport in the late afternoon. At the airport, we picked up our rental car and then headed towards our first accommodation, Best Western Concord Inn and Suites in Manchester.

2ed Day: Tilton Outlet Shopping, Overnight stay in Econo Lodge Harrisonburg

Originally, we planned to see foliage near Concord and White Mountain National Forest. But the weather was bad. Besides, the heavy rain has knocked down most leaves in the area. We had to change our plan and spent a few hours in the Tilton Outlet instead.

3rd Day: Scenic drive through Conway, Naples, Freeport, Overnight stay in Comfort Inn Brunswick

Finally, we had a sunny day. Everywhere we went to was full of autumn colour. We passed delightful towns and had a good meal at a lakeside restaurant. My kid, who was still in kindergarten age, was so excited to see the vibrant foliage. He picked up many leaves and carefully selected the ones in healthy good shape, and requested to frame the leaves. I wasn’t sure if the framing would work when we were back in Germany. It was quite a job to keep the leaves flat along the way in our luggage. Later at home in Germany, we chose some leaves and managed to frame them using a wooden frame. The framed foliage is a visual memory of our trip, as my kid could still clearly remember that trip today. 

4th Day: Scenic driving through Camden, Winter Harbor, Overnight stay in Winsome Inn, Canada

On that day, we turned to the southeast and drove along the coastal area. Our first stop was the quaint seaside town of Camden. Situated on Penobscot Bay, the small coastal town of Camden is a lovely place with a welcoming community.  We had lunch in a local restaurant and bought some gifts from a fun shop. Then we had a short walk along the rugged coastline.

Continue heading toward the east, and before we reached the Canadian border, we drove away from highway No.1 and towards the fishing village Winter Harbor with an attractive section called Grindstone Neck. Some of the small paths on the western shore looked leading to nowhere.

The weather turned bad again. The western shore of Winter Harbor provides spectacular views of Bar Harbor and several of the mountains on Mount Desert Island, but we could not enjoy the views.

5th Day: St. Martins pebble beach and caves, 4 Overnight stays in Crown Plaza, Moncton

It was a sunny day, but the air was chilly in Canada. We had to put on our light winter jackets. During the scenic drive to St. Martin, we spotted some colourful maple leaves here and there. At lunchtime, we arrived at the picturesque fishing village of St. Martins, where you can get a glimpse of life in New Brunswick.

St. Martins has a thriving shipbuilding era of bygone days. In the 19th century, over a dozen shipyards along the beaches, coves, and rivers in and around St. Martins. Today, the village has much fewer inhabitants and is a favorite place for artists. Its lighthouse, lobster traps, and fishing boats creating a charming scene. We strolled over the covered bridge and explored the working harbour of St. Martins.

St. Martins has premier attraction of sea caves. We were able to walk the ocean floor out to sea caves. After a walk along the beach, we had a light lunch of delicious seafood at the beach restaurant.  

6th Day: Bouctouche’s Irving Eco-centre and Pays de la Sagouine

Bouctouche’s Irving Eco-centre

The day trip to Bouctouche’s Irving Eco-centre was a wonderful family event.  The Irving Eco-centre preserves and restores one of the few remaining great dunes on the northeastern coastline of Canada. This dune stretches 12 km across Bouctouche Bay. It is a result of the constant action of wind, tides, and sea currents since the last ice age. And, the wind, tides, and ocean currents result in constant movement of sand. 

Walking on an 800m boardwalk with ramps and stairs to the beach, we explored the dune’s wilderness and its salt marsh and observed the fauna crossing the dune without endangering their precious, fragile habitats. It was such a vast area. We spent a few hours enjoying the beauty of the Irving Eco-Centre. 

Pays de la Sagouine

On the way back to Moncton, we passed the Acadian culture centre, Pays de la Sagouine, a culture centre on a small island connected to the land via an arched wooden walkway. It is a theatrical village offering spectacular theatre shows and live musical performances from the local house band. The visitors can learn the Acadian history, listen to the Acadian accents, taste the authentic Acadian food.

7th Day: Day trip to Prince Edward Island (Cape Egmont, Charlottetown, Victoria)

Bottle Houses village near Cape Egmont

Our first stop was the Bottle Houses village. It was a recycling project made up of approximately 30.000 recycled bottles. Built by a local Acadian, the bottle houses used bottles in various shapes and colours, featuring glass art and garden décor. The site has three bottle houses, the six gabled-house, the tavern, and the chapel. In the hexagonally structured tavern, we saw a large selection of bottles collected by the founder. 

Eat Lobster Lunch near the Charlottetown Cruise Terminal

Charlottetown is the vibrant centre of Prince Edward Island and a holiday base. We arrived there shortly before lunch and went straight to the harbour area. Longing for the lobsters, we popped into a harbour restaurant and had a wonderful lobster meal. I looked towards the waterfront and spotted a cruise docked on the harbour. Then, we learned that the Charlottetown harbour is one of the three cruise ports on PEI.    

The fishing village Victoria and the red sand shore

Before leaving the PEI, we stopped at Victoria, a picturesque fishing village on the southern shore. We visited Victoria Seaport Museum, an operating lighthouse that houses an exhibit of the village’s maritime history. Victoria is embodied by the colour red, the red sand beaches, and the red jutting cliffs. We were so impressed by the surroundings and followed the red clay roads that disappeared over hills.

It was getting dark, and we had to return to our hotel in Moncton. PEI connects to the mainland via the 13-Kilometre Confederation Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world.

8th Day: Titanic Museum in Halifax

Titanic Museum in Halifax

It was a rainy day, the worst day during our Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip. There was no chance to look around Halifax. Therefore, we could spend some time in the Titanic Museum. The museum is all about the great lost ocean liner. Pictures, videos, wreck artifacts tell visitors the story of the Titanic. What attracted me was the sample cabin. The original Titanic cabin room was so small compared to the modern cruise cabin. Like most disasters in history, the tragedy was a result of human mistakes.

The Germans in a Japanese Restaurant

We had a late lunch in a Japanese restaurant. It offered delicious seafood. We used English to order food but found out the waiters were German immigrants. So, we shifted to the German language to exchange some information. The guests from the neighbouring table heard our German conversation and were happy to order the food in German as well. They were the cruise passengers from a cruise liner docked at Halifax cruise harbour on that day.  We started to chat with each other, and the atmosphere of the restaurant got lively. Though things did not work out as planned, we had a cheerful time in the end.

9th Day: Bar Harbor, Overnight stay in Bar Harbor Inn and Spa

It was a long drive on that day, from Moncton to Bar Harbor in Maine, USA. The weather was not pleasant, rainy, and windy. We booked a night in a Holiday Inn hotel. Upon arrival, we were shocked to see that the hotel was closed for the season.

While we were so angry about the situation, a small notice on the door cheered us again. It stated that the hotel was closed due to few bookings, and those who booked the night stays could move to a Spa hotel in the neighbourhood. As soon as we moved into the spa hotel Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, we were satisfied with the new arrangement and relaxed in the hotel the rest of the day.

10th Day: Portland Old Port, Overnight stay in Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port

Shore walk path in Bar Harbor

The breakfast in the luxury hotel was surprisingly good, the scrambled eggs with lobster, bread, fruit, warm and cold drinks, etc.  We took time to enjoy the breakfast. It was late in the morning when we did the shore walk path starting next to Agamont Park. The shore path is close to the town pier. If we got up earlier in the morning, we could see the local fishermen preparing for their daily lobster and scallop runs.  It is also the place to greet the morning sun bursting over the horizon.

Portland Old Port

We arrived in Portland in the late afternoon. Before dinner time, we strolled around the Old Port, breathed its salty air, admired the 19th-century brick buildings, and checked some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Finally, we had our lobster dinner in a restaurant near the old port.

11th Day: Visit the Portland Head Light and return to Boston Airport

Before heading to the Boston International Airport, we made a side trip to the pristine Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine and arguably the most beautiful in New England. Situated along the spectacular shores of Fort Williams Park, Portland Head Light is a landmark for its historical significance. From its location, we had stunning ocean views. Standing on the rocky cliffs jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, we smelt the salty ocean air, heard the ocean waves crashing on the rocks, and saw the seagulls flying overhead. It was an enjoyable excursion on the last day of our Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip.

Conclusion

The 10-Day itinerary of Autumn Foliage and Acadian Coast Road Trip was short. If we had more time, we would extend it to two weeks. For example, in Prince Edward Island, we would like to spend two or three days. For outdoor lovers, PEI is a nature holiday area, and we could spend one to two weeks there. And in Winter Habor, we would also spend more time in the national park area.

Nevertheless, we had a good time with a diversified cultural experience. And, we are sure that one day we will spend a much longer time in North America again.  

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