Road Trip Review Day 6: Augusta, Lake Winnipesaukee, Farmington

Our final full day of road trip fun took us out of Maine and back through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It was a pretty heavy day for driving, especially since we weren't especially sure of our destination and ended up on some backroads heading toward undecided-upon locales.

One thing that we discovered about road trips is, in the planning, you've got to save something good for last. We debated hitting the Adironack Moutnains, the Bethel Woods Museums (all about Woodstock), and driving through Vermont. None of these were places that either Mike or myself were dying to see. I had been looking forward to Maine, particularly Acadia, for the entire trip while Mike's highlights were all Boston and seeing Chris Rock on Broadway. Once we got those major stops out of the way, we grew a bit tired of all the driving and few of the remaining sights seemed nearly as appealing in comparison.

That's not to say that we were no longer enjoying ourselves - in fact, far from it. Rather, the excitement of New England was wearing off a bit as lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and excessive amounts of time behind the wheel caught up with us.

Anyway, our final plan took us down through the aforementioned states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We had passed through or stopped in all of these places before, but this time we went a further inland route to see a different part of the state. Our first stop out of Augusta was a tiny little place in Litchfield, ME called Country Cafe. We were looking for Sunday breakfast a little early in Augusta and struggling to find anyplace that was open at 9:00 am when we headed out. As we left the big city in search of a roadside offering, we took an exit that led us to backcountry roads and Litchfield. After driving a few miles with nothing by way of breakfast around, we came to an intersection with a big sign for an inn and restaurant. There were a few buildings around but none with signs on them to differentiate itself as the advertised inn. We did, however, see a parking lot by what looked to be a house standing a few yards from a tall sign for pepsi. A look through the window on the back door indicated that there were patrons inside and yes in fact they were eating. Not a sign on the restaurant, which looked more like a quaint doublewide home than an eatery, let us know it was a delicious place to eat, but we lucked out by poking our heads in.

This little place, which we learned was called the Country Cafe, couldn't have had more than 6 tables and 5 bar seats in the place. It was tiny, homey, bustling, and adorable. This was delicious diner-style fare downhome in grandma's kitchen. The place was very unassuming but was absolutely delectable. Mike tried a Neptune omelet with scallops, shrimp, and lobster that was decidedly to-die-for. My choice was some blueberry pancakes which were easily twice the size of my head. The food was excellent, the atmosphere homey, and the price could not be beat. I doubt the place even has a website but it is definitely worth visiting!

After a hearty breakfast we headed to Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. It was a gorgeous drive through this vacation spot with gorgeous lakefront homes and small shops and restaurants along the way. We got a few shots of the river but otherwise didn't spend too much time at the lake. We did hit a craft gallery known as Yikes! in search of a bathroom that was definitely worth poking around in. This place was huge with American-made crafts of all sorts. From woodwork to pottery, jewelry, photography, metal pieces, even homemade soaps and condiments, this was a gift-buying hotspot and a decorator's dream. I sadly didn't buy anything but was in heaven as we browsed the shop. We stopped into a nearby ice cream shop and cafe for a veggie-laden sandwich and were on our way.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

From there we pretty much drove our hearts out until early evening. Through Massachusetts we went, with a short detour to Walden Pond. The state park was $5 to get in so we opted out. Pretty much I wanted to get a look at the pond and a drive by would suffice for me. This detour also took us through central Concord which was a quaint but obviously affluent area that offered a pleasing drive nonetheless.

We debated where to stay for some time. Originally our thought was that we'd end our trip with a stay at an inn or bed and breakfast. Mike suggested doing such which surprised me at first. Though it is such a hallmark of New England's tourism industry, the B&B culture wasn't what I imagined would be Mike's cup of tea. Turns out, it wasn't - he was more into the idea of an included breakfast I think. When we looked online for relatively affordable B&B's in the area, the room photos were downright creepy. Mike kept the jokes coming as room after room sprouted gingham, quilts, horrendous wallpaper, and the like. Though I was a bit hesitant to stay at a B&B because of the supposed constant chitchat with owners and fellow patrons, even I was appalled at the decor in most of these places. So we decided that maybe this wasn't for us.

But serendipitous events led us to a stay at the quaint but classy and classic Farmington Inn in Connecticut that night. We originally planned to stay at a fancy hotel in downtown Hartford, however directions from our trusty coupon book were highly inadequate and we decided the frustration wasn't worth it, as we didn't even know how nice these accommodations would be. The Farmington Inn was also in the coupon book so we figured we would give it a try. Turns out, this place was one of four historic and renowned Connecticut inns and was exactly what we had in mind: friendly but not overly-so, classy furnishings with charm and an old-fashioned feel. We rested in comfort and peace that night and finally found a place where the free breakfast was actually worth taking advantage of. It doesn't take too much to impress us but some of these places advertised a free hot breakfast spread that was so unappetizing, I would have paid not to eat it.

The Farmington Inn, complete with on-site tailor's shop and salon.

Our classic inn room.

And so ended the exciting and noteworthy portion of our trip. Our next day was mostly driving home with few stops in our eagerness to see our cat again. Though we originally had intended to be on the road for closer to two weeks, we had a nice weeklong trip with about a week without work at home to get a new dog and spend time together simply relaxing. Road trips are full of fun and a great way to see plenty of things at one time. And in New England, all destinations are so close that you can see five cities in a single day, something to which we were not highly accustomed. But road trips are also not conducive to full relaxation since you're constantly trying to find accommodations for the night, navigate oft-confusing country backroads, and determine what sights are worth seeing. We saw everything we wanted to see and were ready to head home, so we did. The money saved, the gas not consumed, and those attractions left undiscovered will be saved for next time, as this surely is not the last road trip Mike and I will take together. We were able to get a taste of it all and enjoy one another's company for 7 days on end with scarcely a moment apart. It was the perfect honeymoon for us and I'm glad that I've been able to record it all in my blog so the memories can stay fresh, though there was still plenty of anecdotes I refrained from sharing in an effort not to bore the eyes off readers. Thanks for following us on this New England honeymoon road trip!

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