Friday, November 25, 2016


For our (presumably) last travel trip of the year, we decided to finish up most of New England. With that in mind we flew into Manchester, NH on a Saturday morning. After renting a Chevy Malibu we immediately headed west into Maine. Before hitting our first new county we took a few side trips along the coast. Our first stop was in York. We visited a park on the coast called Hartley Mason Reservation, where we found some unusual metal figures that were attached to a big rock. What does it all mean? I don’t know. But it was cool.

We then headed north, getting off the interstate once again, this time near Portland. We went right to the coast again, this time to stop and see the famous Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park. This is probably the most-photographed location in all of Maine.

Once we’d left the famous lighthouse, we set off in search of new counties. North of Portland we got off I-295 and drove a few miles northwest to cross into Androscoggin County – our fist new county of the trip. We were only in it for a couple of miles before we headed west on HWY 1 – which we stayed on for quite awhile. We followed it for a few hours, crossing into Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo and Hancock Counties along the way.

After finally getting off HWY 1, we headed north into Bangor, and Penobscot County. While there we had to stop and take a picture of Stephen King’s house. It was after dark – which made the pictures of his home look all the more spooky.

Under the cover of night we continued north on I-95 again. We got off at HWY 6 and went west for about 30 miles in the middle of nowhere. As we crossed into Washington County, there was not a sound to be heard anywhere. Are those bullet holes in the county sign? From there we backtracked about five miles and went north to the city of Macwahoc, crossing into Aroostook County along the way.

Having reached our northernmost point of the day, we headed back south towards our hotel, the Hampton Inn Waterville. But of course we didn’t take a direct route. We got off the interstate onto HWY 155 so we could go through the city of Lagrange. A few miles later we very briefly crossed into Piscataquis County. From that point on it was a straight shot to our hotel. And we picked up Somerset and Kennebec Counties on the way. We arrived around 11:00 at night. We’d been up since 3:30 in the morning to catch our flight. So needless to say we were exhausted!

On Sunday morning were out the door shortly after 9:00. Our first destination was the city of New Sharon. A few miles before arriving we crossed into Franklin County – our last county in Maine. We then went west, staying on HWY 2 for the next couple of hours. A little while later we crossed into New Hampshire and picked up Coos County – which was also our last county in the state. We then continued west and soon after crossed into Vermont, and Essex County.

We continued west and found ourselves in the small city of Hardwick. From there we had to branch out in two directions. First we went north about five miles and entered Orleans County. Then we turned around, went back, then went west for about two miles and entered Lamoille County.

Our next county proved to be a little more difficult. Our unseasonably warm November weekend suddenly went cold. Where as it was 60 degrees the day before, the temperature dropped to 30. And the snow began to drop as well. As it began to accumulate, the roads became a little more treacherous. They eventually got so bad that as we tried to climb a steep back county hill, we began to slide backwards. We had no other alternative but to find another way around. We did it, fighting snow all the way. And eventually we landed just outside the town of Hancock – and Addison County. We immediately turned around and head south – eager to escape the snow, knowing that it was much clearer in that direction.

Before we could escape the snow completely however, we had one final stop to make. In the tiny community of Plymouth Notch lies the graveyard where President Calvin Coolidge rests. In order to get there we had to cross into Rutland County – our final county in Vermont. By this time it was a full-blown blizzard. And locating the grave under the cover of night seemed like a tall task However as luck would have it, we spotted the grave right away. We took our pictures quickly and got out of there.

Our hotel was in Connecticut. So we still had to drive through Massachusetts to reach it. As we headed south and got onto I-91, the snow stopped completely. And we had clear roads all the way. Crossing over Massachusetts we drove through both Franklin and Hampshire Counties. Once we got into Connecticut we entered Hartford County. We stopped for dinner at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Windsor, which was about a block away from our hotel – the Hartford/Windsor Marriott Airport.

The next morning we got in our car and headed east on I-84, picking up Tolland County – our last county in Connecticut. We continued east into Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where we got off the interstate to go south into the Rhode Island city of Bristol – and Bristol County. We passed through it quickly, crossed the bridge and found ourselves in Portsmouth, which is in Newport County – our last county in Rhode Island, as well as our last new county of the trip.

With our county collecting finished we had one final task before heading back to the airport. We drove to the city of Quincy and stopped at the United First Parish Church. Even though the touring season was done for the year, we had called ahead. And we were given a private tour of the church – which included the crypt of both President John Adams and his son, President John Quincy Adams. We also got to sit in the Adams family church pew. Once we left we traveled a few blocks to the east and paid a visit to the very first Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant. And yes, we bought a few. We ate them on the way back to the airport in Manchester.

All in all we visited 25 new counties, finishing five states in the process. So what’s next? We have nothing planned for the rest of 2016. So we’re probably done for the year. But we do have a trip to Texas planned for January. So stay tuned!

                                                NEW COUNTIES - 25
                                                TOTAL COUNTIES FOR 2016 - 256
                                                ALL TIME COUNTY TOTAL - 1521

7/17/17 UPDATE: We recently realized that in putting our county list together, we had inadvertently failed to include two counties that we had previously entered. On a summer, 2014 road trip, we went to Disneyland in California (Orange County). And upon leaving Disneyland for Las Vegas, we entered Riverside County as well. So even though it says 1521 total counties in this post above, the actual number at the time was 1523.

2/6/23 UPDATE: The State of Connecticut has recently moved away from counties. They now have county equivalents called Councils of Government. And instead of 8 counties, they have 9 Councils of Government. We still finished the state of Connecticut on this trip. On 11/20/16 we entered the Capitol Region Council of Government on I-91 as we entered Connecticut from the state of Massachusetts.

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