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Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Ponteland, United...
Level Contributor
34 posts
129 reviews
Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Hi,

We are a couple from the UK who will be on a New England trip in mid to late June. weare not big into hiking as my husband has a heart condition, but we love scenery, interesting towns, food, breweries, art and crafts. One Saturday we will be travelling from Lincoln NH to Rangeley, which looks like it is around a 3 hour drive. This is a long journey for us (small country and all that) so I'd like a scenic route with a number of decent stop off points where we can take a break for an hour or so. At the moment I am thinking about stopping at Franconia and then possibly Bethel (good idea?). After this I become less sure - it appears we could take Rte 26 and visit Grafton Notch State Park or go across to Rte 17, which appears to get rave reviews, but I am less clear how we could break up the journey. Any advice would be most welcome:)

9 replies to this topic
Georgia
Level Contributor
3,214 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Looking at googlemaps for route suggestions, they give you 3 options and all are good.

They don't bring you up route 16 from Glen to Gorham and I think that's one of the most stunning drives. That road would be easy to tie into the other routes.

The first and main question however is where will you be driving from, how long will you be in Lincoln and most importantly, would you have already driven The Kancamagus Highway and have you already been up to Franconia Notch.

If the answers are not sure what roads we will have driven, not long in Lincoln and no, not either; then the answer becomes quite simple.

Assuming you've arrived for just one night, enroute from somewhere to Rangely, you should either drive up thru Franconia Notch (appx, 15 miles up and 15 back) either the night you arrive or the morning you are leaving. Get that out of the way and if you only have an hour at most, then park at The Basin on the northbound side, walk in (10 min) and enjoy. Drive up to at least see Franconia Notch and then back to LIncoln. THen drive the entire length of The Kanc. 35 miles to Conway.

From there you can follow my route up 16 to Gorham or you can catch your route up thru Maine.

There will be several places to pull over and enjoy the views. Sabbaday Falls is worth the short walk, probably less then 1/4th mile round trip. Stop at The Rocky Gorge, walk over the small bridge and up the small hill beyond. You'll see a nice mountian pond from the top that many people don't know exists. Stop at the Covered Bridge. If you find your way to N.COnway, a quick drive up Cathedral Ledge is as rewarding a "mountain top experience" as you'll find for no more effort than a 5 minute drive up a steep hill. Diaana's Bath is practically right next door. THat's a easy, level walk of appx. .6m in.

Ponteland, United...
Level Contributor
34 posts
129 reviews
2. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond Kevin_from_America.

We'll have driven the Kancamagus Highway the previous day.

We will certainly stop early in our journey to enjoy Franconia Notch and perhaps to enjoy the aerial tram. Trying to break the rest of the journey up so we are not in the car for longer than an hour. At Goreham Google Maps wants to take us up the 16. From what you say the lower part of the route from Glen is lovely, but as we will miss this element, is this still a scenic route with worthwhile places to stop off along the way? The other options I am considering are via Bethel and Rte 26, visiting Grafton Notch State Park en route, or going across to Rte 17, but I am again not clear if there are any interesting stopping points (even if its only for a cup of tea) along this route.

Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
5,031 posts
3. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

"Stopping for tea" you need to know the following

In restaurants, generally asking for tea and more likely they will

serve you " Iced Tea " it's a popular summertime drink

so in order for you to get a " cup of tea "

you must ask for " Hot tea " and the next question is

"What flavour would you like ?" and you'll say "Regular please"

enjoy your cup of tea.

Bar Harbor, Maine
Level Contributor
7,569 posts
9 reviews
4. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

I'm sorry that you aren't getting any good answers to your basic question. I'd love to be able to help but I've never been that far north into the interior of Maine. I really don't know, but I sort of doubt you will find any places to stop for a break each hour. There are definitely a few shops and inns in Bethel, which is a skiing town in the winter. But between Bethel and Rangeley there might not even be as much as a petrol station. It gets pretty sparsely populated up there.

Georgia
Level Contributor
3,214 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

OK, good that you will have gotten The Kanc out of the way. Now if the weather doesn't agree with you on that day, then maybe take The Kanc on that Sat.

I'm afraid it has been so long since I've been north of Gorham my memory has faded.

One thought might be to drive south on rt 16 for a few miles south of Gorham, to at least Wildcat Mtn. THat way you'll get that dramatic view of Mt. Washington. There used to be small 2-person gondola's to the top (might have changed that since?) of Wildcat Mtn. Wildcat Mtn is across the valley from Mt. Washington. The Auto Road is right there as well.

The other thoughts would be to:

- drive north thru Franconia Notch and follow route 3 to Twin Mountain, then 302 east to Glen. That road loops back to the south east, but it's all very scenic. Once at Glen, turn north on route 16, stop in Jackson, then WIldwat/Mt Washington, as mentioned above and on to Gorham.

- drive back along The Kanc east out of Lincoln, 2/3rds of the way until you reach Bear Notch Rd on the left. Take Bear Notch to Bartlett, then east on 302 to Glen.]

- and one more, continue past Bear Notch Rd, to The Covered Bridge. Cross it and follow Passaconaway Rd to Westside Road and take a left. Follow Westside Road to Cathedral Ledge (5 min drive up, less than 5 min walk to the ledge and views down to N.Conway). Continue on to Glen, Rt 302 and then 16 as mentioned.

As I mentioned earlier, you really couldn't go wrong w/any of the routes you are looking at. I wouldn't count on a good cup of tea. I would count of good scenery!

I'd go back to your googlemap suggested routes. Type in "attractions" and "restaurants" and you'll see your different options popping up. Sometimes a little roadside pull off along a river can be a special place and memory. Not to mention State Parks. There is a lot of forest, hills, farmland and lakes up there, so very scenic. Not tons of "civilization", but a few small to moderately size towns where I'm sure you can find a nice breakfast or lunch.

Georgia
Level Contributor
3,214 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

You mentioned Bethel Me.

I'm just doing some route research for our trip next month and came across what looks like a lovely little bakery and coffee shop named Cafe' di Cocoa. It's got to be better than the Dunkins Donut in town.

http://www.cafedicocoa.com/about-us.html

Ponteland, United...
Level Contributor
34 posts
129 reviews
7. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Thank you all for your advice - there are some good options - and I will survive without my cup of tea and be perfectly content with a cup of coffee, or one of your very good light beers :)

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
Level Contributor
7,246 posts
160 reviews
8. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Am a bit late getting to the party, but can assure you that, essentiially, Bonnie is right... especially if you opt for the Rt 26/Grafton Notch option from Bethel to Rangeley. But to backtrack a bit first... from Franconia, your best bet is Rt 2 through Gorham to Bethel. Bethel has several nice shops and cafes -- none of which I can remember the name of at the moment. If you take Rt 26 north through Grafton Notch, you'll find some nice scenery, but because most of that route is either State Park land or maintained for forest products growth, there is little-to-no commercial development along the way. I'd even make sure I had a half-full gas tank before leaving Bethel. If you do take this route, be sure to pull in at the Screw Auger Falls parking lot on your left about 10-12 miles from where you turn from Rt 2 onto Rt 26. Very interesting spot to get out of the car and stretch a bit.

If, on the other hand, you decide on the Rt 2 - Rt 17 option from Bethel to Rangeley, you do have an outside chance of discovering a good tea/snack break in Rumford or Mexico... although we have yet to discover one in either town. Some nice riversiide scenery along this route between Bethel and Mexico. As you head north on Rt 17 after leaving Rt 2, watch for signs for Coos Canyon (on your right) -- another interesting stop-and-stretch spot. North of Coos Canyon on Rt 17, watch for a roadside "scenic turnout" (there should be a roadside sign) on your left. Great views of the surrounding woods--and-waters

Some good scenery, but not much for tea-and-cakes on either the Rt 26 or Rt 17 options. But the "good news" is, depending on how long you spend at sightseeing stops along the way, either of them is less than two hours driving time from Bethel to Rangeley..

Ponteland, United...
Level Contributor
34 posts
129 reviews
9. Re: Lincoln NH to Rangeley ME - Help!

Thank you very much for your advice. You have made up my mind for me, Rte 26 it is.

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