Fortunately we did think ahead a little and booked a hire car in advance but decided to look for accommodation “on the hoof” as we drove and stop at whichever country inn we liked.
My first inkling that something was wrong was at the hire car desk in Portland airport. The attendant asked me casually “Are you here for the ‘Leaf Peeping’ ?” expecting a positive response. My confused reaction confounded her – I had never heard of “Leaf Peeping”.
By the time she had explained directions from the airport through the valley up to New Hampshire, she also told us that visiting the Notch Valley in late Autumn (aka Fall) was a national pastime for Americans from all over the States who came to soak up the glorious vistas of orange and brown hued forests on either side of the mountains along this route.
Our journey over the next few days was hectic with roads full of glass topped buses and cars piloted by drivers whose eyes were not always on the traffic!
Some of you will know that Maine is home to Stephen King, and many of his books are set in the countryside around the Leaf Peeping region. As we rounded a mountain bend on the second night of our journey looking for a hotel for the night, we came across a large rambling place with a vacancy sign.
As I pulled the car to a halt we both looked at each other and said the same thing – “The Shining?”
But that is for another story ………..