The geographic oddities/obscura blog 12 Mile Circle recently wrote about the shortest automobile route that passes through all six New England states. Tom Howder came up with driving route starting in Vermont, ending in Connecticut at 227 miles. He also figured a faster route on that could hit all six states in 4 hours. This challenge struck me and instead of heading to bed, I opened google maps.
I stuck with walking directions to ignore one-way streets and other complications. The obvious starting point for me was the northwest corner of Rhode Island. The Buck Hill Management Area in Burrillville, RI, is on the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Within a 2 mile ramble through the woods you can visit 3 of the six states.
Next I tried to find the shortest, southernmost route between Vermont and Maine. Near the Canadian border VT and ME are about 20 miles from each other. Near Kittery, ME it’s closer to 100 miles. So I search along the Piscataqua River for the western-southernmost point in Maine and along the Connecticut River for the eastern-southernmost point in Vermont.
Initially I choose the Piermont Bridge in Bradford, VT and Flat Rock Bridge over the Salmon Falls River in Lebanon, ME. A walk from Bradford, VT, to Burrillville, RI via Lebanon, ME is 200 miles, and google estimates would take 66 hours. But you do get to walk along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. I optimized the route a bit for highway driving (changing the endpoints to White River Junction, VT on I-89 and Kittery, ME on the Maine Turnpike) and got a 234 mile, 3h 41 min drive.
The next morning I saw another commentator on 12 Mile Circle, The Basement Geographer, got a 251 mile trip using Brattleboro, VT. This seemed like an obvious improvement. I redid the walking directions from Burrillville, RI to Lebanon, ME via Brattleboro, VT and got down to 189 miles, 63 hours.
It seems like a nice trip, you start in Burrillville and walk about 3 miles in Thompson, Connecticut. In Massachusetts you pass just outside of Worcester and walk through some very quaint towns (and can stop by the Harvard Forest Dioramas one of my favorite places in New England). You first enter New Hampshire for about 10 miles before you cross the Connecticut river into Brattleboro. After a 3 mile stroll in Brattleboro, you cross the Connecticut river again next to the Navy Seabees Bridge. Then it’s a long walk in New Hampshire through Keene and Concord (I recommend taking a break at the Pizza Uno on Fort Eddy Road and picking up supplies at Beans and the Hannafords), until you finally cross the Salmon Falls River and arrive in Maine.