New England has a variety of options to pick from, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire around mid-to-late September to mid-October, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southern Maine, October to almost November. Apart from keeping an eye on the weather and when colors peak, I plan my trip in a way to include covered bridges, lakes, streams or waterfalls. And the New England area is full of it. Some of my favorite picks include:
- Vermont route 100 – The Green Mountain byway through quaint towns such as Stowe is a beautiful sight. Do plan to stop at the numerous covered bridges, farms and Lake Champlain. Do not miss the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury for a fun filled day.
- Acadia National Park – Maine is a burst of the most beautiful Fall colors and Acadia is the best place to do it in. Full of streams and lakes and winding roads lined with bright red and yellow maples, it is a heavenly sight. You can also visit the islands in the bay, White Mountain National Forest and Sebago Lake State Park for spectacular views.
- Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) – This New Hampshire drive from Lincoln to Conway is one of the best. The route can get very crowded during peak colors and understandably so. Winding roads overlooking the mountains, where scenic lookouts stand every few miles away. Head also to Franconia Notch State Park to see the beautiful Flume Gorge and then further to Cannon for the experience to view the White Mountains, streams covered in Fall colors by hopping on to the tramway.
- Mohawk Trail – In Massachusetts, drive through the Berkshires and see the quaint town of Williamstown and see covered bridges.
- Vermont (a day at the farm) – Driving to Woodstock if one of my favorite trips as this beautiful town has the best foliage views I have ever seen. I also love visiting the farms in the area, the most popular being Billings Farm and Museum and Sugarbush Farm.
- Litchfield Hills. Route 7 – This Connecticut drive follows the Housatonic River where I usually stop at the 40-foot waterfall on the Aspetuck River.
There are Foliage maps which show predictions before colors actually start and some that show in the present color stage. Some links which I refer to are:
There are hot air balloon festivals, harvest festivals, Halloween specials, Food festivals and many more. I keep a lookout for any festivals so as to include them during my trip. Some of my favorites include Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival in Vermont and Applecrest Farm festivals in New Hampshire and looking at jack-o’-lanterns. It always adds an extra fizz to the fun.
- Fall mountain adventures such as foliage hikes and gondola rides are a must-do in Stowe, Vermont. As the gondola ride drops you at the peak, take time to explore the area and take in the gorgeous panoramic views.
- Zip lining is another popular activity during any season, but especially during Fall. I tried it at the Bretton woods in New Hampshire and cannot describe in words how much fun it was. Though I feel it gets over too soon, maybe I am greedy!
- Add some fun elements to your trips with scarecrows, pumpkins, and hay rides.
- Hot air balloon rides are also offered in a few places if you plan to indulge.
- Let’s not forget pumpkin patches. Even if I am not picking them, just visiting pumpkin patches makes me smile. The burst of pumpkin colors in the backdrop of Fall colors is such a beautiful palette.
- Berry picking, apple picking is also a great outdoor activity for the entire family.
New England has the never dying old world charm that is difficult to find elsewhere. What better than a railroad to prove it. The vintage passenger cars that you can take from the train station in North Conway Village. Opt for the longer scenic route and enjoy the rustic charm of the railroad.
Waking up to beautiful Fall colors in a small town and helping ourselves to a full-country breakfast on a lazy morning is our idea of a weekend well spent. You can find plenty of great BnBs in the New Engalnd area, some notable ones are Lodge at Moosehead Lake in Maine, Stone Hill Inn in Stowe and others at Bar Harbor, Newport and Provincetown that are our favorites. As Fall times can get pretty crazy especially on weekends and holidays, it is a good idea to book weeks or even months in advance.
I love taking pictures with the family in Fall colors, it adds a whole new dimension and character to the pictures. And there is never a perfect spot, we stop wherever our eyes are wowed and try to capture the beauty. I feel a camera is a girl’s new best friend!
One of our best things to do is short hikes followed by lunch at the destination. Just eating outside in the wilderness in the midst of Foliage feels like the most relaxing afternoon. Eating ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s factory surrounded by mountains and fall colors was the best ice cream picnic ever. Another one was sipping hot cocoa at a mountain top in New Hampshire after a long hike in the chilly mountain air.
Fall weather can be quite unpredictable, with sudden showers or even gusts of cold winds. Carry a jacket, an umbrella and wear comfortable shoes. Don’t worry if the weather changes during your trip, there is always hot cocoa.
It’s easier to say this because I live in the New England area and I cannot resist making the most of it. I keep on check on colors peaking in Maine and Vermont earlier in the season, followed by Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As a couple, we decided to take at least 2-3 trips every Fall to explore the beauty of New England, apart from nature walks and trails. What can I say, it’s never enough!