Five Ways To Take In the Blazes of Color in Connecticut

HARTFORD ­ August 8, 2006 ­ The term "fall foliage" hardly does it justice. As the days grow shorter and evenings take on a nip, an annual tradition begins. Leaf peepers set out on foot, in cars, trains, boats and the skies in search of the turning of the leaves. Nowhere else throughout the world do deciduous trees lose their leaves with such style and blaze of color as in Connecticut.

Below is a list of "Top Five" ways for leaf peepers to take a little trip and spy autumn's brilliance in Connecticut:

1. Take a Hike: One of the best ways to truly appreciate Connecticut's colors of autumn and get the lay of the land is to explore on foot. The Last Green Valley in the Mystic region is the setting for a series of "Walking Weekends" during fall foliage season. Taking place in October throughout the Shetucket Rivers Valley, the event features more than 100 guided strolls and hikes. Trek over Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden and marvel at the gorgeous views of Long Island Sound and explore the Mountain Laurel Loop Hike at Barnes Nature Center in Bristol, where fall's fire colors can be seen on a tour through a tunnel, a brook, a meadow, forests and a garden. For travelers hoping to rest their weary bones following a foliage-spying hike, the Pequot Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Mystic sits on 23 acres of woods ripe for exploring.
2. Spin Your Wheels: National Geographic Traveler and the Rand McNally Atlas rank Connecticut's Litchfield Hills among the country's most scenic driving destinations. Fall Foliage Driving Loops in Connecticut combine tours filled with autumn colors and special themes. Each tour encompasses between 70 and 100 miles of magnificent scenery, with detailed driving instructions, suggestions of places to visit and things to do along the way. For another journey on wheels, steam ahead through the hills and valleys of Connecticut aboard the Essex Steam Train or the Naugatuck Railroad in Thomaston during annual fall foliage tours. Driving Tip: Visitors driving to Connecticut from the New York City metropolitan area should take the Merritt Parkway. As one of the oldest and most beautifully designed highways in the country, the Merritt is also one of the most impressive fall foliage settings in the state with its abundant roadside forests and vegetation.
3. Up, Up and Away: Instead of viewing fall foliage while walking amongst the trees or staring through the car window, soar above Connecticut and gaze in awe at the scenes below. Simmons Aviation in Pawcatuck offers sightseeing flights on an antique warbird or a 1981 Cessna 172. Take flight with one of the many hot air balloon companies in Connecticut. Celebrate with a traditional Champagne toast with ViewPoint Balloons in Conventry which offers views as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Head Across the Water: To see leaves as bright as lobsters, strap on a life vest and leave dry land behind. Visitors to the Housatonic River can relax by fly fishing or enjoying a ride on a canoe, surrounded by the foliage of Housatonic Meadows State Park. Try out your sea legs on a cruise aboard the steamboat Sabino at Mystic Seaport, a tour of the Thimble Islands on the Sea Mist in Branford or a memorable sail excursion on the Connecticut River aboard a Lady Katharine fleet vessel.
5. Room With a View: For a truly memorable dining experience in Connecticut, breathtaking views of fall foliage can be found across the state. Some of the best scenery is viewed from these exceptional restaurants, allowing visitors to feast their eyes and taste buds. Dinner at The Copper Beach Inn in Ivoryton delivers award-winning French-country cuisine nestled amongst beautiful grounds near the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn sits on 1,000 acres of land and treats its visitors to a hay ride tour of the grounds followed by a four-star dinner and live music. John Davenports at the top of the Omni Hotel at Yale University offers a great view of the campus and roof-top panoramic views of Long Island Sound.

Find out about the abundance of fall foliage in Connecticut from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection at The site lists DEP's Top 10 spots for autumn color, including Cobble Mountain in Macedonia Brook State Park in Kent, Mt. Misery Overlook in Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown and Chaugnam Lookout in Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted.

For more details about outdoor adventures as well as the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants, resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay, please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at Connecticut offers visitors a multi-faceted wealth of attractions, historical, cultural and recreational activities, diverse and beautiful natural landscapes, parks, beaches and wilderness sure to fulfill any getaway need.



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