LEAF PEEPING: IN CONNECTICUT, THE
BLAZE OF AUTUMN IS AROUND EVERY CORNER
Awash in Color from Mountain Top
to Shoreline, Fall Foliage is Celebrated with Tours on Country
Roads, Weekend Walks, Farm Stands and Festivals
HARTFORD --- August 15, 2005 -- From
the Litchfield Hills to the ocean shoreline, the blaze of fall
foliage in Connecticut is everywhere. Around every corner, along
every winding road, the brilliant reds and yellows of maple forests
and the more subtle changing of colors in fields and valleys
are inescapable. They provide a unique character and a brilliant
backdrop to some of autumn's most pleasurable pursuits. Walking,
biking or driving on quiet country lanes, stopping at farm stands
for apples, pumpkins, cider and hayrides, spending a day at festivals
and fairs celebrating everything from ethnic or regional foods
to a bountiful harvest: all these are made immensely more memorable
immersed in color.
How fortunate it is that, for the millions
of residents of metropolitan areas in the region, Connecticut's
fall foliage is close by, not hours away. Combined with a friendly
welcome and comfortable bed at any of the state's B&Bs, country
inns or modern motels and hotels, a superb meal or two and the
many enjoyable activities of autumn, leaf peeping is the ideal
excuse to make a weekend escape or sneak in another vacation.
For example, along the Quinebaug and
Shetucket rivers in northeastern Connecticut, aptly called "The
Last Green Valley" on the Washington to Boston metropolitan
corridor, there are "Walking Weekends" scheduled
for October 7-10 and October 14-16, during what is usually peak
leaf peeping season. More than 100 free guided walks are offered
throughout the region. For more information, call 860-963-7226.
The Last Green Valley also recommends
four cycling tours of the region, including a trip along the
Long Island Sound coast to Mystic and Stonington and wheeling
through the Pachaug State Forest. Visitors interested in antiquing
along the way might opt for a bike tour through Pomfret and Putnam.
Also known as, the "Quiet Corner" of Connecticut,
the region even offers an autumn "Cycle & Stay"
package in connection with the Tour des Farms bicycle tour. Designed
to showcase the state's farmland and farms, the tour package,
scheduled for September 16-18, just as the maples are changing,
includes two nights lodging and hearty breakfasts, the "Tour
des Farms" rides, an optional self-guided bike tour and
many extras. Call 866-363-7226 for more information, including
a list of participating B&Bs and visit www.thelastgreenvalley.org
for more details on fall color.
The Tour des Farms also takes place
in the Litchfield area (the weekend of September 24) in northwestern
Connecticut (203-284-3663). Noted as one of the state's most
spectacular locations to view fall foliage, the region's residents
take full advantage of this time to celebrate the natural fireworks
with special events. Two of Connecticut's most popular and venerable
country fairs take place during leaf peeping season: the oldest
and largest in the county, Terryville Country Fair (September
16-18) and Harwinton Fair (October 1-2). Both provide
a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the season, the harvest and
Connecticut's agricultural traditions.
In addition to the fairs, the many
farms and farm stands, and such seasonal treats as the 11-acre
Corn Maze at White Hollow Farm, the Litchfield area is
ideal for fall foliage driving tours. Visit www.litchfieldhills.com
(860-567-4506) for detailed itineraries for day trips highlighting
the region's best-loved attractions, historic landmarks, quaint
villages and, of course, multi-hued hills and valleys. There
is "A Cornucopia of Classic Countryside," featuring
Torrington, the charming village of New Hartford, Barkhamsted,
Riverton, where the "Hitchcock Chair Company Store"
is located, and much more. "A Treasury of Americana"
focuses on the region's lengthy and fascinating history. There
are two antiquing itineraries and "Hills, History and
Yankee Ingenuity," again dwelling on Litchfield's unique
role in American life. The site also includes a tour of "photo
opportunities." What could be better during September and
Other regions of Connecticut are equally
appealing for those looking for autumn color. The Greater New
Haven Convention & Visitors Bureau recommends "Apple
Orchards and Panoramic Views," a driving itinerary that
touches on many of the area's most scenic attractions. These
include historic and charming Durham, with its orchards and vistas
from the top of Powder Hill; Wadsworth Falls State park and the
summit of 1,002-foot Castle Craig. An alternative route in the
New Haven region is "Salt Marshes and Winding Country
Roads," featuring the Shore Line Trolley Museum, the
Thimble Islands, Guilford Green and the Guilford Handcraft Center
and Dudley Farm. Visit www.newhavencvb.org
or call 800-332-STAY for more information.
Three other websites provide extensive
information about fall foliage driving tours in Connecticut.
One is www.bbselectregistry.com,
the site for Distinguished Inns of Connecticut, where visitors
will find detailed descriptions of tours throughout the state.
The Visit Connecticut Tourism website features fall foliage driving
routes in the '52 Getaways' section - seven loops in various
parts of the state that encompass all the best autumn color viewing
areas (www.CTVisit.com). The Connecticut Department of Environment
Protection, www.dep.state.ct.us/updates/foliage, recommends 10
prime viewing spots, including Cobble Mountain in Macedonia
Brook State Park in Kent, the Stone Tower in Sleeping
Giant State Park in Hamden and the observation tower in Shenipsit
State Forest in Somers.
the leaf peeping experience October 1-2, on the Historic Lebanon
Town Green in Lebanon, and celebrate the 225th anniversary of
a cavalry encampment honoring the Washington-Rochambeau trail.
The Lebanon encampment preceded a march by French troops led
by comte de Rochambeau across Connecticut to join George Washington's
army in the fight for American independence. Re-enactors will
pitch tents on the mile-long Green and recreate the march along
with providing special programs and historical interpretations.
for Lebanon event details.
Leaf Peepers may also want to plan
their Connecticut visit around other special autumn events. How
about the 44th Annual Chrysanthemum Festival in Bristol,
September 23-October 8 (860-584-4718) 0r the 25th Annual Chowderfest
at Mystic Seaport, October 8-10 (888-973-2767) Here are some
* A stop for fresh produce at the Gardener's
Markets in Wallingford, September 3, 10, 17 (203-284-1807)
* The Hebron Harvest Fair, September 8-11 (860-228-9403)
* The 11th Annual Greater Danbury Irish Festival, September 9-11
* The 35th Annual Lobster Festival in Chester, September 10 (860-526-3866)
* The 13th Annual Chilifest in New Haven, September 17 (203-387-7700)
* The 4th Annual Wild Mushroom Festival in Mystic, September
* The 37th Annual Apple Harvest Festival in Southington, September
30-October 2, 7-9 (860-276-8461)
* The 29th Annual Apple Festival in Trumbull, October 1-2 (203-268-5566)
* The 11th Annual Fly Fishing & Outdoor Fair in Old Saybrook,
October 8 (860-388-6585)
* The Garlic & Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, October 8-9
* The 18th Annual Highland Festival in Scotland, October 9 (860-423-9634)
* The 6th Annual Fall Foliage Weekend in Manchester, October
* The 27th Annual Pumpkin Festival in West Hartford, October
* The 10th Annual Vineyard Harvest Festival in Stonington, October
For further information about fall
foliage vacations and the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants,
resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay in Connecticut,
please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at www.CTvisit.com.
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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