The Best New England Fall Foliage Travel Destinations, Vacations
and Scenics Drives
scenic autumn vacation destinations and hotel getaways, best leaf
peeping spots, driving tours, hikes, day trips, apple picking and apple
cider recommendations, and restaurants perfect for a fall day!
Adams Farm, Walpole, Mass.
by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 12/02/16.
England travel article with your friends...
The moral of this story is to not put all your fall
foliage leaves in one basket.
Without a doubt, the best approach to viewing New England fall foliage
is to consider the journey as important as the ultimate travel
destination. Even the least-known places in New England are capable of
having brilliant colors as it is well-known in scientific circles that
fall foliage is not exclusive to New England vacation and resort
That's not to say you should be joyfully leaf peeping in areas of urban
blight, but many times, those stops along the way turn out to be the
most memorable places. The key is to keep your eyes open for the length
of the trip, as New England demands your full undivided attention when
it comes to travel surprises.
Keep in mind that peak New England foliage season varies from year to
year. Generally, peak season for most of New England occurs from mid to
late October, but can peak earlier in the northern sectors (parts of
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont). It's best to contact local tourism
offices or chambers of commerce to find out about their peak season.
Here are some top New England fall foliage picks -- popular and less
known areas, but all nice for extended vacations or just a day
New Hampshire offers "mountains" of
Echo Lake in the White Mountains of New
New Hampshire sports some of the best fall foliage in the
States, especially the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway, in the thick of the
White Mountain National Forest and designated by the National Forest
Service as a Scenic Byway. It always seemed like parents had to travel
the Kancamagus Highway to find good foliage, just the way Howard
Johnson's had to be the only place to eat when traveling down on
highways. While Howard Johnson's restaurants were sub-par, the
Kancamagus Highway always delivered the goods, and still does today: an
endless array of colors, some not seen in any civilized society.
Spanning from Lincoln to North Conway, the Kancamagus is indeed a candy
land of foliage, generally regarded as the premier New England fall
White Mountain National Forest, with its dramatic, rocky mountains,
ponds, streams, hiking trails and a plethora of motels, inns,
restaurants and tourist attractions, is a mix of some of the
northeast's best scenery and the occasional cheesy commercial tourist
strips that comes with it. No matter how much development has taken
place in the Lincoln-Woodstock area, the sheer beauty will always
dominate. Mt. Washington is the highest mountain in New England at
nearly 6,288 ft. Mt. Washington can be driven or hiked (always check
the forecast when hiking at Mt. Washington or other New England
mountains; inclement weather conditions can happen in a hurry). Mt.
Washington is an amazing place to enjoy the fall foliage. If staying in
the area, be sure to check out the stunning Omni Mount Washington Resort, a landmark
White Mountains hotel with spectacular mountains views.
Also sure to check out Echo Lake Beach (photo above), located right off
Route 93 in Franconia Notch State Park. Beautifully situated on the
slopes of popular Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains, Echo Lake
seems like a million miles away from civilization. This pristine
28-acre beach features incredibly peaceful, colorful fall foliage views
of where the Franconia and Kinsman Ranges meet, thus creating a notch
-- it doesn't get much prettier than this scene. The good thing for you
is that it's right off the highway in the heart of the White Mountains.
The ever-evolving outlet shops in North Conway are almost as annoying
as the Donkey in "Shrek," but the undeniably stunning location has
people coming back year after year. The view of Mount Washington and
the surrounding countryside from Main Street is priceless, especially
when the leaves begin to change. Despite commercial overgrowth, Mother
Nature still shines in North Conway perhaps at its peak in the White
Mountains autumn. North Conway also features some excellent lodging
choices including the Red Jacket Mountain View Hotel,
and the North Conway Grand Hotel.
Welsh and Dickey Mountain in nearby Waterville Valley is a great place
to hike. The 4.5 miles of hiking is a tad difficult, but certainly
worth the effort in terms of viewing the brilliant foliage within the
White Mountain National Forest.
The Hollis-to-Keene sector of southwest New Hampshire lends beautiful
fall foliage to New England. Perhaps the most unassuming part of New
Hampshire, this region does not boast, overwhelm or act flamboyant in
any way. Hollis may just be the most pleasant town in New England, with
beautiful Silver Lake State Park, wide-open farms with farms stands and
downtown from another era with a general store and lots of nice, old
Nearby in densely-forested Mason, N.H., is Parker's Maple Barn (1316
Brookline Rd., Tel 603-878-2308), a classic fall foliage dining
destination. The maple barn is actually an authentic 1800s dairy barn
and silo. Inside, the antique cow stanchions integrated into handmade
wooden tables and antique farm items hanging on the walls create an
instant time warp atmosphere set to dim lighting, bright service, and
absolutely electrifying comfort food. For those interested in
breakfast, the Parker's Special ($10.95) is the acknowledged standard
with two eggs, two pancakes (or one French toast), two bacon strip, two
sausages and ham or ham hash in place of all meats , home fries and
toast. Particularly delicious are the pumpkin pancakes, as far away
from artificially flavored as could be. Without a doubt, the best lunch
item (it's actually a dinner portion) is the sumptuous maple ribs
($12.95). Why haven't other restaurants thought of this concoction? A
half-rack of these gems goes in a hurry as its succulent quality
demands for rapid eating.
Peterborough is a quiet arts community with a small downtown with great
foliage beyond the modest selections of local stores. The Peterborough
Diner (10 Depot St., Tel. 603-924-6202) makes for a nice breakfast or
lunch, with a hill of brilliant foliage behind it. Keene is a sweet
"college town" with an appealing and wide Main Street, an old-time
movie theater, nice parks, a golf course, plenty of services, really
pleasant neighborhoods and proximity to the scenic Mount Monadnock area
and Vermont's Green Mountains. It's a vibrant city (population 22,000)
that really feels like a small town.
A beautiful foliage scene in downtown Peterborough.
The aforementioned Mt. Monadnock, minutes from Keene and Peterborough
(both possessing classic, quintessential New England small town
on Rt. 124 in Jaffrey, is one of the most climbed mountains in the
United States. It's not too difficult a hike, perfect for the family.
The views from the top are what one would expect in the fall -full of
panoramic colors, accompanied by a classic New England chill in the air.
Durham is an underrated southeast New Hampshire fall foliage
destination. Home to the University of New Hampshire, Durham is an
attractive college town with a few blocks of small-town shops and
restaurants. It is the ultimate town to stroll, enjoy the fresh New
Hampshire air and enjoy the mix of foliage and UNH campus architecture.
Nearby is Portsmouth, the former capital of New Hampshire and an
eclectic, coastal historic city. Locally owned shops, great restaurants
with a water view, narrow streets, tree-lined streets with fine old
homes and an overflow of eclectic University of New Hampshire students
make this section seem like a miniature version of Boston. For
starters, check out the historic Strawbery Banke Museum, a 10-acre
historic waterfront neighborhood, with homes dating back to 1650.
Although modern amenities beckon around the corner in Market Square,
Strawberry Banke takes you out of the modern era and into another
period of time.
Great restaurants abound in Portsmouth. One favorite is the Oar House,
at (55 Ceres St., 603-436-4025) with its indoor and scenic outdoor
waterfront deck dining, excellent seafood-oriented lunch and dinner
menus, which include local favorites like New England clam chowder,
steamers, twin boiled lobster, baked stuffed haddock and encrusted
Vermont goes beyond being the
"Green State" for fall vacations
View from Mid-Burke Mountain, Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Northern Vermont's Stowe may have great little shops, and diverse
dining choices, state-of-the-art ski facilities and some of the best
lodging in New England like the Trapp Family Lodge, Topnotch Resort and Spa and Stowe Mountain Lodge. What
matters most, however,
is that despite all
the development, Stowe still feels like a small, relaxed village. Stowe
is especially appealing during the foliage season when the leaves turn
brilliant colors. That special chill in the air, the beautiful views of
Mt. Mansfield -- the highest elevation in the state -- and long and
winding roads with farms dotting the landscape make the foliage that
much more special.
It is true that every community in New England has foliage. It's just
that foliage set to triple-deckers or commuting highway traffic don't
give off the same warm feeling as the spectacular North Country setting
As lifelong New Englanders, we've never heard anyone say they didn't
like Stowe. When the visitor information people there say that their
village forces you to relax, it is actually public relations that lives
up to the hype. From a ride through the dramatic and rugged
Jeffersonville Notch -- near the famous Smugglers'
Notch Resort -- to
the marvelously scenic bike trail, Stowe is a scenic treasure, sure to
warm your senses no matter how cold the weather gets.
South of Stowe in Waterbury is the Cold Hollow Cider Mill (3600
Waterbury-Stowe Rd., Tel. 802- 244-8771). They make cider the
old-fashioned way with a rack and cloth press built in the 1920s. Cider
is not the only attraction at this legendary attraction as a bakery
(including delicious homemade donuts), Green Mountain Coffee,
Vermont-made wines and a toy store are just a few of the thousands of
items found at this delightful roadside building.
There's nothing in the northeast village of Waits River (southeast of
Montpelier) except, oddly enough, a river and a few old homes. Don't
expect to go here and do the "Hot, Hot, Hot" dance at a four star
resort specializing in drinks, loud over stressed people and high
prices. In Waits River, all one has is the stark beauty of Vermont. All
that is left is the remarkable foliage at one of the northeast's most
photographed and beloved village scenes.
For those not familiar to the area, Weston, Vt., represents New England
(and the Green Mountain National Forest region) at its finest. A
charming village green with a gazebo gently tells you, "I am New
England. This is what you've been wanting to see your whole life."The
serene, green environs evokes a sweet dream, only this isn't a dream.
Weston is a Vermont masterpiece, filled with charmingly quaint New
England homes, and sunny streets filtered by pure Green Mountain air.
Many of us know of homes placed on the National Register of Historic
Places. In this case, the whole village of Weston is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Everywhere you look is like a
Norman Rockwell painting. Weston may be a quiet town, but it does have
a retail district. It's called the Vermont Country Store, purveyors of
Yankee bargains, Vermont-made clothing and just about anything else
under the sun. This incredible trip back in time offers everything from
Vermont fudge to wool socks.So, after eating fudge in your new wool
socks, kick back and marvel at the unspoiled, quiet beauty of this
fabulous New England community. Whether a day trip or a full fledged
vacation, you'll leave wanting to come back to this classic New England
Just outside the village is the Weston Priory (58 Priory Hill Rd.,
802-824-5409), high atop a hill at the edge of the beautiful Green
Mountain National Forest. A community of Benedictine Monks live in this
idyllic location, with a beautiful monastery. The Priory combines the
spirituality of the soul, outdoor masses, and sunrise and sunset
services. The Priory Web Site states that "Men and women wishing to
spend several days at the priory, in the atmosphere of our monastic
life, are most welcome"
Route 9 in southern Vermont from Brattleboro to Wilmington is what
you'd expect of Vermont -- green hills, green mountains, green grass,
and in the fall, foliage that goes well beyond green. The most striking
part of the itinerary is the 100-mile view from the Hogback Mountain
area. Here, you can see the striking Vermont country skyline, plus
areas of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York.
Brattleboro is a funky town with loads on unique shops and people, and
transplants trying to start a new life after getting tired of New York
City. Wilmington is more traditional, the perfect place to stroll the
quiet downtown, drink apple cider and wonder what it would be like to
live in such a peaceful, small-town setting.
Route 100 starts in southern Vermont, and ends at the Canadian Border
featuring many great stops along the way, including Wilmington, Weston,
Londonderry, Plymouth, Waitsfield, Ludlow and Stowe -- offering perhaps
the best consistent Vermont foliage in the northeast.
A remarkable Vermont fall foliage driving tour should always include
traveling Route 5 North from Lyndonville, VT. Start with a cup of
coffee and a hearty pancake breakfast at the truly "local' Miss
Lyndonville Diner (686 Broad St., Tel 802-626-9274). Traveling
through the pleasantly quaint downtown of Lyndonville will lead you
through more remote towns like West Burke, East Burke and Newark. The
mountain views are high and lonesome and dramatic, filled with plenty
of fall foliage. Taking Route 5A from West Burke will bring you to Lake
Willoughby where you'll find the colors of fall enhanced by one of
Vermont's most pristine bodies of water. Downtown East Burke
features the famous Northeast Kingdom Country Store (466 Route 114,
Tel. (802) 626-4611, a classic country store with its "past and
present" gifts within a creaky old wooden country store two-story
building. Dark, creaky narrow hardwood floorboards, a cozy area
for eating and a network of larger rooms leading to smaller, quaint
rooms with more merchandise create a quintessential Vermont retail
Revolutionary fall foliage vacations reside in Massachusetts
Historic Monument Square, Concord, Mass.
A popular fall foliage stretch is Route 2, especially from Ayer, Mass.,
to the Berkshire Mountains (going from north central to northwestern
Massachusetts). Frequent spurts of brilliant colors off this older
scenic highway make it a must to discover some of the charming villages
and towns that have the New England spirit with village greens and
churches with tall steeples -- Shirley, Templeton, Princeton, Harvard,
Westminster, Shelburne Falls, and North Adams, to name a few.
Williamstown, a college town (Williams College) with wealth, may be one
of New England's masterpieces --all decked out in tree-lined streets,
interesting locally owned shops and the ultimate feeling of small town
America. Add a few colored leaves to this foundation and you have a
perfect foliage destination. Williamstown is home to the Sterling and
Francis Clark Art Institute (225 South St., Tel. 413-458-2303),
featuring more than 30 paintings by Renoir and other French
Shelburne Falls, located in the Berkshire Mountains foothills, may not
be listed in a travel agent's database, but the town shines with its
row of stately old homes, a friendly downtown with interesting little
shops, unique glacial potholes, and the Bridge of Flowers - a stunning
display of 500 flowers residing on a 400 ft. walkable bridge. Consider
Shelburne Falls a great fall foliage stop along the way when venturing
toward the heart of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts,
or as part of your Mohawk Trail itinerary (shadowing an old Indian
Trail running from Orange to the Berkshire community of North Adams.
North Adams is beautifully situated in the Northern Berkshires and has
enjoyed a remarkable renaissance over the past several years. It has
gone from an eyesore to eye candy through a revitalized downtown. North
Adams is also home to Mt. Greylock, the highest point in the state at
3,491 ft. -- its height lends great foliage views.
Be sure not to miss a visit to Red Apple Farm in Phillipston (north central Massachusetts right off Route 2). One of the
best apple picking family destinations in New England, Red Apple Farm
also delights with its charming Country Store offering hot and cold
apple cider, apple slushies, apple cider doughnuts, apple dumplings,
fresh fudge and peanut butter made on the premises. This fourth generation
farm also features free hayrides, friendly farm animals, seasonal festivals, fall weekend barbecues, and the
Brew Barn (open from June to October) in the rustic Country Barn (also
great for weddings) to enjoy local brews. The scenery is beautiful with
wide open land and views of Wachusett Mountain. The feeling is beyond
wonderful here. It's truly a great place to connect with friends,
family and Mother Nature while enjoying something delicious to eat and drink.
Red Apple Farm
The 1761 Old Mill Restaurant (State Rd. East, Tel. 978-874-5941) in
Westminster stands out as a Route 2 fall foliage dining favorite, with
its roaring waterfall, and brilliant colors framing the rustic, old
building. A covered bridge leading to the restaurant and a lovely pond
where visitors can feed the ducks make this one of the most scenic
dining establishments in New England. By the way, the food is great
from the sweet, sticky buns to the phenomenal roast duck is tremendous
-- tender and plentiful with apple-based stuffing and a choice of
orange glaze or gravy.
Carlson Orchards (115 Oak Hill Rd., Tel. 800- 286-3916) and Doe
Orchards (327 Ayer Rd., Tel. 978-772-4139) offer fine apple picking
facilities in Harvard, one of New England's true gems. The town center
consists of a general store, a beautiful lake, the best of colonial
homes, and a cool village green -- ideal for sitting under a colorful
tree and reading a book.
Stockbridge, Mass., in the southern Berkshires, represents New England
at its best. From the alternatingly sunny and shady tree-lined streets
to the locally-owned, small-town center , Stockbridge is indeed Norman
Rockwell come to life (the Norman Rockwell Museum is located here), but
with very little of the overly commercial by-products. The famous Red Lion Inn is located in the
heart of the
idyllic downtown, featuring a
wide front porch perfect for relaxation and a charming restaurant and
guest rooms. Some of New England's best foliage can be found in
Stockbridge, whether it be downtown or on a nearby country road (which
there are plenty).
The Eastern States Exposition (the Big E) in West Springfield (western
central Massachusetts) is perhaps New England's most famous fall event
(from Sept. 15- Oct. 1 for 2017), including the Big E Super Circus, the
Avenue of States, dazzling thrill shows, New England history and
agriculture, animals, rides, shopping, crafts, a daily parade and a
Mardi Gras parade and foods from around the world.
There's are so many food vendors at the Big E that you might not want
to eat until the year 2525, but also consider the Storrowtown Tavern,
located on the premises. With a quaint, candlelit New England feel, the
Storrowtown Tavern features some well-prepared regional favorites like
Yankee pot roast, chicken pot pie, baked Boston scrod, baked stuffed
lobster and roast stuffed turkey dinner.
Going east of the Springfield region is Sturbridge, known for Old
Sturbridge Village (1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Tel. 508-347-3362)
which recreates an 1830s New England community. The 200-acre village
includes a working historical farm and restored buildings. Old
Sturbridge Village seems especially pleasant in the fall, as rustling
through the leaves in another era with a chill in the air evokes a true
New England autumn. As with most areas of New England, the foliage is
beautiful in the Sturbridge region.
No visit to Sturbridge would be complete without a visit to the Publick
House (277 Main St., Tel. 508-347-3313), a 1771 colonial structure
serving as a quaint Sturbridge inn at the attractive Sturbridge Common.
The Publick House serving great prime rib and turkey dinners in a
quaint setting. Another great dining choice is the Salem Cross Inn
(Route 9, West Brookfield, MA, Tel. 508-867-8337), set just outside the
stunning village green dominated center of West Brookfield on Route 9.
The handsome hardwood floors, the roaring fireplace, the serene glow of
romantic candlelight, and old fashioned "New England" waitresses lend a
complete feeling of warmth, comfort, and, by the way, great food. It is
the antidote to a Taco Bell nation. The Salem Cross Inn offers some of
the best prime rib in New England and has some wonderful seafood, duck
and chicken selections.
Route 117 from Lancaster to Concord, Mass., runs parallel with part of
scenic Route 2 in central and eastern Massachusetts. Known as the
Nashoba Valley region, Route 117 features small-to-midsize towns with
wonderful apple orchards, classic ice cream stands, modest
family-oriented restaurants with delicious food and stores from
yesteryear (the Maynard Outdoor Store). Towns like Maynard, Bolton,
Lancaster and Stow represent New England at its finest -- laid-back
with village greens, tall churches and a real community feel. You'll
feel like you're home, only with the advantage of great foliage.
Concord is one of the most well known communities in the United States,
known as the home of the American Revolution, Henry David Thoreau,
Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson and most importantly, the
Concord Grape (just kidding). Concord is full of neat little shops,
tall majestic church steeples, gorgeous colonial homes, and a walk to
beloved American institutions like the Old North Bridge, Monument
Square, Louisa May
Alcott Museum, and Walden Pond (Route 126, just off Rt. 2). Walden
Pond, in particular, is worth visiting. Walden Pond is the former home
of one of America's great misanthropes, Henry David Thoreau, and
current home of thousands of visitors enjoying the mellow 45 minute
walk around one of Massachusetts' prettiest ponds, a small swimming
beach and hiking trails pleasing everyone from the corporate weekend
warrior, pocket protector and all, to the 1960s hippies with pony tails
and long dresses (this includes women, too).
Great farm stands and apple orchards dot the Route 117 and vicinity
landscape. Bolton Orchards (125 Still River Rd., Tel. 978-779-2733) has
a never-ending apple field in a rural setting, seemingly a million
miles from civilization (but in reality, a half hour to Worcester and
45 minutes to Boston). Twenty five varieties of apples can be found in
the expansive field. They also have a great farm stand and gift shop.
Near Bolton Orchards is Nashoba Valley Winery (92 Wattaquadock Hill
Rd., Bolton, MA, Tel. 978) 779-5521), with a 52-acre apple orchard,
wine tasting tours, and J's Restaurant, a rustic farmhouse known for
its sophisticated offerings, farm fresh vegetables and award-winning
wines. The setting represents the best of rural New England with its
gentle rolling farmland.
Verrill Farm in West Concord (Rt. 117) offers some of the freshest
produce in the Boston suburbs in a pastoral, farm setting. This is the
blueprint for how a farm stand should be, committed to farming
excellence. Perfectly manicured and rurally informal, Verrill Farm may
not have the variety of produce that some of the bigger stands offer,
but what they have is superior in quality. Currently in temporary
quarters due to a Sept. 2008 fire, Verrill Farms still offers a
wonderful fall farm experience. We look forward to its new building to
be completed some time in the fall.
For a wonderful dining experience, Concord's Colonial Inn (48
Square, Concord, MA, Tel. 978-369-9200) is a must. It is also a
renowned inn, great for an autumn stay) and indeed a special place,
filled with history--this was Henry David Thoreau's house before he
became an earlier day Gilligan and lived isolated at Walden Pond
(perhaps the first time in history a Thoreau-Gilligan analogy has been
mentioned. Gilligan, however, was less misanthropic). Antiques, period
furniture, beamed ceilings, outdoor dining opportunities on a truly
relaxing front porch and great wood work mark the feeling of another
The Colonial Inn could get by on its looks alone, but the food lives up
to the billing. The pork tenderloin is not to be missed, as well as the
sea bass. Salads are well beyond boring iceberg, and the deserts are
truly wonderful, especially the cheesecake and chocolate cakes. The
Colonial Inn has a Sunday brunch, which is truly inspiring with
quantity to match innovative quality dishes. Try it, especially during
autumn as a precursor to a Sunday foliage drive.
The southwest suburbs of Boston offer some great foliage, too. Walpole,
Westwood and Medfield are nice, small towns with parks and ponds
perfect for a weekend stroll. Walpole has the 89-acre Bird Park and
365-acre Adams Farm (North St.), both with attractive grounds and
wonderful fall foliage. Be sure, also, to check out the spectacular
pumpkin patch at the Epiphany Church of Walpole in the town center.
Westwood features the 1,250 acre Hale Reservation,
located just off Route 109 near the town center. Hale is secluded, but
safe -- a popular camp area in the summer and for foliage strolling
destination in the fall.
Medfield features Rocky Woods State Reservation (Hartford St., Tel.
781-784-0567), a great place for light hiking. Its owners, the Trustees
of Reservations state on their Web Site: "The reservation features over
six miles of former woods roads and footpaths through rolling hills of
white pine and red oak that are part of both the Neponset River
Watershed and the Charles River Watershed. Rocky ledges and glacial
erratics are evidence of glaciers that receded some 10,000 years ago."
Cape Cod, Mass., may be known for its great beaches, seafood and myriad
summer fun, but many prefer the quiet off-season, perhaps best
represented by New England fall foliage. The best place to enjoy
foliage is by visiting the small towns along Route 6A -- Barnstable,
Yarmouthport, Dennis, Harwich, etc. The towns look different at this
time, as they return to their normal, quiet village foundation,
temporarily put on hold during the heavy tourist season. The foliage is
stunning, proving that there is life beyond the summer at Cape Cod. You
can really have the best of both worlds: fall leaf peeping and seaside
lodging at places like the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, and
the Ocean Edge Resortup_adults=1 in
Connecticut "branch offices" of
Picture below: downtown Mystic, Conn.
A memorable "underdog" for New
England fall foliage is Litchfield,
Conn., tucked away in the hills of northwestern Connecticut. Looking
like life was a few centuries ago, Litchfield has a calm and
old-fashioned aura with only a few shops, restaurants and lots of
well-maintained old homes with perfectly manicured lawns. It is the
perfect place to stroll and take in the fall colors.
A more well known area New England fall foliage destination is Route
169 in Northeastern Connecticut. New Hampshire and Vermont get most of
the foliage credit, but it would be a mistake to bypass on the scenic
and quiet northeastern Connecticut corner. Roue 169 is generally
regarded as one of the best scenic roads in the united States with
beautiful small towns, rolling green hills, farmland and a dignity that
shows off the subdued but proud New England spirit. Putnam, once a near
ghost town, is often referred to as the antiques capital of New
England. It is rough around the edges, but pleasant once there is a
chance to stroll around the small but historic downtown, filled with
antique and specialty shops, and restaurants. Communities like
Woodstock, North Woodstock, Pomfret, Thompson, Abbington and Brooklyn
have little going on, but that's a great thing for those interested in
seeing a relatively unspoiled part of New England -- which, of course,
leaves little distraction, when focusing on fall foliage.
Don't forget about the coast, too, especially Mystic where an appealing
downtown with shops and restaurants and attractions like the Mystic
Aquarium and Mystic Seaport make for a fun vacation. Hotels in Mystic
are mostly modern, three-star chains, but you'll find some real
historic gems, too, like The Whaler's Inn.
The Inn at Woodstock Hill in the
Woodstock, is a perfect fall
foliage destination. The Inn, listed on the National Register of
Historic Places, stands majestically on Plain Hill. Built in 1816, the
Inn largely consists of a Federal/Georgian style mansion with a
carriage house and two barns. Staying there is like meeting that
special, once-in-a-lifetime love--once you meet this romantic vacation
destiny, you're sure to return again and again. Around the corner from
the bustling downtown complete with a produce stand, a church and
colonial homes (the town's idea of a strip mall are rows of apple
orchards), the placid Inn at Woodstock Hill could convince the most
overstressed business executive to slow down, breathe in the untouched
air, and marvel at the old and wise tall trees.
In nearby Pomfret Center is the Vanilla Bean Cafe, a wonderful casual
breakfast, lunch and dinner destination set in a restored 1740s
farmhouse. Pomfret Center is breathtakingly quiet and attractive,
offering a village green better than most places in Vermont -- known
for its village greens.
"Leave" it to Maine for stunning foliage
Picture below: Moosehead Lakes Region. Photo credit: Dana Moos.
Maine seems more suited for lobster
and rocky coastline, but to ignore
the great foliage would be a travesty. In a certain sense, tourists
have a tremendous advantage by vacationing in Maine during the foliage
season. Unlike the foliage, the lobster and rocky coastline don't go
away. It is there to enjoy in the fall with fewer crowds. While the
crowds travel to New Hampshire and Vermont for foliage, those going to
Maine feel awfully smart, in some places having the foliage season to
themselves. Acadia National Park may seem as far away as Australia to
some, but the trek is certainly worth it. Acadia National Park is truly
one of the most spectacular parks in the United States, with its beyond
scenic rocky coast, and forested valleys, lakes and mountains, carved
by glacial force. It cannot be fully described, only joyfully visited.
Of particular interest is Northeast Harbor, a splendid little village
boasting the prettiest harbor you will ever see. The foliage
surrounding the harbor and sleepy little village is a joyous discovery,
certainly worth the mileage.
South of Acadia National Park on Scenic Rt. 1A is Camden, Maine,
perhaps one of the most picturesque seaside towns on the East Coast.
The 800-ft. Mt. Battie lends amazing views of the coast, particularly
appealing when combined with fall foliage.
Inland, the Rangeley and Moosehead Lake regions are favorite
destinations for the Maine fall foliage season. One look at the above
picture and it's easy to see why!
Rhode Island's small size packs a
Photo below: Diamond Hill Reservoir, Cumberland. R.I.
Rhode Island is no slouch
when it comes to foliage. No matter what time
of season, communities like Bristol, Warren, Barrington, Westerly and
(known for its historic mansions and lively downtown with many
shops, restaurants, waterfront hotels and charming narrow streets) have
incredibly strong appeal offering coastal splendor with enough foliage
to please the Mother Nature crowd and retail to please Mother. Also
keep in mind the small northern Rhode Island towns like Cumberland
(especially near the Wrentham MA line), Chepachet, Harrisville and
Scituate as the mid-to-late October foliage can be impressive in these
welcoming, quintessential New England towns.
Much like Cape Cod, there is a misconception that Rhode Island
vacations are meant for the beach, but the locals know that as long as
you have trees in New England, there is foliage.
Book a hotel room in
North Conway NH near the Kancamagus Highway and get a great rate
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