Traveling through New England in the fall is like stepping onto an artist’s palette. The vibrant colors of warm burgundy, crisp red, burnt orange, and dazzling yellow all meld together to create an inviting scene that, at times, feels surreal. Sure, spring and summer in New England have their alluring charm but fall… it is nature’s opus and is arguably the most beautiful.
It is important to remember that fall foliage conditions and timeline change each year. These changes depend on that year’s weather conditions and other factors. Typically, the colors start to change mid-September and continue into mid or late October. The peak of foliage or “prime” time to catch the trees at their brightest and fullest can usually be expected the first or second week of October. The foliage tends to start up north and work its way south as the temperatures decrease. So, it would hit peak foliage in Maine before New Hampshire or Massachusetts. However, if you can catch a glimpse of New England at its finest and most beautiful, check out these scenic locations:
Acadia National Park, Maine
This national park is set on the coast of Maine, almost in Canada. It is approximately 47,000 acres and is a destination that offers wilderness & adventure. There are limitless options for hiking and camping and plenty of cliff-side views with breathtaking scenery. Visit Bar Harbor, a cozy little town outside the park with lots of dining, shopping, and local culture. Don’t forget to check out the Bass Harbor Head Light, the 1858 lighthouse which sits atop the granite shoreline with amazing views!
Dixville Notch, New Hampshire
Visit Dixville Notch State Park. There’s a scenic gorge and water falls on two mountain brooks. Hike Table Rock, which enthusiasts say is one of the most exciting and thrilling hikes in the state with views of the White Mountains and winding roads. At the summit, there is a 700-foot vertical drop off Table Rock. While in New Hampshire, check out the Rocky Gorge and Kancamagus Highway. This 34-mile drive through the White Mountains is covered with dense forests and has several picturesque viewing spots. It begins in Lincoln and ascends through the White Mountain National Forest.
Surrounded by the Green Mountains, Stowe is a prime foliage destination. It’s fall colors peak early October. There are plenty of trails and mountains to hike, cycle, or just shop. Visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and taste their fresh cider and donuts. If you’re looking for cuisine, Stowe has plenty of restaurants and breweries to check out too! Top off your trip with a tour and taste at the Ben & Jerry’s creamery just 10 miles away.
The Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
The Mohawk Trail in western Massachusetts features 60 miles of iconic scenery and is a popular route for tourists looking to explore small towns like North Adams, Williamstown, and Shelburne Falls. There are plenty of dining options, coffee shops and roadside attractions along the way including both breweries and cideries that offer tastings. Views of the Berkshire Mountains are best at its highest point, Whitcomb Summit, with views of the surrounding towns and mountains. Visit the Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont and find the largest patch of birch, maples, ash, and beech trees and the tallest tree in all New England, an Eastern White Pine that tops at 171 feet! You’ll discover a lot of picnic sites, places to camp, and hiking trails too.
Kent is the home of the 2300-acre Macedonia Brook State Park. It is in the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor which spreads from northeastern Connecticut to south-central Massachusetts covering approximately 35 towns. Seventy-seven percent of its land is either forest or farm. Pumpkin pick at Buell’s Orchard or wine taste at Sharpe Hill Vineyard. Drive through the charming towns and view foliage along Route 7 while discovering two covered bridges. Before leaving Kent, be sure to visit the working farm at Kent Falls Brewing Company.
By Jen Urban