By Sandi Barrett, Contributing Writer
REGION – It’s time for a perfect fall getaway. With gorgeous foliage just a short road trip away, New England has the best places to visit for autumn color. From late September to late October, the quaint towns and scenic byways open their arms to travelers searching for breathtaking views, quaint country stores, historic covered bridges, and peak foliage leaf peeping.
We have assembled a few choice spots in each New England state where you will find gorgeous autumn color and fun activities. We’ve added trusted, name brand hotel options to extend your getaway minication with a relaxed, home-away-from-home feel.
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Beautiful Bangor has a wonderful kick-back vibe and a perfect anchor location to explore Maine’s fall colors. The Bangor area’s peak foliage season is early to mid October.
As an alternative to foliage driving, a hike through the woods or a paddle on the lake are wonderful ways to view the best fall scenery. The Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Bangor offers seven miles of scenic hiking trails and a free canoe rental program on Saturdays.
Dine at Novio’s Bistro in Bangor’s historic downtown area. The chef-driven prix fixe menu with an optional wine pairing is the perfect way to unwind after a day of enjoying Maine’s fall foliage. If the Trio of Chocolate Ravioli with Raspberry Sauce is on the menu, order it. It is a sumptuously crafted dessert.
Other gorgeous leaf peeping Maine destinations includes Bar Harbor, Mount Katahdin, and Acadia National Park.
Where to Stay: TownePlace Suites Bangor Maine
Lenox, in the heart of the Berkshires, is the perfect spot for an early October leaf-peeping adventure in Massachusetts. The turning birch and maple trees create a colorful patchwork everywhere you look. Plan a scenic drive along Route 7 and other backcountry roads in search of the perfect fall foliage photo.
To enjoy the colorful scenery on foot, traverse the Bluebird Trail in the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary. The easy trek through forested trails will get you up close with Mother Nature.
A tour of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home, is a lovely way to enjoy the history of this Western Massachusetts estate. The evening Ghost Tour will entertain you with hair raising tales of eerie happenings, perfect for a chilly October night in the Berkshires.
Where to Stay: Courtyard Lenox Berkshires
Vermont’s Green Mountains are home to the beautiful city of Burlington. Here you can experience one of the prettiest foliage scenes, Lake Champlain in autumn. A panoramic view of the fall colors dancing off the crystal waters is a quintessential New England autumn foliage “Instagrammable” moment.
In a city known for its breweries, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery is a great spot for a delicious specialty brew and some yummy pub grub. Try the Green State Lager or the Conehead IPA with their Dirty Fries to satisfy the hangries after your small-towns scenic drive.
Other great foliage viewing options in the Vermont area are Stowe and Woodstock. In Stowe, hop on the gondola for a glorious aerial view of the mountains displaying their gorgeous fall colors. In Woodstock, visit Billings Farm for the Sunflower House display (ends September 30).
Where to Stay: Courtyard Burlington Harbor
Plymouth, New Hampshire
Plymouth, New Hampshire, is a small town in the White Mountains where the Pemigewasset and Baker Rivers converge, creating a nature lover’s playground.
To explore the area on foot, hike the easy-moderate Walter/Newton Natural Area Trail. It is a 1.6 mile loop with a small waterfall reward along the way.
A road trip down the Kancamagus Highway is a classic New England fall getaway. A drive through the White Mountain National Forest, with its breathtaking views, is one of the best places to enjoy New England’s autumn foliage.
Mount Washington is another stunning fall New Hampshire vista. You can drive the Mount Washington Auto Road or book a guided tour and let someone else take the wheel.
Where to Stay: Fairfield Inn & Suites Plymouth White Mountains
You don’t have to drive north to find great fall recreation. In Farmington, there are hills to climb and rivers to cross while you enjoy the beautiful vistas and autumn colors.
Try a moderately difficult hike up Rattlesnake Mountain via the Metacomet Trail. The 2.5 mile out and back hiking trail will get your heart pumping. Pack a picnic lunch and munch away while enjoying the beautiful scenic views from the top.
Alternatively, you can walk the Farmington River Trail. Sections of the trail follow along the banks of the Farmington River, local farms, quaint neighborhoods, and wooded areas.
The First and Last Tavern restaurant in Avon offers guests delicious Italian fare. Their gourmet pizzas served with your favorite beverage is a fun treat to wrap up a day of brisk October adventures.
Where to Stay: Residence Inn Hartford Avon
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is all about luxury and great food. In October it is no different. A crisp fall sail on the America’s Cup yacht offers a unique ocean view of the coastline dressed in beautiful fall foliage.
Be sure to stop at Bannister’s Wharf and dine at the Black Pearl. If it’s a beautiful fall day, dine on the outdoor patio and breathe in the salty ocean air.
Where to Stay: Newport Marriott
New England fall foliage at its peak
Local state websites offer insight into when the peak foliage for each area of their state is anticipated. Balancing your autumn New England road trip to view the mountains’ new colors can take some skill and a certain amount of luck.
Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.