Follow the Foliage on Our New England Fall Road Trip
Autumn is one of our favorite times of year to be in the northeastern corner of the country. In New England, summer’s end ushers in crisp mornings and sunny afternoons ideal for hiking, wine tasting and apple picking against a backdrop of fall foliage. Leaf peepers and pumpkin spice latte lovers looking to embrace the new season can follow us down the eastern seaboard with stays at hotels offering harvest festivals, guided outdoor activities and farm-to-table restaurants.
Vermont Peak foliage: last week of September through mid-October
A free shuttle drops guests of Black Bear Lodge at the base of Stratton Mountain's hiking trails leading to 360-degree views of the changing leaves across four mountain ranges. Guests can rent bicycles or hike the trails with four-legged family members at this pet-friendly property; those visiting over Columbus Day weekend are invited to join in the hay rides, pumpkin painting, live music and craft beer tastings at the annual harvest festival held at Stratton Mountain Resort.
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Connecticut: Peak foliage: late September through early November
A country escape doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury. Those looking to balance the fresh air with an ample amount of pampering can book stays at the Spa at Norwich Inn. The hotel is centrally located along the Connecticut Heritage loop, a 90-mile driving tour of the state’s varying foliage displays from the ocean’s edge north through Pachaug State Forest, the largest in Connecticut. Follow up a day in the car with seasonal body wraps or pedicures at the top-rated spa. Guests are also treated to complimentary afternoon tea and scones, wine tastings, guided nature walks and outdoor meditation sessions.
Maine Peak foliage: mid to late October
Ask locals their preferred time of year to visit Maine’s beaches and you might be surprised when summer isn’t the response. Natives and visitors-in-the-know flock to the state’s southern coastline in fall while the breezes are still warm and lobsters are plentiful. Across the street from a picturesque strip of sand, York Harbor Inn is bordered by private estates and feels like an exclusive hideaway -- especially once the beach crowds fade. Driving tours circle the neighboring villages, surrounding state parks and nearby lakes region, showing off brilliant red, purple and golden treetops highlighted by lighthouses and antique shops.
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Massachusetts Peak foliage: mid to late October
Welcome fall from the comfort of a private lakefront balcony at the Black Swan Inn. Located in the Berkshires, the mountain escape is only 20 minutes from October Mountain State Forest, the state’s largest woodland. Nature walks along the Gorge Trail lead visitors through a maze of crimson dogwoods and amber elms to the scenic Schermerhorn Gorge. On site, guests can rent kayaks, paddle boats and pontoon boats to explore the rest of Laurel Lake. Less than 10 minutes from the inn, Tangier Outlets is the perfect place to stock up on sweaters for the oncoming chill.
Pennsylvania Peak foliage: early October into November
The Delaware Water Gap is a popular destination for nature lovers year-round, but visiting in autumn provides miles of amazing scenery as over 70,000 acres of rolling hills transform from green to a rich tapestry of reds, oranges and yellows. The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort has welcomed guests to the banks of this winding river for over a century and today’s overnight visitors can absorb the scenery on the resort’s kayaks, rafts, canoes, hiking trails and golf course. Adults can unwind in the evening with beer from the on-site ShawneeCraft Brewing Company (call ahead to schedule a free tour with a 6-ounce sample).