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Old 06-19-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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Need help from folks who've done the whole New England Fall Foliage trip(s).

I am southern born and raised, and have done the whole north GA, TN, VA, NC, Fall Foliage thing and it is beautiful. But I've never been anywhere near NE.

My vacation from work this year, is about October 16th, through October 23rd. I realize that might be on the tail-end of the Fall beauty in that region, but it's all I could get, as far work-scheduling. So I'm determined to make the best of it.

Looking at a map, I can see that a lot of what comes to mind, is all relatively close to each other, but what is that I don't know, that I might be missing? I'm thinking of the Stowe VT area, and the White Mtns in NH. What else is all in that area that I shouldn't miss?

What I want to do is fly up that way, but to where? And start out in a rented car, and just see the beautiful sites, and maybe some historical sites if possible, also. Don't really care so much about museums. Wind my way around some sights in the area, and arrive back at where I flew in, for my return flight back, to the drudgery of work again.

This would, essentially, be from arrival on a Thursday and traveling around, and seeing the sights, on through what would be my return flight on the following Tuesday.

Anyone have some input?
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:02 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Prime foliage varies from year to year depending on the weather. You want your dates to be flexible. You can book your flight now, but I’d wait to on hotels or B&Bs until you know when the leaves are changing. There are websites that issue updates on fall foliage.

If you’re going to fly, you might want to go to Hartford, CT. It’s a major airport but you won’t have to deal with the craziness of Boston. There are other smaller airports, Manchester, NH, for example but the flight choices are more limited.

I love the White Mountains. I used to go skiing there in college. If you’re in Harford you should also take a detour through the Berkshires in Western, MA.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpk-nyc View Post
Prime foliage varies from year to year depending on the weather. You want your dates to be flexible. You can book your flight now, but Iíd wait to on hotels or B&Bs until you know when the leaves are changing. There are websites that issue updates on fall foliage.

If youíre going to fly, you might want to go to Hartford, CT. Itís a major airport but you wonít have to deal with the craziness of Boston. There are other smaller airports, Manchester, NH, for example but the flight choices are more limited.

I love the White Mountains. I used to go skiing there in college. If youíre in Harford you should also take a detour through the Berkshires in Western, MA.
I agree that Hartford, CT. might be a good place to fly to as it is in the general area where one can get to see the Fall Foliage.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:13 AM
 
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In a typical year, that will be getting pretty late for peak fall foliage in Stowe. You may catch it just right though, as the colors and timing are dependent on how the weather plays out this summer. So far it has been wet and cool (not good) but that seems to be changing now.

Definitely fly in through Hartford (BDL). The airport is smaller (virtually zero hassle) and located right next to I-91, which is perfect for your travels. It is about 3-3.5 hours to Stowe from the airport, mainly a straight shot up I-91. After meandering around VT and NH, you can wind back down through the Berkshires on eastern MA then Litchfield County/hills in CT (Kent, Cornwall, Washington) and eventually loop back to the airport. Even if you catch the leaves just past peak in VT, that means color will still be going strong in MA and CT.

I grew up in New England and currently live here again, so if you have any questions, ask away!
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:39 AM
 
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If your dates are fixed then you might want to keep your destinations open. If fall comes early you can just drive to NY state or PA or whatever and follow the leaves.

Burlington VT is also a significant airport. Larger airports might take more driving but would have more and cheaper flights and maybe cheaper car rental.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:56 AM
 
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Wow, thanks for the responses. It's helping. Unfortunately, my dates aren't at all negotiable, I have to take what I can get as far as my vacation. I hope I don't get there and the show is over. But it's not anything I can do much about.

Another question that I have, ... and I know here in the south, .. having done the Fall Foliage routes, this would be a problem. Some have suggested that I not set anything in stone, and just kinda meander around and see the sights. What would be the chance that I'd run into real difficulty with hotel vacancy, if I did that?

I like the idea of just meandering around. If you don't know the area, and I don't, ... and you don't know the offerings of the areas, such as sites (which I'll investigate some) or the Fall Festivals that you might want to go to, it's always nice to have an open agenda so that you can head in any specific direction. Having an open agenda suits me well, so that I can go wherever, whenever. But I don't want to run into a problem with finding somewhere to stay. Here in the south, and doing the Leaf Peeper routes in the Fall, that would be a real problem, the hotels fill up, months in advance, for the most part.

I'm not picky, I'm not looking for Bed & Breakfast accommodations. A place to sleep that's reasonably clean and safe, a Days Inn, and I'm good.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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I do the leaf peeping thing often. (for 30+ yrs)

Hartford or Manchester are great places (and served by SWA... free changes if you can't travel). I usually get a priceline or hotwire car. ($12 - $16 / day).

STAY flexible, as colors progress / have peaks at different times. There is a Foliage tracker online that gives updates and map, as to PEAK.

New England is SMALL, thus you can change your plans often.

I stay in private guest homes ($10/night) and just give them an idea when I may be in the area, and call when schedule gets more firm. (the day before...). The New England trips are all great (sometimes rainy). I enjoy Canada a lot too, especially New Brunswick.

You may end up as far south as PA / VA. during that time, or possibly in NY. Due to the shortness of daylight, I do my 'relocation drives' at night. (Unless there is a national park / scenic area.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Fall foliage is a big deal in many areas of the northeast,i;d make sure your lodging is booked before hand.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:17 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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As someone who photographs fall foliage in New England every year, I have a pretty good idea of peak foliage timing and all the complexities that it entails.

Your dates are almost certainly too late to catch peak foliage in the mountains. I probably wouldn't recommend staying in Stowe or the White Mountains if your main goal is see beautiful colors. (That said, the mountains are beautiful any time of year.) It's true that timing can vary a little bit from year to year, but the longer you wait in October, the more likely it is that wind or rain will have already stripped the leaves off the trees.

While you probably won't quite reproduce the familiar experience of seeing mountainside after mountainside aflame with color, that's not to say that you can't enjoy the beauty of fall in New England. Besides, one of the great things about New England is that the terrain changes fairly quickly from coast to mountains (compared to the Southeast). So even if you are in an area that is past peak, a short drive to a lower elevation can reveal beautiful colors.

There are a few places that should be around peak right about the time you arrive:

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire- easy to get here from Boston (or Manchester or Portland). Wolfeboro and Meredith are popular bases. Colors should be around peak on the 16th, maybe starting to wind down. The drives around Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake are nice. You could easily day trip up into the White Mountains if you wanted to (and perhaps a little bit of Vermont - the Cabot/Peacham area is lovely), even if you're more likely to see snowy peaks than vibrantly-colored forests. Also close to the southern Maine coast and Portsmouth.

The Monadnock Region of New Hampshire - another potentially good base, relatively central to the region, but the colors will definitely be winding down when you arrive. You might find the Keene Pumpkin Festival of interest. Lots of nice little classic New England villages in this area (Hancock, Harrisville, Walpole, etc.) and across the border in Vermont (Grafton, Woodstock, and so on). Route 123 (NH) is a nice drive.

The Berkshires of Massachusetts (or Pioneer Valley) - the Berkshires are another area that might be around peak on the 16th, but where the colors will increasingly be in danger of fading during your trip. Still, lower elevation areas such as the Pioneer Valley (Deerfield, Northampton, etc.) will be hanging on to their bright foliage for a while. In fact, you could stay in the Pioneer Valley if you wanted to and have relatively easy access to the Berkshires as well as VT, NH, and CT via I-91. On the Berkshire side of things, the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) and Route 41 are nice.

The Maine Coast - the most spectacular scenery here is in Acadia National Park and in the Mid-Coast region near Camden. These places should be around peak when you arrive but, again, will be quickly winding down over the course of your stay. This may be one of the more interesting areas of New England for someone from the South, but the main caveat here is that it's a long drive away from other parts of New England. If you get unlucky and the colors are already past peak, then you can't exactly go due south OR lower in elevation. Could be worth the gamble, though, if ocean scenery is your thing.

Connecticut - The Litchfield Hills (NW CT) are basically a lower-elevation extension of the Berkshires and offer some nice back road driving (Route 7 comes to mind). The colors here peak earlier than they do in Northeast CT (the "Quiet Corner,") where Route 169 would be a nice foliage drive. Most of CT should be around peak during those dates, which is good for you, but obviously you're kind of far from any real mountains (like the Whites or the Greens).

If I had to vote, my top two suggestions would probably be Deerfield, Massachusetts (which can serve as a base to explore the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires, southern Vermont, southwestern NH, and even CT if you want) and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (which can serve as a base to explore the NH Lakes Region, the White Mountains/possibly northeastern VT, and some of the Maine coast). These two options offer the most flexibility, IMO.

If you were to "play it by ear" and search for lodging on the fly, I think that's doable, but it might be a bit stressful, namely on the weekends or in popular places like Acadia. The "big" foliage destinations are the White & Green Mountains and those places are largely booked during the first two weeks of October (and Columbus Day weekend - forget about it), but you'll be here later in the season, when the leaf-peepers are a bit more dispersed. It can be done if you're flexible and willing to drive around for a while before spotting a "vacancy" sign.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:24 AM
 
3,161 posts, read 8,099,044 times
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Originally Posted by mels View Post
In a typical year, that will be getting pretty late for peak fall foliage in Stowe. You may catch it just right though, as the colors and timing are dependent on how the weather plays out this summer. So far it has been wet and cool (not good) but that seems to be changing now.

Definitely fly in through Hartford (BDL). The airport is smaller (virtually zero hassle) and located right next to I-91, which is perfect for your travels. It is about 3-3.5 hours to Stowe from the airport, mainly a straight shot up I-91. After meandering around VT and NH, you can wind back down through the Berkshires on eastern MA then Litchfield County/hills in CT (Kent, Cornwall, Washington) and eventually loop back to the airport. Even if you catch the leaves just past peak in VT, that means color will still be going strong in MA and CT.

I grew up in New England and currently live here again, so if you have any questions, ask away!
DOH...I must have posted before my morning coffee. The Berkshires are in WESTERN Mass.
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