Thursday, 19 September 2013 9:34 AM
Autumn – or ‘Fall’ – is a beautiful time of year to visit New England in the US, famed for its stunning autumnal foliage which transforms the landscape into kaleidoscope of vibrant reds, yellows and oranges.
When to go:The leaves start turning colors in the northern regions of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire typically around mid-to-late September and peaking around mid-October. In the more southern states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and along the coast of New Hampshire and southern Maine, colour starts later and often lasts up until November.
September 11th was the official start of the foliage season in Maine, an outdoor-lover’s paradise. ‘Leaf peepers’ can enjoy the dazzling autumn landscape virtually anywhere in Maine and its 17 million acres of forest. A hike is an ideal way to view the changing leaves and western and northern Maine is packed with scenic hikes in its state parks, from Grafton Notch just outside of Bethel, to Peaks Kenney Park in Dover-Foxcroft. A drive along The Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway is also popular. It begins on Route 17 in Byron and continues north to its namesake waterway, culminating at the Height of Land turnout, a scenic overlook about 10 miles from Byron.
New Hampshire was made for road trips and there’s no better time to head there than autumn. From the state’s coastal roads that overlook crashing surf to mountain roadways – such as the Kancamagus Highway – that wind through the Northeast's highest peaks, New Hampshire's roads are incredibly scenic in autumn. Head to the highest point of New Hampshire for panoramic views of the landscape, atop Mount Washington. Get there on the Auto Road (self drive or van tours) or on the historic Cog Railway. A slightly easier hike is the popular Mount Monadnock – the ‘most climbed mountain in North America’ – near Jaffrey. Be sure to stop off at one of the many farmer’s markets taking place across New Hampshire. You can even download the foliage tracker app to keep track of the changing leaves.
Vermont is arguably the most famous place to witness the autumn foliage and the season usually begins during early or mid-September and extends into late October. Its miles of undulating mountains, forest and lakes surrounded by glorious russet-red maple trees, with bright white churches’ steeples poking through the foliage is a world-famous image. The best way to get up close and personal with the foliage is on a hike or scenic drive. The Stowe Pinnacle Trail is a popular hike in northwestern Vermont boasts views of the Green Mountains, Worchester Range to the west, as well as Hogback Mountain to the southeast. For a birds-eye view of the foliage, head for Bennington. At the Battle Monument, you can scan the landscape from the top, over 300 ft (91m) above the ground (and no stairs involved!). Or, drive up the very steep Skyline Drive to the top of Mount Equinox, south of Manchester. On a clear day, you can see across New England, into New York State and even into Canada.
Rhode Island may be New England’s smallest state but more than makes up for its size in stunning scenery, especially in autumn. The fall foliage season usually is a little later than more northern states, beginning in mid to late October, especially in the state’s northwest corner, where the elevation is highest. Along the coast, however, you can still view plenty of color into the start of November. A popular scenic drive is from Providence north up Route 112 and 114 to Cumberland, a forested rural community – stopping at vineyards along the way. Pulaski Memorial State Forest and Exeter are also popular ‘leaf-peeping’ spots.
Drive along the Mohawk Trail in Western Massachusetts – America’s first officially-designated ‘scenic road’. It runs up and over the Berkshire Hills and leads to state parks and forests for hiking and biking and the top of Mount Greylock is an ideal spot to gaze over fabulous foliage views. At the Natural Bridge State Park, see a true wonder – North America’s only naturally-formed white marble arch. Or, take in the colours in Boston – an ideal point to start or finish at on a tour of New England’s foliage.
Check out a handy video about autumn in New England here!