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Help Planning Foliage Trip 2012

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I am trying to help a friend that lives in Ireland plan a foliage trip for next Oct. 2012. I seem to keep going round and round as to an itinerary. There will be 4 of them traveling together. Want to fly in/out of NYC due to price of flights. They want to visit Boston also. I suggested one way flights into either NY or Boston and fly home Boston/NY depending upon the itinerary. My friend says its too expensive doing this and they would prefer round trip flights. They would plan to rent a car.

Here is what they would like to see:
1) NYC sightseeing;
2) Niagara Falls;
3) Boston - could include Cape Cod, etc.
4) NH -
5) Maine (mentioned Bar Harbor)
6) Had VT on the list but this could be scratched if need be due to distances, etc.
Think they would see enough foliage between NH & Maine.

I cannot seem to put together a trip itinerary where they won't be zig zagging all over the place and especially if they do round trip flights into NYC. Please give some suggested itineraries. They would have 2-3 weeks to spend sightseeing so that is a plus. I think a 2 week itinerary would be ok for them as I don't think they realize how expensive lodging in Boston & NYC will be. But that is there choice to make. Let's say 2 weeks for now.

Can all you wonderful people give your input as to a direction for them and # of days you think would be sufficient in each state? I would be very appreciative.

I am going to leave hotels up to them to plan (there are 4 so could probably rent 2 rooms w/ 2 per room).

Thank you all so much for any assistance.

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