Fall Color Trip for 4 days

Old Sep 9th, 2010, 07:24 PM
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Fall Color Trip for 4 days

I have never seen Fall colors in my life but this year I would like to experience this. I plan to make a 4 day trip around late-Sept/early-October. The plan is to just rent a car and drive around enjoying the Fall colors and hopefully take some good pictures.

I know there are too many places to experience this....what I am looking for are:
1. seeing the entire spectrum of Fall colors, not only yellow
2. where I can drive around, without too much traffic
3. where i can comfortably complete my target locations in 4 days without rushing.

What places would you suggest for this? Any help is really appreciated!

Z
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 05:29 AM
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Check out Yankee Magazine's recommendations for scenic foliage drives in New England. First week of October would be best. We're seeing the beginning. New England has all the colors. You probably should avoid NH's White Mountains because everyone will be there. Get a good road map. The very best is the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for each state which shows every road, including seasonal, plus locations of waterfalls, covered bridges, etc. You could pick a central location like Concord NH, a small city with a lovely downtown, and do a day trip in each direction. One nice route is drive out Pleasant St which becomes Rt 103 thru Hopkinton, Contoocook, Warner. On the way stop at Gould Hill Orchards for heirloom apples and a nice view. Go thru Bradford, Sutton and up to New London. Take the auto road up Mt Kearsarge to Winslow State Park. Great views from the picnic area, could be very windy. If you want to hike, you can take the steep trail to the top. If it's not a weekend, you might not see anyone. In Sutton take the road up to Musterfield Farm. There's a small farmstand. It's an interesting place if they are having an event.
The Merrimack River is very low this year because of the drought. I went kayaking about a month ago with a friend. What an amazing trip even though it's an area I drive by every day. There are bald eagles nesting near the river, lots of quiet, private beaches to get out on. You can rent a kayak and have them drop you off in Boscawen and take out in Penacook. Might be weekends only now. If you're interested in kayaking, it's a great time and place for a beginner.
If you avoid commuting hours esp Friday afternoons, even I93 in NH isn't bad and provides some dramatic views should you decide to go to the mountains.
From Concord, it's a easy drive to Portsmouth for a great boat cruise. The parking garage is within walking distance of the dock. We have not had problems driving Rt 4 but some Fodorites have. There can be congestion in the area of Northwood antique shops but mid-day, mid-week shouldn't be a problem. Really nice approach to Portsmouth over Great Bay bridges. Rt 1B thru Newcastle is lovely.
There are plenty of quiet roads. A good map will show state highways which will have much less traffic than the interstates. Even in foliage season there's not much traffic past our house!
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 06:21 AM
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Although much of New England and New York has beautiful foliage, Vermont and New Hampshire are usually considered the best, especially for late September & early October. Because of the mix of trees, you'll see reds, oranges and yellows covering the mountains. There are so many places in these states. I've lived here for over 30 years and am I still uncovering new places to explore.
Here are a few towns in both state that are in beautiful areas, and would make good bases:

Vermont - Woodstock, Stowe, Middlebury, Grafton, Waitsfield, Manchester.
New Hampshire - Jackson, Wolfeboro, Lyme, New London, Littleton.


It's hard to just list a few towns, since nearly all of these two states are very scenic, except for the heavily developed area around Nashua-Manchester New Hampshire. Some small towns (like Woodstock Vt) will be touristy and busy, but drive out on the dirt roads and you'll see some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere.
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 07:39 AM
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We love the Hudson Valley in early October... Usually try to catch the West Point Homecoming Football weekend... it combines an amazing historical site with fantastic Fall colors, a sporting event, and insight to one of our Military Academys... not far from NYC and you could continue north into New England... have fun
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Wow, thank you very much for the response guys! Really appreciate it. Shall look up New England, Vermont and New Hampshire.

What about Colorado though? Is that not a good destination for seeing Fall colors? I thought there is so much hype around CO for Fall colors, does it not make the cut for the top five picks for Fall colors in the US?
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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As mentioned on other similar threads, Colorado colors can't compare to Northeast. Aspens mostly in the mountains, and they are only yellow and they are already starting to change.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-and-where.cfm
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the help folks. I am almost set with the trip, wanted to have some feedback regarding which dates would be best:

Sept29th-Oct2
Oct4-Oct7th

End of Sept to early October seems to be the best times from what I read on here, so I'm guessing both are about the same?

I'm targeting NH for 3 days, is that going to be enough you think or should I try to extend the time for the visit? What do you'll recommend?
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Old Sep 19th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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Mid to Southern VT is best on Columbus Day Weekend. Manchester area. It works its way south accordingly. Yankee Mag. has named the 3 best overall places to see the colors. Kent, CT won, much to everyone's surprise.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:23 AM
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Your first date is probably good for the mountains in NH, the second date for further south. We've had some cold nights but it has warmed up again. Not much color change yet on Sept 20 in the Concord NH area. An occasional tree, some branches but no big color yet. It was a very dry summer.
Color changing depends on latitude, elevation and temperature. New England is small. You can get over to VT or ME or MA (even CT and RI) as day trips. Concord NH to Burlington VT (almost to Canadian border) is about 3 hours. If you are flying in and headed north on I93, you can see it change as you head north.
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 04:31 AM
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It is always hard to predict. Many people say foliage color will be early this year but no one really knows. There is some spot color in western MA (I was just there yesterday) and Vermont now.

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont has a good foliage festival next week and this would be an easy area to visit if you are in New Hampshire
http://www.nekchamber.com/pages/473/September.htm
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Old Sep 20th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the help guys! Got my tickets, I will have 3rd, 4th and 5th of October to explore.

Ok I checked out yankee magazine as advised by dfrostnh, here are the predictions:

Vermont Foliage: http://www.vermontvacation.com/fallf...oliage2010.asp

New Hampshire Foliage : http://foliage.visitnh.gov.ns1www.si...dex-flash.html

So this is what I was tentatively planning :

Day 1: White Mountains (10/03)

Day 2: Explore Vermont, driving north to south on Vermont (as suggested by zootsi) (10/04)

Day3: Explore south NH. With Concord as base, explore small towns to the left, town to the right, and one beach if possible (As suggested by dfrostnh, zootsi) (10/05)

Does this sound like a fairly doable plan? Any suggestions? Also, what should I not miss when visiting Vermont?

Appreciate the input, I am super excited about this trip.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 04:10 AM
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another Vermont foliage web site
http://www.vermont.com/foliage.cfm

You can check back or call the foliage hot line when you are actually here.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 04:42 AM
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Sounds good except there is going to be a great amount of traffic in the White Mountains on Sunday 10/03. You might do better to go on a weekday. Expect stop and go traffic southbound from the mountains in late afternoon as everyone goes home. If you are going to drive the Kanc, do it very early. There's nothing much along the way except scenery so you end up in the Conway area with tons of traffic. We live here, we hate traffic so we generally avoid the Conway area. Drove the Kanc Labor Day weekend and it was fine but N Conway was packed with people. It might be nice at 6pm on Sunday but not at noon time. We made a loop from Thornton, across the Kanc and then down to Tamworth and thru Center Sanwich/Squam Lakes area ... think it was 113A. Pretty little towns at the beginning of the mountains. I preferred this route but it doesn't have the elevation and dramatic mountain vistas of the Kanc. We expected heavy southbound traffic on I93 but we left Thornton around 11am and it was not bad at all.

If you go on Sunday, have an alternate route chosen to get back to Concord. Rt 106 from Laconia might be ok. If you get off at exit 20 (Tilton outlet malls area) you can take Rt 3 south to Boscawen, cross over river and Rt 93, take right onto Mountain Rd (rt 132). Depends on where you are staying. Staying on Rt 3 will take you to Concord's downtown Main St area. Rt 89 from VT dumps into Rt 93 just south of Concord and then all the traffic hits the toll booth in Hooksett so it's not uncommon to see traffic backed up all the way to exit 17.

You probably don't want to explore much south of Concord (southern NH is pretty built up) unless you are headed to the quiet SW corner of the state (Peterborough, Harrisville, etc). But that's the day you should go to Portsmouth.

Vermont is great. The farming area along the west side of the state along Lake Champlain is very different from NH. You'll get more open vistas. Green Mountains are much smaller than NH's White Mountains but still beautiful. From Concord to Burlington VT is approx 3 hours. Even though it's an interstate, it's still a pretty ride. You can splurge on lunch at Simon Pierce in Quechee (gorge, great building even if you don't have lunch there), walk around Woodstock (tourist mecca) or head to the Montpelier. Rt 100 is more mountainous. All very pretty.
Have fun!

pick up free Hippo Press newspaper that covers what's going on in Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Portsmouth. You might see an event you'd like to attend.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 09:25 AM
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Am in Killington, VT right now. Not much color yet but it's coming so another week or 2 should make a big difference.
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Old Sep 21st, 2010, 07:21 PM
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I am going from pa to portsmouth to camden, maine. How can I work in a stop at sugar hill for polly's pancakes???
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 02:47 AM
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Polly's is unique but maybe not worth the detour. Haven't been to Parker's Maple Barn in Mason NH but it sounds like a similar experience and could be on your route.

I keep hearing wonderful breakfast reports on the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth.

Maybe Polly's on your return route. Mapquest says 4 1/2 hours from Camden. After pancakes, take I93 south and then your favorite route back to PA. (we head over to Keene, then Brattleboro VT, take I91 thru western MA. Aim for Hartford CT. etc)
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 04:53 AM
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I need gluten free pancakes. not everyone has them.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 05:29 AM
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If you come across a church chicken pie supper in Vt during foliage season, these are usually good
We will be on vacation this year when our local church has its supper and will miss it
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Although most of you go north, trying going to the Boston Mountains in Arkansas for beautiful color, especially the Bella Vista and Eureka Springs area. Then if you have the time go from Fayetteville, Ark. to Ft. Smith....through the mountains. It's breathtaking with not just the "yellows", but the reds and the orange as well. You won't be disappointed if you are in this part of the country. Not much traffic at all; quite a diamond in the rough.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 09:30 AM
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The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth will do gluten free for an extra $1 except for their pumpkin pancakes. I haven't been to this restaurant, just read a lot of good reports and a friend loved it.
http://www.thefriendlytoast.net/
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