Fall Foliage 2 days from Boston

Old Sep 19th, 2016, 09:42 PM
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Fall Foliage 2 days from Boston

We will arrive in Boston on Wed Oct 12 around 5 pm. Our plan is to look at the fall foliage and then return to Boston on Friday, the 14th around 6pm. So we have 2 days and 2 nights outside of Boston. Any suggestions on where to go to see the best leaves and colors considering we have almost 2 days and nights. Also willing to drive part of way on our arrival in the evening. Thinking maybe of Stockbridge area, but open to any suggestion. After this we will be staying in Boston for a week. Later in the week we will also drive up to Lexington and Concord and maybe a trip to Cape Cod. Thanks for any suggestions on those first two days.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 02:57 AM
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There is already some color in our area of Concord NH. I was surprised how much colored up while I was away for a few days. Western MA is probably a good plan so you should make hotel reservations ASAP. Where you can find availability might determine where you go. You can easily head north via I91 which runs along the VT/NH border and do a trip through either southern VT or NH. For example, you could exit in Brattleboro VT, head to Keene NH, then take Rt 101 over to Nashua to connect with the Everett Turnpike/Rt 3 and back to Boston. Peterborough is a beautiful, artsy town and the route is scenic. It goes near Mount Monadnock so because of the elevation change you might see some dull foliage but in general it might still be good. Otherwise, depending on foliage reports, from the Stockbridge area you could head into CT.

Color is early this year. Usually it peaks in our area around Columbus Day weekend but New England has had a severe drought this year. There is no "best area". There are miles and miles of beautiful scenery even on some of the interstates.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 02:58 AM
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You are very ambitious.

You arrive at the height of rush hour, but you need to put some miles behind you the first night. I would drive up I-93 to Concord, N.H for the night. You will need a reservation.

Next day, I would continue up I-93 to Lincoln and drive the Kancamagus Highway to Conway. Then you have a decision point.

If the color is good, I would continue north on NH 16 through North Conway and Pinkham Notch to Gorham. US 2 will take you west along the Presidential Range of the White Mountains with spectacular views. I would end the day in Littleton, where I would have dinner and breakfast next day at the superb Littleton Diner.

If the color is past peak, head south from Conway toward the Lake Winnepesaukee area to tour the pleasant owns and see the less formidable mountains of the Sandwich Range, west of Mt Chocorua. I don't know where you will find to stay in this area, but you will need a reservation.

Day 2 -- from Littleton, make your way down the Connecticut River valley on back roads to Hanover ( you can drive right along the river much of the way with all kinds of covered bridges). Just beyond Hanover (Dartmouth College) is White River Junction where you can rejoin 93 back to Boston, this time against traffic.

Day 2 alternate -- continue your small town theme. Cross over 93 (maybe on NH 101) and visit places like Jaffrey, Mt Monadnock, Harrisville, and Keene before dropping down into Massachusetts to take MA 2 back toward Boston.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 09:28 AM
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Color is early and is expected to pass quickly. I think you may be a bit late unfortunately. You will want to find something (if possible) with a liberal cancellation policy so that you can change plans if you've missed the colors, maybe head to Cape Cod instead which will be lovely at that time of year if the weather co-operates.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 09:45 AM
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Agree with dfrostnh. Head west from Boston to the Berkshires.

This map offers predictions on foliage: https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 09:53 AM
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I live in central Massachusetts and some of the trees are starting to change here already.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 09:57 AM
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I forgot my usual recommendation. Color will be later in the Portsmouth NH area than Concord NH so I think you should drive north on I95, stay in the Portsmouth NH area, take an inland rivers foliage cruise. Have some terrific seafood for dinner.

IF foliage is still good in Concord NH, you could head north via I93. There are a lot of hotels in the Manchester NH area so you might be able to get lodging there. A trip further north could be just a day trip. Maybe 1 1/2 hours to Meredith via I93 exit 23 to drive around the Lake Winnipesaukee area. The scenery recommended by Ackislander in the Sandwich range is my preference over the White Mountains anyway. Foliage around Lake W IF there is still color should be great. It's a beautiful area.

Return to Concord or Manchester for the night and head to Portsmouth via Rt 4 for the foliage cruise then return to Boston. Wagon Hill Farm in Durham is on Rt 4. Should you want to do some walking, this is conservation property. Park near the house. Take the trail to the water. You'll have a view of the Piscataqua River and can walk along the shore loop. Foliage + Salt Water = winning combination.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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This summer's drought is affecting the quality of the foliage. The leaves are turning color ahead of schedule and, unfortunately, the colors seem less vibrant. Regardless, New England has a special charm in the fall. Hope you have an enjoyable visit just the same.
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Old Sep 21st, 2016, 03:26 AM
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I was in the southwest corner of Massachusetts over this past weekend and there was already a lot of color, driven, I expect, by the drought.

Check out this article by a local weather guru and study the map. That may help your planning, and he's usually very good at this stuff:
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Old Sep 21st, 2016, 05:55 AM
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As mentioned, due to dry conditions and early color, October 12 may be too late for Northern NH or the Berkshires. When leaves are dry, all the leaves may drop after just one heavy rain. One year, the foliage was glorious on our way to the Berkshires for a weekend. Overnight thunderstorm, virtually no leaves on the way home.

For those areas, you definitely need reservations for accommodations and may not be able to cancel without penalty by the time you can check foliage reports.

Color does come last to areas near water (ocean, lake...). Your best bet may be Lake Winnipesaukee. There was beautiful color when we cruised on the Mount Washington last October 12.

The Lake Winnipesaukee area is not as popular with leaf peepers, so booking/cancelling reservations is not as much of a challenge. Same goes for Cape Cod.

Chances are good there will be plenty of color in the Boston area, If you drive Route 2 to Boston from Lexington or Concord, there's a beautiful stretch with plenty of trees with the Boston skyline coming into view in the distance.

At the right time, the foliage in the Public Gardens is magnificent.
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