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plantdaddy Jul 20th, 2018 09:30 PM

New England Fall Foliage Tour

My wife & I are southerners who have never seen the beautiful foliage on the Northeast and would like to plan a trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary. We are self employed so our time frame is flexible but would like to see if there is a best time viewing that would definitely give us the fall foliage that we desire to see. Our tentative thoughts were fly out of New Orleans October 1st to Boston and hit Maine, Vermont, & New Hampshire, then back to Boston to fly back. We have a convention in New Orleans that's Oct. 9-11th and can amend our travel plans if you all think we would see more Oct. 12 - 19th.

Any help, suggestions of top places to stay. We are not wanting touristy. Looking for quintessential New England stops!

Dukey1 Jul 21st, 2018 04:58 AM

OK, I'll start this off for you as I am sure others will chime in. As I recall it used to be that Columbus Day or 12 October if you will was seen, by many, as the "peak" foliage point in some areas. But I am sure you realize the amount of color depends on weather conditions such as how dry it has been. "Bright clear days" are supposedly the trigger for the leaf turning. Colors begin north and work their way south. Have you looked at any of those foliage "reports" for the various states/areas that can be accessed on-line? Here are a couple of links (there are many around):

and another which is kinda wordy and obviously full of opinion:

But, from experience I can tell you there will be a lot of people in the area so plan early

Calabria62 Jul 21st, 2018 06:15 PM

To add to the what Dukey said, there will indeed be a huge crowd in New England over foliage season, especially in the mountains. The good news is that there is plenty of colorful foliage to be seen all over the region, so you need not hit the peak tourist areas to see color.

The main thing is that it's hard to predict when peak viewing is, because it is so weather dependent. But, since you can be flexible, I'd say your plan for the 12-19th is a safer bet. (I live in Maine, so I think you'll be happy with that time frame)

It's a very busy time, so start looking for accommodations now.

dfrostnh Jul 23rd, 2018 04:03 AM

Last year foliage did seem a little later than usual so Oct 12-19 might work unless you want to see foliage in the White mountains. It will be past peak by then. I think first of October in NH's White Mountains will be too crowded and always too touristy. Everyone drives the Kancamagus but I think there's too many trees. I prefer a more southern route from Rt 16 (Conway area) to Tamworth, Center Sandwich and Squam Lake area. I think I would recommend going north to VT and then across NH to Maine. The coast is warmer so foliage will be around longer.

For non-touristy example, from Boston head north to Concord NH for the night. It's the state capital with a lovely Main Street you might want to walk even if the stores are closed. The Centennial Inn is in a lovely mostly residential area. There's a Mariott next to Horseshoe Pond which is a pretty area even though it's commercial and backs up to I93. Downtown Holiday Inn is well located for walking Main Street. In the morning you can head to VT but don't get on I89 right away. Follow directions to the hospital and keep driving. You'll go thru the towns of Hopkinton, Contoocook and Warner. Take a short detour to Gould Hill Apple Orchard for some great apples and check out their hard ciders. A side route in Warner would take you to some small covered bridges. Downtown Warner is a great combination of artists and farmers. Check out the local independent bookstore and its small gallery. Drive up little Mt. Kearsarge and do a little hiking for some views at the top. You can drive up to a great viewing area on the north side (Winslow State Park). You can get on I89 at the north end of Warner or continue to Bradford, Sutton to New London, a beautiful college town with nice views. You can get on I89 there and head to VT.

That's an example of non-touristy areas.

whitehall Jul 23rd, 2018 02:18 PM

First, be aware that Columbus week-end this year is October 6-8, and foliage traffic will be very heavy especially on interstates in areas around southern New Hampshire (due to proximity to Boston). Since Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are your targets (and rightfully so), however, for best viewing, If you want to go to the ski areas of Vermont or the White Mountains, I do highly recommend the earlier period (October 1-8). Foliage is weather dependent, and varies a bit each year. But, by mid-October, the best colors normally will have passed in the mountain areas, and seeing lots of brown (dying) leaves is not what you want. We are former Maine coast innkeepers, and that area gets colors a little later each year. I would stick to the mountains initially. You might go to Stowe, Vermont, and if the leaves aren't at peak, you typically can easily travel an hour north and see perfect foliage, and conversely, if Stowe is a bit past peak, you can travel an hour or so south and get great color. If it were me, I would first pick one lodging location in the middle of an area, such as Stowe, Vermont, and you should easily be able to take day trips to good viewing areas. In New Hampshire, you could pick an area such as North Conway and also travel to the best foliage spots, understanding that colors come first in northern areas and at higher elevations, which include places like nearby Kancamagus Highway or Mt. Washington. Foliage can be good in more remote places like Rangely, Maine, but Maine is a big state, and you can't go everywhere. From Conway, you might drive over to the Maine coast, by heading over to our old hometown Camden, "where the mountains meet the sea." Colors aren't usually as spectacular on the coast, BUT it's still busy because colors and the ocean make a very appealing combination. Again, especially with climate change, some years the colors are coming later, but remember, the bright reds, and then oranges come first and earliest. Book accommodations early. Allow plenty of time for traffic. There are plenty of less busy scenic roads in all areas where you can also enjoy fall colors. And, alternatively, there are fine colors to be seen in southern areas of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, which usually reach peak later than the northern mountains. In that case, you might follow the suggestions of the other posters and select the later date.

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