Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   New England in the Fall (

montgo180 May 14th, 2009 05:35 AM

New England in the Fall
We live in Spain but are planning a trip this fall to New England to see the colours.

Can any body recommend a week long route starting in Boston using country roads where we will get the best colours.

We intend staying in B& B's or Inns.( Is there a guide for those).

We are flexible as to the time we visit, either late September ot early October.

Thanks for any advice.


simpsonc510 May 14th, 2009 07:33 AM

First of all, I would suggest you travel in early October rather than late September. You will need to go north from Boston. I go to New England every year over an extended Columbus Day weekend and usually find good color in New Hampshire, close to the White Mountains.

I love the drive from Lincoln NH to Conway, although you can run into a lot of traffic. It is called the Kancamagus Highway. Great drive! Great scenery! Route 302, is also a nice drive. It is not too much farther north from the Kancamagus.

I also enjoy driving along the Maine coast and then heading inland. In a week's time, you can see quite a large part of New England, IMO.

I do not have suggestions for B & Bs as I always stay in motels. Nothing in particular stands out... other than the Mt Washington Hotel, but I've not stayed there. Others will maybe chime in with suggestions for you. A google search for New Hampshire hotels will also help.

Enjoy your trip!


dfrostnh May 14th, 2009 09:39 AM

Pick first week of October for NH and VT. Keep in mind Oct 12 is Columbus Day so that will be a long holiday weekend for many people. Lodging should be booked now. I recommend splitting your time between two areas, maybe 3 nights in each b&b and doing day trips. You can drive from Boston to the White Mountains in about 2 hours. Because of the higher elevation the color should be great. Then go some place further south or on the coast for the second half of your visit. Any road in the mountains will be very beautiful. Even route 93 will be very pretty once you get north of Manchester NH and this hwy goes right thru the middle of the mountains. Yankee magazine has some suggested routes on their website. You can take a boat ride either on Lake Winnipesaukee or on the ocean around Portsmouth NH. We love the roads around Center Sandwich NH any time of the year. Sometimes a drive is nicer because you find a great place for lunch or an interesting shop. Some people like to visit apple orchards and have cider donuts.
If you purchase a NH Atlas and Gazetteer by DeLorme, you will have a set of very detailed road maps with the locations marked for covered bridges, waterfalls and major hiking trails. We have one for VT, NH and Maine so we don't get lost. Some of the roads in northern Vermont are dirt but are still public roads. You are going to see nice scenery all over the place. Color is going to vary depending on the temperature, weather, type of tree and elevation. If it isn't pretty in one place, you can easily drive to a better area. Vermont has more open farmland with beautiful color which I prefer to the mountains.
I hope someone else can give you b&b recommendations. Foliage viewing is a day trip for us or we just look out our windows.

Vistaphotography May 14th, 2009 01:24 PM

Dfrost is spot on... And what you need to remember is that the colour moves from north to south and from higher elevation to lower but it's now a perfect wave Some areas speed ahead and others fall behind into little pockets of green that turn a week or so later. The first week Oct in NH and VT will/should be good in northern NH/VT and I would plan on traveling up 93 to route 112 but instead of heading east on the Kangamangus head to the west and follow it generally around to the north.
You can find all sorts of areas like sugar hill which I thought was fantastic last year.
Basically the earlier you go the further north you will need to go.
If you go to you can check my blog there and the fall foliage forum where we chat about the state of the fall foliage season. I live in northern Mass and I keep a good eye on the foliage all summer long watching for drought or too much rain which can delay or kill the fall season. Leaf peeping is very much weather dependent...

dfrostnh May 15th, 2009 03:17 AM

Hey Jeff, nice to see you here. Spell check necessary - should be

djkbooks May 15th, 2009 12:05 PM

I would also choose the first full week of October, noting the October 12 holiday.

Normally, I don't favor one-nighters, but the best way to enjoy the fall foliage in New England is by driving all over, and, for me, three nights would be too long in one place for a first time visitor. You can, indeed, cover a lot of scenery with day trips, but one or two nights in a variety of locations would be optimal. On the other hand, you could run into minimum stay requirements, but perhaps only for your weekend dates and over the holiday weekend.

Be advised that sunset will be between 6-6:30 pm in early October. And, there's always scenery between destinations.

Note also that weather is wildly variable from one year to the next, so you'd want to check an extended forecast, paying attention to the lows as well as the highs, and still plan for warmer/cooler.

There are amazing online resources for B&B's in New England. For New Hampshire, a good place to start is

Reserving accomodations ASAP is highly recommended.

colbeck May 15th, 2009 01:22 PM

I agree that the first week in October is the time to go, and please do not miss Vermont for some of the most beautiful foliage anywhere. Vermont and New Hampshire are small states next to each other. It would be easy to combine them for a lovely tour.

One scenic VT area I would suggest is Stowe. Check out for ideas, including B&B's. The Green Mountain Inn, which is right in the village is very nice. From there you can venture into the Northeast Kingdom (foliage peaks there first), or south through the Mad River Valley (Inn at the Round Barn Farm is gorgeous), then on to the Woodstock/Quechee area.

Reservations that time of year, particularly Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 9-12) are essential.

Vistaphotography May 18th, 2009 06:57 AM

(Lesson to self don't post in a hurry and misspell urls...)
One downside to Woodstock or Stowe that you have to take into consideration is the amount of traffic that they get at this time of year. I've accidentally driven through both towns during early Oct and you can spend a bit of time in traffic. Both towns are very small and comfortable to walk around in, so once there you can park the car and enjoy the them that way.
If you get up early in the morning and head out to sight see and foliage peep you won't be in the traffic as much and you can use your Delorme Gazetteer to get you lost on the back roads <b>with out being really lost. </b>
This way you can discover some real gems that only the locals know about. Remember though there are no guarantees to finding great fall foliage so having a back up plan of places to see and things to do is smart because if you can't cancel your reservations you need to be able to find other places to see (historical or artful...)

Jeff Foliage

lizanne May 18th, 2009 08:36 AM

In early October, you will definitely see colorful foliage everywhere in northern Maine, NH, VT - it's just a matter of how far along it will be.

There is often traffic as you come into any town or village, but not so much that you would be delayed very long driving from one end of town to the other. (They're mostly very small towns.)

By driving around, you'll see plenty of foliage. Colors often vary depending on elevation, proximity to water, even conditions on one side of a mountain versus the other - all of which you can see from a car.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:25 AM.