Glorious forests and charming villages create an unforgettable autumn experience
New England’s charming hamlets, old growth forests and serene glacial lakes beckon visitors year-round, but the region becomes most vibrant during the fall foliage season. Every autumn, the area’s trees burst into vivid reds and oranges, and towns welcome travelers with festivals and authentic American hospitality.
Vermont’s historic Route 100 nearly runs the state’s entire length from Massachusetts to Canada, with billboards and gas stations replaced with quaint villages and rolling mountain ranges. Among the dozens of popular scenic attractions on the route is Killington Peak, one of the tallest points in the Green Mountains and a stop along the Appalachian Trail. Further north is the village of Stowe, where you can ride the ski resort’s chairlift for unbeatable views of autumn color atop Mount Mansfield. You can also tour and spend the night at the Trapp Family Lodge, which is operated by descendants of the Austrian von Trapp family immortalized in The Sound of Music. Other group-friendly activities in the area to supplement your sightseeing include the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, a state capitol or maple syrup tour in Montpelier and hikes past historic farmhouses in the village of Woodstock. The region’s autumn colors gained worldwide recognition thanks to American artist Norman Rockwell, and you can travel to the town of Stockbridge in the Berkshire Mountains to explore his studio. The property transports visitors back to 1960 to see the Saturday Evening Post illustrator’s workspace as he created one of his most famous works: ”Golden Rule.”
New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway winds 35 miles through the White Mountain National Forest, which reaches its full fall splendor in early October. Stop for a photo at the C. L. Graham overlook, which offers views of the winding Kancamagus Pass, before short hike to Sabbaday Falls, where water flows perpendicularly out of an ancient granite rockbed. Visitors can also pass through Franconia Notch, where you can stop to admire the Old Man in the Mountain, a rocky outcropping that resembles the profile of a human face. Further south is the Lake Winnipesaukee Loop, a 97-mile route that circles New Hampshire’s largest lake and offers easy access to the welcoming hamlets along the shoreline.
Maine’s Acadia National Park is famous for its craggy beaches, historic lighthouses and sunrise views, but it also draws visitors from around the world to drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road. This route passes photogenic sites like Cadillac Mountain—the tallest point in the Eastern United States—the rocky shores of Otter Cliff and the Bass Harbor Head Light. The park is located on Mount Desert Island, and the town of Bar Harbor serves as its tourist-friendly gateway. Here you can arrange ground and water transportation to explore the park, enjoy an authentic lobster dinner in the town square and enjoy a hearty ale at Bar Harbor Beer Works.