No place in the U.S. places on a extra breathtaking show of fixing fall foliage than New England — notably the area’s densely forested, ruggedly mountainous inside. Here, you may discover huge forests of the timber finest identified for his or her eye-popping coloration: Maples lead the cost, however beech, birch, oak, elm, ash and willow additionally stand out for his or her dazzling plumage.
This New England road journey lazily meanders alongside nation roads, crossing New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Vermont’s Green Mountains, the stunning Berkshires of western Massachusetts and Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut.
Although this journey abounds with good shades of crimson, rust, mustard and chestnut in autumn, it nonetheless provides unparalleled magnificence, refined eating and lodging and a bounty of cultural diversions the remainder of the 12 months.
Best begin and finish factors
This journey is gorgeous regardless of which path you determine to comply with.
Either start in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on Lake Winnipesaukee and loop up via Vermont; then, zigzag your manner south into western Massachusetts and finish in Litchfield, Connecticut. Or, do this drive in reverse. Either manner, flying into certainly one of the a number of airports in southern New England permits you to drive a loop, thereby avoiding one-way automotive rental charges.
Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport (BDL) is a comparatively compact, user-friendly facility that is served by most main home airways. It sits outdoors Hartford, lower than an hour from Litchfield, and three and a half hours from Wolfeboro.
Just extra an hour from Wolfeboro and about three hours from Litchfield, the even smaller Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) is one other simple possibility. It’s served solely by American, Southwest and United.
The area’s largest facility, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), is simply lower than two hours from Wolfeboro and about two and half hours from Bradley. It provides numerous direct flights, but it surely additionally tends to have increased automotive rental charges and requires contending with Boston’s infamous site visitors.
Something of a sleeper alternative, northern Vermont’s Burlington International Airport (BTV) additionally sits straight alongside the route. It’s simple to navigate and is served by most main airways (minus Southwest). However, it has fewer flights per day and, usually, barely increased fares.
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When to go for peak foliage viewing
The area’s foliage begins altering coloration earliest in northern New Hampshire and Vermont (round the final 10 days of September), with the Berkshires and Litchfield Hills sometimes peaking nearer to mid-October.
If you are quick on time and wish the greatest bang in your buck, technique is to spend the bulk of your journey in Vermont and New Hampshire throughout the final week of September or the first week of October.
Related: Where and when to see fall foliage throughout the U.S. this 12 months
If you might have every week or extra, begin in New Hampshire the first week of October and progressively make your manner south. You’ll encounter loads of coloration up north, and you may proceed to expertise superb coloration in the Berkshires and Litchfield Hills for those who go via these areas the second week of October.
Keep in thoughts that you’ll encounter steep airfare, not to point out increased car-rental charges and lodge costs throughout the fall foliage season.
When to go to for outside journey
Thinking about making this journey throughout one other time of 12 months? The complete area is completely gorgeous in summer time and even late spring, a interval massively standard for climbing, boating and different outdoorsy actions. So, this can be thought-about excessive season price-wise.
Much of inside New England is standard for snowboarding and snowboarding from December via March, as properly. Outside of ski areas, although, companies generally shut down or cut back hours throughout this interval, and winter driving will be treacherous. The post-foliage shoulder season (roughly mid-October via November) is a good time for scoring bargains and may nonetheless be fairly stunning — and snowy at excessive elevations.
Times to keep away from
Whatever you do, keep away from the moist, muddy early spring months of April and May (particularly in Vermont and New Hampshire), that are inclined to unpredictable climate and biting black flies.
Time wanted to drive the route
Give your self no fewer than 5 days and as many as 10 to full this full itinerary. If you solely have time for a protracted weekend, give attention to a portion of the journey — Litchfield County and the Berkshires are simple to discover from the New York City space. Philadelphia hall, New Hampshire and even components of the Berkshires and Vermont are fairly accessible for weekend journeys from metro Boston and Montreal.
Wolfeboro to Mount Washington
Wolfeboro, Alton Bay and Mount Major
Begin your journey on the southeastern shore of New England’s second-largest lake — Lake Winnipesaukee — in the tidy, upscale village of Wolfeboro, which has been drawing vacationers since the 1770s.
Fully leaning into its declare as the nation’s oldest resort group, the postcard-perfect city curves round a quiet bay and provides an endearing mixture of neatly stored outlets, galleries and eateries. The Yum Yum Shop bakery, the Wolfeboro Dockside Grille & Dairy Bar, Black’s Paper Shop and the Country Bookseller are some highlights.
As you circle counterclockwise round the southern tip of the lake, it is enjoyable to watch seaplanes take off from slender Alton Bay. For a comparatively simple hike with spectacular lake and forest views, you can also make the 3-mile round-trip trek up a collection of granite ledges to the high of 1,786-foot-tall Mount Major.
Weirs Beach and Meredith
As you proceed up and round Winnipesaukee’s jagged western shore, you may encounter the nostalgic, family-friendly amusements of Weirs Beach and Meredith. Think video arcades, sweet and ice cream counters, and scorching canine and burger outlets. The scene will be enjoyable or grating, relying in your tolerance for hokey diversions. Still, one worthwhile exercise this time of 12 months is taking a scenic cruise round the shoreline on the historic M/S Washington.
In Meredith, you may encounter a campus of standard resorts and eating places alongside the lake’s edge, plus a marina the place you’ll be able to lease kayaks and canoes.
Holderness to Tamworth
Follow U.S. Route 3 to Holderness for a take a look at the smaller however arguably much more stunning Squam Lake; it is surrounded by a number of inviting nation inns. The lake is well-known as the setting of the sentimental Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn film, “On Golden Pond.” Be certain to stroll the nature trails and admire the gardens and animal enclosures of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
Follow Route 113 east to Tamworth, the place you’ll be able to pattern artisan spirits at Tamworth Distilling, discover the offbeat Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, and watch a efficiency at the 1931 Barnstormers Theatre (which presents first-rate performs via September).
Related: Top 15 locations in the world to see stunning fall foliage with out the crowds
Fryeburg to Jackson
Route 16 leads north via the japanese facet of New Hampshire’s fabled White Mountains, a beautiful tract of craggy, pristine wilderness that covers a few quarter of the state. It’s house to greater than 50 peaks with elevations better than 4,000 ft.
If it is the first week of October, take into account making a brief detour just some miles over the Maine border to attend the bustling Fryeburg Fair, a legendary agricultural expo that dates again to 1851.
After creeping via the inevitable site visitors of full of life (however touristy) North Conway, proceed to the completely charming village of Jackson. Here, you may discover an Insta-worthy lined bridge, a number of wonderful nation inns and hearth-warmed taverns.
A bit farther north, you may come to the tiny city of Glen, the most important jumping-off level for exploring lofty Mount Washington. At 6,288 ft, the mountain is the highest peak in the Northeast. Hiking this mammoth promontory is a troublesome and intensely vertical enterprise — it is almost 9 miles round-trip by way of the shortest routes.
Through October, climate allowing, you’ll be able to drive to the high by way of the Mount Washington Auto Road. This 7-mile route twists and turns some 4,600 ft up a really slender road and generally is a check of nerves for those who’re uneasy about heights. At the high, you’ll be able to go to the justly named Extreme Mount Washington meteorology museum, the place the strongest gust of wind ever was recorded (231 mph in 1934).
Guided excursions up the mountain in customized vans are additionally obtainable, however be certain to pack additional layers as snow is a definite chance whilst early as September.
Where to keep
Steps from Wolfeboro’s lakefront and colourful outlets and eateries, the posh Pickering House (charges begin at $685) provides the most refined lodging on Lake Winnipesaukee. Its Pavilion restaurant seems excellent farm-to-table delicacies.
On Winnipesauke’s western shore, the city of Meredith is house to the Mills Falls resort (charges begin at $199). The resort contains a number of distinct lodgings and eating places, together with an expansive spa.
Up in the japanese White Mountains, the busy city of North Conway has loads of lodge rooms, from price range chains to rambling Victorian inns. The village of Jackson feels extra relaxed and has a number of upscale lodgings, together with The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa (charges begin at $460). The 18-room property is a brief stroll from certainly one of the finest eating experiences in New Hampshire: the Thompson House Eatery.
For proximity to Mount Washington, you’ll be able to’t beat the Glen House (charges begin at $299) — a contemporary, eco-conscious boutique lodge at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road.
Mount Washington to Stowe
Return south alongside Route 16 to the city of Conway, the place you may cross over into the western facet of the White Mountains by way of the well-known Kancamagus Highway (aka Route 112, although most locals merely name it “The Kanc.”).
This tree-lined National Scenic Byway ascends via an alluring stretch of alpine surroundings that is been fortunately shielded from any form of business improvement or road signage. Try to drive this road early on a weekday to keep away from heavy leaf-peeping site visitors; you’ll be able to break up the drive with a simple half-mile hike to refreshing Sabbaday Falls.
Lincoln, North Woodstock and Franconia Notch State Park
Route 112 continues west into a few family-friendly ski and recreation cities, Lincoln and North Woodstock. Their unabashedly goofy points of interest — like the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves — have been delighting youngsters for generations.
Turn north onto Interstate Highway 93, which quickly narrows from a typical freeway right into a single, scenic lane in every path because it pierces a deep, lush valley for 8 miles inside Franconia Notch State Park. There, you’ll be able to hike via dramatic Flume Gorge and consider an enormous granite cliff. (Until it collapsed in 2023, the cliff had been a particular rock formation named Old Man of the Mountain. Its human-face-like profile nonetheless seems on New Hampshire license plates.)
Franconia, Bethlehem and Littleton
In the idyllic city of Franconia, the verdant grounds of the Frost Place Museum, which preserves the onetime house of American poet Robert Frost, are a tremendous place to absorb the fall colours. The space can be house to a virtually century-old breakfast custom, Polly’s Pancakes Parlor, which doles out hefty platters of flapjacks with engaging toppings.
As you strategy the Vermont border, take into account stopping in two extra charming villages that abound with galleries, funky outlets, brewpubs and cafes. In Bethlehem, you’ll be able to deal with your self to a luscious dessert at Super Secret Ice Cream. In Littleton, you’ll be able to go to the trendy Schilling Beer Taproom for nice pizza and German-style ales on a terrace overlooking the crystalline Ammonoosuc River.
Vermont’s “Northeast Kingdom”
As you cross the Connecticut River and enter Vermont’s sparsely populated “Northeast Kingdom,” sweeping panoramas of the state’s gorgeous Green Mountains vary — which types an angular 250-mile backbone from north to south — lie forward.
These forested peaks are usually decrease in elevation than these in New Hampshire, however they stand out for his or her distinctive magnificence and for the many endearing hamlets surrounding them. They are crammed with quaint common shops, maple syrup-producing sugar homes, and peaceable farms and meadows.
St. Johnsbury, Montpelier and Waterbury
Make a cease in the space’s largest city, St. Johnsbury, for a stroll via the pet-friendly protect Dog Mountain Home and to discover the partaking Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium.
Follow U.S. Route 2 west via a collection of cute villages to Montpelier, the nation’s least populous state capital (with simply greater than 8,000 residents). Then, flip northwest and parallel the Winooski River to Waterbury — finest referred to as the world headquarters of Ben & Jerry’s. This famously socially acutely aware ice cream maker provides amusing manufacturing facility excursions that embody a go to to its Flavor Graveyard (the place you’ll be able to lament the discontinuation of beloved concoctions like Bovinity Divinity and Holy Cannoli).
The vibrant fall colours actually burst to life as you comply with Route 100 north to the basic nation hamlet of Stowe, with its good-looking inns, bistros and outlets. Famous for snowboarding and snowboarding in winter and mountain biking and climbing in summer time, it is also a lovely spot to spend an autumn day — or weekend.
In early October, it additionally hosts the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival. Continue north up certainly one of the prettiest roads in the Green Mountains, Route 108, which turns into extraordinarily slender alongside a several-miles-long stretch of boulders and rocky outcroppings that lead via Smugglers’ Notch.
Related: 12 finest household ski resorts in the US
Where to keep
In the western White Mountains, the Lincoln-Woodstock hall has the largest number of resorts and ski lodges. But, look to the space’s smaller cities for distinctive lodging. Sunset Hill House (charges beginning at $374) is a grand Eighties lodge set excessive on a ridge in Franconia overlooking miles of mountains. The gracious Adair Country Inn (charges beginning at $199) in Bethlehem has an impressive restaurant, clubby public areas and aromatic nation gardens.
In Stowe, you may discover an interesting mixture of lodging, from cozy bed-and-breakfasts to fairly snazzy spa resorts. The storied Trapp Family Lodge (charges beginning at $280) is ready on a 2,000-acre property with astounding views; it was based greater than 70 years in the past by the household that impressed The Sound of Music. The historic Green Mountain Inn (charges beginning at $209) contains eight early Nineteenth-century buildings in the very middle of Stowe village.
Stowe to Woodstock
Just north of Stowe, in quaint Jeffersonville, head west after which southwest via some wonderful mountain passes to the state’s largest metropolis, Burlington. The metropolis has a inhabitants of 45,000 and hugs the japanese shore of Lake Champlain.
From downtown’s dapper Waterfront Park, the panoramas of New York’s hovering Adirondack Mountains are a sight to behold, particularly in autumn. Burlington is a spirited, upbeat faculty city (house to the University of Vermont) with an distinctive restaurant scene and loads of interesting indie boutiques, pleasant bars and hip cafes.
U.S. Route 7 leads south via a fertile inexperienced valley to Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre Victorian property with beautiful grounds and gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It includes a beloved dairy and a stately seasonal inn and restaurant. Be certain to go to the wonderful Shelburne Museum, which has almost 40 buildings transplanted right here from round the state in addition to an enormous assortment of pre-automobile-age carriages.
Clemmons Family Farm
Farther south, discover the historic buildings, artwork galleries, storytelling packages and agricultural operations of 148-acre Clemmons Family Farm, a spotlight amongst the 22 websites on the state’s African American Heritage Trail and certainly one of New England’s largest Black-owned household farms.
Middlebury and the Green Mountains
Follow picturesque U.S. Route 7 south to the stately faculty city of Middlebury, with its good-looking village and handful of fantastic artwork galleries. From right here, Route 125 zigzags east over the Green Mountains; there are a number of photogenic spots — together with at Texas Falls and Riley Bostwick Wildlife Management Center — the place you’ll be able to hop out, stretch your legs and snap a photograph.
Head south to Woodstock, certainly one of Vermont’s most enchanting small cities. Late conservationist and philanthropist Laurence Rockefeller and his household made it a mission to protect the city’s colonial heritage. The Rockefellers established the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the place 555 acres of gardens and carriage paths are anchored by the opulent mansion by which the Rockefellers as soon as resided. Across the road, you’ll be able to discover certainly one of the state’s oldest working farms, the Billings Farm and Museum.
Lake Sunapee area
If you might have an additional day or (ideally) two, take into account detouring again throughout the New Hampshire border to discover the wonderful Lake Sunapee area.
You could make a loop from Woodstock by driving throughout the dramatic Quechee Gorge after which crossing the Connecticut River into Hanover. The city is anchored by the tree-shaded campus of Dartmouth College with its acclaimed Hood Museum of Art and Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Continue southeast to the city of New London for a drive round rippling Lake Sunapee, the place you’ll be able to stroll via the gardens at John Hay Estate at the Fells. Head again towards Woodstock by way of the scenic Connecticut River village of Cornish, setting apart an hour or two to discover the gorgeous gardens, lawns and buildings of Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park. The famed sculptor created a lot of his most memorable works right here.
To return to Vermont, cross the 445-foot Cornish-Windsor Bridge — the longest historic lined bridge in the nation. It’s a few 20-minute drive northwest again to Woodstock.
Where to keep
Burlington has the space’s biggest focus of lodgings, together with the up to date Hotel Vermont (charges beginning at $459). Many of its well-equipped rooms provide spectacular vistas of Lake Champlain. Next door, have dinner at the James Beard Award–nominated Hen of the Wood restaurant.
With its fairytale setting on Woodstock’s basic village inexperienced and a spectacular spa, the grand Woodstock Inn & Resort (charges beginning at $519) provides luxe lodging, 4 eating places and a slew of actions. Across the border in New Hampshire, the Hanover Inn Dartmouth (charges beginning at $489) overlooks the gracious campus of Dartmouth College.
Woodstock to Williamstown
Manchester and Mount Equinox
Head west on U.S. Route 4 and Route 100A to Plymouth, then take Route 100 on a scenic journey previous picturesque villages (Ludlow, Londonderry) and standard ski areas (Okemo, Bromley). You’ll then attain historic Manchester, the largest city in southwestern Vermont. It’s house to a number of notable points of interest, together with the American Museum of Fly Fishing and Hildene, the imposing early-Twentieth-century property house of Robert Todd Lincoln — the son of Abraham Lincoln and a future statesman and railroad government in his personal proper.
On your manner south, make the 5.2-mile drive up gorgeous Skyline Drive to the peak of three,855-foot Mount Equinox, certainly one of the finest spots in the area to admire the autumn foliage.
Arlington, Bennington and Williamstown
Continue south by way of slower and extra scenic Route 7A fairly than U.S. Route 7. You’ll enter Arlington, a soothing village that was, for greater than a decade, the house of iconic illustrator Norman Rockwell. Rockwell depicted the group on a number of events on the covers of Saturday Evening Post journal.
As you strategy Bennington, you may spy the 306-foot-tall Bennington Battle Monument excessive above the treetops. Take the elevator to the high for a implausible view of the countryside and the placing campus of Bennington College. You’ll quickly cross the Massachusetts border and enter the Berkshires vary, an extension of the Green Mountains.
Stop in one other stately collegiate group, Williamstown. It’s house to a pair of excellent museums: the Williams College Museum of Art and the Clark Art Institute, with its glossy up to date addition by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Where to keep
In Manchester, you may discover numerous romantic lodging, together with the Kimpton Taconic Hotel (charges beginning at $392 or 63,000 IHG factors). Although it has a basic Colonial design, this three-story boutique property with a wraparound veranda and a well-liked gastropub provides many fashionable perks, together with a heated plunge pool and tech-savvy rooms.
Just up the road, the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa (charges beginning at $262) abounds with facilities, together with an opulent spa, Walter Travis-designed Twenties golf course and several other eating places.
In North Adams, the trendy Porches Inn (charges beginning at $269) has been created out of a row of restored Victorian mill employees’ homes. Reflecting its location simply throughout the river from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), it is crammed with well-curated up to date paintings.
There are just a few different lodging choices on the town and several other extra — together with the upscale William Inn (charges beginning at $399) — in neighboring Williamstown.
Williamstown to Litchfield
North Adams, Mount Greylock and Pittsfield
A number of miles east of Williamstown, the as soon as bustling mill city of North Adams fell on laborious occasions in the Eighties with the closure of a significant electrical plant. Fifteen years later, the plant’s good-looking classic pink brick buildings had been reimagined as the excellent — and large — Mass MoCA.
Head south on Route 8 and both drive or hike to the 3,491-foot summit of the highest level in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. The placing Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower sits at the high.
Continue down via the area’s largest metropolis, Pittsfield, which has a inhabitants of about 43,600. There, you’ll be able to tour the wonderful Pittsfield Museum; Arrowhead, the former house of Moby Dick writer Herman Melville; and Hancock Shaker Village, certainly one of the most attention-grabbing of a number of northeastern U.S. communities housing this almost-extinct spiritual sect.
Farther south on U.S. 7, the tony trip city of Lenox has drawn generations of well-to-do households, a lot of whom constructed lavish summer time estates throughout America’s Gilded Age. Some of those are actually museums, together with The Mount — the place American novelist Edith Wharton as soon as resided— Ventfort Hall Mansion and the Gilded Age Museum.
Lenox is finest identified for 2 well-known performing arts venues: Shakespeare and Company presents year-round performs, and Tanglewood is a 200-acre outside efficiency area and summer time house to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Chesterwood and Great Barrington
U.S. 7 continues south via Stockbridge, house to Chesterwood — the turn-of-the-Twentieth-century property of sculptor Daniel Chester French. It’s additionally house to the Norman Rockwell Museum (the artist resided in this city for the final 25 years of his life), which comprises his relocated former studio.
This colourful village is anchored by the Red Lion Inn; the rambling, if idiosyncratic, lodge dates again to 1773. It additionally impressed Arlo Guthrie’s beloved people music “Alice’s Restaurant.”
The final main cease in the Berkshires is Great Barrington, a trendy weekend retreat amongst New Yorkers and Bostonians with see-and-be-seen eating places and classy galleries.
Follow Route 41 south to Salisbury, in the northwestern nook of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills. It’s a warren of dapper villages, dense forests and small household farms that — like the neighboring Hudson River Valley — is sort of standard with celebrities. (Meryl Streep, Michael J. Fox, Patti Lupone, Kevin Bacon and Dustin Hoffman all have houses in the space.)
Cornwall to Litchfield
Rejoin U.S. 7, following it down via Cornwall, with its scenic 1841 lined bridge crossing the serene Housatonic River. Continue to the quaint, prosperous city of Kent, then alongside the rippling shores of Lake Waramaug. The lake’s alpine setting remembers Switzerland.
Continue into New Preston and Washington, neatly stored cities crammed with tremendous vintage outlets, trendy boutiques and famend artwork galleries.
Turn northeast up via the area’s cultural and religious coronary heart, Litchfield, stopping for a hike amid the lush wetlands, boardwalks and bird-watching platforms of the 4,000-acre White Memorial Conservation Center.
Where to keep
An simple stroll from native eating places and outlets in beautiful downtown Lenox, the Georgian-style Hampton Terrace Inn (charges beginning at $309) has 14 neatly appointed rooms, many with fireplaces. You’ll discover a number of different resorts in Lenox and alongside U.S. 7 as you head north into Pittsfield. Farther south, Stockbridge and Great Barrington have vary of principally upscale choices.
In Connecticut’s Litchfield County, the 1806 White Hart Inn (charges beginning at $299) has a good-looking setting overlooking Salisbury’s fairly city inexperienced. It comprises 16 rooms plus a superb restaurant and informal cafe.
Just south of Litchfield in Morris, Winvian (charges beginning at $899) is unquestionably a splurge. However, its 18 one-of-a-kind cottages are amongst the most memorable lodging in the state. There’s even one suite that is been created from a 1968 Sikorsky helicopter.
You’ll discover a number of different high-end inns all through the space’s cities, particularly Washington and Kent. There’s a large number of principally chain resorts and motels farther south and east in a handful of small cities outdoors Litchfield County, together with Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford.