With covered bridges here, apple-picking there, and a kaleidoscope of golds, reds, and oranges as far as the eye can see, the American Northeast is pretty much heaven for those who love fall.So,there’s arguably no better time to visit New England than in the heart of autumn.
Here, state by state, are some of the most beautiful places to soak in the region’s prettiest season. (Pro tip: Check a foliage map, Facebook, and Twitter before you go to make sure you’re not too early or late; a lot depends on temperature, moisture, and the whims of Mother Nature.)
Mount Desert Island, Maine
There’s nothing quite like seeing foliage with the vista of the roiling sea behind it, and Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, is as stunning as you’ve heard. Sure, you can eat all the lobster rolls you want in downtown Bar Harbor, but Acadia is where you want to go to hike, camp and, yes, breathe.
North Adams, Massachusetts
From Cape Cod to Walden Pond to the Berkshires, Massachusetts is saturated with knockout leaf-peeping opportunities. But we’re partial to Western Mass, particularly North Adams, home to Mass MOCA—a contemporary art museum set in a light-filled, industrial space. The drive en route is full of rolling hills, and right across the street sits The Porches Inn, a lovely boutique hotel with a an outdoor hot tub—all the better to enjoy that foliage from.
Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
Not to be confused with the poorly portrayed Litchfield, New York of “Orange is the New Black” fame, if you’re a covered-bridges-and-spired-churches sort of leaf peeper, the Litchfield Hills in northwest Connecticut might be your jam—especially if you have a yen for lakes, antiquing, and shopping.
Love cheese, beer, and road trips? You’re headed to Greensboro. A major force in the area’s tourism revival is the duo of Jasper Hill Farm—whose cellars produce award-winning cheese—and Hill Farmstead, which is enormously popular among brew aficionados. There are a clutch of adorable boutique B&Bs nearby, and the drive here couldn’t be prettier.
Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Ever see foliage from a moving tram? This New Hampshire state park boasts all the waterfalls, gorges, and views your heart could want, plus the Cannon Mountain “aerial tramway,” the first enclosed cable car of its kind in the nation. Its breathtaking, eight-minute trip along more than 2,000 vertical feet will—for about the same price—put your last visit to a 3D movie in perspective.
Little Compton, Rhode Island
Possessed of a spirit one T+L writer happily described as “Yankee Zen,” Little Compton is the shingled-summer-home, beach plum-tree strewn counterpart to the posh mansions and manicured lawns of nearby Newport. It’s still beachy and chill, with a nature preserve, farms and vineyards, and clam shacks aplenty.