The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
In part two of our series on leaf peeping, we're examining other parts of the country: the southeast, the Midwest, and the west coast. Another interesting resource, Road Trip America (www.roadtripamerica.com), provides links to assorted states and provinces across North America for road trip suggestions, some of which are scenic and seasonal, and useful tools like a fuel cost calculator.
Asheville, North Carolina, home to the Biltmore Estate and an interesting Appalachian music and arts scene, is a popular destination for leaf peepers (tel. 828/258-6101; www.exploreasheville.com). You can also check out Romantic Asheville (www.romanticasheville.com) for information on its fall foliage "color show 2006." Although there are not any specific foliage related packages being offered, there is an "Adventure Coupon" book available for downloading, with discounts at area attractions (museums, outdoor adventures, parks, and lodging). Find a place to stay near the Blue Ridge Parkway and you will be within easy driving distance of the best show of color. The website also gives a run-down of locations and their estimated peak color times and fall drive maps. Click on "overnight packages" for some options, including a spa getaway package, a great treat after a day of hiking. The package at the 1889 Whitegate Inn (www.romanticasheville.com/packages.html) includes a one hour massage, a facial, reflexology or other treatments; rates range $120-$225 per person. The inn is located within minutes of the Biltmore and a five-minute walk from downtown Asheville. For the rest of the state, try the North Carolina Division of Travel and Tourism (tel. 800/VISIT-NC; www.visitnc.com).
The Alabama Bureau of Travel and Tourism (tel. 800/ALABAMA; www.800alabama.com/things-to-do/tours-trails/fall-color) has a map that you can download, with a color legend, and details about peak times for viewing. During October and November "color watchers" send reports in to provide weekly updates to the Department of Tourism and Travel. Through the quick links section, updates will posted the first week of October and continue until Thanksgiving. A package called "Breathtaking Views and Vibrant Hues" in the Fort Payne area is available through December 31 and is priced at $406 for two people. It includes accommodations, one dinner and a guided canoe trip on Little River -- perfect for fall. The package is good for a three-night stay at the Cupid's Crest Cabin, situated on Mentone's western crest, with a three-state view.
For an overview of what a particularly picturesque part of Indiana offers, the Brown County Visitors and Convention Bureau (tel. 800/313-0842; www.browncounty.com) is a good place to start. Known as the Art Colony of the Midwest, Brown County is home to studios, galleries, antiques, flea markets to stop at along the way. Currently there's a special at the Green Valley Lodge, for two nights in a standard room are priced at $90, or $200 plus taxes for a hot tub suite. The deal is only good for Sunday-Thursday and is valid through November 30. For a more comprehensive listing of area accommodations, check out Brown County Lodging (www.browncountylodging.com) which may be especially useful if you are interested in one of the more popular recreational spots, Brown County State Park, (www.browncountystatepark.com) in Nashville. It's the largest one in the state, located an hour south of Indianapolis, and home to camping, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, and the like.
Further west, Colorado's Department of Tourism (tel. 800/COLORADO; www.colorado.com/article23) gives you the complete guide to fall foliage -- the state's signature tree is the aspen, whose leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall. You can view the state by region and choose your driving route accordingly; there are also links to Colorado's state parks. If you click on "vacation values" (it's toward the bottom of the page) you'll get a list of various offers across the state -- some timely, some not -- to peruse. However, The Little Nell (tel. 970/920-4600; www.littlenell.com) in Aspen, the city's only AAA 5-Diamond property, has an offer for $140 per night good for the entire month of October. The hotel is located at the base of Aspen Mountain and hiking, fly fishing and golfing are all possible activities. In September, the resort is offering 20 percent off rooms and suites, based on availability. Also, kids stay free at the Gant Aspen (tel. 800/549-0530; www.gantaspen.com) in a promotion that runs through October 31. When you book a one bedroom/one bathroom condominium you will receive a free upgrade, and four passes to the Aspen Recreation Center and four tickets to the Isis Movie Theater. The offer is based on a two-night minimum stay; use the promotion code FAMFUN when you make a reservation.
As in many states, fall drives are a tradition in Minnesota. The state's Department of Natural Resources keeps tabs on the changing fall scenery with fall leaf color map and a hotline. (tel.800/657-3700; www.dnr.state.mn.us/current_conditions/index.html). It also shows that average peak color according to region; the southern part of the state, for example, reaches peak in late September to mid-October; the northernmost part of the state reaches peak in mid-to-late September. If you click on the region it gives a detailed report of the current color conditions in specific state parks. You can also get suggested driving routes from Explore Minnesota (tel. 888/TOURISM; www.exploreminnesota.com/Fall_Color_Reports.html). If you click on "deals and packages" there are many listed, according to region. In the southern part of the state, there's a Mississippi River Adventure Package available, based on two-nights' stay at Eagles on the River (tel. 800/482-8188; www.eaglesontheriver.com), with loft style accommodations and a whirlpool, fireplace, kitchen and grill. The package entitles you to a two-hour backwater adventure or sailboat ride on Lake Pepin and a $15 dinner gift certificate. Rates are $209 per person, double occupancy for Sunday-Thursday nights; $249 per person on weekends (Friday-Saturday). Or try the fall special at the Fairfield Inn (tel. 952/903-9444; www.exploreminnesota.com/lodging/2892.html), in Eden Prairie, which has rooms available from $69 for Thursday-Sunday. When you book be sure to ask for the Explore Minnesota Fall Special. There are dozens of deals across the state; this is just a very small sample.
In Washington (tel. 800/544-1800; www.experiencewashington.com), you can start your foliage viewing via Cascade Loop (tel. 509/662-3888; www.cascadeloop.com), a scenic highway that links together a series of smaller scenic highways. It starts and ends in Everett, located about 30 miles north of Seattle, in the Snohomish River Valley. The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau (tel. 888/338-0976; www.snohomish.org) provides information about its cities and towns; Snohomish itself is packed with antique stores. If you start in Everett, the Gaylord House Bed and Breakfast (tel. 888/507-7177; www.gaylordhouse.com) has rooms that start at $85 and go up to $135, with breakfast included. Or head toward Wenatchee Valley (tel. 508/663-7753; www.wenatcheevalley.org), the heart of Washington's apple country, near the Columbia River and the Wenatchee National Forest, perfect for camping, hiking and mountain biking.