The 8 Best Places in New England for Leaf Peepers
By Matthew Barber, Leslie Brokaw, Paul Karr and Herbert Bailey Livesey, Photo Editing by Christiana Mecca
Soon New England's trees will be a riot of reds, oranges and yellows. Where are the best places to enjoy autumn's splendor? Here are our suggestions.
Vermont Route 100 (VT)
Route 100 winds the length of Vermont from Readsboro to Newport, plying the Mad River Valley for a stretch. It's the major north-south route through the center of the Green Mountains, and it's surprisingly undeveloped along most of its length. You won't have it to yourself along the southern stretches on autumn weekends, but as you head farther north, you'll leave the crowds behind.
Crawford Notch (NH)
Route 302 passes through this scenic valley, where you can see the brilliant red maples and yellow birches high on the hillsides. In fall, Mount Washington, in the background, is likely to be dusted with an early snow.
Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge, MA)T
More than 5,000 trees spread across Mount Auburn's 175 acres. Each deciduous specimen changes color on its own schedule, and at the peak of foliage season, each seems to be a different shade of red, orange, or gold.
Walden Pond State Reservation (Concord, MA)
Walden Pond is hidden from the road by the woods where Henry David Thoreau built a small cabin and lived from 1845 to 1847. When the leaves are turning and the trees are reflected in the water, it's hard to imagine why he left.
The Litchfield Hills (CT)
Route 7, running south to north through the rugged northwest corner of Connecticut, roughly along the course of the Housatonic River, explodes with color in the weeks before and after Columbus Day. Leaves drift down to the water and whirl down the foaming river.
Bash-Bish Falls State Park (MA)
Head from the comely village of South Egremont up into the forested hills of the southwest corner of Massachusetts. The roads, which change from macadam to gravel to dirt and back, wind between crimson clouds of sugar maples and white birches feather-stroked against banks of black evergreens. The payoff is a three-state view from a promontory above a 50-foot cascade notched into a bluff, with carpets of russet and gold stretching all the way to the Hudson River.
The dazzling fall colors that cover the rolling hills are reflected in Penobscot Bay on the east side, and in the lakes on the west. Ascend the peaks for views out to the color-splashed islands in the bay. Autumn usually comes a week or so later on the coast, so you can stretch out your viewing pleasure.
An interstate? Don't scoff (the traffic can be terrible on narrow state roads). If you like your foliage viewing wholesale, cruise I-91 from Brattleboro to Newport. You'll be overwhelmed with gorgeous terrain, from the gentle Connecticut River Valley to the sloping hills of the Northeast Kingdom.