How to Plan a Fall Foliage Tour of New England
Fall in New England is an irresistible celebration of color. Red, orange, and yellow leaves burst from their branches at this time of year, creating an idyllic and insta-worthy trail up and down New England. Whether you have a thing for fall foliage, or just want to take advantage of this picture-perfect opportunity, here are some of our favorite stops for an autumn tour.
What to Pack
At this time of year, the climate in New England is exactly what you’d expect during fall: crisp and cool. With highs around 76° F/ 24° C, and lows around 42° F/ 5° C, think quintessential layers when packing your bag. Plan to bring at least one turtleneck, sweater, hat, and scarf along with the usual essentials. The more layers you bring, the easier it will be to adjust to the varying temperatures up and down the coast.
Essential Packing List
- Long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
- Comfortable driving shoes
- Hiking shoes
- Dress shoes
- Wool or down coat
- Lighter fleece or jacket
Whether you’re starting or ending your tour of New England’s foliage in New York City, there’s no doubt that a stop in Big Apple will give everyone in the group something to look forward to. With lauded restaurants, incredible shopping and noteworthy sights nearby, a stay at The Plaza will satisfy everyone’s thirst for luxury and style. Plus, as a guest of The Plaza, you can use the complimentary athleisure clothing offered by the Fairmont Fit program to get in a workout or two, without adding extra weight to your luggage. Or, if relaxation is more your speed, pamper yourself in our soft robes, available to every guest during their stay.
Central Park, New York
If a stay at the iconic Plaza hotel is on the itinerary, then a trip to the equally iconic Central Park is a must. Located within steps from the hotel, the changing colors on display make the park a great place to start your foliage tour of New England. Once inside the park, you’ll discover a photo opportunity at every turn, but our favorite places to capture that New York-in-autumn feel are on Gapstow Bridge and Elms at the Mall. On Gapstow Bridge, you’ll have enviable views of the city’s skyline, and a picture of the Elms at the Mall is sure to capture the colorful canopy of leaves. To add even more magic to your Central Park photos, visit the park just before sunset to see the city lights reflecting off of the park’s golden hues.
Lake Winnipesaukee Loop, New Hampshire
After visiting New York, a road-trip north presents the perfect opportunity to see New England’s beloved autumn colors in a less urban environment. Our first suggested stop is in New Hampshire, a state known for its quaint country towns and large expanses of wilderness. New England’s Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state and offers a 97 mile scenic loop, perfect for foliage spotting. Take your time driving around the lake, and be sure to make multiple stops lakeside to visit the charming towns and grab that idyllic foliage-by-the-lake shot.
The Shires of Vermont Byway, Vermont
This region in the southwestern corner of Vermont is nestled between the Taconic and Green Mountains and includes two historic shire towns, fifteen villages and a famously scenic ribbon of highway called the Historic Route 7A. It’s no surprise that passing through this area of Vermont is guaranteed to present you with multiple opportunities for foliage spotting. Spend a night or two in the shires to have an authentically Vermont experience, and be sure to stop by the site of the Battle of Bennington, which offers sweeping views of the pastoral surroundings.
While in Vermont, continue your drive north until you reach the small town of Montgomery. Known as “Vermont’s Covered Bridge Capital,” this picturesque town is perfect for capturing photos of, you guessed it, covered bridges. Each one of the six covered bridges located within the town offers scenic views of the red and golden leaves. Visit each one of the photo-worthy bridges to get your fix of idyllic country scenery.
Baxter State Park, Maine
Make your way to the northernmost state in the country to visit Baxter State Park, a can’t miss stop on your foliage tour of New England. This state park boasts nearly 200,000 acres of forest and mountains, all of which proudly showcase the rich colors of autumn. Lace up your hiking shoes and explore the park on foot to see the trails, sights, and colors up close.
Between farmer’s markets, cozy sweaters and pumpkin lattes, there are endless reasons to love autumn. But the brief and breathtaking beauty of New England’s foliage takes the cake. If you’re lucky enough to visit the region at this time of year, be sure to make the most of it by seeing as much of it as you can. And don’t forget to take your phone, or a good camera with you–you’ll want to remember the warmth of these exquisite colors when winter comes.
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