Summer is winding down, which means that fall is right around the corner. The amazing colors of autumn in New England have to be seen to be believed as a photo will never do them justice. A fly-drive holiday is a great way to experience this yearly magic as you can follow the leaves as they turn to shades of gold and red at different times throughout the states. In the more northern areas of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, the leaves start to change around mid to late September with the peak around mid-October. Further south in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, plus the south of Maine and the coast of New Hampshire, the golden overcoat appears later and lasts until November.
When the billions of leaves in New England start to change their emerald green cloaks for every shade of orange, red, yellow, and brown imaginable, you know autumn is on the way. This is a perfect time to visit New England and follow the foliage. Go biking, hiking, or driving in the fresh, cool air along country roads and stop to buy bright orange pumpkins or tangy crisp apples from roadside farm shops. When you have chased golden leaves all day and your cheeks are rosy from the cold, you will need a warm, comfortable hotel to stay in. Imagine roaring log fires, thick carpets, and mugs of warm apple cider.
To help you find the best places and times to visit, there are several interactive foliage maps and guides available on-line. You can put in your potential holiday dates and get a good idea if the foliage will be at its best in your chosen area. Maine Trail Finder is a free resource on-line to find the best trails for your kind of holiday.
And don’t forget this list of convenient hotels for fall foliage in New England:
Wilson Lake Inn—Wilton, Maine
Wilson Lake Inn is a fantastic lakeside hotel in Maine that is great year round, but in autumn it’s just amazing. You can gaze across Wiston Lake and see the magnificence of the New England foliage, not once but twice as the reflection in the lake offers a wonderful image as well. Just 20 minutes away is the 8,000 acres of Mt. Blue State Park with enough trails to keep you looking at autumnal colors forever. This Maine hotel only has 30 rooms and the owners live on-site, so there is a distinct family feel when you stay here. There are cozy rooms and large rooms as well as studios and suites to choose from. All in all, a good Maine foliage hotel to stay in for a few nights and explore the area or just one night as you go on a leaf-peeping tour.
The Green Mountain Inn—Stowe, Vermont
The Green Mountain Inn in Stowe has been welcoming guests to New England for over 100 years. The 103 rooms in this Vermont hotel are unique and there is a choice of suites, luxury rooms, apartments, and houses. There are two restaurants, an indoor heated pool, as well as use of a local health club. This hotel in Stowe hotel can arrange autumn mountain adventures as well as guided hikes so why not let the experts show you the best of the extravagant palette of colors nature has in store for you when the New England foliage time comes around.
Historic Omni Mount Washington Resort Hotel—Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
The majestic Mount Washington Hotel is definitely one of the “Must See” hotels in New Hampshire, and a “Must Stay” as well. Especially during fall in New Hampshire. You can choose from a traditional room at a mere 225 square feet and be a little squashed or go for a luxury family suite with slightly more space, all 1,250 square feet of it. This hotel in the White Mountains opened in 1902, built by a railroad millionaire who engaged 250 Italian craftsmen to work on his stunning hotel and it has been a New England favorite with many poets, presidents, and celebrities over the years. It’s hard to do the hotel justice in a few lines, so why not go and see the New England autumn colors for yourself from this elegant hotel?
Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges—Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Take a drive through Central Massachusetts and find Old Sturbridge Village. The vast grounds are full of mature trees which are stunning in New England autumn. There is a 1,500 meter avenue lined with flaming maple trees and an outdoor history museum in the village, so make a day of it. The Family Lodges offer accommodation for New England foliage in two different Massachusetts hotels, both with very high standards and excellent facilities.
Scenic Inn of Conway—Conway, New Hampshire
Take the road from Conway towards Maine and the hills are alive with the rich colors of the ever-changing foliage of New England. Natural beauty is everywhere and scenic drives abound all year round, but none more spectacular than when the trees are cloaked in a red and golden veil. This New Hampshire hotel is only a few minutes from the Swift River Covered Bridges, which date back to 1869 and offer super views up and down the river.
Kennebunk & Kennebunkport
Take a step back in time for your New England foliage trip as many of the grand sea captain’s houses and lighthouses are now unique places to stay in Maine. There is lots of history in these properties with original architecture and memorabilia from long ago journeys. Don’t worry, though, they all offer modern accommodation and facilities. Try Goose Rocks Lighthouse near North Haven Island, Whitehead Lighthouse in Penobscot Bay for overnight stays, or the lighthouse keeper’s house at Pemaquid Point Light in Bristol. Take a boat ride to Casco Bay islands, Moosehead Lake, or one of the Maine Sporting camps for unique foliage trips in New England.
Tollgate Hill—Litchfield, Connecticut
Litchfield, Connecticut, is an ideal base from which to explore the western part of New England on your New England foliage tour and see the autumnal colors of the trees as they change their hues and ready for winter. Tollgate Hill is a wonderful Connecticut hotel for fall foliage and provides superb hospitality in a centuries old building. The fireplaces and canopied beds in the suites provide the luxury we expect today but with a reminder of days gone by.
Quality Inn—Plainfied, Connecticut
About 15 kilometers from the James L. Goodwin State Forest is the Quality Inn, Plainfield. The hotel has clean, spacious rooms; is ideal for families; and offers a deluxe continental breakfast. The forest is a great place to experience Connecticut foliage. The 2,000 acre forest has 15 kilometers of marked walking and hiking trails to make the most of this colorful season. The Goodwin Conservation Center is located in the James L. Goodwin State Forest and gives information on the surrounding area as well as the conservation methods used in the forest.
Stagecoach House Inn—Wyoming, Richmond, Rhode Island
When this Rhode Island inn was originally a staging post, did the occupants of the stagecoaches realize how lucky they were to be traveling through the scenery of the New England foliage season? The two cozy fireplaces date back to the 1700s, as do the beams and granite walls. This inn in Rhode Island is at one end of the Wyoming Pond with great water views and mixes character with modern convenience to give the best of both worlds.