Exploring New England
EXPLORING NEW ENGLANDExploring New EnglandExploring New EnglandVol. I, No. 4

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WHERE TO STAY

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Fall Foliage Trip Planning

By James H. Hyde
Editor

It is our avid desire to provide you with all of the resources necessary to plan and enjoy a wonderful New England fall vacation that you'll remember for a lifetime.

Towards that end, we checked a great many resources to try to pin down exactly when the peak will occur and where this year. We can't say with 100% certainty when the leaves will reach peak or how long theyíll remain at peak. So far, itís been an unusually quick but incredibly colorful fall foliage season. Unfortunately, hurricane Ike paid Vermont a brief, but windy visit sending many very colorful leaves spiraling to the forest floor.

But there are still some nice pockets of peak still to be seen. The suggestions we offer here are for the current foliage season, which is not over yet, and to prepare for next yearís season. Many of the state tourism sites recommend that you make a reservation at your favorite accommodations as much as a year in advance.

There are essentially two factors to keep in mind when planning: geography and timing.

1. Geography: If thereís a New England state youíd like to visit, find out when the peak is likeliest to end by calling the State Fall Foliage Hot Lines in the table below.

State Fall Foliage Hotlines
StateFoliage Number
Connecticut888.288.4748
Maine800.777.0317
Massachusetts800.227.6277
New Hampshire800.258.3600
Rhode Island
(Department of Tourism)
800.556.2484
Vermont800.837.6668

2. Timing: If your choice of a state for a New England getaway or vacation canít be timed to coincide with the arrival or survival of the peak, then make a reservation to catch up with it in a state further south. While many argue that the colors are better the further north you go, donít dismiss the peak seasons in Rhode Island and Connecticut. While there are fewer mountains and forests there, the fall colors can be just as striking as they are in northern New England.

Planning Your Stay

If you can get away during the week, thatís the best time to head to New England. Quite often leaf peekers make a long weekend out of their visits, but those in the know make their visits here during the week. Thatís when the fewest other leaf-peekers are around.

Also, look for towns that donít attract big crowds. Staying off the beaten track will allow you to luxuriate in the essence of the season one-to-one. In looking for special places, when you get here, donít hesitate to ask local residents or business owners where the less crowded vistas are. They may not give away their favorite secret spot, but they will give you some ideas about where to go and have it all to yourself.

If youíre planning on staying in an inn, hotel or other accommodation, try to make your reservations as early as possible in advance so you can get the inn, hotel, etc. of your choice. Because the season has been so short this year in the northern states, some places farthest north have lost their peaks to wind and rains.

But there are still plenty of peak spots in New England, especially in southern New Hampshire and Vermont, central Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Maine coastline also has some peak areas. Check out the Foliage Tracker on NewEnglandTimes.Com to find the best spots.

Donít assume that the brevity of the season in some areas resulted in a reservation-cancellation tsunami and drive up expecting thereíll be a room for the asking at any B&B. Itís always smart to make a reservation before heading out. If you donít, you may have to look around quite a while before you find a vacancy sign.

If youíre planning on staying at a B&B inn, innkeepers usually insist on a minimum stay during the season, and you will very likely have to put down a deposit (by credit card). Make absolutely certain that you understand the innís cancellation policy. Some require cancellation a month before your arrival date. Any sooner and you could lose your deposit.

Try to find a "centralized" place to stay from which you can make different day trips on each day of your fall foliage vacation.

Here's a list of links for finding a place to stay:

What to Pack

Weíve started having some pretty cold weather up here, so remember to bring more than just a sweater or two. Youíd be well advised to bring sweaters, a wind breaker and even a parka, a hat and gloves in case the days start getting as cold as the nights.

In northern Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as Maine, the recent nights have been in the 20s and the days in the 40s or 50s. If you take a chairlift or gondola ride to a mountaintop, itís much colder at the summit.

Also, bring comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots. There are lots of opportunities to hike, but if youíre planning a long hike, bring a backpack with a good water bottle and some energy bars, a first aid kit and a space blanket just in case.

Peak Colors Are Constant

Keep in mind that although the leaves do change over time, once changed, they donít get any more colorful. Peak is constant and can last a week to a month, so you have some leeway.

Day Trips

If you live in or close to New England, make day trips to the different states to see how the leaves look in different areas.

Here is a list of fall foliage tours and attractions in each state:

ConnecticutExciting AttractionsGreat Tours
MaineExciting AttractionsGreat Tours
MassachusettsExciting AttractionsGreat Tours
New HampshireExciting AttractionsGreat Tours
Rhode IslandExciting AttractionsGreat Tours
VermontExciting AttractionsGreat Tours

Come for More than Just Colorful Leaves

Leaf peeking is always best on a clear, sunny day. If itís rainy or foggy, you may not see the colors, especially in the mountains. Thereís also the chance that the peak in the lower states gets cut short by nature itself in a wind or rain storm.

For that reason, it makes sense to go to an area that has points of interest for you, museums, for instance, where, if you somehow miss the leaves, youíll also avoid disappointment.

Six Great New England Museums

Bring Your Camera

To capture peak either digitally or on an SLR camera, make sure you bring one. You can get some tips about how to film New England on the Foliage Photography page.

Most of All

Enjoy your New England fall foliage visit, and if you have a really good time, make your reservations now for next year. If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email at: jim@exploringnewengland.com. I'll do my best to get back to you promptly. While I wish I could offer itineraries for those who want them, we don't have the time, unfortunately. But we've provided a lot of information in this issue that we hope will have your trip planned in a jiffy. For more in-depth coverage, visit the NewEnglandTimes.Com Fall Foliage Section as well as The Fall section on New-England-Vacations-Guide.com.

Inside Issue
There are a number of ways to preserve fall leaves with very little color loss. Use one of the techniques we give you, put it behind glass or acrylic or make a mobile of leaves as a gift of it.
Plimoth Plantation is the epicenter of Thanksgiving and if you want to go out on Thanksgiving this is the place to be. But where does the tradition truly come from?
There are certain tips and tricks one is wise to observe when shooting fall foliage. For starters, it's good to be a morning person.

There's lots more information for New England vacation and New England getaway planning on on our main Web sites linked below:
Click New England getaway planning
to go to NewEnglandTimes.Com.
Click New England vacations planning
to go to New-England-Vacations-Guide.com
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