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Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Thu May 18, 2006 11:39 pm

I'm about to book tickets for a trip to the Northeast sometime this fall to see the fall colors as an anniversary gift to my wife (well, to me too!). It won't actually be over our anniversary, but December wouldn't be the best time! I've never been to the NE, other than visiting a friend in NYC a couple times, and a few layovers in JFK, EWR, and BOS. I've visited 48 foreign countries, and only about 30 states. What a shame! I know that the US can rival most any place in the world for any kind of scenery.

I'd like a little advice for where to start and when. The options are BOS, MHT, BDL, and PVD. Price is not an issue since I'll be using FF miles. Which of these is the best as far as convenience, and which would be the most interesting? I've flown in and out of BOS, so I'd prefer one of the others. Also I would rather use the same airport both ways to save a 1-way fee on the rental car.

When would be the best time for peak leaf colors? I've been doing a little research online, and found that probably the end of Sep./beginning of Oct. would be as good of time as any. Thank-you very much for any and all advice! I will be originating in LSE, for what it's worth.

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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Thu May 18, 2006 11:49 pm

You might be able to find some archived maps from The Weather Channel. They put those maps online every year with peak Fall colors happening in what areas.

Any of the airports would be good to get access to the area. Perhaps Manchester if you want to get up into NH or VT quicker and the mountains where the colors will be great. Hartford will give you quick access up into western Mass. and then on to the Berkshires if so necessary. Providence is fine but just farther South than the others.

Have you considered going into Syracuse or Rochester and touring the Finger Lakes? You can spend days driving around the various lakes and stopping at wineries throughout the area. Call me biased (as my family has a vineyard/winery in NC) but that would be a fun trip for me.
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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Thu May 18, 2006 11:57 pm

having gone to school at dartmouth, which is near LEB, then i'd say MHT is the best airport option for accessing the really scenic areas of NH and VT. moreover, i cannot say definitively when the leaves change colors because it is really dependent on how much rain we got the summer and fall immediately prior to. some years the peak was the first week of october, some years it was the third week.

sadly, an inexact science, but you wont be alone in terms of the hordes of peopl touring the area.

also, since you'll be renting a car, and if you have never been, it would be worth a drive up the maine coast. maine is a stunning state and very much worth a look.
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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Fri May 19, 2006 12:34 am

Over the past few years the timing has varied somewhat due to temperature and precipitation. Normally, peak color in Massachusetts is in early to mid-October, but last year is was a few weeks later (but not as good as normal). Farther north, it's ~ 2-3 weeks before that.

You need to go a ways from BOS to get to the so-called "scenic" areas. You'll need to rent a car in any case.

So, my advice is to fly to PVD, rent a car, and hop on Int 95 South. Get off at Rt. 138 and go west toward Connecticut. Rt. 138 will merge with Rt 165; take this into Voluntown, CT. Then take Rt 49 south. This is a fantastic road - take it all the way to Rt 184 and go west to Rt. 27 and go south into Mystic, CT (less foliage here along the coast, but it's really nice down there). After that, take Rt 1 east to Stonington Village (just south of Wequetequock, where Ruth Buzzi is from).

There are many places to stay in that area; the Inn at Stonington on Water Street in Stonington Village is right next to where I used to live; Randall's Ordinary is on Rt 2 in North Stonington, and is a classic 1700's Inn. If you do stay over, make you way to Chester, CT the next day. One of the most picturesque towns in AMerica. It's off Rt 9, which you pick up from Int 95 south in Old Saybrook, CT.
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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Fri May 19, 2006 1:00 am

Mid October for Eastern Massachusetts, the Cape Anne area of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Early to mid October for Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont (Berkshires are a very lovely area to see the foliage).

Western Mass. is two hours by car. Southern New Hampshire/Cape Anne is an hour way by car.

Last year was a wash - literally. It rained for two solid weeks during peak viewing, so we really missed out. Let's hope we have better luck this year.

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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Fri May 19, 2006 1:12 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 1):
Hartford will give you quick access up into western Mass. and then on to the Berkshires if so necessary.

Yup BDL would do ya good.

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 4):
(Berkshires are a very lovely area to see the foliage).


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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Fri May 19, 2006 1:14 am

The leaves are just now coming out in the NE, we don't want to think about signs of winter yet! For leaves I would suggest you fly into Albany, NY, head North through the Adirondack mountains, take a fairy across Lake Champlain to Burlington Vt, then down through Vt and NH (be sure to pick up some maple syrup) to someplace in Massachussetts, and back to Albany on I-90. If you have extra time to kill you could always go up into Maine and drive along the coast. The time for peak colors varies based on rainfall and temperatures, but you're probably looking at mid-October sometime. You won't find better fall scenery than that of the Adirondacks- it's beautiful there and I hate fall leaves.

EDIT: Actually I was wrong- it looks like late September for the Adirondacks, but this wasn't the case this past fall. It depends on a lot of factors, but this site has some estimations of peak colors throughout the NE:

[Edited 2006-05-18 18:19:38]
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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Fri May 19, 2006 1:21 am

I have done this trip 4 or 5 times. My destination has been Vermont each time, but I always seem to see stuff in the neighboring states as well.

I've flown into ALB, BOS, and BDL. BDL is very convenient, right next to the interstate hwy going north into MA and VT.

I always tried to get there around Oct. 5. Yes, you are at the mercy of the weather. On one trip, the leaves were already on the ground and it snowed on me. If that happens to you, concentrate on going to the many little shops and general stores.

My favorite places in Vermont are Stowe, Weston, Peacham, and St. Johnsbury. If your timing works out, you are going to see God's glory in its fullest.

Get motel reservations NOW!

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RE: Best Start & Time For Fall Colors In The NE?

Mon May 22, 2006 12:57 pm

Thanks for all the advice! I prefer to get input from individuals like you who have "been there/done that." We're going to be starting from PVD, since I just booked the tickets. Now to arrange lodging...


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