The State of Connecticut is home to two scenic byways that are part of the America’s Byways program from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Connecticut Department of Transportation also has a Connecticut Scenic Roads Program. Many of these make for wonderful fall foliage drives.
National Scenic Byways in Connecticut
Connecticut State Route 169
The Connecticut State Route 169 byway runs south from the Massachusetts border for 32 miles to the intersection of Route 169 and 395 in the northeastern corner of Connecticut through the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor. In the fall from mid-October to mid-November this unspoiled part of Connecticut is ablaze with spectacular fall color. In addition to the foliage, some things to see along this byway include the Audubon Bafflin Sanctuary in Pomfret, the Brooklyn Green in Brooklyn, the Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, and New England towns replete with colonial homesteads, churches, and meeting houses.
The Merritt Parkway byway traverses Connecticut 37 miles east to west from the Housatonic River to the border with New York in the southwest corner of Connecticut. Every fall the Merritt Parkway comes alive with color. Points of interest along the Parkway include:
- The Art Deco, or Art Moderne bridges from the 1920s and 1930s along the Parkway
- The Audubon Center, Greenwich, CT
- The Bartlett Arboretum, Stamford, CT
- Earthplace: The Nature Center for Environmental Activities, Westport, CT
- The Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT
- The Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Connecticut Scenic Roads
Connecticut has an extensive Scenic Roads Program. As a matter of fact, a stretch of road as small a 1 mile may be designated as a scenic road. For this reason there are over 60 scenic roads in Connecticut, the vast majority of which are under 10 miles in length. See here for a complete list of Connecticut’s Scenic Roads (PDF). State Routes 49 & 14A make up one of the longer scenic drives.
State Routes 49 & 14A
The 19.5 mile stretch along State Route 14A from Plainfield to Sterling Hill, and then south on State Route 49 through Voluntown to Route 95 provides wonderful opportunities to view fall foliage. Along the way Route 49 passes by and through the Pachaug State Forest. For more information see State Routes 49 & 14A Scenic Drive.
The Connecticut Wine Trail
Another wonderful way to experience fall foliage is along the Connecticut Wine Trail. The Connecticut Wine Trail takes you through some of the most picturesque towns in the State while visiting 24 different vineyards. Admittedly, the Connecticut Wine Trail is not really a contiguous drive as it includes wineries spread over the entire state. So you will probably want to take a look at the map of the Connecticut Wine Trail to decide which parts you want to drive and what wineries you want to visit. Wherever you go, however, driving through beautiful fall foliage to sample some fine wine is a wonderful way to spend an autumn afternoon.
Picture credits: The picture of Connecticut State Route 169 is Copyright © January 1996 Connecticut State Route 169. For full use terms and conditions see #25720: Fall Foliage Along Connecticut State Route 169. The picture of the Merritt Parkway is Copyright © 1996 Merritt Parkway Scenic Byway. For full use terms and conditions see #25728: Merritt Parkway Scenic Byway