Fall / Fall Foliage in New England

Picture of Fall foliage on the Ellis River in Jackson, NH

Ellis River in Jackson, NH

Fall and fall foliage are pretty much synonymous in New England. No matter what you do, or where you go, the leaves around you will be putting on a spectacular display of colors. It is the inescapable backdrop for all fall activity. And who would want to escape such a show? Fall foliage viewing in New England is generally believed to be among the best in the world!

Leaves begin to turn color in New England in late summer (very late August / early September), reaching peak color typically some time in October.

Fall Activities

Picture of Fall Foliate at the Grist Mill in Sudbury, MA

Grist Mill in Sudbury, MA

With this color as the background, autumn in New England is host to many wonderful activities. A sample of New England fall activities includes:

  • Apples, Apples, and More Apples – Fall is the time to go out and pick your own apples, or to get some fresh pressed apple cider. If that is not enough, the region abounds in apple, and cider festivals in the fall.
  • Baseball (we hope) – While it does not happen every year (if only it could), the Boston Red Sox often make it into the MLB playoffs. If that is the case the boys from Fenway Park can play well into October. Sitting in the Fenway stands on a fine autumn afternoon or evening can be a wonderful experience.
  • The Coast and Leaves – Take the picturesque New England coast and combine it with the beauty of fall foliage. How about a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine in the fall where you can combine the rocky shore of Maine with foliage that runs right up to the coast. The photo opportunities will be endless and the memories for a lifetime.
  • Football – Are you ready for some football? Fall is the time for football and New England has more than its share. From the NFL’s New England Patriots to top-notch college teams such as the Boston College Eagles and the Connecticut Huskies, you should have no problem visiting the gird iron in the fall for a good game.
  • Picture of the Great Vermont Corn Maze

    Great Vermont Corn Maze

    Get Lost in a Corn Maze – Try your hand at navigating one of the many corn mazes that pop up throughout New England in the late summer and fall such as the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville, Vermont.

  • Harvest Festivals – In the fall Mother Nature may be preparing to close the curtains on another growing season, but that does not stop us from celebrating her bounty with fall harvest festivals. Such festivals abound in New England, not the least of which is New England’s largest festival – The Big E in Springfield, MA.
  • Haunted Hay Rides – As the calendar moves on toward Halloween, haunted houses and hay rides pop up all over New England. What better way to get prepared for fright night than being chased by a chain saw wielding ghoul on a haunted hay ride?
  • Live History – While you can certainly visit any of New England’s living museums at other times during the year, it is really in the fall that places like Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA and Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA really shine. And don’t forget around Thanksgiving when both offer up traditional, historically correct, Thanksgiving dinners (very popular – reservations necessary).
  • Lakes and Leaves – The juxtaposition of water and fall foliage makes for some of the most spectacular foliage pictures you will ever take. We have already mentioned the coast and fall foliage, but what about doing your leaf peeping near some of New England’s great lakes such as Lake Champlain in Vermont, or the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, or Maine’s Lakes and Mountains Region or Moosehead Lake? You will not be sorry you went and if you hop into a boat you will get a completely different perspective on fall color. For that matter, how about jumping into a canoe on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail to view fall foliage?
  • Marathon Mania If running is your thing the cool fall weather is perfect for long distance runs. Not surprisingly, many of the regions marathons are run in the fall for this reason. So take in the Hartford Marathon in Connecticut, or the Amica Marathon in Rhode Island, or the Bay State or Cape Cod Marathons in Massachusetts, and the Green Mountain Marathon in Vermont. All take place in October. And don’t forget the “Turkey Trots” that happen on and around Thanksgiving.
  • Mountains and Leaves – Of course one of the best ways to get up close and personal with fall foliage is to take a trip into the mountains. Whether it is the Berkshires, in Massachusetts, the Green Mountains in Vermont, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, or even the Great North Woods spread across northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine – the foliage will take your breath away.
  • Picture of a Pumpkin Man and PumpkinsPumpkin Carving Contests, Displays, and Festivals – Another wonderful fall activity are the pumpkin carving contests, displays, and festivals such as the the Keene Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, the Milford Great Pumpkin Festival in Milford, New Hampshire, or the Pumpkin Carving Festival in Manchester, Vermont.
  • Revolutionary War History and Leaves – Hike the five mile Battle Road Trail in Minuteman National Park in Massachusetts to take in fall foliage while getting a good dose of American history.
  • Salem Witches – What better way to get in the mood for Halloween than in Salem, MA where you can take in all things witch. Take in the Salem Witch Museum or the many other attractions connected with the Salem witch trials of 1692. If that is not enough to get you in the mood for Halloween, how about participating in the events of Salem’s Haunted Happenings – a month long celebration of Halloween that takes place every October.
  • Summer Activities are Still an Option – Don’t forget that the weather is still very nice in the fall, especially the early fall, so many of the activities that you enjoyed in the summer are still a possibility. Go camping, for a hike, play a round of golf, even take a quick dip. Take advantage of warm fall and Indian Summer days.
  • Picture of the Martha Mary Chapel in Sudbury, MA

    Martha Mary Chapel in Sudbury, MA

    Take a Drive – Almost anywhere you point a car down a rural path, highway, or country road will reward you with fabulous vistas of colorful foliage. Some foliage drives, are more well known than others for their scenic fall beauty – such as the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in New Hampshire, or the Connecticut River Scenic Byway running through Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Route 6A down the center of Cape Cod is also another well regarded fall drive. Almost anywhere you drive in New England will reward you with great foliage viewing. So hop into the car for a fabulous fall foliage drive.

  • Wineries – Fall is a wonderful time to visit the regions wineries. Sip a little wine, take in a winery tour, have a nice picnic – what better way to spend a fall afternoon?
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