The whole region of New England, in the northeast corner of the U.S.A., celebrates the beginning of autumn with the start of the "Leaf Peeping" season, a popular tourist attraction showcasing the area's variety of autumnal colors for the six states that m
Visitors from the world over descend from mid September to mid October to sample the season’s finest leafy hues, covered bridges, quaint architecture and seasonal fare, with the full flush of rusts, oranges, purples, golds and vermillions on show throughout all six states. Leaf peeping is normally done by way of a road-trip but why not get off the beaten track with New England’s more quirky and adventurous ways of getting acquainted with the foliage.
The ultimate leaf peeping experience would have to be gliding over the rolling foothills of the stoic Green Mountains of Vermont with the sparkling shores of Lake Champlain and the majestic Adirondacks to the west by way of a hot air balloon. Popping champagne while taking in panoramic vistas of fall foliage as far as the eye can see is a truly memorable autumn New England experience. Or fancy viewing the constantly changing fall foliage panorama from a ski resort’s chairlift? Vermont’s eight passenger Killington Gondola ride takes you to the highest Vermont peak serviced by a chairlift, where views of the foliage stretch into five states and Canada on a clear day.
Open Waters offers new ways of viewing the changing foliage close up on the river banks from the comfort of your Old Town kayak or stand-up paddle board cruising down the Nashua River in West Groton, Massachusetts. Have fun exploring and paddling the main channel of the Nashua, the smaller tributary of the Squannacook and the pond-like ox bow of Dead River. Along the Fall Foliage paddle guides will share the amazing story of the Nashua River and glimmering reflections of autumnal colours on the water enhance the three miles of narrow, meandering channel into areas of lily ponds and woodlands.
For an adventurous autumn foliage road trip, embark on the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway. This 78-mile byway winds through Maine’s Kennebec Valley for continuous foliage views. The road begins in Solon and stretches all the way to the Canadian border. Be sure to stop at Robbins Hill for unrivalled views of the valley. Take a two-mile round trip hike to see one of Maine’s highest waterfalls with a 92-foot vertical drop in Moxie Falls Scenic Area, or spend your day whitewater rafting the Kennebec River while enjoying breathtaking views of the foliage.
The most dramatic leaf peeping in Rhode Island is found in the mostly rural areas of rolling hillsides and dense forests, interrupted by country stores, pumpkin patches and orchards. Be surrounded by overwhelming fall foliage at the corn maze at Salisbury Farm in Johnston, the first maze of its kind in New England. The Corn Maze at Salisbury Farm has challenged peoples’ memories, teamwork and sense of direction for more than 15 years. Thousands of people entered the maze last year, most of them got out.
For the ultimate autumn foliage thrill, why not fly 225 feet above ground level through the foliage and up and over a carpet of autumnal colours near Lincoln, New Hampshire. The Super SkyRider, Alpine Adventure’s ultimate zip tour, boasts an assault course of 18 zip lines and suspension bridges and travels at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Talk about breathtaking.
Board a vintage carriage on the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat for the ultimate autumn foliage tour of the unspoilt Connecticut River Valley. This 2.5 hour excursion travels through boldly hued countryside. Then, from the open decks of the Becky Thatcher River Boat, take in views of hills bursting with colour and a river engulfed in orange and red. www.discovernewengland.org