Nothing compares to New England in the Fall. While all four seasons are special, New England really puts on it’s best show late September and October when a slight chill is in the air and the leaves turn crimson and gold. I anticipate this change in season all year long. The first brisk morning and the onset of sweater weather, apple picking with family and friends, carving jack-o-lanterns on the kitchen table, bundling up for a local arts & crafts festival, driving around country roads to peep the fall foliage, and stocking up on cider donuts, kettle corn and apple cider are a few traditions that make this time of year remarkable. It’s in the fall that I feel especially lucky to be a New Englander.
Over the years I have received countless questions about what to see and do in New England in the fall — I’m excited to introduce my guide. I’ve covered some of the noteworthy regions Kiel and I love to stay and explore.
Please note that this guide is a work in progress. As I explore new towns I will add to this list. I sectioned each state off with specific towns or regions.
Kiel’s parents have a house in New Hampshire and we have been coming up here for years. One of our favorite things to do is to hop in the car and explore. We love discovering new towns, gift shops, or beautiful views of the White Mountains. The restaurants here are some of our favorite. We not only love the food but the cozy laid back atmosphere with lots of rustic charm.
The White Mountains: Lincoln, Bretton Woods
What to do: Mount Washington Cog Railway
, Mount Washington Auto Road , Vertical Ventures Aviation
(fly above the White Mountains in a helicopter for the ultimate foliage views), The Flume Gorge
, Robert Frost Home & Museum
— the world’s longest candy counter, Cardigan Mountain Orchard
, Harman’s Cheese & Country Store
, Lonesome Wolf Antiques
, the Basin
, hiking, biking.
The Scenic Route: Drive along the Kangamangus Highway and Route 302 for stunning views. You might even see a moose. Begin the route from Lincoln and drive straight through the White Mountain forest to North Conway. I also highly recommend Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch. As I mentioned in the intro, New Hampshire is the the ultimate place to get in your car and just drive. The foliage makes the mountains natural beauty even more spectacular.
The Green Mountain State holds a special place in my heart. Like New Hampshire it’s a place where you can encounter a beautiful scene around every turn. Green pastures and old country homes decorated in Autumn’s best are sights to behold. I also love the unique shops you can find along Main Street.
The Scenic Route: Historic Route 7A or the Shires of Vermont Byway.
The Scenic Route: Route 4 From Woodstock to Quechee, Route 12
Connecticut is quintessentially New England from its’ charming seaside towns to country escapes. There’s much to see and explore whether you are in the mood for antique shopping, visiting a farm, following Connecticut’s wine trail, or viewing the foliage while on a harbor sail. I’ve kept this list down to the two towns we are most familiar with. Kiel and I have been going to Mystic since we were kids and more recently Woodstock. I would love to add Litchfield County to this list next year.
The Scenic Route
: The Mystic Stonington Loop
, Route 27. The coast looks so beautiful this time of year. I love seeing the boats on the water with colorful trees as the backdrop.
The Scenic Route: Route 169 — This route is the main attraction to this area. The drive through the country is filled with stone walls, farms, and idyllic New England country homes.
This list wouldn’t be complete without my home state. Right now we are getting hints of fall but the leaves are still very green. The best time of year to see the foliage is the second or third week of October. If you plan on coming to visit look up the local festivals as there is something going on just about every weekend from harvest and seafood festivals to halloween parties. One of the best things about Rhode Island is that it is always a short drive to get from one part of the state to another.
By the end of September most of the tourists have gone and the town is much quieter.
What to do: Sweet Berry Farm
, Newport Vineyards
, Fall Harbor Sail
, Newport Ghost Tour
, Southern New England Giant Pumpkins Grower’s Annual Weigh Off
on October 7th (In 2015 Ron Wallace from Green, RI set a record by growing the 2nd largest pumpkin in the world at 2,230lb), Bowen’s Wharf Annual Seafood Festival
October 13-14th, Trinity Church Annual Pumpkin Patch (throughout October), Cliff Walk, Visit the mansions