Every year I pick out my top three autumn destinations throughout the New England region. It’s always the worst decision of my life. It’s so hard to pick just three! I mean, have you seen this region this time of year? It’s jaw dropping, and here I am telling you I’m dedicated to picking out just three spots.
Well, here goes nothing.
The Litchfield Hills
Okay, so maybe I’m a little dedicated to this region since it was my home for 10 years and my summer home for 5 years prior. I have spent a good chunk of my life in Litchfield County, Connecticut, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nestled in the northwestern part of the state and tucked up against the Berkshires, this region shines during the autumn season. With it’s rolling hills and a land that feels lost in time, you’ll enjoy a taste of the simple life while getting the best taste of the season.
Making your way up through historic downtown Torrington, the epicenter of the Litchfield Hills region, through the ice box of Norfolk you eventually roll past abundant farmland as you make your way to the lakes of Salisbury. Once in Salisbury, stay a while and take in the view of the highest peak in Connecticut that overlooks the lakes. You’ll feel as though you stepped back in time as the blissful wonders of nature surround you.
Making your way down from Salisbury, you’ll hit the towns of Cornwall & Kent which are both known for their classic New England charm. Cornwall has a covered bridge that will make you feel as though you are in Vermont, and Kent is known to have the best foliage in the entire New England region and is alive and well with small town charm.
Eventually, you make your way into Litchfield, the town for which the area is named after. It is here where movie stars are often caught eating the local flavors at any one of the famous restaurants in the towns center. Maybe they got a little hungry after taking a walk on the infamous boardwalk at White Memorial where you’re able to see nature at it’s best while taking in the foliage on the hillsides.
The Litchfield Hills are a marvel anytime of year, but no other season seems to capture it any better than autumn. You better get to it before the leaves fall, for this season doesn’t last too long.
The White Mountains
While New England may not have the highest mountains in the world, we do have some of the most unique ones, and they could be found in the granite state of New Hampshire (how appropriately named, huh?).
The Whites have a lot to offer. The Kangamangus Highway is perhaps one of my favorite locations to drive through this time of year. This highway climbs up a series of mountains and lets you take in the surrounding landscape at all angles, with multiple stop off points so get your cameras ready! You may even have the opportunity to get a good glimpse of Canada.
From the bustling tax free shopping mecca of North Conway, you’ll have plenty of paths to choose from as you’re making your way through the White Mountain National Forest. I always prefer the Kangamangus into Lincoln where you’ll run into Seven Birches Winery, some of the best wine in New Hampshire in my opinion. From Lincoln, you’ll eventually head north towards Franconia Notch where the Man of the Mountain once stood to overlook the valley below, but sadly one snowy winter we bid our goodbyes to the old man and today we are able to observe the spot where the stone structure once stood.
Leaving Franconia Notch, you’ll loop around to Crawford Notch and the Mount Washington Valley. It is here where you have the absolute best views of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast and home to some of the worlds worst weather. Crawford Notch is a gem to travel down through making your way back into North Conway as you are suddenly surrounded by towering peaks that make you feel protected and warm as the colors of fall engulf the senses.
Okay, my final favorite destination!
Route 100 is more than just a destination, however. It’s an entire route that shoots up through central Vermont. Named one of the most scenic drives in North America, Route 100 is indeed a land that time has forgotten. No highways. No flashy billboards. No big boxes. Just simplicity at it’s finest amongst rolling hills and mountains, and that’s just how Vermonters want it.
As you start your travels in the Mount Snow valley, you eventually make your way into the higher mountain terrain, but not before first stopping off at The Vermont Country Store where yesteryear is today. It is here where you’ll not only feel you stepped back into the early part of the twentieth century, but you’ll also fill your hunger pains with all the cheese, crackers, and fudge.
Continuing through Route 100, you’ll notice there isn’t a lot but farmland and mountains. That is Vermont in a nutshell, and to be bluntly honest with you it’s the reason why this route is so special. You get the best foliage opportunities with unspoiled beauty, though don’t worry there is a treat waiting for you at the end of the route. Ben & Jerry’s Factory is on the northern end in Waterbury, and it is here where you get to indulge as you make your way towards Stowe Mountain Resort, the highest peak in Vermont and perhaps one of the most prestigious ski resorts in New England.
Phew! I think I nailed it. There it is. The top three locations to explore fall foliage here in New England. While it was hard, as always, to pick out just three, it should go without saying that there are many more places in between to fall in love with even more.