Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Top 10 New England Fall Foliage Destinations


Article and photo by Eric H., at VisitingNewEngland.com


Most everyone loves the fall foliage season and "top 10" lists! Why not merge them for your benefit?

My criteria for a great New England fall foliage destination is, of course, great colors, but also a country setting with winding roads, a quaint downtown with a local, non-generic feel and shops and restaurants, and maybe a country store or farm stand along the way. With that in mind, here are my favorite fall foliage destinations:

1. Woodstock, Vt. -- Quaint village, perfect for walking, represents the picture-perfect postcard Vermont town at its best. Route 12 is an ideal road for leaf peeping, perhaps one of the best in New England. FH Gillingham and Sons is a classic Vermont country store -- one of the oldest in the state where you can buy "everything from caviar to cow manure - accompanied by a farmstead cheese and a bottle of Corton Charlemagne."

2. Hollis, N.H. -- A Southern New Hampshire gem, close to Nashua, with nice country roads, open land, and farm stands with great apple picking and cider. Nearby Parker's Maple Barn and Country Store in Mason, N.H., is an ideal rustic dining spot with hearty breakfasts and lunches. Try the maple ribs!

3. Stockbridge, Mass. -- The town that Norman Rockwell made famous. With its classic, traditional New England look intact, Stockbridge is a great starting point for your Berkshire Mountain vacation. Lodging suggestion: The Red Lion Inn, in business since the 18th Century, located in the heart of downtown Stockbridge.

4. Woodstock, Ct. -- Located in the "Quiet Corner" of Connecticut, Woodstock and surrounding towns offer a quiet respite from the hectic world. If you love town commons, old churches with tall, white steeples and country roads with gentle rolling hills, then this region is for you! The Inn at Woodstock Hill is a wonderful "country" place to stay.

5. Lexington-Concord, Mass. -- Walking the historic Lexington Battle Green, Walden Pond, the Old North Bridge Area, Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, and Monument Square in Concord seems all that much better when there's color in the leaves.

6. The Brookfields, Mass. -- An underrated gem in central Massachusetts. Brookfield, North Brookfield, East Brookfield and West Brookfield offer quiet solitude, scenic lakes, quaint downtowns (West Brookfield, Brookfield and North Brookfield), farmers' markets, antique shopping, apple picking (Brookfield Orchards in is great choice, and country stores. Try the historic Salem Cross Inn for a "New England" lunch and dinner dining experience with great chowder, prime rib, chicken pot pie, and apple pie. The Quabbin Reservoir is nearby and provides a wonderfully relaxing, natural, untouched setting.

7. North Country Vermont -- Dramatic high mountains ranges, less development, classic Vermont villages, and scenic country roads make this region another underrated fall foliage vacation destination. Lyndon and Lyndonville are personal favorite destinations -- not too rural, not too commercial and very "Vermontish."

8. Lincoln-Woodstock, N.H. -- Near the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, one of the most famous fall foliage destinations in the northeast. The times we've went, it certainly has lived up to its billing with its brilliant colors in the equally beautiful White Mountains region.

9. Stowe, Vt. -- It's more developed than in the past, but there's no denying the innate, rural beauty from the mountainside at the Trapp Family Lodge to its still quaint downtown village. The bike path is a perfect place to enjoy the foliage landscape.

10. Weston, Vt. -- Home of the wonderful and very large Vermont Country Store, Weston is another classic Vermont country community with its entire village listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A beautiful town common with gazebo and surroundings scenic views of the Green Mountains highlight this special town.
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