Even after the last of New England’s fiery fall leaves falls, the region remains a quintessential destination of the season. There’s something so appealing about the characteristic covered bridges, quaint town squares and rolling hills as the temperature drops to a crisp and cool degree. Travelers looking to experience a picture-perfect fall complete with leaf peeping, cideries, scenery and more should turn to these six New England towns. Whether you road trip through them all or simply select one or two to visit, these destinations are the perfect places to turn the page for fall.
Located just 40 minutes east of Burlington, the postcard town of Stowe, Vermont should be a bucket list destination for fall travelers. Apart from the picturesque town and its shopping and restaurants, there are tons of ways to pass the time in Stowe. With Mount Mansfield nearby, hikers have plenty of trails through thick forests to explore. There are apple orchards and pumpkin patches to visit, and Cold Hollow Cider Mill is just 15 minutes outside of Stowe. The Trapp Family Lodge is another popular stop for many Sound of Music visitors. The von Trapp family still holds and runs the lodge and there are even tours about the family on site.
Though many people think of visiting Acadia National Park in Maine during the warmer summer months, the park is actually an amazing destination during the cooler shoulder season. The transitioning foliage makes for a stunning backdrop for hikes and drives. However, the real benefit to visiting the national park during September or October is that the crowds have generally subsided, making it much easier to maneuver through and enjoy some of the more popular areas. Of course, there is no better New England view than that from the top of some peak hikes in the park that overlook colorful forests rolling down to the dramatic rocky cliffs along the seaside.
One of the best things about Litchfield Hills during early fall is that this Connecticut town is among those that experiences the longest foliage transitions. That means visitors have plenty of time to make it there to see the hills look like they’re on fire. Complemented by glistening lakes and covered bridges, Litchfield Hills is a perfectly charming town. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants to enjoy after hiking, cycling or kayaking around the area too. Whatever you do, make sure you explore the surrounding countryside lined with stone walled farms too.
Similar in landscape to Litchfield Hills, the Berkshires also offer abundant opportunities to enjoy the fall scenery and weather. However, the Massachusetts village is also home to plenty of cultural and artistic pursuits for guests to enjoy. Shop around, visit an orchard to pick apples or make a tour of the food scene. But don’t forget to check the events calendar before you go. The Berkshires often hold festivals and fall-themed events around the time the leaves change.
Just 30 minutes northwest of Boston, Concord is a densely historic town. Those who think of “back to school” or the historic events that are celebrated during the fall in the United States will love delving into the past here. Concord inspired many of the most widely read American authors—many of which are buried there too. From Walden Pond to “Authors’ Ridge” at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord is well worth touring just to see living history. The scenic town is also filled with stone walls and Colonial homes that add up to make a stunning landscape during the leaf change.
Heading further east, Wickford Village is another historic town perfect for strolling on a crisp fall day. The town is filled with beautiful historic buildings and boutique shops worth stopping in. After wandering around the atmospheric village, visitors will also find a plethora of delicious eateries and bistros to enjoy. But the one spooky attraction travelers shouldn’t miss is the Narragansett rune which was thought to be inscribed by Icelanders more than 600 years ago. It’s a curious attraction that keeps people puzzled.
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist. You can often find her on the highway somewhere between Florida and North Carolina or taking life slow in Europe.