Fall Foliage: Five top tips for leaf-peeping in New England
There's nowhere like New England when it comes to Fall Foliage. Here are our Travel Editor's top tips.
Other countries have their seasonal symphonies, but when those reds, golds, oranges and yellows burst into bloom in New England, the heart melts.
Here are my tips for a real bucket list trip.
1. Time your travel
Leaves tend to turn from mid-September to mid-October, but the colours can last longer in more southerly states (e.g. Rhode Island, Massachusetts and coastal New Hampshire). Both Visit New Hampshire (visitnh.gov) and Massachusetts Tourism (massvacation.com) have live, online foliage trackers.
2. Plot your route
Most Irish visitors fly into Boston, but remember, Aer Lingus has a new route to Hartford, Connecticut, set to launch this month. Wherever you start, Discover New England (discovernewengland.org) has fall driving itineraries that will help you map out the best routes for your time and dates.
3. Drive on weekdays
Roads, attractions, restaurants and accommodation will all be less busy. If you must travel at peak times, try and do it early or late.
4. Make stops
The colours are epic. But smaller details often make bigger memories — stop to savour the pretty villages, hot chocolates, country stores, quirky festivals, pumpkin pies and apple doughnuts along the way.
5. Fix your photos
You’ll be taking a snap or two, right? Google ‘Fall Foliage photo tips’ and you’ll see that’s not as simple as it sounds. What’s the best light? How can you get above the cover? Luck favours the prepared!
Fall Foliage tours ain’t cheap, but you can put together a quick, DIY option out of Boston. As we publish, clickandgo.com has flights plus three nights at the three-star Midtown Boston from €662pp on a room-only basis, for example.
Sunway (sunway.ie) and ITAA member Grenham Travel (grenhamtravel.ie; itaa.ie/offers) have a similar deal from €679pp.
From Boston, you can hire a car and plot your own, short itinerary. Car rental can be a bargain in the US, but watch out for pricey insurance upsells — it’s worth having a car hire excess insurance policy.
You can see the fall foliage in an afternoon, or you can spend days on a deep dive into the landscape, festivals, food, walks and communities that make this such a fascinating time of year. You’ll pay accordingly, of course.
Going to press, Trailfinders (trailfinders.ie) has a 10-day ‘Colours of New England’ coach tour, including flights and three-star hotels, departing October 6 from €1,799pp.
American Holidays (americanholidays.com) has an eight-day escorted tour including flights, coaches, hotels, guides and many meals, from €3,169pp.