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Farm house surrounded by peak fall color

Scenic fall foliage route NY to VT and back

at the southern end of Lake Champlain I found a barn surrounded by glorious reds and golds and oranges of autumn. The tapestry of colors was just incredible

tapestry of fall colors surrounding barn

This is my foliage route response from a letter in my mail bag. You are more likely to get a timely response by asking questions in the comments on my blog.  I will answer emails but sometimes I don’t get to them in the same season. 🙁

Gayla sent an e-mail on a good foliage route to travel from Saratoga Springs, New York to Vermont and back. You may think that the route is too long for three days and two nights and you might be right. They wanted to get out see historical places and light hiking AND fall foliage so in reality they might only do one-quarter of what I listed here.


Fort TI in New York on Lake Champlain

“Hi Gayla, for this trip I think you could look at 5 to 15 October as your date range of opportunity and where I would start is driving up Route 87 enjoying the views of the Eastern Adirondacks.

I would jump off on Route 8, taking it East and then following 9N.  Follow that over to fort Ticonderoga. There should be during that time, beautiful fall colors and you can walk the fort and explore the history and then get back on to route 74 and proceed east to catch the ferry across into Vermont.

fort Ticonderoga ferry between Vermont and New York

fort Ticonderoga ferry between Vermont and New York

The ferry between Essex New York and Charlotte Vermont now runs through November and this is the link to the schedule.

This old brick store is known for its sandwiches and a great place to stop on your journey

Old brick store on Route 7

As you come up ferry Road you will be in the town of Charlotte and on the left-hand side you will run into the old brick store. It has a large painting on the exterior western wall of a clock that really stands out. If you should arrive there around lunchtime be sure to stop in and grab a sandwich and a bottle of wine and simply enjoy. They have wonderful sandwiches.

Covered bridge at Shelburne museum with ducks underneath it in the water

Covered bridge at Shelburne museum

Now you’ll jump onto Route 7 (but you could take the small back road of Route 22 which will take you up to the Shelburne Museum), either way you go the Shelburne Museum, is fine as it has a vast collection of folk and decorative art and buildings that have been collected from all over Vermont. There is even a lighthouse there that came from Lake Champlain.

You can pick your route from here you might go over to route 89 and come down to the Richmond exit and you should follow the signs into Richmond Vermont. You should be on route to South Route 2 and you want to get into the center of town and you will find the old round church of Richmond.

Now you should head down Route 2 and on your right you will see camels hump mountain and camels hump state Park here is a link to the trails and you should consult their website as for their ease of hiking and levels of difficulty.

just East of camels hump state Park is the fabled route 100 and you can take that South starting your loop back home.

Golden leaves glow brightly in the New England autumn

Walkway view in autumn, Moss Glenn falls on Route 100 (near Granville VT)

Places of interest along Route 100 would be Mad River Valley and Waitsfield along with Granville and just South is Moss Glen Falls. These falls are very popular and as you are heading down south on Route 100 the road will be very twisty with high walls (and should have great fall colors).

The parking lot for the waterfalls will be immediately next to the road on your right.

If you get there a little earlier in the day it would be best because the parking lot can fill up and then you have no place to pull over and stop and I don’t want you to miss being able to get out and see the falls up close.

There is usually someone in the parking lot selling Vermont Maple syrup and other tourist items. And yes I suggest you stop and support the little business person.

There is a wooden path walkway out to the foot of the waterfall and the only downside is that there may or may not be a good flow of water over the waterfall depending on how much rain we’ve had recently.

Here is an article that details Moss Glen Falls.

from here your choices for foliage routes are wide and varied, you can make a right on route 125 and cross over to Middlebury which should be all very scenic and you’ll be traveling over the green mountains which while a very winding and somewhat treacherous road it should also be quite beautiful at the same time, just make sure that the driver pays attention to the road and not the fall colors.

You could also continue heading south on 100 crossing West on Route 4 through Rutland and Whitehall and back to route 87

Aside from the dates which could vary either way, I think if you just pick and don’t worry so much about the dates, you’ll have enough locations with changes in elevations and activities to make for a wonderful mini-vacation.

Just remember that the further north you go the longer your trip in the car will be and if you make it shorter, you’ll be able to get out of the car more and relax more.

By the time you get back to Saratoga Springs I’m betting that the colors will be just developing towards peak and a wonderful way to come home.”

Jeff “Foliage” Folger
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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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Fall foliage route, New York to Vermont — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you! (And thank you for settling a bit of a debate) 😉 We will be picking a “home base” for our trip. We are flying in late on the 3rd and flying out late on the 8th. The only things we have set so far are spending the last day exploring Boston and will be reserving at one day for Mt. Washington. I don’t want to plan too much and lose the spontaneity.

    PCH is beautiful, but once you get past Santa Barbara, it is frequently a 2-lane highway. It is quite lovely when you have a deep forest of Giant Redwoods on one side and beautiful sandy beaches on the other. We did that exact trip couple of years ago. We ended up going Los Angeles to Grants Pass, OR over 4 days. It was a great drive, I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself on the West Coast.

    • hi Jessica, I’m glad I was able to help but my wife wants me to also put in her viewpoint which is some people who are really used to driving may love nothing more than getting on the back roads of New England and driving all day. This is really what I do on a constant basis during late September and October so I tend to assume (always dangerous) and think the average person or leaf peeper should get out of the car and explore locations, buy apple pies, or other harvest treats. Then they can get back in the car and drive a little ways, get back out of the car and go walk off those harbor streets. 🙂
      It sounds like you might be driving to the top of Mount Washington which means you’ll be getting route 16 or catching the cog railway to the top. (If it’s the cog let me know because I’ve never been on it myself)
      the drive to the top of Mount Washington is not too daunting for most people and thousands of people do it every autumn. It’s the drive back down that really can wear on your breaks. 🙂

      If you’re arriving late on the third you might find a place close to the airport or at least not too far away (maybe an hour or so) make this someplace that you can relax and get up in the morning refreshed and hit the road with your wheels spinning. I always emphasize driving less and doing more but you know your limitations and what will make you happy.
      I have a cousin out in Torrance California and one of these days I’m going to take her up on her offer and go out for a visit. Lisa and I would love to drive the PCH and see a couple of sunsets from along it. If I do get out that way I’ll try and remember you on here and send you a note say you can advise me on where to go!

      As we get closer will see what the overall weather is doing between the third and 8th October. If you send me a comment or question around the 30th of September, I’ll see if I can make better suggestions on what might be good. Just let me know if you’ve made any reservations in between now and then and we’ll see what we can do.

  2. Hi Jeff, I recently found your website and I am loving it! My husband and I are from California and are coming back to New England Oct 3-8 for our 10 year anniversary. A quick trip, but all we can squeeze in while he is graduate school. My question is, we would like to see as much as possible while there, is it better to have a central point to come back to or to “hotel hop” and see where we end up? If a central point is better, do you have a recommendation? We are both native Californians, so driving for 8 hours in a day keeps you in the same state, we are intrigued by the idea of multiple states in a day. We are trying to decide of we book a hotel now or are more “spontaneous” with our trip.

    • I always think a single base of Operations works well. First is the 3rd and 8th travel days or are you landing on the 2nd and leaving on the 9th… Leaving the 3rd means you arrive the afternoon of the 3rd and you will either need a place near the airport or pick up the rental car and drive up to (lets says) St Johnsbury VT or Sugarhill NH.
      Next driving through multiple states may intrigue you but if all you want to do is drive all day then why come here? I assume you might like to stop in some towns, maybe ride a ski resort gondola to the top of a mountain like cannon MT or Wildcat and it will take you time to arrive there in the morning, ride to the top 12-20 minutes. explore up top, another 30 min to 1 hour and if you don’t eat a meal up top you ride back down and now it’s time for lunch. Go find a bite to eat and drive through a local town or two and maybe find a state park to explore and maybe get out of the car and hike some trails. It’s now time to get dinner and you may not have left VT or NH today..

      You see the secret is this… The enjoyment doesn’t come from seeing tree after tree in color, it’s about exploring the landscape and making new memories. If you like antiques, we have them, history?> we have that too…

      You can probably get away with driving during the day and finding a place each night. IF you are not too picky. If you want the really comfortable places, and fine dining then you may want to make reservation and find a place near the two towns I mentioned up above. I chose them because whether the fall colors are early or late you should be centrally located so you don’t have to drive to far.
      Also! I don’t recommend highways but the backroads. Highways are great to get into the thick of it but then you get off onto secondary or even farmers dirt roads to really find spectacular views. When you are driving all day and not getting out of CA, I bet you are still driving the PCH which is a beautiful 4 lane (2 each way) highway (let me know if I’m right about that since I’ve only seen it in movies) So the driving experience is a bit different then what you are thinking.. I think.. 🙂
      Let me know if this helps or causes confusion.

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