New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » Tips for creating your autumn vacation itinerary

Lobsters steamed and ready for the butterHow do you choose your autumn vacation plans? There are so many factors to think about, from lodging to activities to New England food specialties. A vision of hot buttered lobster just planted itself in your mind, didn’t it?

These are my tips for choosing and if I forgot anything let me know!

Tips for Picking Lodging

Silas Griffith Inn in Danby VTFirst, I can’t list every motel, hotel, B&B and Inn throughout New England. So in the past, I have told you to put yourself in the path of peak fall foliage. I want to be run over by the wave as the fall colors head south. You can do this by reading this article on using Zone Planning to work from.

The idea isn’t to time it, so you are in a particular spot the day you expect Peak fall colors. Instead Pick a location because you will be near it! I feel I’m successful if I only have to drive 30 or so minutes before finding great fall colors.

So using Zone planning to choose locations and what might be near to this location you can start to narrow events and attractions. How about calling the Inn/Hotel? When you choose the lodging, call them and see what they know is going on during your stay.

New England food specialties

When I’m on the road I’m happy to find a family diner. You know the ones, usually they are made from reflective aluminum airplane styled sheets, have on the inside, pictures from the 1950s on the walls and their milk shakes are to die for! I rarely pass one up and Yankee Magazine has a great list of “the 15 best roadside diners in New England”.

lobster roll-Sea Crest hotelI know most people think lobster rolls when they arrive in New England (or before). As far as I know you can find them almost anywhere and they range from, with mayo, without mayo and the same goes for celery. My favorite lobster rolls come in a buttered AND toasted New England roll. If you’ve never had a New England roll, head right out and do so.

Basically its a hotdog roll with the sides cut off. They butter the sides and toss them on a frying surface for a minute until they turn a golden brown. Think about a toasted cheese sandwich and its the same principle (minus the cheese). Once toasted put in the ingredients of choice…

Since I don’t have a list of my own of preferred places making the worlds greatest lobster rolls, here is a another article by Yankee Magazine. They have their “Best lobster rolls in New England” article. I think you’ll find something to chew on in there.

Tips for picking fall foliage activities

Where to start? Harvest festivals are a great way to experience New England life and my third tip, New England food specialties. You arrive early in Sept and spend a day at the Big E fair (starts on 18 Sept – 4 Oct) with food, fun, animals, rides, and entertainment, morning, noon and night.

Fairs and festivals

You can go smaller and more intimate by stopping at the Deerfield fair, or the Topsfield fair and you can visit my fair and festival page and as these fairs update their dates I update my pages.

Family fun during your autumn vacation

Have Kids, will travel. Young kids (or kids of any age) will enjoy Clark’s Trading post, Storyland, or Santa’s Village. Click the links and make sure that you check when these places close down. If you are showing up in Mid October, many of the places in New Hampshire close for the season.

Crawford Notch fall foliage train. "Autumn foliage New England", "Autumn foliage", "Fall Foliage", "images by Jeff Folger", "Jackson NH", "New England Autumn", "New England color", "New England fall foliage", "New England", "New Hampshire", "photos of fall foliage", Autumn, Foliage, Landscape, water

Crawford Notch fall foliage train

How about a train ride for the old train aficionado in the family? Check my page on train rides New England.

I’ve ridden a few but there are many groups that keep these old locomotives on the line and running. Most all kids (myself included love to ride the rails and experience life from the 1800s through the 1900s.

Oldest churches in New England

Sometimes we just don’t know where to start. Here is a list based on one query. what and where are the oldest churches in New England?

New Hampshire

  • First Parish Church in Dover, Oldest congregation founded in 1632 (Congregational/United Church of Christ)
  • Newington Meeting House is the oldest church building in New Hampshire (1717, Congregational).




Rhode Island



Escape today

Well that does it for today. If you have your own inspiration of what to build an itinerary around then I hope you would share it with the class. Maybe I’ll showcase your itinerary so everyone can benefit from your inspiration.

Jeff "Foliage" Folger  You can purchase images by visiting my Fine Art Gallery websites
Subscribe to my Newsletter - If you would like to sign up for my Fine Art America Newsletter (click this link and a window will open allowing you to sign up). Why sign up for the newsletter? Contests, discount codes on my artwork, maybe an excerpt from my book "Exploring the back roads of New England with Jeff Foliage"... Yes you heard me right... (Damn now I have to start writing it!)
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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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Tips for creating your autumn vacation itinerary — 8 Comments

  1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I know it is a busy schedule but we don’t know when we will be able to afford to visit again so want to make the most of it. Thanks once again – please feel free to use it in your articles 🙂

  2. Hi Jeff, I love your site and have visited it several times, and am now looking for some advice 🙂

    My husband and I are flying from the UK to NY on 30 Sept and staying in NY until 04 Oct. We are then getting the train to Boston and staying there for one night. We then have 5 clear days to tour New England by car before our return flight on 10 Oct (evening flight).
    I have put together the itinerary shown below – do you think it is ‘doable’? is there anything we should skip in favour of something else?

    Our absolute must do’s are Salem, Portland and Stockbridge (my husband is an artist an a massive Norman Rockwell fan so we need to see the museum) but other than that we just want to experience the beautiful views and take hundreds of photos.
    Your advice would be much appreciated – thank you

    • Arrive in Boston Sunday 04/10
    • Salem
    • Portland/ Maine (Lighthouse cruise/Marine Maritime Museum)
    • White Mountains (New Hampshire)
    • Burlington
    • Green Mountains Scenic Railway
    • Benningtons Covered Bridges Museum (Southern Vermont)
    • Stockbridge/The Berkshires (Norman Rockwell Museum)
    • Old Sturbridge Village
    • Back to Boston on Friday 09/10 ready for flight home on Saturday

    • You’ve picked a lot of good items… I may copy that and paste it in one of my articles. Salem will take 3-4 hours at a minimum. Start at the Visitor center and they will give you a really good map. The three things I suggest are this: Count Orlock’s nightmare gallery (not real scary but definitely worth a visit). The Witches Dungeon. NOT to be confused with the Witch’s lair, the witches cottage, or the witches museum, but the WM is pretty good also. The Dungeon is a one act play that details the trial of Sarah good (I think) and a little about the witch trials and what spectral evidence was. Then you go into their remake of the dungeons that the victims of the witch trials had to endure. Last visit the Friendship of Salem, a recreated 1797 east indies trader and the National park service runs this and their tours are free.
      There is also the pirate museum but that will be pushing your 3-4 hours.

      Portsmouth- tons to see. The Strawberry Banke village is the main thing that comes to mind. Haven’t done the Lighthouse cruise or the maritime museum but they sound fun.

      White Mountains… Conway, covered bridges, Jackson(go to Ravenwood or you will be sorry if you don’t), Pinkham Notch, Mount Washington cog railway ($99) to the top of the tallest mountain in New England. Across the Route 112 also known as “The Kanc” The Kancamagus highway is the Grand Dame of Scenic roads.

      Burlington VT tons to see…

      Chester VT and the Green Mountains Scenic Railway. I don’t know which way you are partial to but the route to Rockingham has the two covered bridges. The Worrel and the lower Bartonsville covered bridges. Also if you get back in the car and follow the same route you have the Vermont Country store in Rockingham. and going down to Route 5 on the Connecticut rivver and head north a few miles is The Fort at number 4 which is a recreated 1700s fort, call to see if they have an event that day or any tours

      The covered bridge museum is interesting.
      Stockbridge is 3-4 hours by itself… Eat at the Red lion…

      Old Sturbridge village has 2 covered bridges and one you will only see if you get on the boat ride. The first is the Dummerston Covered bridge at Sturbridge Village. and the other is the old entry into OSV. The covered bridge at Old Sturbridge village can be seen by clicking here.

      I will say it’s a very busy schedule. Also! You are traveling up into the colors but you are going to head back south just a little early. That isn’t to say you won’t see fall colors at the beginning of the end but I thinking they will be a little light still very nice especially once you get up into the Whites and over to the Green Mountains.

  3. Where are bed and breakfasts on Maine coast, Vermont , New Hampshire and Newport?

  4. Jeff, your site is terrific and topics excellent. However, would be good to learn about summer stuff also.

    • Well Jacob, I couldn’t agree more. My wife Lisa and I have the blog called the 4 corners of New England. You see I want this blog (Jeff Foliage) to bo a narrow focus on autumn in New England. Whereas the 4 corners as it sounds is about any thing else going on in New England. She will talk about recipes of New England favorites and I will talk about places I’ve photographed and there is usually some overlap there, like the Fort at Number four that she wrote up since French history is a favorite of hers. But most of the pictures are mine.
      Do you have a subject that you are passionate about? We just go back from the Quechee Vermont balloon festival and I heard from a friend that this mornings balloon ascension was they best in 20 years… But I’m working on the pictures as I type… So back to work.

    • Another great thing Jacob, is that except for the specific harvest festivals, most everything else will be going on all summer long!

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