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Early Fall Colors in New England! — 28 Comments

  1. Hi Jeff,
    On our first New England trip after my wife and I spent almost 40 years of teaching in Southern California that kept us in a classroom every fall. We both love the outdoors, light hiking, and photography. After a Boston to Montreal cruise we will return to Burlington on 9/1 where we pickup a car. Then to Waterbury from 9/2-5 and on to Sugar Hill on 9/5-7. Finally finishing in Boothbay Harbor for 9/7-10. Hopefully we have timed it right. Wondering what day trips and roads you would recommend from each and if you have a preferred route you might suggest between these cities. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

  2. Hi Jeff – Taking my Mom to Vermont for our first ever leaf peeping trip! Booked us in Woodstock from Oct 5-8 and then in Burlington Oct 8-10. Thoughts on color? Too late?? (I’m one of the panic-ers) Hoping to do a couple of drives in the Grafton/Weston area and also along Rte 100. Planning to visit Stowe on Sun 10/8 for the Arts Festival as well. Thanks!

  3. Thanks so much, Jeff. I’ll be leaving the flatlands of northern Illinois on 9/23, driving through Canada, and crossing into northern Vermont on 9/24, so hopefully I’ll catch some fiery Canadian maples on the way to Vermont and New Hampshire. I can’t wait!

  4. Thank you a million! Since you go all over this area, are there towns that have streets of small interesting shops with handmade or local goods to shop for family and friends after leaf peeping?

    • Almost every town will qualify for that… Stowe, Woodstock VT, and Jackson NH come to mind but New England seems to excel in these sorts of things. Even if you stop at a gas station in many towns you will find “real” maple syrup and homemade fudge or something like that. I don’t think you need to worry if homemade or farm made is what you want to find.

  5. Hi, Jeff. After dreaming for 30 years about a fall foliage trip to New England, I finally scheduled two weeks of biking, hiking and driving through Vermont and New Hampshire for the end of September and first two weeks of October 2016. Two weeks before I was scheduled to leave, I broke my hip. Ouch! Trip cancelled.

    This year I am going to try again, and I scheduled the trip for 9/28-10/12. Then I saw the Smoky Mountains forecast, panicked, and moved my trip up two weeks. Now I see your article and realize that’s almost certainly too soon.

    So now I just have to ask you: If you could only spend two (consecutive) weeks in Vermont and New Hampshire for this year’s fall foliage season, which two weeks would you choose? I know there’s no guarantee that your answer will be 100% correct, but as I told my wife today, even your worst guess would be better than all of the research and analysis I could bring to bear on this topic.

    Thanks in advance for helping to make this long-held dream of mine finally come to fruition.

    David

    • 25 Sept through 6 Oct should be pretty nice, good luck! I think any serious hopes for meaningful color before the 21st of Sept will go unmet unless they travel to Canada.

  6. Hi Jeff
    Originally from CT now live in GA. Taking my wife to VT for the fall colors, she is a GA native and has never seen this spectacular event. Flying into Boston and driving to Stowe. We are booked to be in Stowe from Sept 27 – Oct 1. Will we be too early for peak? Where is the best area to catch the most colors? Also we like the festivals and different events… is there an “MUST SEE” things when we are in the area? Would also like to check out your gallery!
    Thanks Jerry

    • Depending on the temps and sun and rain we get will determine if you are early but I think you will see some nice color around Stowe if things keep moving. Check my Festival page for listings but the NEK has their from 1-8 October and there are several other during that time frame.
      Smugglers Notch is just north of Stowe on 108 and a must see. Cold Hollow cider mill is south and Ben and Jerry’s have tours and free samples, no downside there… how much more do you need? Hit my fall foliage location by state page and see what else sounds good in VT…

  7. Hi Jeff! Thanks for all of your insight. I have a trip booked October 13-16. Spending the 15th at Mount Washington. The 2 days before in Meredith. Should I change this to the last weekend of September? Columbus Day weekend is not an option.

  8. Jeff, I just realized my mistake when I commented on this site yesterday. I confused you with another foliage site a ‘Jeff’ runs whose wife is from Massachusetts. So my comment was actually directed at him and I apologize for any confusion. I hope you can delete it? I will see if I can. Also, do you know of any good pumpkin places in NH? Just for the record, this foliage site is much much better than the other..
    Forgive me and thank you for all of the information here.

    • I didn’t know what that was and assumed it was spam. I’m glad you realized your folly… 🙂 Pumpkin festivals or places to buy pumpkins or just see oodles of pumpkins? Of course this is better, I don’t hang out in “THOSE” other places… :-O

  9. Well, this report is a little stressfull. We are cruising Quebec City to Liberty, New Jersey, Oct 11-23. I do hope we will not miss the fantastic colors. We have been told the colors are fabulous if you hit it right. Wish us luck. I have been following your reports for a while now! I thank you for keeping us informed. This will be our first time in New England in the fall. We are definitely looking forward to our trip!

    • When you say Cruising… do you mean driving down or coming down the coast? Depending on which it is I think you will still see nice colors but the driving might have a better chance, but if on a cruise then you will have a more relaxing time of it. I hope they stop in lots of towns along the way… Let me know…

  10. We live in the SW desert. We moved our vacation up a week to be in northern Vermont by Sept 27. Cool weather and colors–fantastic! If our Chrysler Pacifica has only 7 inches clearance underneath, will we be able to navigate State Road 100 and 110 and other state roads in New Hampshire and Vermont to get to Stark, NH about Sept. 29? Any state roads we should avoid due to big potholes?

    • Well CJ I travelled even up Jefferson Notch road which is a dirt road My Merc Grand Marquis had no more ground clearance than yours. In fact I almost ended up taking mine across the Appalachian Trail but that would have been stupid. But since I down graded from a 4×4 truck to the Merc, I don’t think I ever found a road in New England that would cause me too much worry.
      Route 100 in VT is paved all the way, top to bottom. I think it’s safe to say that unless you really try to climb a mountain with yours, you should be ok. Any routes I have talked about in any article means that for the most part I have travelled on all these roads and many of them were with the big 4 door Merc.
      Routes 110 and all are or were the last time I was on them in pretty good shape.
      I will say if you go to Milan State park to head to the fire tower for that awesome view, then when you enter the park it is a dirt road and you will want to take it slow to the top. I never had an issue but it’s not a road to race over either…

      That is about it… Good luck!

  11. Keep the reports coming! I am sure that those of us with plans to head your way are all eagerly excited for the cool Fall weather and beautiful colored leaves! Thanks for keeping us updated!

  12. We’re arrive late Sept to Northern Vt. Good to hear all the perspectives, Jeff (including in the comments). This is the coolest early Sept here in Central Texas in decades!

    I guess if there’s some early peak colors up your way, we could probably take day trips further south in Vermont.

    Either way it’ll be great to be in Vermont again 🙂

    Adan

  13. Take it as it comes is a good philosophy.Love reading your predictions over the years and they’ve always been good indicators the times I’ve been there.So thanks for all the info .

  14. I arrive in New England on September 23. Where should I heard first and what area should I absolutely NOT miss? 🙂 I’ll be there until October 7. Any advice would be so appreciated.

  15. Jeff,
    I’ll be in timeshares in Stowe, Oct 7th-14th and Lincoln, NH from Oct14-20th. If the fall colors are too early or too late so be it! I had to make reservation decisions months ago. I hope the peak colors are not too early this year, but If the colors are not great, I will do some driving and find other spots in New England that are better. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to explore New England again (fourth time in last 11 years–I live in California ).
    You have the best New England fall color website by far and I appreciate the care you show in helping us leaf peepers enjoy the process.
    Thanks so much–you are appreciated!

    Greg

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