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NE leaf peeping

Christy

Angel Diva
I'm going to have some time off in October, and I want to do a fun solo trip. One idea is looking at fall colors in Vermont/etc. Not only have I never been to VT but I've never seen the beautiful fall colors of New England at all. I know there are a ton of online resources to help plan but what I really want to know is if it's possible to do this on a budget and without huge crowds/traffic. I could do it on weekdays.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
I live in south central Vermont, and yes, It is definitely possible to see the leaves without huge crowds and/or traffic (there's rarely any traffic at all), and yes, it doesn't have to cost you much. The peak is generally around Columbus Day, and it can be busy then. But as you know, Mother Nature doesn't keep hard and fast rules about that sort of stuff. Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll try to help.
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
Do come see! I have friends who got married Oct 6th is always beautiful.
Depending where you fly into. could fly into Albany (Southwest cheap flights) Drive up the northway 1-87 to Lake Placid.. (white face- olympic tours) and then take the Ferry or drive over to Vt and back down Rte 100 past a whole bunch of ski areas could venture into N Hampshire but between Upstate NY (very very Rural) and Vt you'll be looking at lots of leaves it's like a bowl of Trix cereal! Or from Albany can be over in the Killington area in a couple hrs.

As for hotels and discounts, I pick up the New England Traveler it's a free booklet at the rest stops along the highways. there are coupons that discount hotels sometimes over 100$/nt! You can't reserve a room in advance they are walk up coupons but I've called and asked if they have rooms available and then just go to that hotel. I've saved lots of $$. Yes to weekdays vs weekends. there are always leaf peppers out on weekend. Up in Lake Placid (worth a stop imho) there are b&b's and tons of hotels. happy to give you more ideas too.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
@nopoleskier has inspired me to write more.

Yes, the Adirondacks (where Lake Placid is) are gorgeous. But Vermont is Fall Central. Flying into Albany would work well. Hartford, CT, is another good choice. All you'd need to do is hop on I-91 and drive north. You could also fly into Boston; It's a 3 hour drive, but it's BOSTON and a very nice city to visit. Another idea: fly into Burlington, VT. The town is beautiful, there's loads to do, and you'd get to see the gorgeous Lake Champlain.

Here are a few random thoughts:

There are lots of very pretty villages. Among the nicest I know are Weston, Woodstock, Grafton, Dorset, Middlebury, Quechee, the Mad River Valley (Waitsfield), Manchester (not Manchester Center).

Cool places to visit:
Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury: You can tour the factory and eat ice cream. Need I say more?
Calvin Collidge's homestead in Plymouth Notch: a little local pride here (it's not far from me). And it's much cooler than it sounds. In a beautiful spot, too.
• Simon Pearce glassware in Quechee: You can watch them blow glass. Plus there's a beautiful waterfall and a very good -- though pricey -- restaurant.
• Covered bridges all over the place. Seriously.
• The Vermont Country Store in Weston: Vermont's idea of Walmart, pre-Walmart. VERY fun and charming.
Shelburne Museum: This just south of Burlington. They have a completely restored Lake Champlain paddle wheel steamer and a Lake Champlain lighthouse on site,
• The Burlington bike path along Lake Champlain: Rent a bike! There's a jetty that goes three miles out into the lake,
Hildene: Abe Lincoln's son's mansion; he was president of the Pullman Corporation.
• The Spirit of Ethan Allen: a tour boat that goes out into Lake Champlain. You'll learn about the history, geology, and natural life of the lake.
• The Lake Champlain islands: Isle La Motte and Grand Isle.
• If you like beer, we have loads of craft breweries all over the state: Harpoon, Long Trail, Switchback, Magic Hat, to name a few.
• There's also lots of great hiking, if you're so inclined. Camel's Hump is great but can easily eat up a day.

Here's a pic from the top of Camel's Hump one fall day:
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There's tons more, too, but that's what comes to mind right now. As I said, I'm happy to answer any questions.

I'll be out of state October 3-9, visiting my parents to help celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. But I'd be happy to spend some time with you, if you like. Let me know.


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SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I absolutely second the Quechee-Woodstock area. Both are expensive as far as lodging goes, but there are nearby options. Let me know if you want more resources on the area (which is called the Upper Valley).

If you fly into Boston, you could take the Dartmouth Coach to Hanover or Lebanon, NH and then rent a car when you're up here; depending on when your flight gets in it might be a less-aggravating option.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Wow, thanks for all the ideas! I can get to Boston nonstop on Alaska miles so there's that.

My other ideas are Yellowstone or the BC Sunshine Coast, neither of which require a cross-country flight. But I'd like to see Vermont in fall whereas my husband is ambivalent about this, so it would be a good trip to take without him.

Can anyone offer an opinion on this? Do you think it would be a good way to see for color and scenery? It is near Waitsfield, and the riding is mostly on the dirt roads of the area. Or do you think of my time would be better used to traveling around in a car to different areas?

https://www.equitours.com/horseback-riding/sugarbush-tolt-trek/
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
@Christy, that looks amazing! It's a beautiful area, and I don't think you'll go wrong. Actually, I don't think you'll go wrong doing either this or a car trip, but a seeing the fall colors from the back of a horse looks really nice.
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
Can anyone offer an opinion on this? Do you think it would be a good way to see for color and scenery? It is near Waitsfield, and the riding is mostly on the dirt roads of the area. Or do you think of my time would be better used to traveling around in a car to different areas?

https://www.equitours.com/horseback-riding/sugarbush-tolt-trek/
Sounds like great fun, although I ride so little now that the idea of 3 days in a row on a horse for 3-6 hours is intimidating.

As for going to Waitsfield during fall colors, any trip to a fixed location for several days means it would be hit or miss. One rainstorm at the wrong time could strip leaves from a local area while the colors are still great not that far away by car. Just as planning a ski trip months in advance means there might or might not be good snow conditions at a given resort.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
This is cool: a map to help determine when the colors are going to peak:

https://newengland.com/seasons/fall/foliage/peak-fall-foliage-map/

For current conditions in Vermont, there's a seasonal hotline you can call: (802) 828-3239.

We're just starting to see some slight changes here and there, more on the upper elevations. There's some speculation that it's going to be a very good season for color, so here's hoping!
 
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Christy

Angel Diva
I used that website ^^ when picking my week! And I've read about leaves being different if you just driving an hour north or go up in elevation, which makes sense of course, so I'll leave some flexibility even though I've already booked some lodging. I'll be coming to Vermont the week of the seventh. There's an awful lot to see in that little state and I've already got an itinerary, which includes a lot of what Wendy posted plus horseback riding. I'm very much looking forward to this trip.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
Not quite to peak in Maine high country. Probably by this weekend?
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I had such a great trip. The foliage was gorgeous. It can indeed be done on a budget--most nights I stayed at a very comfortable inn, breakfast included, for $99/night. Columbus Day was busy, Stowe and Smuggler's Notch were very busy/congested, but there weren't generally crowds elsewhere, especially when I got on to back roads. I LOVED using the Mad River Valley as a base. And, I got to see Wendy and Sallycat! Here are some photos:

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