There are a few comforts to start indulging in as autumn sets in. You’ve every excuse to wrap up in snuggly knitwear, pick up a good book and get a roaring fire going. But don’t become a hermit just yet, because the trees are putting on quite a display. Get out now for a spot of ‘leaf peeping’ to catch the golden, fiery orange and crimson red foliage.
New England will be the first fall foliage destination to spring to mind, but we’ve few other surprising destinations for you to consider. Take a walk or hire a car and plot an autumnal drive but be quick! Most places peak at the end of October 2013…
Believe it or not, this place attracts more visitors than Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks together. The Presidential Range is particularly spectacular blanketed in scarlet maple and white birch. If you fancy putting your feet up, take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad which departs from the historic station in North Conway Village. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the fall foliage as it whizzes by in a mass of colour.
Stay at the Econolodge, which is nearby the national forest area and several other popular New Hampshire attractions. Dorm room from €52.76pppn
2. Boston & Concord
The city is picturesque during fall. Harvard University campus positively glows around the bohemian Harvard Square. Even taking in some of Boston’s historic and significant buildings is still in keeping with the autumnal colour scheme if you follow the 2.5 mile, red-brick Freedom. But the city should be a base from which to explore, hire a car and enjoy day trips to the surrounding smaller towns. Concord will give you a taste of colonial Massachusetts, a town which also inspired writers including Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Most of the town’s activity is, centered along Main Street and the side roads but there are plenty of signposts directing you through the hollow and past the cemeteries all beautifully bordered by trees bursting with fall foliage.
You can also catch a train for a 40-minute journey to Concorde from Boston’s North Station.
HI – Boston Chinatown hosts a daily program of events, lectures, workshops and film nights. Nightlife and shopping districts are also nearby. Dorms from €27.12pppn
3. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Weaving through the Cascade Mountains, the gorge forms the border between northern Oregon and southern Washington. The area is rich in big-leaf maple, Oregon ash, cottonwood and vine maple trees, best seen in all their splendour during the fall. Aside from the dazzling colours there are also waterfalls – the 620-foot Multnomah Falls is particularly spectacular – to admire.
Portland is a good place to base yourself for excursions. Try HI – Portland, Northwest. It’s housed in a charming building from the 1800s and is close to the Forest Park – a wonderful spot of urban wilderness – but also galleries, pubs and theatres too. Shared rooms from €17pppn. Alternatively HI-Portland, Hawthorne District is located in the popular and bohemian part of town with charming eateries, coffeehouses, cheap cinemas and boutiques. Breakfast is included. Dorm rooms from €18.60pppn
4. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina & Tennessee
Fall is arguably the best time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, a breathtaking sight, when the hillsides dazzle in crimson and purple glory. The national park is home to 100 species of native trees and sugar maples, scarlet oaks, sweetgums, red maples, and hickories will all be vying for your attention with their awesome display which is predicted to last until early November.
Hotel Pigeon Forge in Tennessee is a short drive from the moutains, perfect for daytrips. This small town is a little off the beaten track and lets you discover the ‘real’ America. Private rooms from €31pppn
Best of the Inner City…
If you don’t quite make it out into the countryside, there’s plenty of colourful activity happening right in the city centres. Check out our favourite urban parks which are sure to please.
Patterson Park, Baltimore
The Pagoda offers spectacular views across the orange treetops of 1,500 maples and oaks.
Wissahickon Valley Park, Philadelphia
Work your way along the creek and through the wooded valley or check out the calender on the Friends of Wissahickon website for upcoming hikes to join such as the themed Autumn Trail Ambassador Hike.
Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C.
Spanning some 1,754 acres, the fall foliage in Washington’s main park area hangs around until well into November.
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