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Are you a leaf peeper?

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

USA Travel Destinations

New England Escapes




Leaf Peeper - noun informal

a person who visits particular areas, especially in New England, to view the autumn foliage

I have to admit- I'm a leaf peeper! Every year, its customary to go for a ride to see an autumn landscape while taking photos to try to capture the vivid colors and textures. There is no better place for leaf peeping than New England. It is well known for its spectacular autumn foliage which starts in the northern New England states of Maine and New Hampshire typically in late September and moves down to the southern New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, around late October. You may think its crazy to talk about autumn now but it is a trip that needs to be planned to see the leaves at their peak.

Besides leaf peeping, there is something for everyone in New England's colonial towns, coastal hamlets, quiet beaches and mountains any time of the year. My favorites places in New England that I have visited are Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Activities abound with biking, hiking, sailing, cycling, fishing, whale watching, seafood and farm to table dining, craft beer and cider tasting, art appreciation and shopping, especially for antiques.

You can extend your trip to nearby places like the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, Quebec or even New Brunswick & Nova Scotia.

Below you will find five trip ideas for a late summer or autumn vacation. Let's plan your getaway soon!






Boston: The Gateway to New England


Key Neighborhoods:  Downtown, Beacon Hill, Cambridge, Back Bay, and the North End

Top Experiences:  Fenway Insider, Special access to Freedom Trail; Exclusive Harvard access of private rooms & museums, Freedom Trail VIP tour, Kennedy Family History, Classical Music, Lexington & Concord Tour

Suggested Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Boston, XV Beacon Hotel

  • Gateway for touring New England

  • Walkable city

  • Lots of family friendly options




Rhode Island & Massachusetts Coastal Towns

Key Destinations: Watch Hill, Newport, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket

Top Experiences: Sailing, Historical Mansion Tours, Antique Yachts, Cycling, Sand dunes as well as Lobstering and Fishing charters

Suggested Hotels: Ocean House, Vanderbilt Auberge, Chatham Bars, and White Elephant

  • Great for families in late summer and couples and friends in autumn

  • Seaplanes and ferries are alternatives to driving 

  • Can pair with the Hamptons (NY) via ferry




Connecticut and Western Massachusetts

Key Destinations: Litchfield County, The Berkshires, Springfield & Amherst

Top Experiences:  Artisan Visits, Cooking Classes,VIP Museum Tours, Fly Fishing

Suggested Hotels: Wheatleigh, Winvian, Auberge Mayflower

  • Leaf peeping in late October

  • Great destination for country driving and rural exploration

  • Connecticut has close proximity to Hudson Valley

  • Popular with arts and antiques enthusiasts




Vermont and New Hampshire

Key Destinations: White Mountains, Stowe, Barnard, Woodstock

Top Experiences: Beer/Cider/Farm Visits, Hiking & Kayaking, Cooking Classes, Ben & Jerry's

Suggested Hotels: Twin Farms, Woodstock Inn, Spruce Peak, Pitcher Inn

  • Vermont is great for foodies and romance and the White Mountains provides excellent access to nature

  • If planning a leaf peeping trip be flexible with routing your driving to achieve best options.




Coastal Maine

Key Destinations: Ogunquit, the Kennebunks, Portland, Camden, Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park

Top Experiences: Craft beer, lighthouse biking, Acadia flightseeing, private lobstering cruise & dinner, kayaking, and the Portland Art Experience

Suggested Hotels: Cliff House, Camden Harbour Inn, White Barn Inn, and Harborside Hotel

  • Foliage season peaks in late September to mid-October

  • Not recommended in late fall as vendors close down

  • South Maine is two hours drive from Boston






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