Despite the fact that you’ve probably noticed pumpkin spice varietals of every food and drink imaginable invading your favorite grocery stop since mid-August, the fall season glosses over New England for only a limited time. In a seasonal calendar of special offers, autumn has a more defined expiration date than winter, summer or even spring, a colorful whirl that enhances the landscapes from the mountains to the sea.
And just as soon as the wonder of foliage, jack-o-lanterns, apples and cider donuts descend upon us, a chill appears in the air, hinting that the winter months are not far behind.
Thus, enjoying the foliage season in New England requires shrewd timing and planning in order to maximize peak color in any specific location of the region. While some factors like heat and rainfall will certainly play a factor in the year-to-year expectations of when to expect peak colors at your favorite locale, it’s safe to bet reds, yellows and oranges will begin to replace the greens in the trees of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine as early as the second week of September. These spots will be in peak form — the height of the foliage spectrum — by the end of September, a status bestowed upon Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island by early to mid-October.
Here are some of the best routes to take this fall in each New England state as well as some options for overnight stays and dining experiences.