I am a sucker for all things Autumn related and am not shy to admit it. Give this girl an apple orchard, pumpkin spiced whatever, an obnoxiously oversized blanket, and some fire — (a candle will do under dire circumstances) and I’d happily stay put forever. Or at least until my pumpkin spiced coffee got cold.
As a native New Englander from the quaint state of Rhode Island, there’s a bit of fond nostalgia involved around the month of October / November. You know, jumping in leaf piles, hayrides, carving pumpkins, and spending time with family. All of these things combined still rings joy to my cozy cancer heart.
We’re all in dire need of some fresh air and tranquility in nature. Today I’m bringing you the best spots for your wildest autumn adventure dreams in New England. Take a break from your usual routine and book a cabin in the woods to peep some beautiful fall foliage in New England.
Depending on the week in October, there are different locations that should be visited as peek season begins in the Northern most states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire get the foliage first come end of September.
By mid-October, Massachusetts is getting it’s best fall foliage peak, and then lastly Connecticut and Rhode Island. You can see the New England Peak Fall Foliage Map here.
I’m doing the research of the coziest, unique off-the-beaten path best places to stay so you can unplug and reconnect with nature. And, I’m factoring in the peak leaf peeping times by date. Let’s take a trip down this pumpkin’ patch together as I share the unique and cozy fall foliage adventures in New England!
Early October Best Foliage
We’re up North in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire in late September, Early October until the 10th of the month. Peak foliage colors light the hills and valleys of these Northern New England states.
Peak foliage colors light the hills surrounding the Green, the town’s manicured central square rimmed with historic 18th and 19th century homes and white-spired churches near the winding Ottauquechee River.
Spend the night in Stowe or stay in Woodstock.
Checkout Woodstock during the day for small-town New England vibes, and be sure to visit the most photogenic farm in Vermont, Sleepy Hollow Farm
Checkout more things to do in Woodstock here.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
The Kancamagus Highway is one of the most popular fall drives in New Hampshire. This super scenic route passes through the heart of the White Mountains between the towns of Lincoln and Conway, and offers some truly spectacular scenery. Though this stretch of road is only 34 miles long, plan to give yourself at least an hour for the drive; more if the roads are particularly crowded or on weekends. Points of interest along the way include: Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge. There are also plenty of hiking trails along this stretch of road.
A trip to the peak of any of these trails will offer unparalleled views of the White Mountains. The Pinkham Notch Loop is also a worthwhile drive if you have the time, and really want to experience the full range of fall in the White Mountains.
If you’re looking to explore the White Mountains on foot, there is no place more beautiful than Franconia Notch State Park. The park extends 8 miles from the Flume Gorge in the south, to Lake Echo in the north.
Here’s where you’ll wanna stay to reconnect…
Unique Stays in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire
Mid October Best Foliage
From October 10th – 17th, you’ll find the best foliage in the middle states such as Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, and Southern New Hampshire. I recommend taking a drive through Massachusetts from East to West to see some of the best mountain views and scenery all year! There’s plenty of hiking spots and breweries to stop at along the way.
North Adams, Massachusetts
The art-centric town of North Adams, Massachusetts, is the perfect place to take a fall-trip! For outdoor adventure, don’t miss a hike up Mount Greylock, the highest peak in the state, or a visit to Natural Bridge State Park. Be sure to check out the galleries at Mass MOCA while you’re there (see its Covid-19 guidelines), and there’s also the Saturday Farmers’ Market at the Armory you can visit for fresh apple cider.
Adventuring solo? Learn how to take beautiful photos of yourself while traveling solo!
Unique Stays in Massachusetts
Be sure to check out my favorite coffee roasters in Massachusetts No. 6 Depot Roastery & Cafe nestled in the mountains on your journey home!
The owners travel all over the world to source the best coffee beans from their respective regions, and bring them back to this humble little cafe!
Luckily, they ship their beans so if you can’t visit in person you can buy them online. I got a bag of beans from Indonesia while I was there and wow. Just wow.
Late October Best Foliage
From October 17th – 31st, you’ll find the best foliage in the southern states such as Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Take a drive through some of the most quaint New England towns and see the beauty of the seasons changing.
Rhode Island shows its brightest colors in late October. Western and northern Rhode Island are heavily wooded so just get lost, it’s not such a big state afterall. Blackstone Valley region includes Slater Mill, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America. The Blackstone Valley Explorer riverboat offers cruises into mid-October.
Best Rhode Island October Spots
- Newport, RI Ocean Drive: A beautiful scenic journey, Ocean Drive has everything from private beaches, oceanside views and breathtaking homes.
- Jamestown, RI Beavertail State Park: Beavertail Road, Jamestown. Park on a peninsula, with a lighthouse and spectacular views. Easy to walk around and spend the day seaside.
- Providence, RI Prospect Terrace Congdon St & Benefit St: Have a picnic in the park overlooking the city skyline. It’s one of the highest vantage points in Providence. Spend a day walking around Benefit St and end at the park for a golden autumn sunset view with a blanket and some cider!
Benefit st has plenty of eerie history and is beautifully covered with leaves. The photo opportunities are endless!
Route 1A along the Rhode Island Coastline
Route 1A is a delightful, scenic drive from US Route 1 and one of my old favorites. The road travels along many coves and inlets with views of water and the countryside. It is accessible from Route 1 at several points in South County. The following directions begin in Westerly in the southernmost corner.
- Get to Westerly by taking I-95 (northbound or southbound) to exit 92 in Connecticut.
- Turn left onto Broad Street and cross the Pawcatuck River and you will be in downtown Westerly
- Follow signs for Route 1A through Westerly, and along the shoreline, traveling through communities and towns, including Misquamicut, Charlestown, Wakefield, Narragansett, Saunderstown, and into Wickford
Scenic Autumn Abundance Drive in CT
From Granby, follow CT 20 West, watching for left turns: onto Barndoor Hills Road to visit Honey Hill Pottery, or Simsbury Road to find Holcomb Farm and Garlic Farm. Continue along CT 20; bear left on CT 219/Barkhamsted Road.
At the intersection with CT 179, bear left; then stay right to continue on CT 219 South. Bear right on CT 318/Saville Dam Road. In Pleasant Valley, bear right on West River Road and head north through American Legion State Forest. Bear right on Riverton Road to reach Hitchcock Chair Company. Then bear left on Robertsville Road, and Greenwood Glass is immediately on the left. Continue on Robertsville Road; bear right on Eno Hill Road, then right on Durst Road to find Hogback Dam.
Turn around, descend, and cross Robertsville Road onto Old Forge Road. Stay right at the fork; then cross CT 8 at a stop sign and follow Deer Hill Road. At the hilltop stop sign, continue straight onto Old North Road, which becomes CT 182. When it ends, bear right on CT 44 West. Past Infinity Hall in Norfolk, bear right on CT 272; the entrance to Haystack Mountain State Park is on the left. Reverse and proceed south on CT 272 about 14 miles; bear right on CT 4 to Goshen, where you’ll find Mohawk Bison (47 Allyn Road), West Street Farm (103 West Street), Thorncrest Farm (280 Town Hill Road), and Miranda Vineyard (42 Ives Road).
Unique Places to Stay in CT / RI
Pack your bags and explore New England this season! Whether it be a week long getaway or a day drive, enjoy the time to unplug and take in the beauty. Be sure to leave these natural places better than you found it and take your trash with you, obviously. This is just a small list of some of the Unique & Cozy Fall Foliage Adventures in New England you can have, yet there’s so many other great towns and villages to check out! Just get in your car and drive 🙂
What are your favorite places to check out during Autumn in New England? Let me know in the comments!
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Christine is a twenty-something coffee-obsessed solo traveler from a small town on the east coast of the US. She sold everything 4 years ago to follow her curiosity around the world.
As a passionate creative entrepreneur & digital nomad, she has explored it all! Her mission is to help others create and live their dream lifestyles aligned with their values and ultimately, create more sundays in their everyday.