While almost any New England road traveled in late September and early October will be bright with fall colors, a few routes are especially scenic and colorful. Take your family on a road trip along one of these byways.
Connecticut River National Byway
The Connecticut River draws the boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire, and this scenic byway traces both sides. Travel north along New Hampshire’s Routes 12, 12A and 10, crossing at Orford or farther on at Woodsville, then return south along the river on Route 5 in Vermont. Or return on Vermont’s I-91 for lofty views of the Connecticut Valley.
You can cross the river at any of several points, including over the long-covered bridge between Cornish, New Hampshire, and Windsor, Vermont. Highlights of the trip include the idyllic towns of Walpole, Lyme and Orford in New Hampshire, and Brattleboro in Vermont.
Central Massachusetts Countryside
The rolling landscapes of farms, forest and country villages in central Massachusetts is a whole different world from Boston and the state’s busy urban coastal regions. Route 112 meanders its way south from the Vermont border to Huntington, a town just north of I-90, which crosses Massachusetts from Boston to the Berkshires.
You’ll pass pick-your-own orchards and roadside stands selling apples, pumpkins and other fresh produce from working farms and orchards spanning this rich farmland. Some of these are just a table by the road, where you can shop on the honor system. Others will be full-scale farmstands, and in Shelburne Falls and Ashfield, you’ll find busy farmers markets. A highlight is the beautiful Bridge of Flowers in Sherburne Falls.
Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway
Maine’s rocky coast may be its poster child, but inland lies a scenic land of lakes, mountains and forests ablaze with color in the fall. TRangely Lakes Scenic Byway may be short, but it packs a lot of scenery and color into its 36 miles.
Download a map and begin at Small’s Falls, a waterfall that drops into a swimming hole. Then wind your way through conservation lands and around Rangely Lake, with views of Saddleback Mountain. Stop to hike trails to more waterfalls or rent a canoe to explore the lake.
Several scenic overlooks offer an eagle’s-eye view of the landscape of colored trees contrasting with dark pines; from Height of Land overlook on Spruce Mountain you can see Mooselookmeguntic Lake. You don’t have to be able to pronounce it to enjoy the view.
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