New England Fall Foliage
Last October, my family and I took a northeastern road trip to view the stunning fall foliage and eat some good food. We drove from Missouri, so I will cover all our stops along the way, but you could easily fly into Albany, NY and begin there. The first day or so did entail quite a bit of driving, but it was so worth it in the end! We took this trip October 11-18, which happened to be the peak for foliage viewing in the areas we visited, but the peak dates change year to year, so be sure to check online first. Click here for a peak foliage map of New England.
Our first stop was in Effingham, Indiana for dinner (we stayed the night somewhere in Ohio this night). We ate at Gabby Goat, a small pub that serves delicious bar food. The sweet potato waffle fries and the American Rangoons are both “must-tries” for anyone who stops by!
The next day was full of driving. We first drove up to Niagara Falls (the U.S. side) for a quick break from being in the car. Just a tip: the Canadian side of the falls is much nicer than the U.S. side, but both offer good views! Afterward, we drove onto Albany, NY to stay the night. This is where I will begin the “official trip itinerary.”
Before heading out, we stopped at Iron Gate Cafe in Albany for some breakfast. The stuffed french toast (uses french toast as the bread for the sandwich) was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The cornmeal pancakes were buttery and fluffy, with a tartness from the blueberries. Definitely stop here if you’re in Albany!
Next, we headed northeast into Vermont. It is less than an hour to the Green Mountains, which is a national forest with an extremely scenic highway. The scenery drastically changed as we went further up and crossed the state line. We took our time driving up the highway through the mountains, stopping whenever we felt like and taking in the views. The pictures really don’t do it justice, the foliage is absolutely stunning. I’ve included a few pictures from our drive above!
We then made our way to Matt’s Maple Farm, a family-owned maple syrup farm in Brattleboro that we’ve been purchasing syrup from for a few years. It was really neat seeing how the syrup is produced. Be sure to get some maple syrup from here!
While driving around Brattleboro, we found many maple candy stands and apple cider presses along the road. Anyone is welcome to pull over and purchase fresh-pressed cider (watch out for all the bees swarming for sweet apple juice) and homemade candies, giving you an authentic New England experience!
Later that afternoon, we visited Green Mountain Orchard. At the orchard, visitors can pick their own apples from the trees- they have several varieties to choose from. They had fresh apple cider and cider doughnuts available for purchase, which were delicious after picking our apples! The cider doughnuts are cake-like and coated in a cinnamon sugar (be sure to dip the doughnut in the hot apple cider).
That evening, we stayed at the Riverside Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection on the Connecticut River and caught a stunning sunset. The hotel isn’t luxurious, but extremely clean and in a serene area. This was the perfect end to a great day of sightseeing!
After waking up, we headed out to get breakfast. There aren’t a lot of restaurants in the area, but we found a classic diner to eat at – Chelsea Royal Diner. They offered a variety of items to fill our stomachs.
After breakfast, we started driving and came across a beautiful covered bridge. There are TONS of covered bridges in Vermont that make for great photos! We, then, headed to Woodstock, VT.
Woodstock, Vermont is a beautiful town with neat shops, buildings, and festivals. While it was nice to see, we found the town to be quite touristy and we didn’t need to spend much time there. We are very food-oriented when traveling and there were not an abundance of great restaurants to choose from in Woodstock. However, if you’re in the area, the town is definitely worth a quick stop!
We made a stop at Sleepy Hollow Farm, a picturesque farm that sits in a valley surrounded by fiery red, orange, and yellow trees. The farm sits off of Cloudland Road in Pomfret, VT. We lucked out and were there when not many others were, but I’ve read that it can get quite crowded at times.
After this stop, we continued driving through the foliage and headed east to Portland, Maine, which was about a three hour drive.
We made it to Portland in time for a great dinner. We ate at Eventide Oyster Co., but while waiting for our table I went over to The Honey Paw to try the Scallop and Lobster Mousse Toast. The mousse was packed with delicious flavor and had a great texture. When our table was ready, we went to Eventide Oyster Co. and ate some delicious seafood. You can check out my full review of the restaurant here.
We started our day with a killer breakfast at Bayside American Cafe. The crab cake Eggs Benedict had crab cakes made with super fresh crab meat, the perfectly poached eggs, and a creamy, lemony Hollandaise on top. I love Eggs Benedict, and this one rated up there as one of the best I’ve had.
After breakfast, we headed to Bradbury Mountain State Park, a park north of Portland with lots of scenic views. We spent a couple hours hiking here and enjoying the crisp Maine air, then went to the original L.L. Bean Store in Freeport, ME, which is huge!! Freeport is a neat, albeit touristy, town with lots of souvenir shops.
Later that afternoon, we went to Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. The Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. The lighthouse was really neat to see, but the late lunch we had was even more impressive…
We ate lobster rolls from Bite Into Maine food truck, just down the street from Portland Head. They offer a few choices, but we just tried the Connecticut style (pictured above) and the Maine style. The Connecticut style is served with warm butter on top, really highlighting the flavor of the fresh, succulent lobster. The Maine style is tossed in mayonnaise and sprinkled with chives. The roll is buttery and perfectly toasted and the lobster is insanely fresh. Both are delicious and I really couldn’t choose one or the other. I highly recommend trying both!!
We got up bright and early on the fourth day to drive down to Kennebunkport (40 minutes or so) and catch the sunrise. We had previously visited Kennebunkport in the summertime and fell in love with the stunning coastline and immaculate homes, so we knew we had to stop by when we were in the area. The sunrise was well-worth the early wake-up call and freezing outside!
After touring Kennebunkport, we drove about two hours south to Boston, MA. Boston is a city that is full of historic monuments, buildings, and streets. If it’s your first time in Boston, I highly recommend doing the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a trail marked by a line of bricks in the pavement that leads you to 16 of the historic markers throughout the city. We also made a stop on Acorn Street, a cobblestone street that dates back many years. It is also one of the most photographed streets in the United States! We spent the majority of our day touring the city.
On the fifth day, we headed south to Gettysburg. On the way to Gettysburg, we stopped in Mystic, CT for awhile (no, we didn’t eat any pizza). Mystic is a quaint town with shopping, restaurants, and a drawbridge that you can walk over. This coastal town, which used to be a whaling and ship-building center, has a unique feel to it that you won’t find in many other places.
The sixth day was spent in Gettysburg. We toured the battlegrounds all day, then that evening we walked around downtown and at a very nice shopping center. There are multiple ghost tours and Halloween decorations around the area in late October.
On the seventh day, we stopped in Harpers Ferry to hike, then headed on home.
Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are fantastic states that offer a lot of beautiful fall foliage and good food, which makes New England the perfect autumn trip. I highly recommend driving through Vermont, eating in Portland, ME, and driving down the coast of Maine for the best views and eats. You can easily modify this trip to focus on certain areas, but we found that this itinerary offered plenty of time in each area and we weren’t rushed.