If you’re looking for a gorgeous fall destination to venture to nearby, New England is a perfect choice for an idyllic road trip! Also including the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, we focused instead on Vermont and New Hampshire for our stay in this magnificent region. Charming small towns, numerous foodie stops and colorful mountains as far as the eye can see, here are 10 places to visit during your next fall getaway to New England.
1. Stowe, Vermont
Just 3 hours from Montreal, Stowe is a lovely town where you’ll feel like walking in Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. In addition to its pretty covered bridges, you’ll also find many artisanal shops and cute cafes as you stroll along its main street. Among the places to grab a bite to eat, keep in mind Green Goddess Cafe for a tasty lunch, Black Cap Coffee for a delicious maple or caramel latte, and Piecasso for an Italian-style meal on a cozy terrace. And if you have a sweet tooth, the only Ben & Jerry’s factory open to the public is just a 15-minute drive from Stowe.
If you want to admire the city from the air, hop aboard its famous gondola before hitting the road again. And if you prefer a less expensive option, head to Sunset Rock for a spectacular view with the mountains in the background.
2. Moss Glen Falls, Vermont
For a (very) short hike that’s 100% worth it, you can’t go wrong with the Moss Glen Falls Trail. After just 500 meters, you’ll be able to contemplate the highest waterfall in Vermont, a cascade of approximately 85 feet, lined with flamboyantly colored maples. The rest of the trail, taking an old forest path, was closed during our stay, but it may be different when you visit.
3. Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Vermont
Nestled in the heart of Vermont’s picturesque landscapes, a gourmet stop at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is a must during the fall! Their famous apple donuts are really delicious, especially with a glass of hot cider!
During your visit to this emblematic cider house, you’ll also be able to learn more about their production process, from the traditional press to tasting the refreshing nectar. Their store is also full of excellent seasonal products, from apple pancake mix to pies, and from aromatic candles to the best cheeses in the region. It’s definitely a must stop in New England!
4. Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Located in the heart of New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains, Franconia Notch State Park is full of natural treasures to discover, particularly dazzling during the fall. Artist’s Bluff, one of its famous trails, will offer you an impressive panoramic view of the mountains and the road, after climbing a rather steep path. This scene, seemingly taken from a canvas, attracts many photographers every year.
After observing it from above, you can also take a break further down at Echo Lake Beach to admire its clear and peaceful waters bordered by a brightly colored forest. Among the other hikes to consider, the Franconia Ridge Trail is more difficult, but remains a safe bet that will also allow you to explore breathtaking landscapes.
5. Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
Also found in Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge is a magical place where you literally feel like you’re walking into a fairy tale. This hike of approximately 3 km will take you to this natural fissure at the foot of Mount Liberty, passing sublime waterfalls, a covered bridge and a natural swimming pool. For an even more complete experience, don’t hesitate to venture into the “bear cave” and the “wolf’s den”.
6. Littleton, New Hampshire
After your hikes and excursions through New Hampshire’s mountains, we suggest you stop in Littleton for a good meal and a little rest. Stop at the Schilling Beer Co. microbrewery, on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River, to enjoy one of their tasty wood-fired pizzas accompanied by their brewing creations on their heated terrace.
If you stay overnight in Littleton, we also recommend a classic brunch at The Coffee Pot the next morning, where you’ll feel like you’re at Luke’s Diner in Stars Hollow. Then, end your visit with a stroll down the main street to admire the famous Pollyanna statue, then head to the River District’s waterfront to cross the covered bridge.
7. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
If you want to explore more of New England’s fall panoramas, there are no better roads to take than the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire. Stretching from Lincoln to Conway, this scenic drive will take you through mountains, forests and rivers, all enveloped in the vibrant hues of fall. You’ll also find picnic areas and access to hiking trails such as the Sabbaday Falls Trail.
8. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Historic city located on the eastern coast of New Hampshire, Portsmouth will offer you a different atmosphere with its waterfront and its breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean along the picturesque Coastal Byway. With its proximity to Maine, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a seafood meal in the heart of the coastal landscapes. If you prefer cultural activities, be sure to stop at the Strawbery Banke Museum, an open-air museum that will immerse you in New England’s colonial past.
9. Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock is probably the image you have in mind when you imagine a road trip in New England. Very popular during the fall, it represent the quintessence of the region with its covered wooden bridge, its charming public square where you can picnic and have a coffee, its beautiful art galleries as well as its charming bookstores and libraries.
Among our favorite foodie spots, we recommend a stop at Woodstock Scoops to taste their famous maple ice cream as well as at The Butcher for a fresh sandwich to enjoy outside. Finally, if your budget allows it, the Woodstock Inn is a magnificent accommodation to consider to end your getaway in style.
10. Quechee Gorge, Vermont
An ideal stop for nature lovers, Quechee Gorge is an impressive gorge carved by the Ottauquechee River, which offers breathtaking views from its observation deck. Located in Quechee State Park, its gorge trail offers a scenic hike through a lush forest, the perfect place to get some fresh air before coming back home.
Some additional ideas for your fall road trip to New England
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive since New England is full of other incredible places to explore. If you have more time than a long weekend, here are some additional stops to add to your road trip to make it even more complete:
- In Maine: Ogunquit Beach and Wells Beach, the city of Portland, and a hike in Acadia National Park
- In Massachusetts: Boston and Salem for an historical and cultural getaway
- In Connecticut: For a tour of New England’s best antique dealers
- In Rhode Island: To explore corn mazes and pumpkin patches
- In New Hampshire: To ascent Mount Washington
As for us, we loved our experience and we’ll definitely be back in the coming seasons. We hope that our recommendations will allow you to create your own New England dreamy itinerary for a magical road trip!
We wish you an unforgettable getaway!
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