It’s that time of year again here in Boston, when the city is inundated with guests from around the world, looking to take in some of New England’s postcard-worthy vistas: red barns and covered bridges sitting beside river banks and rolling hills, set amidst a stunning, kaleidoscopic backdrop of fiery red, orange, and yellow maple leaves as far as the eye can see!
The million dollar questions: where, when, and how can we see these fall colors? Like any world-famous, weather-dependent phenomenon, catching that elusive moment of peak foliage requires some careful planning and a bit of sheer luck. Visit before the frosts hit, and you might still have some green in the mix. Come after a bit of unexpected inclement weather, and you may have some brown or--gasp--bare trees! But folks, we’re here to tell you that New England’s autumnal charm doesn’t hinge on one elusive weekend! We here at Brush Hill/Gray Line Tours of Boston may not be amateur meteorologists, climatologists, and...tree wizards(?), but you can rest assured that, regardless of where you go with us this month, you will get some of those stunning fall colors that you’ve dreamed of--and a bit more! Here are 5 of our best fall day trips for experiencing the best of New England, decked out in fall foliage.
1.Fall Foliage Spectacular
Of course, we'll start with the obvious! Taking a leisurely ride on our full-sized coach, through the rolling hills of northern Massachusetts and across southern New Hampshire is a highlight of many a leaf-peeper’s trip to Boston and New England. But the magic of this trip is that, whether you’ve somehow miraculously, presciently planned your trip to coincide with that mythical moment of peak foliage, or not, there’s always plenty to see and do on this trip! Visits to places like Willard Brook State Forest, a hot buffet lunch of classic New England fare at the Woodbound Inn, and gawking at the bountiful fall harvest and the overwhelming selection of fresh pies (and cider donuts!) at Brookdale Fruit Farms--yes, this tour does offer some of those quintessential fall experiences! Now, once you've ticked off this box, see what else it means to experience autumn in New England, and check out some of these other excursions--you might just be surprised how much else there is in store.
2.The Battle Trail/American History Tour
While this tour focuses on the history-rich towns of Cambridge, Lexington, and Concord--a region synonymous with Revolutionary War history as well as some of early American literature’s most beloved figures (Alcott, Emerson, Thorreau, Hawthorne, etc.!)--there is nothing quite like seeing these stately battlefields, bucolic landscapes, and classically quaint New England homesteads, awash in a riot of fall colors.
3.The New England Seacoast
While fall foliage is more often associated with the mountains of New Hampshire, you shouldn’t miss this chance to experience the fall colors “down east”, aka, Maine, where dramatically perched lighthouses watch over the churning autumn surf as it crashes against the stoney coast. Stop at world famous Stonewall Kitchen for some locally roasted coffee and fresh baked goods (featuring Maine’s beloved blueberries) to warm you up, before cruising the quiet leafy back streets of Kennebunkport, and digging into the opulent port town’s off-season autumn ambience.
4.Plimoth Plantation & Waterfront
Sure, this “living museum” is a fascinating look into the past, any time of year--but there’s something extra in the autumn air. You can watch descendants of the Wampanoag (and other local tribes) dressed in traditional furs and hides in the crisp fall air, as they roast fresh duck over an open fire, next to a heavy pot of simmering corn pudding, flavored with wild native berries. On the other side of the wooded hill, you’ll see costumed “settlers” chopping firewood, as fragrant smoke pours out of the dark interiors of the stone houses that make up the Pilgrim village. It’s as close as you’ll ever get to seeing--and hearing, in great detail--exactly how these different groups of people survived the harsh and demanding rigors of 17th century life in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
5. Autumn Cape Cod Explorer
When the last of coastal Massachusetts’ summer visitors have scurried off to warmer climates like Florida--why no, we didn’t mean those great white sharks, but now that you mention it, them too--well, some would say this is the time to visit the Cape. Why? Well, for one thing, the small, picturesque villages like Sandwich and Hyannis are no longer clogged with long lines of traffic. Life here takes on a quiet elegance; while some of the touristy shops will be shuttered, you’ll get a sense of the real Cape Cod, as you pass through clusters of stoically faded-looking wooden homes, enveloped by glowing groves of red and gold maple and scrubby coastal pine. After the harbor tour (weather permitting!), warm up with a seafood lunch at one of the local mainstay restaurants, and cruise past pumpkin patches, empty beaches, and farmers’ markets on your way to a little-known gem of the Cape, the Whydah Galley Pirate Museum!