When it comes to picture-perfect autumn scenery, New England usually basks in golden glory. While it’s certainly true that the whole region offers an impressive kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, with red, orange, yellow and purple leaves standing out against deep-blue skies, it is also true that mother nature sweeps her paintbrush widely from the north-eastern corner of the US across the border into Canada and the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
To make the most of the seasonal showcase in New England, a drive along the Mohawk Trail in Western Massachusetts is a must. The route, which winds through the Berkshire Hills, is America’s first officially-designated “scenic road” and, with its rolling countryside, picturesque towns and red oak trees shimmering in shades of gold and red, it’s easy to see why. Take a pit stop at Mount Greylock and you’ll be rewarded with fabulous view of Fall foliage.
When is the best time to visit New England and experience the full effects of the Fall? The leaves start changing colour in the northern regions of Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire around mid-to-late September and peak around mid-October. In the more southern states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – and along the coast of New Hampshire and southern Maine – colour starts later and often lasts until November. The air is crisp and cool – perfect for hiking, biking or a classic fly-drive break; you’ll spot farm stands are piled high with delicious crunchy apples and bright-orange pumpkins. Many of the states have dedicated leaf-peeping websites where you can check current foliage conditions.
One of the tree species renowned for its arresting autumnal splendour is the Maple; it provides Canada’s instantly-recognisable emblem, the scarlet maple leaf. Atlantic Canada's charming maritime provinces continue to draw leaf peeping enthusiasts from around the globe with dazzling yellow birch, beech and poplar, crimson cherry, sassafras and maple, plus deep purple sumac trees as far as the eyes can see.
Don’t miss the Cabot Trail in Novia Scotia, a spectacular road that runs along sheer cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. The panoramic views of the bright-blue sea, rocky headlands and extravagant fall foliage are a sight to behold. Explore the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick by sea kayak and discover rocky inlets and deserted beaches while you watch for eagles soaring overhead and seals and porpoises swimming beside you.
It’s not just America’s east coast and Canada where autumnal colours reign supreme, however. Washington State - home to over 200 species of trees - on the West coast also puts on a fine display of brilliant hues.
Hire a bike and ride north along the historic C&O Canal from Georgetown to Great Falls Park, where the impressive falls cascade between 50-ft cliffs, creating some of the steepest rapids in the country. Take a day to explore the beautiful 800-acre park which lies just 14 miles from the nation’s capital.
And, as well as its famous cherry trees, Washington DC’s National Mall and Memorial Parks are lined by ancient elms and towering oaks which look especially colourful when contrasted against the towering white marble monuments.
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