I had a delightful chat last week with Mel Allen, the editor of Yankee Magazine (and no, the irony of his name and association with "Yankee" is not lost on Mel). According to Mel, and his crack team of leaf peepers, foliage season will be coming a week early this year. That means, don't count on Columbus Day to be "peak" in most parts of New England. To see the most brilliant of colors, hit the road a week earlier, or stick to the more southern New England States like Connecticut. (Conversely, if you must travel in early September, he recommends the swampy areas of Maine, which should be turning around Sept. 15). To hear our complete conversation, just click here.
Yankee Magazine's daily foliage report (lots of good info there), can be found at YankeeFoliage.com.
If you're planning to head off to view the autumn colors, here are a few tips:
*Go midweek. The vast majority of travelers head out over the weekend, meaning lots of gridlock on those winding country back roads.
*Remember that leaves are turning outside of New England: There are wonderful opportunities to witness the season's splendor in the Carolinas, Michigan and a number of other states. Heck, you could even go to Japan, for a trip combining fall festivals with wonderful leaves.
*Think alternative accommodations if you haven't yet made your reservations: In many prime leaf peeping destinations, the inns will have been booked up months ago. But that doesn't mean you'll be sleeping in your car. Turn to such sites as AirBnB.com and CouchSurfing.com for options, or contact the local tourist board when you show up in town. They're sure to know of a local or two who will put you up in a spare room; many turn their homes into unofficial hotels at this time of year to make a bit of extra cash.
*Consider a cruise: Sounds like an odd idea, but many of the ships heading up the coast of the US to Canada at this time of year offer wonderful leaf viewing opportunities. For deals on cruises, try such sites as CruiseStar.com, VacationsToGo.com and CruisesOnly.com.
For deals at hotels, the New York Times has an okay list of specials. Some are noteworthy, most aren't, but take a look for yourself here.