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The (not so) rough guide to New England in the Fall

Where to find the East Coast’s quintessential autumn display

The (not so) rough guide to New England in the Fall
The Connecticut River, New England. Image: AWL

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Bolder, brighter, super-sized: the USA is nothing if not great at blowing its own seasonally superlative trumpet. And there’s no doubt that when it comes to autumn, nowhere (bar perhaps Japan) does such a fine and festive Fall display. But where to go for the most postcard-perfect vistas of fiery leaves, carved pumpkins and harvest fairs?

The temptation for most people is to hit New England’s scenic byways to take in the great colour-changing swathes of its myriad states – from Massachusetts to Maine, Connecticut to New England, New Hampshire to Vermont. But do this and you risk seeing nothing more than a burnished blur through your rental car window.

Smart travellers pick a base from which to explore, and there are few more quintessentially East Coast spots than immaculately preserved Deerfield in Western Massachusetts. With its white clapboard houses, outlying russet red barns and pick-your-own pumpkin patches, this town is a great base to explore classic New England terrain.

A great place for Halloween ghost tours, Deerfield is set slap bang between other favourite Fall stop-offs, Greenfield and Amhers, which sit pretty along the Connecticut River. Once you’ve explored the restored houses, pioneer-era museums and streets lined with extravagantly carved pumpkins, head up to the summit of Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation for panoramic views over the sprawling, autumn colour-carpeted valley.

Colour catcher
1. Local radio and TV. Tune into local channels to get regular news and click into state and provincial websites for daily updates, some even offering leaf-peeping telephone hotlines.
2. The US Forest Service website has regularly updated pages devoted to Fall colours.
3. Yankee magazine covers travel in New England and has its own Yankee Foliage app.


Published in the October 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)