Help with our fall foliage trip...a bit anxious

Discuss Fall Foliage in Vermont, when to come, where to stay, where to take a tour etc. Note: You must be registered in order to post. If you have trouble registering, use the contact us form on Scenes of Vermont's home page.

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colorfotos
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Help with our fall foliage trip...a bit anxious

Post: # 9222Post colorfotos
Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:25 pm

I just came across this website and it is very helpful. Thanks to the contributors!

My wife and I are traveling from California to New England to see and photograph fall foliage in New England. This is our first trip (it has been in our mind for several years and finally we are able to make it) to New England and we are very excited. However, we are anxious that we might miss the great fall color show there due to the timing of our trip as most seem to suggest the first week of Oct is the best time. I would VERY MUCH appreciate any help/advice/suggestions with our itinerary so that we have a good chance to see some peak/decent fall colors in the areas around the time we visit (if we are going to be late, any suggestion for different locations would be great).

Our Interests Are:
* Scenic Driving
* Scenic and rural photography
* Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, Water Falls, Churches and Rural Farms
* A bit of Trains, Train Stations, and Railroad tracks
* And of course, fall colors

Here is our trip plan:

Oct 10th:
* Noon: Arrival at Buffalo Airport, NY
* Afternoon: Drive via Toronto, ON to Thousand Islands, ON
* Overnight stay: Not yet planned (Stay at Kingston / Thousand Islands Area, ON, Canada?)

Oct 11th:
* Drive via Adirondacks (Lake Placid to Plattsbug) - Not sure if this is a good time as it may be past peak here
* Overnight: Colchester, VT

Oct 12th:
* Early Morning: Lake Champlin and Stowe, VT
* Afternoon: Waterbury and Montpelier area in VT
* Overnight: White River Junction, VT

Oct 13th:
* Early morning: Woodstock, VT and Reading, VT (Jenne Farm), Weston, VT
* Afternoon: Green Mountains / Killington / Rutland Area
* Overnight: Lincoln, NH

Oct 14th:
* Early Morning: Woodstock, NH and Franconia Notch, NH
* Afternoon: Crawford Notch, NH and Bretton Woods Area
* Overnight: North Conway, NH

Oct 15th:
* Morning: Kancamagus Scenic Byway, NH
* Afternoon: Manchester and Bennington Area in VT
* Overnight: Williamstown, MA

Oct 16th:
* Morning: Mohawk Trail / The Berkshires area in MA
* Afternoon: Not yet planned (mostly driving back to somewhere between Lake George area and Buffalo)
* Overnight: Not yet planned (Possibly Ithacha, NY around Finger Lake? Is it a good to see some scenic fall colors here?)

Oc 17th:
* Morning: Maybe, Finger Lakes Area in NY and waterfalls around there
* Overnight stay at Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

Oct 18th:
* Morning: Nigara Falls, Niagara Falls State Park,
* Afternoon / Evening: If time permits: CN Tower, Toronto
* Night: Late Night Flight to CA

Thanks a lot in advance.


Andy
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Post: # 9227Post Andy
Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:34 pm

colorfotos: Your Flickr images are marvelous.

I apologize if this isn’t well organized or detailed. I have written long, detailed replies twice now and both times some glitch in the system has taken them into the internet “ether.” I am composing this in my wordprocessor this time (you would think I had learned by now). But frustration has built, and I am tired. :)

Anyway, I live in mid-Michigan. I have driven from Port Huron, Michigan to Northwestern Vermont many times over the past 30 years. My “as the crow flies” best route is through Canada on Highway 401, which goes through Toronto. When I lived in Vermont for about a 5-year period in the 80's, I drove from NW Vermont to my girlfriend’s college in Upstate NY, about an hour South of Buffalo, so I am also well familar with the NY State Throughway route. Albeit boring, I agree with mmvt 100%.

I know you must have your reasons, but I have to wonder--if New England is your destination--why fly into Buffalo. It is a long shot by car from there to Vermont. Flying into Burlington, VT, Plattsburg, NY, Albany, NY or even Boston, MA would get you much more directly into Vermont, NH and foliage. Be that as it may, the NY throughway will definitely get you to NE faster, and will get you into the Southern and middle parts of Vermont and the parts of NY you have mentioned. Coming from the North (Plattsburg across to the S. Albans area), you may well be in some of the past peak areas of Vermont -- except perhaps near Lake Champlain.

From Buffalo, although the Thousand Islands are beautiful, I do not think of them as a fall foliage destination. And, the Thousand Islands Parkway is disappointingly short -- not worth the extra time and mileage involved, in my view. Note (particularly since 911), getting through customs both into and back out of Canada can take a long time -- sometimes hour long waits -- particularly in larger points of entry like Buffalo. There is only one real way to drive through Toronto -- on 401 -- and at times the traffic can be pretty frustrating (I would guess, being from CA, that you have seen traffic, but my last trip through, it took 1 1/2 hours each way, to get through the metro Toronto area--pretty frustrating).

Once in Vermont, I like your first couple days in and around Woodstock (I’ve not personally photographed the Jenne Farm, but I am told to expect to “jostle” for tripod room, even if you get there before daylight!). Your third day, however, seems a bit ambitious. It is a good poke from Kancamagus back to the Manchester/Bennington area. I have mentioned before, that Vermont is bisected, North to South with mountain ranges, and there is not always an easy straight shot from one place to another, especially East to West. Since you are obviously not hesitant to stop and work a photogenic area, you may find it difficult to fit that all in on one day.

Thanks to Carol for her generous praise of my photography. I hope, though, that you do take a look at my PDF on my website (I hotlinked directly to the PDF page for you here, in case you had difficulty navigating to it. The site is flash based, and sometimes its frustrating if you don’t have high speed capabilities. the PDF takes a while to download, but it will).

There are two other resources I will point you to, also, which are useful for Vermont Photography. First, Arnold Kaplan’s “Yellow Book” is an excellent resource (with very specific directions to, among other great locations, the Jenne Farm). He sells it for a very reasonable price. And David Middleton’s book, "The Photographer's Guide To Vermont" is also an excellent resource for anyone wishing to photograph Vermont.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any similar suggestions for NH. We hope you’ll find this a welcoming place and become one of our regular participants here. Vermont and New England seem to have a lasting “draw” on many of us who have spent any time there. Also, please visit us on the Photography Forum. We would love to have a link back to some of your results after your trip! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

DCE Nebraska
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Colorfotos trip to New England

Post: # 9232Post DCE Nebraska
Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:02 am

I have read your itinerary and though well planned, I feel you are a week late. The foliage season depends on some variables and that is elevation, closeness to lakes and of course latitude. We have visited Vermont and New Hampshire 10 of the past 12 years and have a good idea on what the average peak is. We usually stay in one central location near White River Junction for 5 nights and just take day trips. More recently, the year 2006 was not a good year for the time we were there from Oct. 8-13 and foliage in New Hampshire was gone in the northern half and we settled for the foliage in the lakes areas. The NEK was all sticks and foliage was good along the Connecticut River Valley and South west Vermont. But 2007 was a fantastic year and peak foliage stayed on for a long time. 2008 was a good year. You have Jenne farm on your itineray and it is a highlight only in the morning as for the sun. The road from Windsor to Reading has some great Sugar Maples on the route. When you mention the Finger Lakes as for the timing, you will be fine. Watkins Glenn area and Letchworth State Park further west are very good for the dates that you have. I agree with the previous writer that it would be best to fly to Burlington or possibly Albany. The islands you mention are not good foliage places and the drive through Toronto is not much fun. I feel you have a great Itinerary but I am afraid for some of the areas and the dates you suggest, you might be too late. But you will enjoy the rural flavor of Vermont.

ixl
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Re: Help with our fall foliage trip...a bit anxious

Post: # 9241Post ixl
Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:56 am

Nice to meet you and I'm glad you're planning such a nice trip.

As someone who was raised in Toronto and now lives in Vermont, and loves to photograph foliage, I have some advice for you.

First, don't worry about missing the foliage. You are describing a trip that encompasses areas that have good color from the third week of September to the end of October. You will see plenty of good color, as long as you plan properly.

Second, you are trying to pack too much into a week. I know how this goes -- I once tried to do all of southern Norway in a few days -- but you will regret it. You're going to spend all your time traveling and checking in and out of hotels, and not seeing much of anything other than what's visible from major highways.

Here are my specific recommendations:

1. Skip Canada entirely. Toronto is a nice city, but only nice if a city is what you're after, and you're not. The drive from Buffalo to Toronto is either boring as hell or a nightmare of traffic frustration. And the drive from Toronto to the Thousand Islands is one of the most boring 200 miles east of the plains states -- straight, flat without even the dignity of many trees.

2. You will be too late for the "High Peaks" area of the Adirondacks (Lake Placid and environs) -- they peak in late Sept to early Oct. The outskirts of the Adirondacks will still be nice, but probably a little late.

3. Most of Vermont and NH will be nice except for the very highest elevations. You are too late for the Kancamagus Highway, except for the low areas in and around Conway, which is a tourist nightmare that time of year, so be warned.

4. Since you are flying into Buffalo, you should take advantage of good foliage regions in the area that I think you are skipping over. That definitely *does* include the Finger Lakes, where I spent several days last year in mid-October. The color should be great, there is lots to see and do, and the lakes themselves were far better than I expected. Stick to the smaller lakes, as the big ones are kinda flat and boring.

5. That will be a good time for the Valley of Vermont between Manchester and Bennington. If in the area be sure to go up Mount Equinox.

6. The area along the southern tier of NYS is supposed to be beautiful and could be one of your routes east.
Charles Kozierok - DesktopScenes.com

View Autumn Scenes from Southern Vermont (2003), my free, 75-image foliage gallery!

pwt54
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Post: # 9252Post pwt54
Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:28 am

I drove through the Albany, NY area last Oct 11th and the colors were great from the Lake George Area and south. If you don’t have to stay in Ontario, I recommend that you head for the Albany or Lake George area instead. I would stay in the Albany area and take route US 20 east from there to route 22 north in New Lebanon, NY. There is a Shaker Village just south of that intersection if you are interested. Otherwise, drive route 22 north to route US 4 east and then drive route US 4 east to the Woodstock/White River area. For the Jenne Farm Road, take route 106 south out of Woodstock. About 3 miles south of South Woodstock you go down a long hill. The Jenne Road will be on your right about halfway down the hill.
Your Oct 13th trip looks good until you get to Lincoln, NH. The colors in this highland area will be fading by the 13th. The ride through the notches on the 14th is quite scenic even if the colors are not the best. There is probably no way around the trips on the 14th if you are staying in North Conway and I’m not sure you should. And yes, take the Base Station Road out of Faybian to the Cog Railroad. The Kancamagus Highway on the 15th will not be very colorful, but it is scenic. An alternate ride would be route 16 south to route 25 east in West Ossipee . Drive route 25 east through South Tamworth to route 113 on the right side. Drive route 113 through the end at route 3 near Plymouth. The ride from here to Williamstown, MA will be long so you may have to find the quickest way. I can’t help you too much with the last part of your trip.


colorfotos
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Thanks so much and revised itinerary!

Post: # 9302Post colorfotos
Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:50 pm

Hi Carol (abby), mmvt, Andy, DCE Nebraska, ixl and pwt54:

Thank you SO much for your kind and helpful advices/suggestions. It feels great to be in this forum.

Carol (abby):
Thanks for the reassurance that I will see some good colors. I have the AAA New England Map and VT Official Travel Map. I will try to acquire the Jimapco Vermont Map and the cog railway seems to be fun.

I checked your photos website and it is awesome!

Andy, certainly, is a very talented (and kind enough to share his works with us) photographer (I checked out his website). I am glad you liked my pictures and thanks for your kind remarks. I sure will be happy to share with you all my trip pictures :-)

mmvt:
Yes, I was kind of greedy(?) to cover a lot of areas :-). Your comments are very timely and helpful for my trip. I am dropping the idea of going through Canada and instead see more of VT and NY (Finger Lakes).

Andy:
I can't thank you enough for your reply especially after you have had to write the long detailed reply three times before it is posted. I know how painful it feels as it just happened to me too. (It looks like there is some issue with the editor in this forum and I lost a few lines as well, but, thankfully, after your warning, I had my reply written in a notepad).

You have a wonderful website and your photos and the PDF files are great!. I have printed them (yes the Michigan one too - hopefully will get to go there in fall sometime in the future) out and they are very nice, handy and helpful. I have also ordered David Middleton's book. Will look into Arnold Kaplan's book too.

My wife has been wanting to see the Niagara Falls for a long time (as much I have been longing to see New England) and hence our choice of flying into Buffalo, NY. Sort of trying to kill two birds with one (even though, I know, most of the time it doesn't work :-)).

DCE Nebraska,

Thanks so much for your very helpful reply. I could not change the flight schedule without paying almost the cost of the flight tickets themselves. So, the airport and the dates are pretty set :-(. I will certainly plan to visit Watkins Glenn area and possibly Letchworth State Park and I am glad I will not miss the colors there.

Charles (ixl),

Nice to meet you too :-) and appreciate your much helpful recommendations and warning about North Conway. Will skip Canada (or save for the last day) and try to skip North Conway (I may not get refund for the hotel reservation) and instead concentrate more in VT.

I checked out your slide show and it's gorgeous. I also liked the notes that accompany the pictures. The Garden of Eden picture is awesome!

pwt54,

Thanks a lot for the tips and detailed driving directions. Really appreciate them. Is taking 20/22/4 better than going through Bennington / Killington area?

Here is the revised trip plan (still, may be, it's too much in too little time) and I still have to to get the accommodations changed:

Oct 10th:
* Noon: Arrival at Buffalo Airport, NY
* Afternoon: Drive via NYS Thruway to VT
* Overnight stay: Albany / Saratoga Springs / Rutland (?).
I like to to stay in a place that is as close as possible to the photographic opportunities / lake / pond so I can be there at dawn).

Oct 11th:
* Morning: Drive to Bennington / Manchester area
* Afternoon: Mount Equinox / Rutland Area
* Overnight: White River Junction, VT

Oct 12th:
* Day: Woodstock, Weston and Reading, VT (Jenne Farm)
* Overnight: Lincoln, NH

Oct 13th:
* Morning: Woodstock, NH and Franconia Notch, NH
* Will try to change this from North Conway to WRT, VT
* Overnight: White River Jn, VT

Oct 14th:
* Morning: Woodstock, VT
* Night: Williamstown, MA

Oct 15th:
* Morning: Mohawk Trail / The Berkshires area in MA (Is this good location / timing?)
* Evening / Overnight: Lake George / Albany, NY

Oct 16th:
* Morning: Drive to finger lakes and if time permits water falls
* Overnight: Ithacha, NY around Finger Lake

Oct 17th:
* Morning: Watkins Glenn area and Letchworth State Park
* Overnight stay at Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

Oct 18th:
* Morning: Nigara Falls, Niagara Falls State Park,
* Afternoon / Evening: If time permits: CN Tower, Toronto
* Night: Late Night Flight to CA

I wish I knew about this forum before, so I would have made better travel plan with better dates :-(. Thanks again for all your help! You guys are awesome!!

pwt54
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Post: # 9322Post pwt54
Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:48 am

If you want lakes on the 10th, then find a place to stay between Saratoga and the Lake George area. You have the Great Sacandaga Lake west of Saratoga. There are quite few lakes around the Lake George area. My 2 favorites are Eagle Lake and Paradox lake on route 74. I'm not how good the colors will be. They were good on the 11th last year. On the 12th, you might be pushing it to do the lakes, Bennington and White River Junction all in one day.

Andy
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Post: # 9329Post Andy
Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:19 am

Colorfotos: I like your revised agenda much better (and hopefully, so will you). Since you are spending several days in and around Woodstock, I VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you get the Kaplan Yellow Book. His base of operations seems to have been mainly around Woodstock, and many of his photo locations will be within easy driving distance.

As far as Jenne Farm goes, you may not make it there in time for the morning light on the first day. If it were me, I would go anyway for two reasons. First, you can scout it, so if you go another morning, you will know where you want to shoot it from. And, two, given that we shoot outdoors in nature, I aways get the "record" shot anyway, on the chance that it may be my only opportunity.

Enjoy the trip!
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

bushinspector
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Post: # 9587Post bushinspector
Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:11 pm

Due to everyones imput I have changed my plans of staying in Maine and plan stay in Vermont and do loops. Our plans will be camping instead of going to local motels/hotels. I have printed out his entire trip plan and am going to use it during our stay. (Thanks Colorfotos) The only question is that we are arriving in Buffalo on the 5th and spending our 25 wedding anniverary there before getting to Vermont. Since we are arriving obout five days ahead should we go with the 1st itinerary or the revised one? Thanks in advance, getting ready for a 30 hour car drive!!

Andy
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Post: # 9590Post Andy
Sun Sep 27, 2009 4:59 pm

Bush: Not sure I understand your question. Watch the "reports" on this forum today and tomorrow. Sounds alot like NEK and even maybe the Stowe area will be at or near peak by the 5th. I would work my itinerary around that. As PWT notes, route 100 at the higher elevations should be at/near peak at that time too. Maybe plan to work those areas and move South as things progress?
Andy

If it sounds too good to be true, its probably . . . .

pwt54
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Post: # 9607Post pwt54
Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:22 am

If you are refering to colorfotos itinerary, then you should be farther north. Try to base yourself along the route US 2 corridor and work the area north of US 2 and east of route 100 first, and then work the area south of route US 2 later in your stay. From what I saw last Saturday, I don't think the Peacham area will be at peak this coming weekend, but the colors there will be nice toward the end of next week.

bushinspector
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Post: # 9773Post bushinspector
Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:04 pm

Yes I was talking about colorfotos itinerary and will be arriving in Vermont on the 6th or 7th. As of now our plans are to stay in the Ricker Pond St Park and do day loops in the area. What will be the best Senic way to drive from Niagra Falls to Peacham? If you have any loops in mind it sure would help out due to changing our plans from Maine to Vermont.

pwt54
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Post: # 9790Post pwt54
Wed Sep 30, 2009 6:52 pm

It will take you all day to get from Niagra Falls to Peacham, so you may not have time to do any leafpeeping tours. So I would drive I-90 to Albany and take I-87 north to exit 19 in Glens Falls,NY and pick up route US 4 east. Take route US 4 east into VT and to the route 100 north intersection in Killington. Turn left and drive route 100 north (should be great color) and route 100B to the end at route US 2 in Middlesex. Turn right on route US 2 east and drive to the first traffic light in Montpelier and turn right. At the next light turn left. You will be on route US 2 east. At the second traffic light you come to you should get into the middle lane. From here it's a straight shot to route 232 and Groton State Forest. The Peacham area may not be peak early in your trip, so save it for last. Work the roads north of route US 2 and east of route 100 first. It's peaking now and should still be pretty good early in your stay.

bushinspector
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Post: # 9873Post bushinspector
Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:48 pm

This will be my last post before our trip as it is 8:45 and getting ready to go to bed. We have been planning this trip for 25 years and now it is going to happen. Words cannot express my thanks to everyone who has made this trip much more than what I was planning. Now off to sleep and when we wake up we are ON OUR VACATION!! and on to the NEW ENGLAND STATES. Thanks again

colorfotos
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Thanks!!

Post: # 9986Post colorfotos
Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:09 pm

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions and constantly updating the forum with the foliage details and route suggestions.

I have added my trip to google maps so that I can print out exact roads I will be taking. I seek your help in determining if the routes I am taking are appropriate to see the best colors. I would appreciate if you could please suggest if I should be taking different routes.

If it's easier, please feel free to change the roads on the google map.
( In case you are not familiar, click on one of the links below, and then you can either add a destination in the left and move it up or down or you can drag the green line to a different route, then click on the link button on the upper right corner of the map and copy and post the link here.)

I know I have been advised to cancel the North Conway area. Since I could not cancel the hotel there without paying one full day's rent, I have still included it unless the colors will be gone. Do you think the colors will still be there in White mountains area on the dates I am going to be there?

Alternative:
If the colors are not there, I will cancel North Conway anyway as I have a reservation on the 13th at Brattleboro, VT as well. Instead of White Mountain, I will see southern VT on 13th and on 14th I am thinking of going to Litchfield Hills area in connecticut where they say the peak is expected in about a week or so. Is it a good idea to see this place instead of White Mountain?

Oct 10:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... F8&t=p&z=8

Oct 11:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 89206&z=11

Oct 12:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 24&t=p&z=9

Oct 13:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 6&t=p&z=11

Oct 14:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... F8&t=p&z=8

Oct 15:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 6&t=p&z=11

Oct 16:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 2&t=p&z=10

Oct 17:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... 24&t=p&z=9

Thank you so much in advance!
Last edited by colorfotos on Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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