I have seen many wonderful posts and amazing suggestions of Vermont. We are coming from Providence and expecting to do some scenic drives and fall colors as well. I hope, I will get sugestion from New England point of view, not just Vermont.
We are reaching on weekend of 9/30 and will have 4 full day (excluding travel dates).
I started my search with two questions.
(1) What would be good time to visit New England area - We don't want to stuck with crowd of Columbus day, so visiting on weekend of 30 september and forecast looks ok.
(2) which are scenic areas/drives - That required bigger search. While most of posts here suggests northeastern kingdom and area north to St.Johnsburry, I was checking below link to see scenic drives in Vermont - http://www.foliagenetwork.com/~foliagen ... ast?id=655
Surprisingly, this doesn't show any drive of that area. Is it because, it is less scenic than other places or it is good for fall colors but other areas are better in over scene photographically ?
Roughly I see two areas to cover, (1) White Mtns, Conway, Lake Sunapee, Killington, Norwich, Woodstock NH, Woodstock VT and (2) Burke, St.Johnsburry Brownington, Stowe.
What are your suggestions ?
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Welcome to the forum. Yes, the Sept. 30th is looking like it will be a good time to see the foliage this year, as it really beginning to come on. To answer your question, not sure why the Northeast is given more coverage than the rest of the state. It could be its because it's one of the first places that the color changes. I know that I myself talk up the Northeast Kingdom more than other parts of the state, because that's the area that I'm the most familiar with. But I don't believe that the Northeast is "prettier" than any of the other parts of the State of Vermont. The entire state is beautiful. But.......for the time frame that you are planning on coming......TYPICALLY the Northeast Kingdom has the best colors for that time period. BUT I think this year is not "typical" and you may find great colors in many other areas of the state during that time period.
To answer your last question.....route number one may have wonderful color during the Sept 30th time frame this year....with possibly the exception of Mt Sunappe. There are amazing scenic places to see along that route. Your route number two is almost guaranteed to have great colors during that time frame this particular year. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these routes.
I don't know if this helps or not but if you have further questions please feel free to ask.
As you said, Northeast Kingdom of VT/north of St Johnsbury and Stowe would be guaranteed great colors.
If I have choice to pick one between going up to Pittsburg, NH, Dixville Notch, Rangely Lakes VS Killington, Norwich, Woodstock NH, White Mnts, Conway NH, which area I can pick for my travel dates ?
I tried to understand forecast map and it looks like, North up will be better for early dates. That is reason, I thought of Pittsburg, NH, Dixville Notch, Rangely Lakes. But you are expert for this area, so would like to hear from you.
I have take out Mt Sunappe out of this, as you said, it will still green.
I use Killington as a home base and expect there to be good color there the weekend of September 30! The reason you don't hear much (commercially) about the North East Kingdom is because many of of the more commercial areas of VT tend to get most of the "glory".... but, the NEK is a beautiful area and worth exploring if you have time. In fact, although I will be based in Killington during my time in VT (12 days), one of my first day trips will be to the NEK area. Killington provides a nice "home base" from which to explore other areas of VT.
New Hampshire and Maine have beautiful foliage as well. However, one major thing Vermont has over the other two states is the roadside open farm land that (in my opinion) significantly improves the foliage viewing experience. In most of New Hampshire and Maine, the sides of the road are thickly lined with trees and that is all you can see other than a few openings here and there. There are good spots but they are few and far between.
Vermont on the other hand has a more pastoral landscape which provides many more opportunities to see wide open views of the landscape. This is one of the reasons Vermont is more popular vs the other states in the Northeast during foliage season.
Here are a couple options for day drives in NE Vermont that also include a little NH or a lot.
Loop 1 - NEK loop with side trip to Dixville. This loop is roughly 1/4 gravel road. But it hits a lot of highlights like Lake Willoughby and Darling Hill.
Loop 2 - Wide loop around the NEK and northern NH. Mostly main roads.
If I make Killington as base, I wouldn't be able to do above mentioned routes (as in map).
It makes me think, where would be better color during my time ? Where it would come early ? Should it be Killington and side trips area or area above Burke (+routes From_the_NEK has mentioned) ?
If both places, then, either I have to make two staying base or have to stay near Burke area and do day trips to Killington area and day trips to Stowe area and day trips to places mentioned in above map.
What do you suggest ?
Stowe and St Johnsbury are both roughly a 2 hr drive from Killington. Killington is a very nice area. It may make a good base even with the 2 hour drives to get to the other prime northern locations. It also give you pretty easy access to some more southern VT locations.
Since you are only going to be here for 4 days, I recommend you don't try to do too much. Relax and enjoy the scenery instead of trying to make sure you go "everywhere" on a list of places to visit.
1- keep St.Johnsburg/Burke as base, and do day trips to Killington area, Stowe area and the one which you mention with maps.
2- keep Killington as base, and do day trips to Stowe (via rte100), white mountain and Burke.
I understand we are restricted with less time and that's the reason, we are ready long, if need to, to reach/drive to places, where colors will be better in New England.
I agree with NEK - don't try to see everything... pick a spot and explore from that area. There is a LOT to see BUT you don't have to travel all over the state to have a fantastic VT experience.