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Fall Foliage Getaways

Satisfying your color-lust with leaf-peeping

I'm all about summer loving, whiling away hours on an outdoor patio with my lover, sipping wine and watching deliciously long days fade into warm summer nights. I have to be honest though - it's hard to be sad about summer ending with Mother Nature's annual striptease next on the schedule.

vibrant fall colorsIt's time to scope out the best vantage point for watching the fall foliage transformation in New England and Southern Ontario. Plan in advance for this adventure and ensure your getaway is all you're hoping for - minus the frustration. 

Reserve in advance

New England, Southern Ontario and Quebec are the fall hot-spots, which means inns, lodges and B&B's fill up fast. If you're planning a multi-day trip and crave variety, choose a larger city with lots of day-trip options. Toronto is a short hour's drive from Niagara and Muskoka, while Boston opens up the beauty of Massachusetts.

If your schedule is flexible, consider traveling Sunday through Thursday instead of on the weekend. You'll have your choice of accommodation and enjoy innkeepers who have more time to chat and share local hideouts with you.

Track the color trail

follow the color trailThe fall foliage color change is a like a ribbon flung in the air - constantly moving and beautiful. To ensure you're where the colors are most vibrant, use these online tools:


Travel by Train

Train by travel ain't what it used to be. Whether you're traveling by Via Rail in Canada or Amtrack in the US, a train vacation allows you to bundle multiple destinations into one trip. Minus traffic frustrations, of course. If you're choosing a multiple day trip that involves sleeping on the train (versus a hotel accommodation) choose a sleeper cabin that includes a private shower.

Check out Foliage Trains in New Hampshire. The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad runs through to October 21st and a two-hour round-trip ticket gets you a lakeside tour along tracks that were once a part of the Boston & Maine Railroad. Choose daytime (best for viewing the scenery) or an evening romance package.

Start Early

Fall FoliageIf you're creating a digital trail of your travels, hit the road early in the mornings to catch the vivid colors and stay later in the afternoon to capture twilight hour. Right before sunset, when the sky is muted, colors pop more than they do at any other time of day.

Search out local relics to frame your images. An old stone church or water mill, natural cliffs or weathered and worn farms evoke romance and help capture the true beauty of the season.

Prepare for weather

Fall in New England and Ontario can mean you'll experience 3 seasons in one 1 day. Cool in the morning, warmer by afternoon and a chilly downpour by dinner. Pack a waterproof jacket, layers of sweaters a change of shoes. Wet feet from the morning can ruin the rest of your day.

Brown bag it

Apple FestivalsMany of the best views you'll discover don't come with table service, so pack a pack a picnic lunch. Remember to bring along bottled water and snacks as well so you're not searching for the nearest convenience store instead of the next great vista. And remember to pack out what you've brought in so folks who arrive after you don't have your trash as part of their scenery.

Keep reality in check

You're here to enjoy the foliage, but that doesn't mean it's kosher to hold up local traffic with your gawking. Be aware that your vacation coincides with others' lives - pull over if you want to linger. And while you're watching out for locals, be aware of critter crossing. Hitting a 1,000 pound moose will quickly put an end to your trip - and any future trips for that matter.

Look beyond the foliage. There's no denying Nature puts on a glorious show in the fall, but apple harvests, art galleries and local restaurants provide their fair share of excitement when the day turns rainy.

Do you have leaf-peeping travel plans in the works?

In early October, GoGirlfriend will be traveling through Eastern Ontario to Algonquin. Watch out for our pictures and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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