Nowhere beats the beauty and romance of New England (and New York) for autumn leaf-peeping. Every year, from late September to mid-November, travelers flock to the region to breathe in the resplendent yellows, golds, deep reds, and oranges. Here are a few of our favorite places to marvel at the gorgeous New England and New York fall foliage.
Beautiful, tranquil, and bursting with old-fashioned charm with its rolling horse farms and country estates, this small Westchester town is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Founded by Puritans in 1680, Bedford is today, one of the wealthiest towns in the US, and home to numerous Hollywood A-listers: Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Michael Douglas, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Glen Close, adding celebrity watching in between the leaves.
Stay at: Bedford Post Inn
Surrounded by woodlands (perfect for fall foliage gazing) the historic (1860s) Bedford Post Inn was rescued and transformed by Westchester residents Russell Hernandez and (actor) Richard Gere. All eight rooms, designed by Tiffany Vassilakis, are hopelessly romantic, with fireplaces and Frette linens. An added standout, the dining options: The Barn, a casual bistro with a nod to the South of France with its raw bar, eclectic wine list, and locally sourced ingredients (awarded by Michelin Guide 2021); The Terrace, a scenic outdoor lounge. And The Farmhouse, for upscale dining, featuring a prix-fixe menu and an ever-changing seasonal menu.
Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
A small Revolutionary War town (yes, George Washington slept here), Litchfield Hills – with its meticulously restored historic homes, eclectic shops, and restaurants – is quintessentially New England. But its true wow factor comes in the surrounding verdant forests and lakes. Hiking is a way of life here, especially during the fall when locals and travelers journey into the deep hardwood forests, past fragrant glades and murmuring river beds to photo-capture the leaves.
Stay at: Winvian Farm
Set on 113 private acres, there’s no better place to take in the autumn leaves than from one of Winvian Farm’s whimsical luxury cottages. With themes like “Treehouse, Musical Conservatory and Helicopter,” the cottages were designed by 15 different architects. None are even remotely the same or like any you’ve ever experienced. A favorite for leaf-peeping is “Woodlands,” a cottage hidden deep in the forest made of rough-cut pines and peeled tree trunks. Inside, find a double-sided, wood-burning fireplace, an indoor waterfall cascading over stones, and a giant soaking tub overlooking the Crayola-colored woods and tranquil pond.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, is the place to enjoy vibrant autumnal colors, with mid-October typically the peak. The journey startsin the car as you witness the fall foliage splendor, and the surrounding trails are glorious for hikers of every level. One of the most stunning views comes from atop Mount Greylock, at 3,489 feet Massachusetts’ tallest mountains, where hikers are rewarded with an epic view of five states.
Stay at: Blantyre
The once-tired but always elegant Tudor mansion Blantyre, surrounded by wooded acres and giant trees, has been completely remodeled – and modernized. Yet maintains its gilded-age vibe. Rooms and cottages come with soaking tubs, fireplaces, sumptuous fabrics, and fresh flowers (the hotel has its own florist onsite). A spa hides playfully among the trees, and walking paths abound. But the most celebrated addition is Café Boulud, showcasing Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s lauded cuisine.
Vermont is home to more maple trees than anywhere else, so it’s no surprise to find the most brilliant yellow, orange, and red hues here. And the tiny town of Barnard is perhaps its shiniest star. With a population of less than 1000, there’s not a lot to do in town except gaze at the trees bursting with delicious fall shade, crunch an apple, and drive through the Green Mountain forest or hike the famous Appalachian trail. Which is fine by us.
The true reason to visit Barnard awaits at the glorious hideaway, Twin Farms. Nobel-prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis bought this 18th-century farmhouse, surrounded by birch forests and flower meadows, in 1928 as a wedding gift for his bride, journalist Dorothy Thompson. Opened as a hotel in the early 1990s, Twin Farms – renowned for its one-of-a-kind cottages, fresh locally sourced cuisine, and museum-quality art (don’t be surprised to see a Jasper Johns or Cy Twombly by your bed) – has become a bucket-list destination. Especially in autumn. Wander the hotel’s private 300-acres, request a picnic for two deep in the forest, or take in the glory of fall from a canoe and paddle across the resort’s own nine-acre lake.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Not surprisingly, this stunning area – home to Mount Washington – is all about immersing yourself in the beauty of mother nature. And in autumn, her magnificent leaf show will take your breath away. Hike to waterfalls in Crawford Notch state park, visit Flume Gorge, an 800-foot long natural gorge. Or enjoy the blazing leaf view from the Mount Washington Cog railway, a vintage steam locomotive that takes travelers to the summit of the mountain.
Stay at: Omni Mount Washington Resort
A ski lodge by winter and golf haven by summer, the historic Omni Mount Washington Resort built-in 1902 by 250 Italian craftsmen offers the perfect home base for leaf-peeping. The hotel’s new Presidential wing, which saw the addition of 69 rooms, blends New England tradition and sophistication with memorable mountain views from guests’ private terrace, patio, or most decadently, bath. Also, new: the rooftop Jewel terrace, featuring comfy outdoor seating and even more stunning mountain views.