A foliage tour of New England

By : DAN ELDRIDGE   on July 10, 2014

Touring through small-town New England in search of autumn’s changing colours has become such a popular activity, it has sprouted its own enthusiastic subculture of ‘leaf-peepers’. But this trip is about much more than just flora and fauna: become immersed in the bountiful harvest spirit that envelops the entire region each fall

Peak fall foliage season starts at the beginning of September and runs through to the end of October. To get yourself in an appropriately autumnal frame of mind then, plan a trip to Clyde’s Cider Mill in Old Mystic. Visitors can watch the cider mill in action – this is the only such mill in the country still powered by steam – and then purchase alcoholic or non-alcoholic cider in plastic jugs. As soon as you’re properly hydrated and fortified at the mill, head west to the town of Essex where the Connecticut River Expeditions runs cruises aboard the RiverQuest.

The Litchfield Hills region is a major destination for serious leaf-peeping, and also a popular region in which to visit one of Connecticut’s sugar houses, producing Connecticut’s famous maple syrup. Tours are given daily at Lamothe’s Sugar House in Burlington.

About a half-hour drive to the west is the fifth-generation Bunnell Farm where you can pick your own flowers or embark on a horse-drawn hay and tractor ride. Both these trips lead to a PYO pumpkin farm, which is naturally at its peak during fall foliage. And like many PYO farms, Bunnell is solidly in on the corn-maze craze as well – if you happen to arrive after sunset, they’ll even loan you a flashlight and let you stumble around in the dark.

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