The Northeast, synonymous with autumn days of apple and pumpkin picking, is incredibly rich in fiery Fall foliage. In fact, the spectacle of the trees changing color here is so impressive it draws people from all over the country every year. As the strength of the summer light fades, days become colder and wetter, and chlorophyll levels in the leaves drop, we’re treated to a technicolor spectrum of shifting tones.
The New England Fall colors, in particular, are legendary. Nowhere in the country will you find such awesome autumnal alchemy. The Fall colors usually start to emerge here in mid to late September up North in Vermont and on the Northeast coast in Maine and New Hampshire, before spreading South throughout October into Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. You’re likely to see the most impressive display of arboreal fireworks toward the end of October.
Planning a quick road trip to see the Fall colors is the perfect way to get out of the house before winter arrives. Before leaving anywhere, make sure to leave some time to perform essential car maintenance before hitting the road. We’ve outlined our top recommendations to see throughout the Northeast, as well as a maintenance checklist to use when preparing your car for the trip.
Car Maintenance Checklist for Fall Trips
Fall is a beautiful time for nature, but it can also be a trying time for car owners. Luckily, safe motoring is only a thorough check away so go through the checklist below and prepare your car for the great outdoors by performing essential car maintenance.
- Check your windshield wipers for corrosion, cracks, or worn edges—Check also if the windshield is left streaky after using the wipers. If so, it’s time to change them.
- Check your oil level and when it was last changed—Look to see if you’re due for an oil change and make sure the level is topped up to within the recommended range.
- Rotate your tires and check the air pressure—Is the tread depth close to 2/32 inch or less? If so, look into getting a tire rotation done before hitting the road. Top up the pressure to the recommended psi.
- Consider replacing your brake pads—Do you hear screeching when braking? Are the pads visibly worn to near to 1/4 inch? If so, get the brake pads replaced before your trip.
- Change your spark plugs—Have you had any problems starting your car? Has it been 30k miles since the last change? If so, consider changing the spark plugs.
6 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in the Northeast
#1: Maine: Coastal Route
This year’s dry but warm conditions in New England will create their own unique Fall color palette, and a road trip along part of Maine’s 5,000-mile-long coastline is a wonderful way to see it.
The Coastal Route is around 290 miles long which acts as one of the best options for a weekend getaway. The spectacular East Coast Fall foliage follows the sandy beaches in the south up to the more rugged coastal cliffs of the north, and you’ll pass Passamaquoddy Bay, Cape Elizabeth, and Acadia National Park along the way. Visitors will have no shortage of places to stop off and enjoy that traditional New England seasonal staple: fresh lobster rolls.
#2: Vermont: Route 100
For foliage that’s vibrant and bursting with claret, scarlet, amber, and gold, there’s one place that should be up near the top of anyone’s list: Vermont. Fall weekend getaways don’t get much better than this.
We’ve chosen the meandering drive along Route 100, which takes you through cider country, replete with apple orchards, sleepy villages, farms, and beautiful autumnal colors. Don’t forget to stock up on some local maple syrup while you’re here too. If you’re short on time, head straight to the Green Mountain Byway, an unforgettable 14-mile scenic corridor that winds through the Green Mountains, home to the state’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.
#3: New Hampshire: Lake Winnipesaukee Loop
A great way to experience this most beautiful of seasons is a road trip covering nearly 100 miles around New Hampshire’s largest lake, Winnipesaukee. Taking you through quaint villages as well as more wild, rural stretches, you’ll enjoy majestic views of the surrounding mountains and the turning colors of the trees reflected in the lake. Make sure you stop along the way for photos, picnics, and if you’re feeling adventurous, activities like boating and fishing.
#4: Massachusetts: Mohawk Trail
This scenic drive, some 69 miles long, up in the Berkshire Mountains is one of our favorite places to experience the colors of Fall.
The Mohawk Trail is an old Native American trade route surrounded by the Mohawk Trail State Forest between the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys in New York and the Deerfield and Connecticut River valleys in Massachusetts.
The Cold River Virgin Forest area of the Mohawk Trail State Forest has 700 acres of old-growth forest, turning spectacular shades in the Fall. Expect historic villages, mountain rivers, and views over wooded valleys and distant ranges.
#5: Connecticut: Litchfield and Mount Tom State Park
The Litchfield Hills region up in the Northwest of Connecticut is a beautiful place to see the Fall foliage. You can see how the colors are looking here. We recommend the 46-mile New Milford, Kent, and Mount Tom State Park drive loop, which offers an enjoyable tree-lined drive twisting through rolling hills, rural landscapes, and state park woodland.
You’ll pass two covered bridges and have ample opportunities to stop for hikes.
#6: New York State: Upper Delaware Scenic Byway
For a longer trip, try the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway in New York State (Route 97). Families, hikers, anglers, birders, cyclists, campers all will be spoilt for choice here.
Covering around 70 miles along the Delaware River between the City of Port Jervis in Orange County and the Village of Hancock in Delaware County, your drive will take you through a region rich in activities, cultural history, and of course, stunning autumn foliage.
Set aside a weekend or longer and take your time passing through historic towns and along rivers, bridges, viaducts, and aqueducts, as well as enjoying side trips to parks, museums, old railways, and local restaurants. Don’t miss Elks Brox Memorial Park in Port Jervis for its great hikes and stunning vistas.
Drive Confidently with Endurance
Wherever you decide to visit this Fall, don’t leave anything to chance now that we’re heading into the colder months. Get organized and feel empowered on your next trip by making sure your vehicle is protected from sudden breakdowns. An Endurance warranty not only provides the most comprehensive protection package on the market, but drivers also receive tons of benefits that can provide peace of mind all year round. Endurance is accepted at any certified mechanic, offers 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, substitute transportation, and more.
Plus. every protection plan comes with a year of the Endurance Elite Membership completely free. This gives you access to all the benefits, which include key fob replacement, tire repair/replacement, $250 in discount vouchers, and much more! Request a free, no-obligation quote below for more information on how Endurance can help you today.