Once in Burlington, be sure to check out downtown Church Street; this main strip is off limits to cars and is a great way to spend the day window shopping against the backdrop of gorgeous mountains and their fall foliage, and views of Lake Champlain. Church Street has something for everyone; upscale shopping as well as mainstream stores like Old Navy, and of course, a Ben & Jerry’s on the corner! For those that haven’t had a chance to really explore the Lake Champlain area, a visit to Echo, an interpretive, child-friendly hands-on museum is a great place to spend the day. It not only highlights animals, fish and trees/plants native to the area, but there is even a fun ‘playroom’ for the kids to climb a tree house, explore a replica of the infamous ‘Champ’ (our local equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster), and much much more. A family can easily spend a good chunk of the day there in addition to the fall foliage tour.
Along the fall foliage route between New York and Burlington, a stop in Charlotte (pronounced Shar-lot) is always required by my family; the downtown area is quaint and typical of small Vermont towns and there are plenty of places in the area for apple picking, exploring a pumpkin patch for the perfect pick, and the area is abundant with coffeehouses (don’t forget some Green Mountain Coffee!), cafes with homemade breads and pastries, and plenty of farmer’s markets.
Back here in the Adirondacks, if your plan is to hike and get a birds’ eye view of the fall foliage, you’ll want to be sure to get out there and do it prior to mid-October, when the leaves are falling at a steadier rate and the peak colors are over. Searching your destination online should provide you with some dates as to when to expect peak colors; don’t blink or you will miss them! It seems to always be about a two week window of really spectacular bright reds, oranges, yellows and greens before you’ll have to be looking down on the ground to see them versus up on the trees! Hiking in the fall is personally my favorite time of the year; not only is the temperature ideal but there are fewer people on the trails (depending where you go of course), and the fall foliage colors are overwhelming.
If hiking isn’t your thing, check out the various gondolas you can take up to the top of many area mountains, or plan a drive to the top of Killington (Vermont) or Prospect Mountain (Lake George), where there are picnic areas and places to just take in the views and enjoy the fall foliage colors. Should you want to drive as far as New Hampshire, passing through the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (prime moose country! I see one every time) Franconia Notch should be high on your list of destinations. There is a tram that will take you to the top of a gorgeous peak to enjoy the views for miles and miles. Franconia Notch is a fantastic, totally unique park, unlike anything you’ll ever see with a multitude of water-formed carvings in the rock and plenty of trails to explore.
So whether you’re into hiking, biking or taking a leisurely drive, you won’t want to miss out on the fall foliage colors of the Northeast this year… so take the Outdoors Guy advice and ‘get out there’!