Jaffrey is home to Mount Monadnock State Park. The climb to the summit of the 3,165-foot-high peak takes two to three hours and no one will be lonely here in fall. An alternative for nonclimbers is the drive to the 2,288-foot summit of Pack Monadnock Mountain in Peterborough. On a proverbial clear day, one can see the skyscrapers of Boston in the distance.
Mohawk Trail, Mass.: Don’t be put off by critics who say you can’t see the forest for the cars. Western Massachusetts’s Mohawk Trail (Route 2) is often crowded but is worth braving the sea of humanity. Landmarks interspersed among the multicolored hillsides afford places to stretch one’s legs.
In Shelburne Falls is the Bridge of Flowers, a 1908 trolley bridge turned floral garden. Further west is “Hail to the Sunrise,” an 8-foot-high bronze statue of a Native American, arms outstretched, welcoming the morning sun. From the village of Florida, motorists wind and swerve before reaching Whitcomb Summit, 2,200 feet above sea level.
By the Quabbin Reservoir, Mass.: In this area often ignored by tourists, Barre is a masterpiece of a village whose huge town green includes a war memorial and a bandstand. About 12 miles south along Route 32 is Gilbertville, where an 1886 covered bridge spans the Ware River. Between Ware and Belchertown are miles of color-filled woods fronting ranges of blue hills as Route 202 parallels the Quabbin’s western shore, a fun place to take in the view, take a walk or take out the picnic basket.
Litchfield Hills, Conn.: Cozy Litchfield can thank the snubbing of the railroad for its preserved status. The National Park Service once called Litchfield “probably the finest example of a typical late 18th-century New England town.” Goshen, to the north, is smaller and less polished, making it more real to some. In West Cornwall is one of Connecticut’s few remaining covered bridges, built in 1841 and crossing the Housatonic River. Norfolk’s green is bordered by handsome buildings such as Whitehouse mansion, bathed in glorious colonial white and home to Yale University’s Summer School of Music.
Connecticut’s Quiet Corner: In the state’s northeastern corner is Pomfret, dominated by the brick campus of Pomfret School, although the medieval-styled chapel seems like a transplant from the Rhine River Valley. To the north is yet another Woodstock, this one home to apple orchards, an academy and the candy-colored Roseland Cottage.
Woodstock’s prettiest view is seen by turning one’s back to the Woodstock Academy and looking across the green toward the Congregational Church. An inviting picnic spot is Bigelow Hollow State Park, while just across the Connecticut border to the east is the highest point in Rhode Island. Don’t brag to your friends in Colorado, though — it’s only 812 feet high.
Fall foliage information:
New Hampshire: www.visitnh.gov, 802-271-2665
Vermont: www.vermontvacation.com/fall, 800-VERMONT (837-6668)
Maine: www.mainefoliage.com, 888-MAINE45 (624-6345)
Massachusetts: www.massvacation.com, 800-227-MASS (6277)
Connecticut: www.depdata.ct.gov/forestry/foliage/foliagemap.htm; www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2697&q=322764&deepNav_GID=1631, 860-424-3000
Michael Schuman graduated cum laude from Syracuse University in 1975 and received an MFA in professional writing in 1977 from the University of Southern California. He lives with his family in New England and can be reached at email@example.com.