Fall for New England Fall Foliage
Posted by Amy Clyde
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Tauck, Fall Foliage, New England, USA
I was eighteen and ready for anything. But nothing had prepared me for my first sight of New England fall foliage aflame with colors, spread before me like an unexpected gift. Yes, I’d grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area and gone to school in the English countryside, so I was lucky enough to have always lived surrounded by natural beauty. I’d walked the craggy Pacific coast and the rolling golden hills of Northern California, where you can grow anything and every garden overflows. And I knew and loved “England’s green and pleasant land,” whether it floated as if by magic in a mist or was dotted with daffodils, roses, and heather.
But when I visited New England that fall of my first year in college, it was like suddenly entering a whole new universe. If this blazing constellation of reds, oranges, and yellows could rule the landscape like this – right to the horizon – then anything felt possible.
By now I’ve seen many autumns in the Northeast – and the bold display of color never gets old. It always makes fall seem like a fresh start, especially because the burst of colors inevitably arrives accompanied by a re-energizing crisp in the air, the refreshing crunch of tree-picked apples, and the new again scent of logs burning in fireplaces. For these reasons and many others, fall is a perfect time to explore the Northeast, and that’s why we at Tauck have been leading trips during fall foliage season, complete with on-tour guidance by experts well versed in the colorful spectacle, for 89 years.
From our experiences in New England, New York state, and Michigan, if we had to pick one tree out of all the beautiful trees that contribute to making fall such a special time, it would have to be the stunning sugar maple. Keep an eye out for its fiery oranges and reds, and dazzling yellows. Found at various elevations, across a wide geographic range, the stalwart sugar maple is wonderfully prolific, possessing an unusual ability to express many pigments at one time, and continuing to devote energy to producing new vibrant red colors right up until the leaves fall. Another reason we’re big sugar maple fans: maple syrup. Birches, aspens, and oaks all offer colorful foliage, but they do nothing for a warm stack of pancakes!
To be sure, there’s no controlling Mother Nature, so although we choose dates for our journeys in fall foliage country expressly to maximize your chances of seeing autumn in all its glory, we can’t guarantee it. But there are so many other reasons to love fall in these areas, and our trips are especially rich with exclusive cultural experiences that let you truly get to know the people, places, and local stories that make these destinations unique – and uniquely appealing at this time of year.
Come autumn, which I’ll always equate with back to school, I’m typically ready to learn something new and to throw myself more fully into the pursuit of knowledge than I ever am during the languid days of summer. Many of our history buff guests feel the same way, so historic New England, the Michigan Lakes district, and the Hudson Valley in New York state have much to offer. We’ve designed our journeys to include fascinating visits in places such as the Plimoth Plantation living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts; the homes of Mark Twain and Edith Wharton (with a private lunch!); and The Henry Ford, in Dearborn, Michigan, a trove of American history where you can actually ride in a Model T. Several of our fall foliage trips have been crafted by Tauck and the award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns including Hidden Gems of New England – where guests enjoy the unique opportunity of visiting Ken's studio in Walpole, New Hampshire. Stories by Ken Burns, on tours such as Grand New England and The Hudson Valley are enriched by Ken’s exclusive filmed narratives, fostering a deeper understanding of the people and issues that have defined these regions over the centuries.
Another seasonal pleasure, of course, is enjoying the fruits of the harvest, namely wine and food, and we’ve lined up wonderful meals and a private wine tasting on Michigan’s Lakes & Mackinac Island, and fresh farm-to-table meals throughout New England and New York.
When you’ve had your fill of delicious food and wine, we’ve arranged a variety of exciting ways to go out and about discovering these beautiful places: on a private horse-drawn carriage ride on Mackinac Island, an exclusive private Hudson River cruise to West Point, a scenic ride aboard a tethered hot air balloon in Vermont, a private schooner cruise in Maine, a whale-watching cruise off the coast of Cape Cod, a flightseeing ride from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket…
It’s all part of how we ensure that, no matter what nature has in store, your Michigan, New York, or New England fall foliage journey with Tauck is colorful!