There’s hardly a city, town or hamlet in New England that doesn’t become gloriously blessed every season when festooned with autumn leaves of red and gold. Our family has visited many of those areas over the years, and never tire of the experience.
It began when I had just passed my 18th birthday and arrived at the Newport, Rhode Island, Naval Training Center during the last week of September. Away from my desert Arizona home for the first time, I experienced the grueling 12-week boot camp schedule.
However, the hardships of the drill fields seemed to be softened by the colorful oak and maple trees all around us. Even double-timing twice daily for five miles along the trails through autumn foliage was actually pleasant amid the bracing cool air and fragrance of the trees.
A generation later, during the four years when our daughter was a student there, we spent frequent autumn weekends on the Boston University campus and in nearby parks.
Autumn in in classic Newport and busy Boston is still an experience worth a visit as often as possible. Of course, they’re not the only places to experience those sites. There are many other New England destinations that burst out every autumn with pleasantly cool weather and colorful displays of red and gold leaves.
It would be impossible to name them all, but several always come to mind when considering a typical New England autumn. One historic and colorful spot to visit is the Cornish-Windsor Bridge the longest covered wooden bridge in the world. It separates New Hampshire from Vermont over the scenic Connecticut River.
The setting looks like something out of an 18th Century rural painting. If you’re there with your camera, wait until a big haywagon starts making its way across, preferably loaded people on their way to an October hayride.
If you yearn to see the typical New England town of the 1800s, go to tiny Petersham, surrounded by a deeply-forested area in the middle of Massachusetts. It has a four-block main street, a village green, bandstand, white-washed houses and just one general store. There’s no Walmart nor McDonald’s within a hundred miles, but right in the center is the typical church and its white steeple. If you want to reinforce your religious beliefs, go there on an Autumn Sunday and attend services.
If you want your autumn New England visit to include a typical ocean harbor scene, there are scores of choices of those big and small. For the typical little village that still maintains its 18th Century charm, go to Maine’s Northeast Harbor. You can walk along the waterway, watch the fishermen bring in their fresh catch, and then take advantage of the opportunity by dining at one of the many great seafood restaurants in town. Choose one with an outside porch, so you can enjoy the food while watching the surrounding autumn colors.
There are countless cities, towns, villages, roadsides, mountains and ocean shores where you can enjoy fall foliage in New England. You can’t possibly to get to all of them during any one autumn trip. However, it ‘s always well worth the effort to try.