New England Summer Getaways

The solstice has come, and it’s officially summer, and that means each weekend brings the chance to get out and explore New England in all its glory. Whether that means packing up the family car or chartering a helicopter with Wings Air for a really quick getaway, there’s so much to explore.

Rhode Island

Hit the beach in Newport and soak in the historic boutique Vanderbilt. Do the cliff walk, taking in majestic ocean views and just as majestic gilded age mansions. Take a tour of one or more of those mansions, such as The Breakers, The Elms or Chepstow. Go for a sail on Narragansett Bay. Once you’ve worked up an entire, enjoy some fresh seafood at one of many dockside eateries.

Massachusetts

The Berkshires beckon, and so do the many arts programs that relocate from Boston in the summer. Permanent fixtures are the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Historic properties such as the Wheatleigh and the Blantyre welcome guests to their lush grounds and sumptuously appointed rooms. If you just need a break from work week and the kids being out of school, Canyon Ranch in Lenox has an array of wellness programs to rejuvenate you.

New Hampshire

From your base at the Manor on Golden Pond, check out the beauty of Bretton Woods and hike to the top of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. Back at the Manor, Squam Lake and the White Mountains stretch out before you, inviting you to toss your cares away. It’s too late this year for Portsmouth’s annual chowder festival, which takes place the first weekend of June, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of chowder to chow down on.

Maine

Featuring Cadillac Mountain, one of the first places in the U.S. to see sunrise each morning, Acadia National Park covers several islands and is an excellent destination for birdwatchers and rewards hikers with stunning ocean views. The area was first inhabited by the Wabanaki people and later became the site of the first French missionary colony in America. To reduce summertime traffic congestion, the National Park Service is working on a new transportation plan to keep the park a beautiful and enjoyable destination.

Vermont

Take a hike along the Appalachian Trail to the top of White Rocks Cliffs to soak in views of the mountains and the valleys below. Twin Farms in Barnard and the Pitcher Inn in Warren provide the perfect launching off points for hiking, biking, golf and just about any other outdoor adventure you can imagine. The picturesque towns will make you feel as though you’re walking through a painting, allowing you to relax and recharge in maximum comfort.

Top Fall Foliage Trips in the U.S.

 

It’s been in the air — and in your Facebook timeline with all the posts about pumpkin spice — for weeks. But with the equinox coming Saturday, it will be official: It’s autumn. Soon, fall foliage will abound. Here are some of the best places in the country to go leafing.

 

New England & Canada

This is a classic, from Maine’s Acadia National Park to the Green Mountains of Vermont. Instead of sharing the highways with the thousands of others who had the same idea, consider a fall foliage cruise. You’ll visit ports such as Bar Harbor, Halifax, and Quebec City without having to fight traffic every step of the way and repacking every day, all the while being delivered into the heart of colorful, charming, picture-perfect towns.

 

The Ozarks

The colors come in toward the end of September and beginning of October, starting with blackgum and sweetgum trees, casting reds, yellows, purples and oranges. The peak of the season occurs about a month later, and in between, there are hickories projecting brilliant yellow leaves, sassafras in every color and more than 50 varieties of oak ranging from orange to deep red. On the drive through the rolling Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, you’re surrounded by color as far as the eye can see.

 

The Rockies

The aspens of Colorado have already begun to turn a striking golden yellow in higher elevations and will be peaking in a couple of weeks. Working their way down, the leaves will start to drop off the trees on higher slopes while they begin changing color at lower elevations, lasting until early November. Farther north in the Tetons and Yellowstone, orange, yellow and red will swarm the forests, making for a stark contrast against snowcapped slate-colored peaks. Aspens, cottonwoods, and maples combine for a dazzling array that’s hard to beat.

 

The Pacific Northwest

The length of the season depends on how much rain falls, but as long as they last, the fall colors are spectacular. Trails throughout Washington and Oregon erupt in beautiful, deep reds, oranges and yellows, including the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, where bushes and shrubs shine in front of tall evergreens and the backdrop of the 14,410-foot Rainier. Silver Falls State Park in Oregon’s Willamette Valley sports colorful trees along a river teeming with spawning salmon and waterfalls galore.

 

The South

Though the summer lasts a little longer down south, there are plenty of places to spot brilliant leaves in perfect weather during the autumn. From the Natchez Parkway spanning Mississippi and Tennessee all the way down to Florida’s Three Rivers State Park near the Georgia border, there is brilliance on display. The Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina light up with dogwood, birch and many other trees changing color across a variety of elevations. Not to be missed is Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley National Park.

All autumn long, there are spectacular foliage trips right in your backyard.