Vermont tourism officials are expecting another brilliant foliage season this year and encourage visitors to take advantage of midweek deals being offered through the fall.
Dozens of inns, hotels, attractions, historic sites and museums are offering a variety of midweek specials during the fall foliage season as part of the statewide ‘Midweek Peek’ promotion organized by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. Deals range from discounted lodging to reduced admission prices. For details, visit www.VermontVacation.com/midweek.
‘Visitors can find a diverse range of options for lodging, dining and activities during Vermont’s legendary foliage season, and midweek is the
perfect time to take a trip here,’ says Vermont Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde. ‘Fall foliage in Vermont is glorious any day of the week, and we hope visitors will explore special ‘Midweek Peek’ deals around the state.’
Vermont’s landscape shimmers in red, orange and gold during the fall, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe. Vermont has the highest percentage of sugar maple trees of any state in the nation, and an abundance of red maple trees, which all produce vibrant, bright colors during foliage. Vermont forestry experts agree with the prediction that a beautiful foliage season is on the way.
‘We’re on track for another spectacular fall season. Most parts of the state had good summer moisture, and early color can already be seen in some places,’ says Ginger Anderson, Chief of Forest Management for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. ‘As Vermont transitions into typical fall weather with warm days and cool nights, we expect Vermont's foliage to display magnificent autumn color.’
The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing offers a number of resources on its website at VermontVacation.com for foliage season visitors. The site includes tips on planning ahead, a Lodging Availability Forecaster, and the Foliage Forecaster, which shows the progression of the colors across Vermont during a typical foliage season. Visitors can also access the Vermont Travel Planner, an extensive database of lodging, dining, events, attractions and recreational opportunities.
Weekly foliage reports will begin on Sept.14 and will be available on VermontVacation.com and also the state’s toll-free visitor information hotline 1-800-VERMONT. Reports will be updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of October.
Visitors make 14.3 million trips to Vermont each year and visitor spending adds an estimated $1.57 billion to the state’s economy, according to VDTM research. The research shows that 23 percent of those visits, or 3.7 million, are during the fall season.
Vermont has some of the best foliage in the world. Autumn is the perfect time to hop in the car and take a drive through the country lanes, winding streets, and scenic byways. With the backdrop of blue skies and a myriad of fall colors on the horizon, Vermont is ready for exploration.
Have Car, Will Travel; State Recognized Scenic Byways
Vermont has a number of roads that have stood out for their historic, recreational, and natural wonders. To jump-start your foliage viewing, try these routes during your travels. All have easy access parking and/or pullouts for photo opportunities or impromptu rest stops.
Scenic Route 108, the Smuggler’s Notch Road, attracts hikers and rock climbers as it passes through Mansfield State Forest and near the Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort.
Scenic Route 131, Cavendish Road, runs through the town of Cavendish and follows the well-stocked Black River where anglers can be found casting for fish.
Scenic Route 125, Middlebury Gap Road, is an ideal location to view autumn colors as it passes through the Green Mountain National Forest, a popular camping spot.
The Lake Champlain Byway offers outstanding views of the state’s largest lake, surrounding Green Mountains and Adirondacks, as well as the area's working landscapes.
Route 9, the Molly Stark Trail, is named after the wife of New Hampshire's General John Stark who was the victor of the August 16, 1777 Battle of Bennington.
The Connecticut River Scenic Byway is the natural bridge that unites New Hampshire and Vermont for over half of the waterway's 410-mile journey from the Canadian border to the Atlantic Ocean.
Vermont: The Best Way to Enjoy the Best Foliage
Vermont has the highest percentage of maple trees of any of the New England states, a tree with foliage that turns vibrant orange and yellow in the fall. Foliage progresses from the north to south and from higher elevations to lower elevations. Therefore, the earlier in the season you visit, the more northerly you want to focus and the later you come, more southerly. If you want to do more planning before your arrival, research your trip on www.vermontvacation.com/seasons/fall.asp. Here you can find suggested drives, read foliage reports, learn the insider’s tips, and watch the Foliage Forecaster which helps you strategically plan where and when to visit Vermont based on the natural progression of foliage in a typical year. It is a handy tool if you've never been to Vermont before or come from an area where foliage doesn't change so dramatically.
Winding down with Wine Tour: Vermont Vineyards and Wineries
Starting in northern Vermont, begin your wine tour at Boyden Valley in Cambridge for a September Harvest Festival. Continue west to the Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero, a leader in the Vermont wine field establishing the first commercial grape vineyard. At the Grand View Winery in East Calais, sample something decidedly different like elderberry or dandelion wine. Try a few award-winning organic grape wines at Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne. At the Ottauquechee Valley Winery housed in the Historic Dewey Mill near the Quechee Gorge, enjoy any of their seven wines. End the tour at the southern tip of the state with the North River Winery in Jacksonville, which offers Vermont Harvest dessert wine containing cinnamon and Vermont maple syrup. For contact details, visit www.VermontBrewers.com.
An Apple a Day: Farms, Festivals and More
Vermont’s cool climate is perfect for producing apples. Almost 70 percent of the apples grown in Vermont are MacIntosh, a variety good for eating fresh picked, fresh pressed or fresh baked. When apples are harvested in September and October, there are a number of festivals with apples as the centerpiece. These celebrations feature diverse entertainment including music, crafts, cider pressing, pie baking and more. Apple picking at an orchard is a unique Vermont experience and taking home fresh cider makes for a tasty souvenir. For a complete listing of orchards and apple events, visit www.VermontApples.org.
The Vistas of Vermont: Accessing the State’s Many Mountaintops
Many of Vermont’s mountain peaks offer panoramic views, especially breathtaking in fall. Killington Resort has a gondola ride to the state’s second highest peak, where a clear day can provide views into Canada. At Killington and Bolton Valley, you can bring your mountain bikes along for the ride and bike a trail back to the base. In the Northeast Kingdom, rise to the top of Jay Peak in a sixty person capacity tram. In southern Vermont, Bromley Mountain, Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow both have lift services to their summits. The 3816-foot Mount Equinox peak can be reached via a winding drive with views of the Green Mountain range.
Take it From the Top: Viewing Foliage from Another Angle
For an entirely different perspective of Vermont foliage, take a hot air balloon ride, go skydiving, or ride the air currents on a sailplane. From the faint of heart to the hearty adventurer, there is a bird’s eye view opportunity for everyone. Soar over the treetops in a romantic sunset balloon ride over the Quechee Gorge. Tandem, static line, and accelerated free fall jumps all are available with professional instructors within a setting of mountains, valleys, and lakes. Enjoy the views on a quiet sailplane tour or take a day lesson and learn to pilot the air currents on your own. Contact the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association at www.VOGA.org for information on any of these activities.
The Bridges of Addison County: Covered Bridges in Vermont
Sure, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep and Robert James Waller can make anyone’s bridges famous. However, without a New York Times bestseller and a big budget movie to back it up, Vermont has managed to carve out a reputation for itself as the place to come for covered bridges. Vermont is home to more than 100 covered bridges and each one has a story to tell.
Treasure Hunting in Vermont: Shopping for Antiques
Vermont’s countryside is dotted with a treasure trove of collectibles and antiques. Given the richness of history, Vermont has an abundance of interesting artifacts and unique bric-a-brac. Pieces are often displayed on the roadside to lure shoppers inside where hunting among the rooms and rafters is part of the experience. In autumn, there are a number of expos, including the Annual Vermont Antique Dealer’s Association gathering and the Annual Weston Antiques Show. These shows and others make antiquing easy by assembling vendors to display, highlight and sell their wares.