Autumn brings with it cooler weather, layered fashions, and nature’s crowned beauty, the changing leaves. Enjoying the season’s foliage can be as simple as a day, overnight or weekend getaway. Whether it’s a scenic train ride into Canada or discovering the beauty of Virginia’s national parks, enjoying the colors of fall can provide a needed respite during the season.
If you are looking for adventure close to home, look no further than Shenandoah National Park. 40% of the park is designated wilderness, and the hardwood forests provide a peaceful solitude to visitors. Upon arriving, visitors are taken along Skyline Drive — an experience in itself — which takes you through the park and has overlooks with magnificent views. For the adventurous types, Shenandoah National Park offers over 500 miles of trails for hiking for a variety of interests and abilities, such as the Limberlost trail, constructed to meet ADA accessibility standards. Visithttp://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/index.htm for more information about things to see and do.
For lodging, consider Skyland Resort, located at the highest point on Skyline drive. Their dining facilities also offer delicious regional selections.
For a trip to Maryland, consider the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Autumn is migration season, so along with the palette of leaf colors, you can also enjoy watching the geese and swans migrate through the refuge. The park serves as a resting and feeding area for waterfowl, so it’s a popular choice for bird watching. It also has the largest nesting population of bald eagles on the East Coast. There are various other outdoor activities that can be enjoyed, including hiking, biking and canoeing.
For a place to stay, try the Holiday Inn Express Cambridge. It is located nearby and also offers easy access to downtown areas of Cambridge, MD. A great dining experience can be found at Snappers Waterfront Cafe. Only five minutes from the hotel, it offers seafood specialties to enjoy while dining on the water.
Maple Leaf Train
If you would rather enjoy the colors of fall without necessarily going on long hikes, Amtrak offers their Maple Leaf train. The twelve-hour train ride takes you from New York City to Toronto, Canada with beautiful views along the way of the Hudson River Valley, New York’s wine country and the gorges of the Finger Lakes region. The train also passes near Niagara Falls. If you choose this option, be aware that it involves a border crossing.
If you are going into Toronto, consider staying at the Marriott located several blocks from the station. A great place to eat is the Portico Restaurant and Bar, which offers contemporary Canadian, continental and international cuisine with a welcoming, pleasant ambiance.
Vermont is famous for its fall colors, so much so that the state has a Foliage Forecaster to help visitors plan their stay. It is the ideal place to enjoy scenic drives through miles of sweeping forests and farmland. Vermont’s tourism website offers suggestions for scenic routes to plan, ranging from 30 to 210 miles, with directions and attractions along each route. Guests can enjoy a sampling of wineries, museums, antique stores and cheese factories.
Located in Northeast Vermont, the Fairbanks Inn is a great place to stay, offering spacious rooms with pet friendly accommodations and located close to hiking, biking, riding and other activities. For dining, try Elements Food & Spirit.
If traveling as far as Maine, consider visiting Acadia National Park. With its rocky coastline, rolling mountains, forests, ponds and more, it offers wide ecological diversity. There are many opportunities to observe wildlife in its natural habitat, as well as opportunities for day trips and outdoor activities like rock climbing. The community adjacent to the park, Bar Harbor, offers a variety of lodging options, including cozy bed and breakfasts. To enjoy the best Maine lobster, be sure to stop by Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound located close to the park.