It's time again for warm sweaters, apple cider, all pumpkin everything, and of course, the changing leaves to usher in fall. While we're big fans of stocking up on firewood and spending the weekends wearing your softest flannels and reading the newspaper in front of the fireplace, fall is prime time for scenic drives to see the bright autumn colors. Here are some of the best areas to soak up the season.
New York's got a lot of things going for it, but the Adirondacks are one of the biggest standouts. The park takes up almost the entire northern section of the state with six million acres of glassy lakes, rolling hills, towering mountains, and lush trees as far as the eye can see -- all of which you can see on any of the scenic park byways. There's a calming beauty regardless of the season, but the fall foliage stands out in particular with acre after acre bursting with orange and yellow, all reflected in the 3,000+ lakes.
Smoky Mountain National Park
Leaves will stay on trees longer if they're not subjected to cold fronts and strong winds early on in the season like they are in most Northern areas, which makes Tennessee a great place to enjoy the foliage for slightly longer time frame. The pale yellows with spots of orange and red cover the Appalachian mountains to make for excellent viewing for the Southern crowd.
The northern part of Maine sees color earlier than the rest, but the quiet, rural areas spread out across the rest of the state will make for good viewing regardless of your destination. Pack a thermos of mulled cider and some food, since the entire state is perfect for leisurely drives along small countryside roads that pass through storybook inland and coastal towns.
The aspen trees that fill the Colorado horizon are, of course, bare during the winter when skiers rent chalets and spend their winter vacations seductively lounging on bearskin rugs and sipping cognac in front of a fireplace while soft jazz plays in the background (or so we assume). In the fall, though, the bright yellow leaves are highlighted against the aspen trees’ white trunks, with all the same manicured beauty as in the winter.