“It is a great art,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “to saunter.”
Although he wrote those words in 1841, they are just as relevant – if not more so – today. A good walk is a balm for the soul, a way to escape your thoughts and busy schedule for a bit while losing yourself in nature’s grandeur.
All the more better if there’s a beautiful view. So we’ve rounded up five Northeast rambles with scenic vistas that are just perfect for late summer and the upcoming foliage season. Lace up your walking shoes, blaze your own trail and discover all the beauty available to you right in your own backyard.
(Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please check official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.)
This 3.5-mile stunner – a National Recreation Trail – hugs the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, pairing seaside views on one side with Newport’s opulent mansions on the other. The route is mostly gentle, with rocks you must scramble over in spots and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Along the way you’ll spy The Breakers, the most famous of Newport’s “cottages,” along with Marble House, Rosecliff and Rough Point, Doris Duke’s former family home.
Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George is a bustling summer haven full of wineries, outdoor activities and, of course, plenty of fun along the water. But there’s plenty to do in the fall, too, as the area’s trails burst into color. Head to the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve in Bolton for family-friendly hikes with stunning views of Lake George from the top of either peak.
The White Mountains, N.H.
The Kanc, as locals call it, weaves 34 miles through the White Mountain National Forest. Bonus: The aptly named scenic highway is renowned for its beautiful fall foliage, which peaks from late September through mid-October. The area around the highway is home to a plethora of hiking trails, picnic sites and scenic outlooks. You can grab a map at fs.usda.gov and take your pick of mild (or challenging) routes, including a handicap-accessible trail to Sabbaday Falls, one of the state’s most popular waterfalls with a 45-foot drop.
The Appalachian Trail
Many spots along the AT – Georgia’s Springer Mountain, the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and Mount Katahdin in Maine – seem to get all the glory. But we think some other sections of the 2,180-plus-mile hiking trail deserve love, too. The steep Harmon Hill Trail in Bennington, Vt., is aglow with foliage in the fall, while a wheelchair-friendly section in Falls Village, Conn., contains a 50-foot waterfall and the remains of a Civil War-era iron works.
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Stately Mount Greylock, clocking in at 3,491 feet, is the highest point in the Bay State. It’s also located on the Appalachian Trail, so you may cross a few thru-hikers on your journey. Several trails range from easy to difficult, although you can drive up to the summit if you’d like. Once there, take in the scenic views (one can see New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire on a clear day) before tucking into the Bascom Lodge for a rest, a tour of the gift shop, or a hearty soup-and-sandwich combo after your hike. Bonus: See if you can find the rock emblazoned with one of Thoreau’s quotes on the path to the summit. (The avid hiker scaled the peak in 1844, the year before he settled into a cabin on Walden Pond.)