No autumn in the Northeast is complete without a trip to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of fall foliage lighting up the landscape.
And if forests of vibrant reds, yellows and oranges weren’t stunning enough, imagine the magic of those colorful forests reflected in sunlit water.
Instead of sticking to the same old highways, come explore the Northeast’s waterways and take your leaf-peeping experience to a whole new level.
The Hudson River
Trade in the rumble of the highway for the majesty and tranquility of the Hudson River as you survey autumn’s brilliant hues from a vantage point on the water. The Hudson flows through the heartland of the Northeast, winding its way through historic towns and breathtaking countryside.
Journey up the Hudson with Blount Small Ship Adventures on their 9-day fall foliage cruise that explores both the Hudson River and the scenic coastal waterways of New England in 2019. Blount’s specially engineered boats can navigate waterways as shallow as 7 feet, allowing you to access unique ports and steer clear of crowded tourist spots. Experience a taste of American history and legend as you stroll the streets of colonial towns. This fall foliage cruise takes you to several New York destinations such as Troy and Catskill, as well as New England ports including Mystic, Conn., and Bristol and Newport, R.I.
And if a fall foliage cruise sounds incredible, be sure to book your spot on Blount’s 14-day foliage cruise from New York to Montreal and experience the Erie Canal on the only overnight cruise line able to transit this historic waterway – now discounted at 40% through August 27th.
Lake George, New York
In New York’s Adirondack Mountains lies majestic Lake George, 44 square miles of crystal clear water with a rich history as the favorite vacation destination for the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts of the Gilded Age.
Venture out on the water and view the kaleidoscope of autumn colors from a whole new perspective. The Lake George Steamboat Company offers several daily cruises to choose from, on three different boats. Enjoy live music on The Minni-Ha-Ha, champagne brunch on the Lac du Saint Sacrement or pick a themed dinner cruise on The Mohican (tour boat since 1908).
Grab your camera and take a hike or drive up to the summit of iconic Prospect Mountain for spectacular, panoramic views. Then head down to The Sagamore Resort for some recreation, relaxation and fine dining. Built on a private island, this historic hotel and resort features a golf course, tennis courts, luxury spa and sweeping views of the surrounding lake and forested hills.
Ocean Drive – Newport, Rhode Island
Bordered by historic mansions on one side and the rugged Atlantic on the other, Rhode Island’s famed Ocean Drive in the city of Newport is 10 miles of dramatic waterfront and gorgeous architecture peeping out among the colorful leaves.
This scenic drive has plenty of activities and opportunities to explore along the way. Ten ornate mansions are open for tours, including The Breakers (a “70 room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo”) and Marble House, both owned by notable Vanderbilts. You can also tour the beautiful Touro Synagogue which was built in 1763 and is the oldest synagogue in the U.S.
Relax in the outdoors at Brenton Point State Park where you can picnic, camp, hike, fish and even fly a kite. Then hike the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk along Newport’s rocky shoreline and enjoy fantastic views of crashing ocean waves and lovely mansions – just watch your step, some cliffs have a drop of over 70 feet.
North Conway, New Hampshire
This charming resort town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is home to forested mountainsides and the clear waters of the Saco River. Sit back, relax and watch the leaves turn as you float down the river.
Whether you prefer a kayak, tube or canoe, the experienced staff at Saco Bound Outdoors will help you gear up and guide you on your river adventure so all you have to do is enjoy the sights.
When you’re ready to stretch your legs take a hike over to Diana’s Baths Waterfalls which features 75-foot cascading waterfalls and refreshing pools of water that are wonderful to splash in on a warm day. Check out the Black Cap Hiking Trail, an easy trek great for kids and non-hikers with a summit that yields expansive views of the surrounding mountains.
Or sit back and watch the lovely scenery go by as you take a train ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. By day, enjoy the panoramic vistas, and on certain special October nights board the train for an evening of Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.
The Berkshires, Massachusetts
Just a short drive from NYC and Boston, the Berkshire Mountains are famous for their spectacular autumn colors and are home to shining lakes and clear rivers.
Try your hand at boating on the peaceful Onota Lake in Pittsfield (Onota Boat Livery will get you set up with everything you need). For glimpses of local wildlife including great blue heron, red-tailed hawks, beavers, muskrats and painted turtles, take a guided canoe tour with Berkshire Scenic Treks and Canoe Tours. And if you’re thirsting for adventure, Crab Apple Whitewater leads action-packed rafting trips on the Deerfield River in Charlemont.
Unleash your inner foodie at one of the Berkshire’s incredible farmers’ markets, then get in touch with the region’s rich artistic history with a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum and Arrowhead, the historic home where Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick.
Go for an afternoon drive and cruise among the vivid crimson and gold leaves, past verdant pastures and family farms. For views of gorgeous Lake Mahkeenac take a drive on Route 183 which runs between Lenox and Stockbridge. Or get an elevated view of the autumn landscape via Route 8, which connects North Adams to Massachusetts’ highest peak, Mount Greylock, at 3,491 feet.
What’s your favorite Northeast location for waterfront foliage views? Tell us in the comments.