Just as the leaves begin to turn in autumn, so, too, do thoughts turn to a leaf-peeping road trip. And some of our favorite routes include a variety of wonderful (rest) stops along the way.
Kancamagus Scenic Byway: (Route 112, aka “The Kanc”): There are many scenic overlooks and parking areas that will get you closer to nature along this 34.5-mile scenic drive through the White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire. But your first stop should be at mile marker 0, the Ranger Station/visitor information stop, where you’ll also find bathrooms, touring information and the $5 parking recreation passes you’ll need if you want to take advantage of the stops along the way (BOLO for those along the first 7 miles, which offer views/access to the Swift River). C. L. Graham Wangan Overlook, with spectacular views of the Swift River Watershed and the mountains, as well as interpretive signage.
Interstate 91: If you’re hitting the road with the whole family (including those of the four-footed variety) you’ll love the Guilford Welcome Center, in a post-and-beam barn in southeastern Vermont. It has won awards for its wealth of information for visitors, as well as its extensive grounds – including a sculpture garden, meadow walk (with foliage views), antique farm equipment, a playground and a beautiful pet-walking area/garden.
New Jersey-New York
Palisades Interstate Parkway (aka Palisades Scenic Byway in New Jersey): This 38.25-mile road connecting New Jersey and New York lets you get out of New York City quickly, with scenery (including foliage) all along the way. The New Jersey stretch is known for its scenic overlooks (I actually like them best at night, when you get the lights of civilization reflected in the mighty Hudson below). Best are the Alpine Overlook (north side, near exit 2) and the State Line Lookout, a short walk to the views from atop Palisades Cliffs, plus a concession stand.
Also check out the Bear Mountain/Tompkins Cove stop on the north-south median (between exits 16 and 17) in New York, which has a bookstore and general information about the region.
Route 6: A personal favorite, year-round. There are three notable stops along this mostly two-lane road through the Hudson Highlands, which crosses the Hudson River via the Bear Mountain Bridge. East of the river, near Peekskill, you’ll find a small parking area/overlook perched on the side of Anthony’s Nose with a spectacular view of the river and Bear Mountain to the west.
Taconic State Parkway: The Todd Hill rest area (https://taste.ny.gov/store/todd-hill-rest-area), 1 mile south of Route 55, features the Taste NY Market, stocked with locally sourced food, beverages, and produce. You’ll also find a seasonal outdoor farmers market on Mondays.
Do you know of any more great rest stops in the Northeast? Let others know about them in the comments below.
Read more about rest stops and view a slideshow of these great places.