5 Fall Road Trips for Leaf Peeping

We can’t think of a better time to go enjoy what nature has to offer. Maybe you’ve been working from your kitchen table for months, maybe you’ve been on the front lines at the hospital, or teaching little ones via Zoom – and no matter what you’ve been up to, you’ve likely had big travel plans cancelled…

So it may be time for a little leaf peeping adventure (full disclosure: as a California-headquartered company, some of us are pretty new to the idea of ‘leaf peeping.’ But we have trees here too, so we figure it’s fair game). 

First of all, this 2020 Fall Foliage map will tell you exactly where you need to be to see fall leaves at their peak. Start there, and then try these 5 tried-and-true destinations for leaf peeping road trips.

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VERMONT

When it comes to leaf peeping, New England has it down. Check out Vermont’s fall foliage report to make sure you’re headed at the right time. Then take a cruise down the Green Mountain Byway, or try one of these scenic drives

Vermont

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

Not only does the 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway consist of two states (Virginia and North Carolina), but it also squeezes in two national parks along the way (the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah). With overlooks and viewpoints the whole way, the Parkway’s speed limit is 45, so take in the fall colors and take it slooooow. 

LAKE SUPERIOR CIRCLE TOUR

For the more determined and committed leaf peepers out there, one state may not be enough. The Lake Superior Circle Tour is a 1,300 mile loop that takes you through three midwestern states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) and the Canadian province of Ontario. Do it in stages or all at once.

Lake Superior

FINGER LAKES

New York’s southern Finger Lakes region gives off peak fall vibes. Try one of these scenic drives with farms, cheese companies, cider tasting, museums, and brewing companies along the way. Just remember to bring your mask and sanitizer for the pit stops. 

NEW MEXICO

The East Coast doesn’t get to have all the fall fun. New Mexico’s Aspen trees turn to vibrant gold in the fall, but it doesn’t last for long. Hit the road and hop on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway (if that name doesn’t say it all…) or the Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway. Camera required.

NewMexico

And if you’re looking to double up on fall activities (the more festive you can be, the better if you ask us), check out this list of best places for apple picking and see if you can make some extra stops along the way. 

And whatever the fall activity, you’ll want to make sure you’ve layered up. We can help you pick the right men’s jacket and women’s jacket for the photo opps. 

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Weekend Plan: Apple Picking

Apple Orchard

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well what about an apple orchard in a day? Okay, it might not work the same way, but we think a day in the orchard is good for the soul. And now is the time to get to it! All through September, October and November the apple trees are overflowing. Grab some friends and spend a few hours getting provincial – take a hayride, swap your beer for cider and let the harvest begin. Here are some of our favorite spots to get your pick on.

All Seasons Orchard – Woodstock, IL

Three words: APPLE CIDER DONUTS. There’s a magical place halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee that serves up some of the finest homemade apple cider donuts east of the Mississippi (and probably west of it too, actually). You’ll work up an appetite after a few hours in the orchards – there’s 10,000 apple trees – so you’ll have earned a few pastries. With a donut in hand, head over to the corn maze or shooting gallery (apple shooters and pumpkin cannons, that is) and embrace all that is autumnal.

Carter Mountain Orchard – Charlottesville, VA

Virginia is for lovers, apple pickers and hard cider. Marked by a picturesque red barn in the hills of Appel-achia, you can’t get much more authentic than the rolling hills of Carter Mountain Orchard. Golden Supreme and Gala apples are the early crop, or take a break and switch to some sweet peaches. Whatever you choose, be sure to wash it all down with some hard cider (and maybe a growler to go, too).

Mt. View Orchard – Hood River, OR

“Hip” isn’t often a word associated with apple picking, but this may just be the hippest spot in the Pacific Northwest. With 50-acres of apple and pear farm nestled just north of Mt. Hood, Mt View Orchard has been growing delicious, top-grade, environmentally sustainable fruit for over 40 years. Pop in to pick a bushel, snag one of their famous applesauce cinnamon rolls (or five) and spend a day marveling the mountain and taking in that fresh Fall air. Check their website for fun events during the harvest season like regular farm-to-table dinners and Swiss-Edelweiss Day in late October.

Brackett’s Orchard – Limington, ME

40 minutes outside of Portland, Maine is a little slice of history (and a BIG slice of pie). Brackett’s has been a family operated farm since the 1780s so they’ve perfected the art of the harvest. Fresh apple varietals are popping up all winter long, so stop in every few weeks and see what’s new. Hayrides, U-pick, cider tasting, a country kitchen – everything you imagine when you hear “Apple Harvest” awaits you at Brackett’s. Go ahead, your taste buds will thank you.

Riley’s Apple Farm – Oak Glen, CA

California’s orange groves are known for their sweetness, but the little-known apple orchards are pretty darn good too! California’s apple country is in mile-high Oak Glen in Northern California, and it’s certainly keeping up with the apple orchards of the East. Riley’s Apple Farm is one of the original orchards in the area and they’ve got the log cabin and home-cooked fritters to prove it. U-pick is open until they run out, generally in late October so get up there while the gettin’s good.

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