From leaf peeping to cider brewing, New England boasts scores of unforgettable experiences. It’s time to discover the USA’s stunning east side.
LEAF PEEPER. \ l i : f, p i : p r \ noun. 1. (mainly US) a tourist who visits New England in autumn to see the changing foliage.
1. THE BEST PLACE FOR LEAF PEEPING.
In New England the autumn leaves change colour with such frequency, one day you’ll awaken to a landscape of gold, and the next it’ll be bathed in red. Both Maine and New Hampshire are the best places to view the autumnal colours. Maine is generally considered the less-crowded option for foliage lovers, with Acadia National Park showcasing some beautiful, yet relatively quiet areas. There’s also Grafton Notch State Park near New Hampshire’s border. Albeit lesser-known, the easy trails and Screw Auger Falls, which were forged from a glacier, provide the perfect backdrop for a flurry of golden leaves. The fall leaves are most impressive between late September and late October.
HOT TIP: Being one of the most forested states in the United States, you can't beat New Hampshire for ample fall foliage.
Instant inspiration! All eyes on Maine! One of New England's most colourful regions for fall leaves, Maine is a top spot for nature. And let's not forget the beer!
2. MALT, HOPS, YEAST AND WATER.
With over 100 Maine breweries crafting unique beers, if you have a thirst that needs to be quenched, explore the Maine Beer Trail. Great ale is something this state takes seriously. Even during the prohibition, devoted drinkers didn’t exactly abide by the law. Ask any local beer maker what makes the “Maine” difference and they’ll credit the region’s crystal clear waters, and more specifically, Sebago Lake. Found northwest of Portland, the glacial sand bed acts as a natural filter.
HOT TIP: Penobscot Bay Brewery in Winterport makes beer-flavoured ice-cream, as well as chocolate milk stout, created from Ghana’s richest cocoa beans.
Instant inspiration! Boasting five different scenic railroads, breathtaking lakes and just a stone's throw from both mountain and ocean, is New Hampshire.
3. A DAY AT THE ORCHARD.
When you need a digital detox, ditch the gadgets and find a New England orchard. This is apple country, and from August through to late October, working farms open their doors for pick-your-own apples, orchard picnics and cider tasting. And that’s only the half of it. Once plucked, these rosy orbs fall into the hands of talented pastry chefs. From apple doughnuts to glazed tarts, if this were a comic, your cartoon self would be floating (nostrils-first) towards an open window; a just-baked pie sitting on the sill.
HOT TIP: Maine’s Hope Orchards has an ‘open door’ season from September to October with freshly pressed cider that’s bottled every Friday. Punch 434 Camden Road into Google Maps.
4. SEEING STARS.
Star gazing in New England is an absolute knockout. An absence of light pollution allows for the entire sky to swarm with stars. Maine has bragging rights to the clearest heavens on the entire East Coast, with Acadia National Park offering an unbeatable star-filled night’s sky. Come winter, gazers are treated to views of Jupiter, the Pleiades and Orion’s Belt, while in September the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is popular for its workshops, presentations and hands-on astronomy experiences.
HOT TIP: There are numerous observatories across the state, but the beach is as good a spot as any to admire the Milky Way. Pack a blanket, lie back and enjoy the show.
5. AMERICA’S OLDEST PUB.
The oldest tavern building in the United States, the White Horse has been a meeting place, a court house and a city hall. Serving its patrons for over 350 years, if these four walls could talk they’d share whispers from Colonists and British soldiers, mercenaries, pirates and sailors. These days the log fire still roars and the candles burn, while the locals chatter about Trump instead; modern Rhode Island in a distinctly 17th century setting. Sit beneath the wooden beams and nurse a dark pint of ale, before tucking into local New England oysters caught in Narragansett Bay.
HOT TIP: Find it at 26 Marlborough Street, Newport, Rhode Island.
6. MT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY.
Ascend into the clouds on the world’s first mountain-climbing Cog Railway train. Powered by steam, chug up New England’s highest mountain while animated brakeman detail the train’s 148 year history. Open late April through November, spend an hour at the pinnacle, absorbing the spectacular panoramic views and small mountain-top museum. For novelty, send a postcard (complete with a postmarked stamp) from the summit, and then it’s back on-board for a 45-minute return journey.
HOT TIP: The weather can turn expectantly cold at the top. Pack layers and prepare for a drop in temperature.