With the weather finally cooling down, it’s time to think about taking a fall road trip to check out the foliage. Luxury destination management company Bespoke USA has rounded up a few of their top suggestions:
Blue Ridge Parkway – Roanoke, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina
Renowned as the U.S.’s most scenic highway, the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Shenandoah National Park to The Great Smoky Mountains. Start your trip on the 106-mile Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and stop to stretch your legs with a hike through Humpback Rock Overlook, or trek up the peak of Sharp Top Mountain for prime foliage views as far as the eye can see.
Settle in for the night at luxury mountain resort Primland and take advantage of the hotel’s guided outdoor adventure offerings or simply relax at the spa before hitting the road and heading south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. For the adventure junkies in your car, take a 20-minute detour off the Parkway for the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain to walk the highest suspended footbridge in the country and take in unmatched views of fall scenery from above. Make sure to stop at the apple orchard at Altapass for fall treats and cider tastings.
Before continuing onto the Great Smoky Mountains, stop in Asheville for a rest at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, a mountain retreat with 8,000 acres of manicured gardens, stables and farms. Stay on estate grounds for dinner or head into town to try one of the many farm-to-table restaurants that turned Asheville into a dining destination, such as Tupelo, Bouchon or Local Provisions.
Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway – The Berkshires
The Berkshires have long been synonymous with breathtaking foliage displays, and this 35-mile stretch on Route 20 does not disappoint. Starting in Russell, Massachusetts, and winding through the charming towns of Huntington, Chester and Becket and ending in downtown Lee, Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway offers glimpses of quaint New England life against a backdrop of mountain summits, as well as access to lesser-known state parks such as October Mountain State Forest, which contains part of the Appalachian Trail.
For the finale of your trip, continue north up Route 20 to reach Lenox, a culturally rich New England town packed with boutiques, art galleries, and eats. Check into Blantyre, a Relais & Chateaux Tudor-style mansion, and into town for boutique browsing and experience the Berkshires farm to table food culture at Nudel – a creative restaurant with new American cuisine that varies with nightly changing menus based on the ingredients available from local farms.
San Juan Skyway – Colorado
The San Juan Skyway is a 235-mile loop that winds through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, passing through historical mountain towns that will have you feeling the spirit of the Old West.
Start in the town of Dolores, Colorado, and wander through the colorful trails of the San Juan National Forest before settling for the night at Dunton Hot Springs – a luxury cabin resort and a true secluded oasis that exudes Dunton’s rich history as miner town deserted in the 1880s. Treat yourself to a soak in the region’s famous hot springs and experience the most epic-stargazing that can only be seen from a location as remote as this one. Grab breakfast at Dunton Hot Springs Saloon and continue northeast on the San Juan Skyway to the mountain resort town of Telluride.
Once you’ve arrived, drop your bags off at the luxurious Madeline Hotel & Residences, nestled into the foothills of the Rockies just steps away from hiking trails. Get ready to hit the mountains for a hike to see bright autumn colors up close and work up an appetite before settling into a seat at upscale Italian hotspot, La Piazza Del Villaggio for dinner. After a good night’s rest, spend the next day exploring local art scene by gallery hopping through town or browsing through the shops in Telluride’s Historic District.
After you’ve taken in all this idyllic western mountain town has to offer, head back on the Skyway and continue to Ridgeway, stopping at Ridgway State Park for dazzling foliage with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. After a hike, head 10 miles south to the quaint town if Ouray – known as the “Switzerland of America” – and settle in to the historical Beaumont Hotel, built during the height of the Gold Rush. Time your trip to be in town on October 5 for Ouray’s Oktoberfest to celebrate the season with beer and dancing against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.