Fall Foliage Tours to Watch This Year

The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is considered one of the best spots in America to view fall foliage. // Photo by danloga/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Autumn has arrived in North America and with it comes the colorful fall foliage. For visitors to the Northeast, especially the New England region, several tour operators offer a variety of options to experience the season be it by foot, train or cruise.

Tauck World Discovery is offering a 12-day “Grand New England” tour. Although the itinerary’s focus is on the colorful foliage of the region, filmed vignettes by filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are also included during the trip.

“The Grand New England tour holds a very special place in our hearts, because it explores the same region that Arthur Tauck Sr. traveled with his very first guests back in 1925,” says Tom Armstrong, corporate communications manager at Tauck. “In fact, it was experiencing New England’s fall foliage the prior year that had actually prompted Arthur to operate a motor coach tour through the region.”

“Grand New England is a wonderful itinerary because it’s so diverse. Guests enjoy great cities like Boston and Portland, explore America’s early history in Lexington and Concord, and experience landscapes ranging from the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire to the rocky coast of Maine. And quite honestly, there’s simply no better time to experience those places than when fall colors are at their peak.”

Guests will enjoy a private lunch at Edith Wharton’s Berkshire home known as The Mount, as well as take a private Tauck schooner cruise on the waters off Bar Harbor in Maine. For the more adventurous there is also a hands-on lobstering experience in Portland with a local lobsterman.

Guests will later make a stop at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, take a docent-led tour of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, and view the fall colors from the Mount Washington Observatory with a resident meteorologist.

Prices for the “Grand New England” tour begin at $5,190 per person and include 26 meals, service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees, taxes and porterage.

For travelers interested in viewing the autumn leaves by train, Vacations by Rail has the “Fall Colors, Scenic Trains & Martha’s Vineyard” rail tour. Travel Agent spoke with Lynne Bobak Brush, marketing director at Vacations by Rail, about the itinerary.

“There is no better way to experience New England’s fall foliage than from the comfort of an iconic rail car, and this popular fall tour features three classic rail excursions, including an evening onboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad’s Elegant Dinner Train.

“In addition to unique train journeys, highlights include visits to quintessential New England destinations from Boston and Mystic to Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard; historic sightseeing; and fall foliage cruises on the Kennebec River and Lake Winnipesaukee.”

Guests on this tour will begin in Boston with a guided sightseeing city tour which includes the Freedom Trail and ends at Quincy Market. Later, motor coaches will take visitors north to Portland, Maine, along the way affording views the Portland Head Light Lighthouse.

Onboard the Conway Scenic Railroad, travelers will have lunch while viewing New Hampshire's fall foliage with sites including Crawford Notch and Mount Washington. Later, guests board a motor coach for a drive to Franconia Notch State Park, located in the White Mountains via the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, commonly referred to as one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in America. Other stops during the itinerary include the Maine Maritime Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, Mystic Seaport, Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah and historic Edgartown.

Brush also suggests that travelers interested in this tour stay a bit longer than the original itinerary, noting that pre- and post-night hotel stays can be arranged through Vacations By Rail at the time of reservation. She also says clients can add rail trips from the nearest Amtrak station to Boston at the time of booking as well.

The 10-day Fall Colors, Scenic Trains & Martha’s Vineyard rail tour is priced from $2299 per person.

Travelers interested in a classic fall foliage tour that also includes a few unique culinary experiences may want to check out Collette’s “Colors of New England” itinerary.

“This eight-day tour that brings you from the heart of historic Boston to the farms, coast and mountains of the north,” says Amelia Sugerman, marketing manager at Collette. “You’ll enjoy a locally guided tour of Boston featuring its famed Faneuil Hall Marketplace and spend two nights in the quaint New England town of Stowe before embarking on a cruise of stunning Lake Winnipesaukee.”

Guests can choose to join a local guide to walk the Freedom Trail or take a sightseeing tour of Boston’s most iconic sights by coach. The itinerary also includes a chance to watch apples become cider the “old-fashioned way” at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, a tour of a farm where guests will learn about maple sugaring in the region, and exploration of the Rocks Estate, home to the North Country Conservation & Education Center.

Another culinary experience travelers will have a chance to participate in during the “Colors of New England” trip is a tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Guests will learn about the ice cream making process as well as sample the many flavors. There will also be a traditional New England lobster dinner during the tour’s time in Maine as well as stops in the seaside communities of Boothbay Harbor and Kennebunkport.

The “Colors of New England” tour is priced from $2,699 per person.

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