New England has six states - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine. The British colonists named the region after their home country, and today rural New England consists of secluded farms, small towns with village greens, country stores and white-spired churches.
Most people plan to visit New England in the fall (autumn) when the hills, valleys and coastlines explode into mellow gold, deep red, and bright orange foliage. It’s a sight you don’t easily forget.
We chose to visit New England on a conducted bus tour. There are many tour companies that travel through the region during the three-week window when the leaves are at their best. A guide with a sense of humour, like-minded fellow-travellers, and your luggage deposited in your hotel room each night - what more could you want? Our tour group was made up of friendly senior citizens from all over the United States.
You sight your first fall colours as you climb through the hill’s northwest of Boston towards New Hampshire and travel the famous Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains before moving on to Burlington, the capital of Vermont.
The colours are at their very best in late September and your guide will know where to find them. We spent time in the countryside around Burlington, and the villages of Stow and Woodstock.The people in this region are from farming stock, relaxed, slow speaking, easy going and friendly.
For children, Vermont’s main attraction has to be Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory with its free samples and tastings.
The billboard-free Route 100 travels the length of Vermont and winds through many of Vermont’s villages, with scenic views and stops along the way. There are many lodges and restaurants, and galleries and shops featuring handmade furniture, ceramic wares, antiques and contemporary art.
Autumn is the best time to tour rural Vermont when for a few short weeks the leaves turn to gold, red, and bright orange. You can taste maple syrup direct from a tree, visit an orchard for fresh apples and cider, stop at a covered bridge, and explore colonial churches, farms, and village greens.
In Montpelier, you can visit the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, a perfect place to sample the sweet golden liquid being tapped straight from the trees. You can taste many other maple-infused products, and learn how the syrup-making process works.
The red and sugar maples that comprise most of Vermont's forests provide the most impressive scarlet, orange, and bright yellow shades of foliage colour.
Vermont has more than 100 covered bridges, more per square mile than any other state. The bridges were constructed during the mid and late 19th Century. The bridges were designed to keep snow off the bridge roadway in the winter. In areas with very high snowfall, like Vermont, the weight of snow can demolish a wooden bridge (as many were). The sloping roof allowed the snow to fall harmlessly into the river.
You will feast your eyes on vibrant reds and oranges as you travel to Stowe, where the real Von Trapp family of ‘The Sound of Music’ chose to live. The village with its many restaurants is an ideal place to stay overnight. The Austrian family emigrated to Vermont and settled in the Stowe area, because it reminded them of their beloved alps.
South Africans don’t need to travel to New England to see Autumn colours. Our country has many equally beautiful places which showcase autumn colours including Johannesburg and the Hex River valley. And in spring, the jacarandas in Pretoria are spectacular.