The fall season offers an unlimited selection of vacation options. From bright yellow aspens in Colorado to crimson reds in Vermont, fall foliage alone is a reason enough for a quick getaway.
Some destinations become more affordable and less crowded during the fall months. Others are quite popular, so you will have to plan ahead. Estimating the best time to go in various areas is no easy task and if you have set your mind to seeing the brightest of colors, you will have to monitor the weather before you go.
In Vermont and upstate New York, the season generally runs from late September through the third week of October. Columbus weekend is usually a good bet, but you should book your room well in advance because many couples and families go on a long weekend getaway then. Combine a fall foliage trip with a visit to a farm, driving tour and wildlife watching. Maine fall foliage peaks during the early part of October. Acadia National Park will be awash with bright colors and much less crowded than during the summer.
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»The Manor on Golden Pond
If you are looking for unique getaways from Boston, the Manor on Golden Pond is a historic English Manor House retreat set on 15 acres overlooking Squam Lake in New Hampshire. Plan a romantic trip to this inn which has an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a private beach with canoes and paddle boats. At the end of the day, guests can indulge in a relaxing massage in the spa treatment room.
There are 25 guest rooms, including two suites. All of the rooms are individually designed and have views of the water of the White Mountains. Some rooms have working fireplaces and private porches, perfect for relaxing surrounded by nature.
Dining is an integral part of a relaxing getaway. Start your day with a breakfast buffet, enjoy afternoon tea in the library or overlooking the lake, then sit down to a gourmet dinner, and finish off your evening with a drink at the Three Cock's Pub. The property is a 2-hour drive from Boston and one hour from Manchester Airport. Room rates start from $220 per night; from $265 in on weekends and during the fall foliage season. Minimum guest age is 12 years (800-545-2141, website).
»Sugar Hill Inn
Dream Cottage at the Sugar Hill Inn in New Hampshire's White Mountains is the ultimate couples' hideaway, offering scenic views, elegant decor and a spacious layout. The free-standing cottage has a romantic stone fireplace, a cathedral ceiling, wood beams, and Pine floors with radiant heat. The bathroom has a private sauna, whirlpool tub for two and an over-sized shower with multiple shower heads. The bathoom has a window that opens to the living room so that you can see the fireplace from the tub.
Sugar Hill Inn is a year-round, adult-only getaway with an outdoor swimming pool, spa, gourmet restaurant and a choice of guest accommodations. The restaurant serves seasonal dishes which incorporate the freshest local produce and herbs grown in the hotel's own gardens. The dining room has scenic views of Cannon Mountain and Mt. Lafayette. You will find an array of activities nearby, including skiing, cycling, golf, horseback riding, antiquing, shopping, museums, waterfalls and farmer's markets. Dream Cottage rates start at $430 per night with a 2 night minimum stay required. Guests have to be 14 or older. Rooms start at $150 per night (800-548-4748, website).
More fall foliage destinations: Denver, Boulder, Colorado, Ann Arbor, Michigan
»Fearrington House in North Carolina
Plan a romantic getaway to the charming Fearrington Village near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and stay at the Fearrington House, a luxury inn with a first class restaurant. The inn has earned prestigious awards for its service and elegant accommodations, including the AAA Five Diamond Award and membership in the Relais & Chateaux organization. Nearby, you will find beautiful gardens, open seven days a week. Tour the Herb garden which grows fresh herbs used at the inn restaurant, view the wildflower garden, and stroll through the Perennial Border garden which is the site of many weddings.
The guest rooms are individually furnished with original art, antiques, canopied beds and beautiful fabrics. If you are planning a romanticweekend getaway, ask for one of the rooms with a fireplace and a Jacuzzi tub.
The restaurant is famous for its sophisticated Southern cuisine and romantic atmosphere. Several times per year, the property offers cooking classes with hands-on instruction by award-winning chefs from the inn as well as other Relais & Chateaux restaurants (919-542-2121,
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»Woodlands Mansion in South Carolina
If you are planning a fall celebration, wedding or a family reunion, Woodlands Mansion in Summerville, South Carolina, about 20 miles from Charleston, offers several event venues in a relaxed Southern atmosphere. The mansion is popular for weddings and business gatherings. The whole mansion can be rented for a party, including 18 guest rooms and suites which have recently been refurbished.
Elegant events can be held in the historic mansion, in the Pavilion or outside on the lawn surrounded by trees and flowers. To stay active, bicycle through the picturesque streets of Summerville. Nearby vacation attractions include world-famous gardens at the Middleton Place, Historic Charleston, Aquarium, Beidler Forest, Cypress Gardens and beaches. Fall is a great time to enjoy colorful fall foliage or a round of golf at one of the nearby golf courses. Major airlines service Charleston International Airport where you can rent a car (843-875-2600,
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