Colorful Ideas for Fall
Updated: October 25, 2023
Amazing autumn colors draw admirers every year and with good reason — the storied fall foliage is almost legendary, especially in New England. To experience the quintessential fall trip, plan to add leaf-peeping, in New England or elsewhere, to your to-do list. Consider reviewing a foliage map, eating locally or even staying overnight in a landscape as pretty as a motion picture. While seasonal activities may be conducted a little differently this year, there’s still plenty to do in addition to leaf-peeping, including camping with your family or dining al fresco on a patio. Here are a few ideas to get you started
Flexibility, anyone? A road trip allows some wiggle room, especially when you aren’t sure when to expect fall colors. While last-minute travel can be a thrill, taking time to plan your road trip will save you money in the long run, as routine maintenance will keep your vehicle running and allow you to make your reservations in time. itineraries can provide ideas on where to go—everything from scenic views within the (I-64 and US 219) to pumpkin patches along Ohio’s Scenic Route 800. Popular routes for leaf-peeping in New England include Eastern Connecticut’s Route 6 Scenic Drive, Mount Mansfield Scenic Auto Toll Road and New Hampshire’s Scenic Route 123.
No discussion of the season is complete without fall foods. Pair an excursion with farm- and food-inspired activities, such as driving to a U-pick in New York’s Hudson Valley. However, each region has its own winning combination. September through October might be the best time to visit an orchard or winery in Oregon’s 35-mile “Fruit Loop” around Hood River, while it’s still sunflower season in the Southeastern Appalachian area. For food with a view, there are thousands of AAA Diamond restaurants from which to choose. Find a good place to go at AAA.com/TripTik, where expert recommendations are tailored to where you want to go and what you want to do. For seasonal fare with a view, AAA Inspector 511 suggests taking a trip to Winona, Minnesota, and dining at AAA Three Diamond Signatures Restaurant, which offers a patio and picturesque views of the town’s limestone bluffs and The Bridges 18-hole golf course. The menu features locally sourced ingredients in season.
Riding on a Train
A rail journey may be one of the most fun things for couples to do in fall—everything from the transportation logistics to food and the itinerary may be taken care of before departure. To ensure a smooth journey, reservations should be made in advance, as fares might be limited due to schedules or social distancing. Many scenic railroads have reopened with guidelines for onboard passengers. Railroads open for business include Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Cass, West Virginia, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Independence, Ohio, and both the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Antonito, Colorado, and Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama, New Mexico, which move along the New Mexico-Colorado border. Not ready to commit to a travel itinerary? Amtrak Vacations, which lists trips into 2021, allows rebooking and canceling “up to 5 days prior to departure without any change or cancellation fees.”
AAA Diamond designated lodgings range from bed-and-breakfasts to fabulous hotel spa getaways. Now it’s easier than ever to filter hotels using criteria such as AAA's Best of Inspected Clean designation or AAA Inspector Picks, which stand out as exceptional to AAA inspectors for a particular reason. For example, AAA Inspector 10 favors the AAA Three Diamond Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,500-acre resort started by the von Trapps — the singing family who inspired “The Sound of Music.” Located in Stowe, Vermont, this AAA Inspector Pick boasts a colorful atmosphere and recreational things to do. According to Inspector 10, “Visiting this resort makes me feel like I’m in the Austrian Alps with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.”
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Sherry is an experienced #AAAEditor and former journalist who enjoys writing informative travel articles and reviews. Her commitment to making meaningful connections with people and places fuels her work for AAA. Sherry's favorite activities range from skiing to backpacking abroad and taking ghost tours.