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Vermont Fall Foliage

Great New England Fall Foliage Tours in Vermont

Vermont Fall FoliagePlease bookmark this page to check when new tours have been put up for you. It will help you find it in a much faster when you want to return.

The debate has raged since settlers first moved into New Hampshire and Vermont, but in a friendly way. Which state has the best New England fall foliage colors? While the quality of the fall leaf can be like the finest of vintage wines one be marginally better than another, Vermont does deserve the blue ribbon for it’s leaf-color qualities year after year.

Manchester, where I spent a good many years, sits between two mountain ranges, Equinox to the west in the Taconic Range, and the mountains that serve as the ski-area kingdom in Southern Vermont, massive pinnacles to the east. During the fall the colors are so vibrant on both ranges, that the careful preservation of a leaf nestled between the pages of a book will almost light up when you open that book to look at it.

Mt Equinox in particular is simply unequalled dominance acts like a doting grandfather who cradles Manchester below. It’s always been my favorite mountain (and I’ve climbed Mt Rainier, which one could argue is far better); it’ been beautifully carved into what looks like an unimaginably lofty tidal wave of fall finery. But it is equally compelling and inspiring in the winter, spring and summer.

It’s fitting then, that this is our first tour in Vermont. However, we depart from the town-to-town approach that takes you from rustic, historic town to an equally historic, white-picket-fence, and tree-lined street in another town.

Vermont Tours

Tour One

The Mt. Equinox Skyline Drive

The Skyline Drive allows you to motor your way to the summit, from which before you is a view unmatched for fall finery.

While a fee is required to drive to the summit, but it is one that will provide you with an encounter with natural wonders that’ grossly out of proportion to what you pay. It’ $12 for car and driver and $2,00 for each person in the car. Motorcycles fees are $10.00. I’d go so far as to say that of all the fees one can pay to bathe themselves in the New England experience, this is the one fare most worth what you get in return. Yet, not even the best camera in the world could possibly capture the experience on the ride up, at the summit or the ride‚s down.

The Equinox pinnacle is 3,848 feet above Manchester and Manchester Depot. The driver will need to pay close attention to the road inasmuch as there are some very hairpin-like turns. Surprisingly the ride to the summit is almost five-and-a-half miles. One would think it to be a national or at least a state park, but, in fact, it’s a private road. The mountain, owned by Dr. Joseph Davidson, who was at the helm at Union Carbide for a time, gave it to a Roman Catholic monastic order known as the Carthusians.

The entrance is south of Manchester on Route 7A, the historical Route 7 until Super 7 was built as a Vermont highway.

This is one of the tours I most recommend. You can get more information by calling 802-362-1114.

Tour Two

Manchester to Bromley, Magic and Stratton mountains

This trip takes us from Manchester to the ski areas opposite Mt. Equinox. In a geographic triangle are three major ski areas, Bromley, Stratton and Magic Mountain. Bromley and Stratton their Alpine Slides and other attractions open for as long as possible. At a certain point when the nights are cold enough, snowmaking builds the base. But on the way up you’ll see magnificent views and cross one section of Vermont’ share of the Appalachian Trail.

If you’re coming from Manchester, you’ll encounter a blinking red light at the intersection of Routes 7A, 30 and 11. Take a RIGHT onto routes 11 and 30. If you’re coming from Manchester Depot, take a LEFT at the light. As you ascend the mountain, it will change into Route 11.

The first mountain you’ll encounter is Bromley, at which they have an awesome Alpine Slide and a variety of other attractions in their Thrill Zone, such as:
a 24-foot climbing wall; miniature golf; Trampoline Thing, in which you’re harnessed to jump to new heights and spin and twirl all you want; Twin Spin, which is like an arachnid merry-go-round on steroids; Space Bikes attached to a special housing on which you can ride upside down or 360 degrees; Super Slide, which is great for the little ones; Adrenaline Zip Line, along which you "zip" 100 feet in the air; the Big Splash, which is like a bigger and wider Alpine Ride, but water moves you down the slide; Bumper Boats (bumper cars on water); Bounce House, an inflatable structure that lets kids jump around; and, the Giant Swing, which according to Bromley’ Summer Attractions Website " looms as high as a four-story building, swings riders at speeds approaching 40 mph and produces 3Gs of gravitational force. Minimum height of 48" required to ride." Bring a thick wallet. One Alpine Ride is a steep $19.00. I highly recommend a chairlift ride to the peaks of all of the mountain, because they all have very different and spectacular views.

As you leave Bromley, drive east on Route 11 until you get to the intersection of Route 11 and 30 in Londonderry. Stay on this route until you see signs for Magic Mountain on your RIGHT . Turn RIGHT onto the access road.

When you leave Magic Mountain, take your first LEFT NAME and then turn RIGHT onto Route 100. Take a LEFT onto Route 30 at Rawsonville. You’ll travel a short distance to Bondville, where you’ll see signs for Stratton Mountain. Take a LEFT onto the access road to Stratton.

When you leave Stratton, take a LEFT onto Route 30 at Bondville. That will take you full circle back to Route 11. Take a LEFT onto Route 11 to head back down the mountain to Manchester.

Tour 3

Stowe to Jeffersonville via Smuggler's Notch

This tour will take you through Smuggler’ Notch, but it’ best taken during peak. At the first snowfall, they close Route 108 over Mt. Mansfield and you have to go all the way around the mountains.

In Stowe, drive onto Route 108, Mountain Road, at the blinking red stoplight. You’ll be driving through some beautiful areas, albeit, well inhabited by a great many businesses and small strip malls initially. However, once you get past Luce Hill Road, the surrounding become more lodging oriented. Stay on Route 108 until you get to Stowe Mountain Resort, which, like Bromley and Stratton, has an Alpine Slide and an array of other attractions. A ride up the mountain in the gondola here to the top lodge just below the rocky summit will give you a wonderful view of the foliage in Northern Vermont. And at the top, you’ll be able to see for miles, including the Worcester Range, which normally has extravagant New England fall foliage.

When you leave Stowe Mountain Resort, take a LEFT onto Route 108. This is a narrow and very winding road, so you need to pay close attention as you navigate your way further up the mountain and then down its backside. You’ll see some beautiful foliage and pass by a falcon preserve. You may notice cars parked in various areas because it’s excellent fishing and hiking territory. On the backside of Mt. Mansfield is Smugglers’s Notch Resort, known to locals as "Smuggs." This is a highly family-oriented resort that also offers special summer and fall attractions.

If you stop at Smuggs, get on Route 108 again and you’ll reach the bottom of the mountain in Jeffersonville. You can either turn around and go back over the mountain, or in Jeffersonville, take a RIGHT onto Route 15 and follow that until you reach Morrisville, where there is a large shopping section and the Wok and Roll restaurant on your LEFT. Take a RIGHT at the light to turn onto Route 100. Stay on this to get back to Stowe.


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Located in one of America's most sensational, natural paradises, the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vermont offers the ultimate, year-round vacation experience. With its celebrated world-class spa, luxurious accommodations, award-winning restaurants and friendly, attentive staff, the Stoweflake is unrivaled as New England's premier spa/resort destination.

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QuickStart Guide

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