Where to leaf-peep from above in every New England state
Fall color is awe inspiring from any angle, but to elevate the experience try these 6 ideas.
At Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, there's as much going on in the offseason as there is once the white stuff starts piling up. While its aerial park offers American Gladiator-style challenges under a forest canopy, its Mountain Adventure Park is where you get the views of Jericho Valley and the Berkshires all the way to Pittsfield. The fall colors will be a blur — but a really cool blur — on the Alpine Super Slide, the Mountain Coaster, or the Soaring Eagle. The more sedate can just settle back on the six-person chairlift for views from 2,380 feet. $6-$65, open weekends through late October; 413-738-5500, jiminypeak.com
At 3,968 feet, Jay Peak is not the highest mountain in Vermont, but it is close enough to Canada that on a clear day you can see sunlight glinting off the skyscrapers of Montreal from the 60-person Jay Peak tram. For ambitious types, it's only a 40-minute walk back down, but if you're a bit too full from the beer and hot dogs served at the Sky Haus deli, the tram leaves every half-hour to give you a return lift. $15 round trip for adults; 802-988-2611, jaypeakresort.com
The famed Auto Road up the Northeast's highest peak is undeniably spectacular, but driving it can be harrowing, and with your eyes locked on the road, you can miss a lot of the fall scenery. Leave transportation to the professionals by boarding the Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods for the three-hour guided round trip to the 6,288-foot peak. At the top, you'll find an observatory, two museums, a cafeteria, and 150-mile views. $69 for adults, $39 for children; 603-278-5404, thecog.com
Security hassles and cramped seating have made the idea of flying less appealing than ever, but Scenic Flights of Acadia in Trenton will restore the wonder you felt your first time in the air. The company's three-passenger Cessna 172s have high wings that provide unobstructed views of Mount Desert Island below and the lush landscape of Down East Maine set against the sparkling blue Atlantic. $49 to $209 per person; 207-667-6527, scenicflightsofacadia.com
Hot-air ballooning is a totally different experience from flying, since you're often close enough to the ground — from treetop height to an average of around 1,500 feet — and traveling slow enough, at 5 or 6 miles per hour, to count the trees in the forest below. But with Berkshire Balloons' slow drift over the Farmington Valley or Litchfield Hills, you'll be riveted by the long view of fall colors all the way to Massachusetts, New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock, and Long Island Sound. $325 per person; 203-250-8441, berkshireballoons.com
If your idea of adventure leans more toward a leisurely stroll through the city, grab your picnic gear and make your way to College Hill on Providence's leafy, historic East Side to hidden gem Prospect Terrace Park (between Congdon and Pratt streets), where a statue of state founder Roger Williams looks out over the city's blazing foliage. Get into the spirit of the season even more on a Providence Ghost Tour, starting at 7 p.m. (tours run through November 12). Tours $18-$20 per person; 401-484-8687, providenceghosttour.com