I love fall. No seriously, LOVE it. The crispness of the air, pumpkin and apple picking, jeans and flannels… the list goes on and on. One of my favorite parts of this miraculous shift in seasons is watching the leaves change color and create the most gorgeous landscapes of the year. Lucky for us, we also happen to live in New England, home of a long list of destinations to “leaf peep” and enjoy everything Mother Nature has to offer. Here are a few spots to add to your autumn bucket list with the family:
The Mohawk Trail (Berkshires)
The Mohawk Trail through the Berkshires features amazing fall views combined with the charm of artsy small towns. One recommend route is to start in Williamstown and take the trail (Route 2) east through North Adams. Once you arrive in Charlemont you can take a leaf peeping detour on Route 8A to cross the Bissell Covered Bridge. The town of North Adams also embraces the fall season with its Fall Foliage Festival in October, complete with a parade and family activities. It is also worthwhile to check out nearby historic Greenfield and view colorful leaf backdrops from the lookout at Poet’s Seat Tower.
Cape Cod wouldn’t usually enter my mind as a spot for fall since I associate it with summer and beaches, but there are some perfect areas to take in the New England foliage without traveling too far. Once you cross over the Sagamore Bridge, you can exit onto Route 6A. This will provide a rural route with twists and turns through the historic town of Sandwich. Travel along Old King’s Highway, which winds around the Cape Cod Bay — you’ll see plenty of picturesque ponds and pastures to take in on your route.
Blue Hills Reservation
The Blue Hills feels like the perfect fall retreat — without the hassle of driving far from the city. Its 6,000-acre park covers parts of Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Randolph, Canton, and Dedham. The reservation is well known for its hiking trails, giving both nature and fitness lovers the ability to explore the season while squeezing in some family exercise.
Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Broadmoor Sanctuary is a beautiful park in Natick and a favorite spot for bird watching. The sanctuary hosts many hiking trails and is located on the Indian Brook and the Charles River. A visit to Broadmoor provides an amazing array of wildlife watching — you can also follow trails to wide open fields and streams. It’s a perfect local score for foliage finders and nature lovers.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Just five miles north of Boston, the Fells features more than 100 miles of scenic trails and multiple ponds, making this local state park a perfect place to leaf peep. The Fells spans across Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester — a convenient sightseeing adventure for city-dwelling families.
While our neighboring states boast many popular foliage locales (New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine), for the sake of this list we took a “peek” at some of the best leaf peeping areas in Massachusetts within a reasonable drive from the Boston area. So, what are you waiting for? Pack up the kids and get ready for a bright rainbow of fall New England fun!