Autumn Beauty.  New England Fall foliage in all its glory. Colors in its finery: the purples, browns, bronzes, golds, soft yellows, oranges, truly will showcase the vibrancy of all these brilliant hues. Seeing the fall foliage in these spectacular colors is, according to current estimates, right around the corner.  The peak foliage will begin somewhere close to Columbus Day and will extend throughout the shoreline until early November. Our state is currently on the path toward an ideal foliage season (except for the areas with the pesky caterpillars). The abundance of spring and summer rainfall and moderate temperatures have given us the opportunity to soon experience the fall foliage at its finest.

So what are the best ways to take in these brilliant displays of color that Mother Nature offers us? The diverse range of destinations which offer unique vantages is not to be overlooked.  From Mystic Harbor to a farm in the countryside, to corn mazes, let’s not miss out on what fall has to offer within just a few miles from us here on the shoreline.  

Boat and Train

One trip you may want to consider is the Essex Steam and Riverboat tour.  This tour will take you on a two and a half hour twelve-mile excursion by both boat and train. Departure will be at the historic 1892 Essex train station. As the train winds along the CT river valley, the colors will be spectacular. Next on this tour, you will then travel down the CT river on the Becky Thatcher riverboat. Here again, the foliage is truly amazing and not to be overlooked.  The colors will literally seem to come to life and the scenes along the river will be mesmerizing. Once you depart the riverboat, a gorgeous addendum to this tour is to drive to Gillette Castle in East Haddam.  Before you leave Essex, picking up a carryout picnic from Olive Oyl will be welcoming. They specialize in lunch box masterpiece sandwiches, salads, tortilla wrap-ups and even a coffee bar. You can’t go one. Once you arrive at the Gillette Castle, you will be glad to have the picnic in hand. The view is beyond comparison as the fall colors seems to jump out in all their 3d glory. The area offers fabulous fall views from aloft. This area is a good place for that picnic which will add to the overall scenic trip.  

Mystic Area

Another area that is on your must-see list is the Mystic Seaport where you are able to take in plenty of fall colors and the awesome views are all along the oceanfront. Beautiful! Leaves, historical village sites, and an aquarium are all possibilities to see in picturesque Mystic.  

Not only is the Mystic area incomparable, another fall foliage location is the brilliant colors to be seen at the covered Cornwall Bridge.  This bridge was built in 1864, still allows car traffic, and the area will allow unforgettable and amazing leaf peeping.

Shoreline Area

CT wine trail is one of the best spots to see fall foliage

Another drive that is simply beyond words is the Essex to Guilford shoreline loop drive which is a thirty-five-mile trek.  Traveling through the quaint towns of Essex, Old Saybrook, Guilford, and Deep River are added pluses to this tour.  One place to stop to stretch the legs is at the Bishops’ Orchards where buying and picking fresh apples, pumpkins, and other autumn treats make the tour delightful. Or check out other fun apple picking and fall treats a little more north in Middlefield at Lyman Orchards. What a remarkable and fun hands-on experience to enhance the fall color tour even more.


Wine Trail

Another idea where you mix in the leaves’ colors is stopping by the CT wine trail. Meandering through vineyard to vineyard, enjoying the changing leaves and delighting in wine tastings, makes life look pretty darn perfect. Afterall, what else could you want? Beautiful and picturesque scenery and the taste of CT wines sounds pretty idealistic.  

CT fall foliage

Fall Foliage Tool

The drives and the sights are numerous and all are breathtaking.  One tool to use is the website offered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  A map is given that includes the CT scenic views, hiking trails, and the driving routes to best capture the leaves throughout CT are available on this website. What is really amazing about this website is the ability to click on the dates that you plan to go leaf peeping, and in doing so, the map will show, in a color gradient style, where the colors of fall will be the most brilliant for those chosen days.

Thus, as the days of leaf fall foliage tours begin, think about what all you want to see. Rather the sights included the classic red covered bridges, the charming farms along the way, the quaint villages,  the rushing rivers, or trailing rock walls, they will all become backdrops for the colors offered by nature.  Choose some days to go on various tours, check the website, catch a fall event or two and then relax, enjoy and take plenty of pictures to show all your friends. Even pictures will capture the vibrant colors and take their breath away. So for now, plan your tours because the fall foliage time is just around the corner.