Surprising Ways to See the Leaves Change

Take your leaf peeping to the next level.

By Nina Fedrizzi

Each year, millions of visitors take to New England’s scenic highways and well-trodden trails for a glimpse of the region’s flame-colored foliage. For travelers eager to see the sights while staying off the beaten path, here are three ways to “peep” in locations that are anything but ordinary.

From a Lighthouse at the Edge of America

Lubec, Maine

Originally built in 1808, the candy-cane-striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson on Maine’s easternmost point and still guides ships to safety today. Though conifer trees predominate on this windy peninsula, follow the short Inland Trail, just south of the lighthouse, to view paper birch, mountain ash and ruby red bunchberry along the path. Crisp autumn skies are another draw this time of year, when visitors can take in the vast postcard-worthy views—including the red cliffs of New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island—while scanning for minke whales, seals and bald eagles in Quoddy Channel. 973 S. Lubec Rd.; 207-733-2180; westquoddy.com; admission, $4

Riding the Rails in the White Mountains

Lincoln, New Hampshire

Departing from Lincoln, the Hobo Harvest Time Express train skirts the twisting Pemigewassett River on its 80-minute round-trip journey, spanning rolling hills and trestle bridges as it chugs past some of the White Mountain National Forest’s red maple, oak and poplar foliage. The ride stops at the Hobo Harvest Farm Stand, where you can break for a game of pumpkin bowling or treat yourself to maple-syrup candy. 64 Railroad St.; 603-745-2135; hoborr.com; 80-minute rides, $20

Aboard an Authentic British Canal Boat

Central Falls, Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Blackstone River Valley played a major role in America’s Industrial Revolution; nowadays, it’s well-known for its brilliant fall colors. Spend a few hours or even a night on the 40-foot-long Cambridgeshire, England–built Samuel Slater with Blackstone River Cruises, which takes travelers on tours of Valley Falls Pond. Along the way, scan for wildlife such as American kestrel and white-tailed deer while viewing the birch, Norway maple and sumac trees that line the waterway from the cozy, wood-paneled interior. 175 Main St., Pawtucket; 401-724-2200; rivertourblackstone.com; 90-minute charters, from $250

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: September 2017