New England crimson

When it comes to autumn colour, New England’s reputation is five-star.

When it comes to autumn colour, New England’s reputation is five-star.

So are Westerners blowing it out their cowboy hats when they claim their golden aspens and cottonwoods can go head to head with Northeastern maples and oaks in October?

“I have never heard any New Englander say, ever, ‘I must go to the Rockies to see fall colour.’ No. We wait until winter to see the powder snow for that trip,” said Yankee magazine editor Mel Allen.

Allen added that he loves the West’s “mountains, the deserts, the incredible wind-carved rock formations. But no matter how much it wants to sell Aspen as the defining colour of fall, it just doesn’t fly.”

Here’s a fall foliage smackdown, with recommendations for places to go leaf-peeping in the Northeast’s king crimsons:

• Connecticut:
Route 169 is described by Yankee senior editor Polly Bannister as “one of New England’s prettiest country roads” as it runs through 50 kilometres of Connecticut farms and fields. “In autumn, this National Scenic Byway is at its best: a gentle landscape of trees and stone walls glides its way through historic towns from Woodstock to Lisbon, all with a backdrop of brilliant foliage in a palette of red, orange, gold, yellow and russet,” Bannister said.

• Maine:
“Begin in Rangeley, Maine, forcing yourself to leave the lake-studded town, and head north on Route 16, then follow Route 27 through Kingfield, then along the Carrabassett River to Sugarloaf Mountain,” suggested Allen, the Yankee editor. “In this 45-mile or so drive, your mouth will drop at least a dozen times, and no more so as you wind around what locals call ‘Oh My Gosh Corner’ and the mountain appears as if dropped from the sky.”

• New Hampshire: The Kancamagus Highway, which runs between Lincoln and Conway, N.H., on State Route 112, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. “With no houses, no restaurants, not even gas stations, the Kancamagus Highway is all about breathtaking panoramic views of the White Mountain National Forest, particularly from the height of land at Kancamagus Pass,” said editor Barbara Hall.

• Massachusetts: Yankee assistant editor Justin Shatwell said Massachusetts’ northwest region sometimes gets overlooked, “but in fall it’s the place to visit. The Mohawk Trail passes by a lot of state forests, but you don’t even have to get off the road to see some striking foliage. The trail is part of Route 2 and runs through the Berkshire Mountains.

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