Why I Have Fallen for Fall Travel

Posted by Cindy Clarke on 5/21/2015
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Canada, Fall Foliage, Nature, New England, Washington DC

connecticutAfter the long hot days of summer, when high humidity can make you wilt and the heat literally takes your breath away, fall blows in with seasonal treats that chill with delights. For those of us over 40 folks, the term “chill” in hip, modern-day vernacular has taken on new meaning. Instead of portending ominous shivers and almost freezing temperatures, it is now associated with relaxing, calming down, passing the time idly and enjoying the company of like-minded friends and acquaintances – all of which are best enjoyed on those pretty much postcard-perfect fall vacations.

Whether or not you’ve held off on taking a summer vacation this year, you might want to think about booking a trip this fall when the leaves put on a Technicolor show that is naturally breathtaking and incredibly cool – a limited time annual engagement that begs for an encore!

Think New England in autumn when pastoral landscapes are jeweled by trees dressed in custom finery that dazzles with sunflower yellow, crimson red and fiery orange just about everywhere you look. Head out into the Rocky Mountain wilderness when crowds are few and aspens glow in gold, indulging in serenity that is truly palpable or go south to the hallowed grounds of Washington, DC and Virginia now honored with a worthy pageantry of colors. But it’s not just the foliage that’s the big draw in fall. There’s also apple picking, pumpkin carving, and harvests aplenty in countryside locales. Hay rides and nature hikes add adventure to the mix and crisp cool nights call for the warmth and romance of a crackling, put-your-feet-up-fire, with the perfect glass of “chilled” wine.

If you’re wondering where to wander, we’ve put together our favorite places to chill in fall and the Tauck travel tours that take you there… Tauck not only got its start taking guests to see the fall foliage in New England in 1925, no other travel company can claim its own expert “foliologists” like Tauck can!

Washington, DC and Virginia
williamsburgVisiting our nation’s capital is always exciting but in the fall, you’ll be able to linger longer at poignant national monuments when schoolchildren are back at their desks come September. As an added bonus, fall temperatures here are warm and moderate, which makes walks along the National Mall and inside Washington’s Mount Vernon estate perfectly delightful. Venture outside of Washington, DC for a visit back in time to colonial Williamsburg, Jefferson’s Monticello or “confederate” Richmond, Virginia and you’ll enjoy a mix of colorful experiences, past and present, from the trees to the costumed residents. A scenic ride down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is a must at this time of year as the tree-lined roads and picturesque overviews will offer some of the most exhilarating views of foliage anywhere in America. Traditionally, the best fall color appears along the spine of the Appalachians from early to mid-October, as warm days and cool, but not freezing, nights and dry weather encourage the development of the bright red, orange and yellow pigments that are synonymous with the changing of the season. Civil War buffs might be interested to join noted author and historian Harold Holzer in person on the September 25 departure of Tauck’s
Most Hallowed Ground: The Civil War for an even more memorable experience!

New England
newenglandNature’s paintbrush begins sweeping across New England’s rolling landscapes in late September, applying its brilliant colors in slow, broad strokes that continue well into November. Peak foliage moves 'down south, down slope and down east', starting in the mountainous areas of the Northeast, spreading to lower elevations and from inland to the seashore. Coastal areas tend to turn color later because of the warming effects of the water. Tauck’s Grand New England trip takes in all these sights on a circular route so you can see and learn about the miraculous transformation that takes places in each place from local meteorologists at Mount Washington, a lobsterman in Maine, a maple sugar farmer in the White Mountains and more. A wildlife naturalist, Ken Burns’s studio, famous homes, farm and museum visits shed more light on the Hidden Gems of New England when the region is blanketed with a kaleidoscope of color during the annual changing of the leaves. And along the windswept oceanfront shores of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Newport, the throngs of crowds depart as autumn waltzes in, ushering in a welcome tranquility along now quiet beaches, quintessential seaside towns and picturesque harbors. The World Wildlife Fund ranks Massachusetts as one of the top 10 whale watching spots in the world, and you can still find whales cavorting and feeding in the waters here in late summer through October, when boats are fewer – and Tauck includes a whale watching cruise, along with stays at oceanfront inns, an old fashioned clam and lobster bake, and tours of Newport’s gilded summer “cottages.”

californiaIf you’ve been California dreaming, think about making a trip to the west coast come true after Labor Day. Along with sharing lots of San Francisco treats, Tauck takes you inside Sequoia and Yosemite national parks when the mighty trees and giant forests are crowd- and bug-free. Fall generally lasts from mid-September through November in these parks. Yosemite and Sequoia national parks are populated mainly by evergreen conifer trees, so fall colors are less common in those parks, though some stands of trees in Yosemite Valley do turn color as different shades of yellow, red and orange pop out on quaking aspens, dogwoods, sugar maples and cottonwood trees. To make your fall sojourn even more memorable, if you join Tauck in Yosemite and Sequoia you will follow in the footsteps of John Muir as filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan tell stories through custom-made videos created exclusively for Tauck guests.

The Pacific Northwest
pacific_northwestCrisp apples and crisp nights go hand in hand in the Pacific Northwest come fall, along with bright yellow, orange and red leaves. Washington and Oregon are home to breathtaking scenery that includes majestic waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and brilliant blue lakes that reflect the color on their shores. Great food is as appetizing as the great views here too with Seattle’s Pike Place Market enticing with a bountiful harvest of produce vendors and culinary artisans. And wait until you taste the cider out here if you take Tauck’s A Taste of the Pacific Northwest trip; home grown, fresh picked, traditionally fermented and properly chilled, it’s a true taste of fall in one of the most scenically inspirational spots in North America.

The maple leaf has been a symbol of Canada for more than three hundred years. Ten species of maple are native to Canada so you’ll see a variety of colors on their leaves. The scarlets of red maples, yellows and browns on silver maples, and orange hues of sugar maple together blaze through Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes to put on quite a show. Picking out a picture postcard to send from a trip to Canada might be a little more daunting than usual in fall because everywhere you go, from the Canadian Maritimes to the Rocky Mountain wilderness, you’ll look around and realize that you’re in one!

canadaRemember those vivid descriptions of Prince Edward Island from the book, Anne of Green Gables? “October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.” If you see it and so much more with Tauck on Prince Edward Island & Nova Scotia, you just may be inspired to write your own best seller when you come home!

Find yourself with Tauck in the Canadian Rockies come autumn and you won’t find crowds of people blocking your views of this alpine wonderland. What you may find are crowds of elk, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, most visible during September and October, making the views even more enthralling! As an added bonus, the weather at this time of the year really does allow you to “chill” and take it all in without a care in the world from your accommodations at luxurious Fairmont wilderness resorts.


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