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Given that this is our very first time experiencing fall in New England, Lucas and I decided to go searching for some fall foliage! To hear about our adventure to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the charming town of Woodstock, Vermont -- keep on reading!
Hitting the Road Before the Sun Woke Up!
Lucas and I tend to start road trips (both long and short) in the early morning. We both like to get up and go, even if we’re half asleep by the time we reach the car! That’s what coffee is for anyways ;)
We’ve been doing a great job of making our own coffee these days. So with coffee a la husband in-hand, we started the 2.5 hour drive to White Mountain National Forest. We read that the drive along the highway was going to be lined with fall foliage, and that expectation was absolutely exceeded!
The reds, yellows, and oranges were in full effect that day!
Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Our first stop was Franconia, NH for a quick 1.5-mile (436 ft. elevation) hike to see some fall views on the Artists Bluff Trail. It started out with quite a few roots that made you watch your step, but after the first .5 mile or so, the trail cleared. On the way up, Lucas and I only saw a handful of hikers trekking up alongside us, or already heading down.
We knew going into this hike that it was going to be a heavily-trafficked hike, especially given its Instagram popularity. Since we started so early, we felt like we avoided most of the crowds on the way up and were able to enjoy a leisurely stroll up the mountain with orange, red, and yellow leaves aligning with our strides. The crisp morning air combined with the smell of leaves was just what I needed after a long week of working from home.
Because the trail was a loop, there was a point where we almost thought we passed the bluff. If you take the loop clockwise, there’s a point about a mile or so in where the trail has a steep decline. No need to stress about potentially missing the iconic viewpoint - just keep on going!
We finally made it to the view worth trekking for - a stunning overlook facing Echo Lake and Cannon Mountain. Although not quite as high in elevation, it reminded me a little bit of Rattlesnake Ledge in North Bend, WA -- yet, FALL edition!
The trek down was much less peaceful than on the way up. After soaking in the view (in the wind haha) for about 20 minutes or so, we continued on to complete the loop. Little did we know that by that time, EVERYONE was on their way up! There were so many people hiking up the trail, that people like us trying to get down just... couldn’t. If we had known that it was like this on a Saturday afternoon, we would’ve retraced our steps and taken the loop counter-clockwise to avoid the crowds of people trying to get to the bluff.
With some patience, we made it down as quick as we were able to. Luckily, most of the hikers were wearing masks, but it still made for an anxious scene in my opinion. At least the sun was warming up the air by the time we made it back to our car.
Wandering around Woodstock, Vermont
The drive from Franconia, New Hampshire to Woodstock, Vermont was roughly about 2 more hours. After road tripping across the country with 6 to 12-hour stretches, 2 hours doesn’t seem to phase us anymore haha. We also drove with excitement because this was our first time in the state of Vermont!
The fall foliage continued to accompany us as we drove from one state to the next. From rolling hills, to vast farmlands, to charming barns, and quaint towns, the drive was exactly how I pictured New England. The sun gave the trees an extra golden glow, and I appreciated the calm air that can only truly happen outside of the city. Lucas and I spent the drive dreaming up plans of having property here someday (fall vacation cabin, perhaps?).
It was around lunch time when we made it to Woodstock. We were told that the restaurant, Worthy Kitchen, was worth the long wait. However, instead of waiting 3-hours for food, we decided to explore downtown instead. Woodstock looked straight out of a postcard: historic buildings lined the center square (known as “the Green”), and the fall leaves only emphasized the small-town charm. There were white fences, brick buildings, covered bridges, and pumpkins found on every doorstep!
Unfortunately all of the restaurants were too busy for our comfort level, but we found a cute ice cream shop called Mountain Creamery to hold us over until dinner! And who never wants ice cream for lunch anyways? ;)
I chose the Mile-High Apple Pie with Vermont Maple Walnut ice cream, and Lucas snagged some solid vanilla ice cream. We happily snacked on that while we meandered through the town. We stopped at a few of the shops, including the bookstore (picked up some postcards of course!), and the Vermont Flannel Co. It was our first time in a Vermont Flannel Co. so we decided to purchase a couple of souvenirs while we were there: a flannel hoodie for Lucas and a green flannel scarf for me!
After a few hours spent wandering around town, we decided to make our way over to Sleepy Hollow Farm in Pomfret, VT -- a photography icon. I feel like it has to be the most photographed farm in the northeast!
Bracing for the crowds of photographers who all flock to this farm, Lucas and I drove up a winding road lined by maple trees and farmhouses, to find a long line of cars parked along the side of the road. Luckily, we were only about a 3-minute walk to Sleepy Hollow. We’ve heard rumors that sometimes the parked cars would stretch to a 15-20 minute walk to Sleepy Hollow on a weekend!
I understood why photographers were drawn to this farm in the small town of Pomfret. Sleepy Hollow Farm is a dream property! With its long driveway, glistening pond, grand barn, and adorable red house, it has become the icon of Vermont. We were so excited to have the chance to capture it ourselves!
Once we felt like we captured the shot, we made our way back to our car. We stopped by the neighboring farm, Elm Grove Farm, which had a small syrup stand on the side of the road. We wanted to support local, so we were thrilled to pick up some Vermont Maple Syrup to enjoy at home.
Where to Next?
After Sleepy Hollow, the sun was starting to set, so we decided to make the 3-hour drive back to Boston and conclude our first Fall Foliage Adventure in New England.
Days like this one inspire me to search for more New England beauty. Although we started with the very hyped and popular icons, we hope to discover some hidden gems while we’re in the northeast too!
Up next, we went apple picking in MA! It was our very first time going to an apple orchard, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my next entry!
Cheers to crunchy fall leaves and making memories!
Storytelling by Gen
Travel diaries from personal trips and photo adventures.