Fall Foliage Tour

Planning a New England leaf-peeping trip? Drive no farther than Connecticut! Since we offer New England's longest foliage season, you’ll find amazing color here throughout October and into November. To help you plan your trip, we’ve provided this handy guide showing peak foliage areas and other great spots to explore.

3 days

  • Fall

  • Kent Falls State Park
  • White Memorial Conservation Center Museum
  • Gillette Castle State Park
  • Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
  • Florence Griswold Museum
  • Sharpe Hill Vineyard
Kent Falls State Park, Kent

Kent Falls State Park

Start your adventure along scenic Route 7 in Kent CT, which received top honors and first place in Yankee Magazine’s list of 25 top towns in New England for fall foliage travel. Visit Kent Falls State Park where you can wander across the covered bridge, hike the falls and feel the mist on your face as water cascades 250 feet down on its way to joining the Housatonic River. Or visit Macedonia Brook State Park, where you can hike the Blue Trail across Cobble Mountain and other peaks for outstanding views of the Catskill and Taconic mountains that offer impressive fall foliage viewing.

For lunch, enjoy Kent's award-winning Fife 'n Drum Restaurant & Inn known for a commitment to fine food and good music. And don't forget about the many shops and art galleries in Kent. The Eric Sloane Museum and the CT Antique Machinery Museum are located next door to each other in Kent.

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White Memorial Conservation Center Museum, Litchfield

White Memorial Conservation Center Museum

Next, head over to White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield and explore the Environmental Education Center, Nature Museum and more than 35 miles of trails through varied terrains. There are also interpretive nature trails and a boardwalk trail for observing the extensive bird life found in this wetland environment. For dinner, enjoy a delicious farm-to-table New American cuisine at Arethusa al tavolo. Then, check in to a cozy hotel, inn or B&B in the Litchfield Hills.

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Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam

Gillette Castle State Park

Day 2, make your first stop at Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam. Take a stroll through this fieldstone castle, which was home to legendary stage actor, William Gillette. The 184-acre park situated on a hill overlooking the Connecticut River includes hiking trails and picnic spots. For lunch, sample a vast variety of flavors at Essex Public Market & Food Hall — there's something for everyone!

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, Essex

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Step aboard the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat in Essex. The only steam train/riverboat combination in the country. The train from the 1892 Essex Station links up with the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a cruise along the Connecticut River.

Then, head over and explore the Village of Essex, dubbed “The Perfect Small American Town’ in the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die travel guide. While in Essex you may wish to visit the Connecticut River Museum, located on the waterfront. For dinner, enjoy your choice of historic fare or tap room dining at The Griswold Inn in Essex. After dinner enjoy a glass of wine in the Wine Bar, which offers more than 50 different wines. Check in to an Essex Area Hotel.

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Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

Florence Griswold Museum

Kick off day three by exploring the home of American Impressionism at The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, featuring the museum’s extraordinary collection of painted panels and doors that are in situ in the Griswold boardinghouse for artists. 

Take a scenic drive from Route 395 to Route 169, a 32-mile stretch listed as a National Historic Byway. Route 169 winds its way through rolling hills, past farm stands and general stores and above quiet valleys. Prep schools, upscale homes, classy restaurants and inns add an air of elegance to the drive. Route 169 is surely an unknown treasure among the back roads of New England.

Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Pomfret

Sharpe Hill Vineyard

Next, take a tour of the Sharpe Hill Vineyard in Pomfret and taste the award-winning wines. Winemaster Howard Bursen has worked with Sharpe Hill to produce wines, which have received more than 350 awards for excellence in national and international competitions. For lunch, consider The Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret or Elizabeth's Farmhouse in Putnam.

Finish you trip with a visit to Downtown Putnam where you can enjoy shopping and dining. This area is a haven for antique shoppers with more than a dozen antique shops and a mall with 200 dealers. 

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