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Name that tune? 'Hail to the Leaf'

Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Staff / September 12, 2004

Savor the crisp air. Look at the lovely leaves. Take a hike or ride a bike. Relax at an inn. Maybe even admire polar bears. Here are just a few ways to enjoy autumn.

The Appalachian Mountain Club has a variety of autumn programs, one of them called Fall Foliage and the Western Huts, Oct. 1-3 in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Participants climb from Franconia Notch to Lonesome Lake Hut for the first night, then to Greenleaf Hut on the shoulder of Mount Lafayette, watching the scenery become more autumnal the higher they get. If time permits, they may also try to climb 5,260-foot Mount Lafayette. The price is $415 for members, $461 for nonmembers, including three days' instruction, two nights' lodging, and all meals except lunches. Participants should be in good physical condition, able to hike three to five miles daily.

Call 800-262-4455. For more about AMC hikes and other activities, visit www.outdoors.org.

Cycle through the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts and the southern foothills of Vermont during a six-day Bike Riders' trip Sept. 26-Oct. 1, Oct. 3-8, or Oct. 10-15. Among places visited are the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown; Mass MoCA in North Adams, the nation's largest contemporary art museum; Hildene, the 412-acre estate of Robert Todd Lincoln in Manchester, Vt.; and the villages of Manchester, Arlington, and Dorset. The price of $1,680 includes inn stays, breakfast, all dinners but one, and a picnic lunch. Bike rental is an additional $100.

Call 800-473-7040 or visit www.bikeriderstours.com.

The Rosewood Country Inn of Bradford, N.H., is offering a free third night if you reserve two nights, Sunday through Thursday, this month or next. A three-night package called ''Hail to the Leaf: A Country Sampler," Sept. 19-Oct. 15, features breakfasts, a two-hour scenic train ride, two tickets to The Fells/Hay Estate on Lake Sunapee with its hiking trails, and two tickets to either Canterbury Shaker Village or Strawbery Banke Museum.

Call 800-938-5273 or visit www.rosewoodcountryinn.

More than 100 of New York's cultural and performance organizations will gather in Battery Park Oct. 1-3 for NYC & Company's fourth annual CultureFest. The free, family-oriented program means visitors can stroll in the autumn air; view exhibits and video displays; meet dancers, artists, and museum representatives; and learn about the coming arts season in New York. Activities include face painting, puppet shows, arts and crafts, historic reenactments, and children's-book readings. The Main Stage will have live performances of dance, opera, jazz, classical, and ethnic music, while the Kids' Stage will host performances for young audiences.

Visit www.nycvisit.com.

For those who have wondered, Orbitz notes that as a rule, the cooler the temperatures, the sooner the leaves turn. The best foliage, according to the online booking website, seems to be preceded by a rainy summer or early fall, followed by warm sunny days and clear, cold nights in October. In any event, Orbitz offers a couple of peak foliage season deals. Prices start at $61 a night at the two-star Ramada Inn Mountain Home in the Arkansas Ozarks, Oct. 29-31. The location is between Lake Norfork and Lake Bull Shoals and 10 miles from White River, which claims the best trout fishing in the United States. In Washington State, where prime viewing is during the first two weeks of October, prices start at $69 a night for the two-star Red Lion in Kelso, Oct. 1-3. Nearby is Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where the turning leaves draw many admirers, as does the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument there.

Visit www.orbitz.com.

The Sagamore, a private island resort on Lake George in upstate New York, has options to view foliage from a variety of vantage points. Its Land, Air, and Lake Getaway, available Monday-Friday through Oct. 14, begins at $314 a person and includes two nights' accommodation, a day's luncheon lake cruise aboard the resort's 72-foot yacht or a two-hour train ride on the Upper Hudson River Railroad, and breakfast daily. But where does the ''Air" part come in? Well, for $225 more per person, you can take a hot-air balloon flight with complimentary champagne.

Call 800-358-3585 or visit www.thesagamore.com.

Early autumn is an excellent time for a polar bear adventure. That's when they gather along the water's edge on the shores of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for the sea ice to form and give them a place to spend the winter. While they wait (early October-early November), the Great Canadian Travel Company operates 36-passenger tundra buggies that allow close-up but safe views of the bears, while a naturalist guide talks about them and the driver tips you off to the best spots for photography.

The six-night Polar Bear Experience includes round-trip air fare between Winnipeg and Churchill, six nights' hotel, round-trip hotel-airport transfers in Winnipeg and Churchill, plus guide services and tours. The cost is $2,269 per person, double occupancy, and departures are Oct. 9, 13, 17, 24, and 28, and Nov. 4, 8, 9.

The Polar Bear Adventure, for $2,147 a person, is similar but one night shorter and without guide services. Departures are Oct. 6, 7, 10, and 21, and Nov. 1 and 6. The Day Tripper is a two-day package with round-trip air fare between Winnipeg and Churchill, two nights' hotel, transfers, a full-day tundra buggy tour, and services of a naturalist guide. It is $999 per person with only two departures (Oct. 22 and 29), so early reservations are advisable.

Call 800-661-3830 or visit www.greatcanadiantravel.com.

The educated traveler Among dozens of courses offered by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education are three related to travel: ''Solo Travel for Women," Sept. 21, $49; ''Take Paris Personally," Sept. 21, $49; and ''The Last Realm of Paititi" (the lost city of the Incas), Oct. 5, $10. In addition, several cooking courses involve food and recipes from other lands.

Call 617-547-6789 or visit www.ccae.org.

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