New England Travel

12 notable Bostonians share their favorite leaf peeping destinations in New England

"There is nothing in the world that compares to walking through the Boston Common and slowly watching the leaves transduce from the summer green to rich shades of red and orange."

Trees form a spectacular canopy of color as people walk along the Boston Common. Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

New England foliage is world renowned, so there’s no shortage of destinations where folks can take in Mother Nature’s spectacular display this season.

For those who’d like help narrowing down the long list of fall road trip destination options across New England, we asked 12 notable Bostonians their absolute favorite spot for viewing fall foliage in the region.

Ahead, check out their picks.

Adam 12, on air host at Rock 92.9:
“My favorite spot to view fall foliage in New England is from the peak of Hawk Mountain in Waterford, Maine. You get views of Crystal Lake, Long Lake, and all the colors.”


David Wade, WBZ-TV news anchor:
“I love Woodstock, Vermont. It’s the perfect mix of all things autumn. Incredible color, cider donuts, hiking trails, picturesque old barns and maybe even a sugar-rimmed pumpkin beer. For the fancier type, there’s even a great spa — although I’ve never been. I may not be fancy enough!”

Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today best-selling author and WHDH-TV investigative reporter:
“Here’s the secret — you don’t have to go far! Because don’t forget, the infinite joys of a New England autumn can often be found in your very own neighborhood — or even in your own back yard! I have a very personal leaf-peeping time — at my writing desk. It’s an antique semi-circular hunt table, facing a bay window and two giant sugar maples. They’re like my personal calendar — I watch the bare (then snow-laden) branches in the winter, I watch the tiny pale green buds in the spring, and the glorious fully-leafed green in the summer. Now, as the wind rustles thorough the still-green leaves, I know the show is about to begin.”

Jason Santos, chef/owner of Nash Bar, Buttermilk & Bourbon, Citrus & Salt, and author of upcoming cookbook “Simple Fancy”:
“I love driving up 93 in New Hampshire with the windows down and seeing all the leaves change while inhaling the scents of autumn. It’s magic.”


Jenna Blum, New York Times best-selling author, one of Oprah’s top 30 women writers, and co-founder/CEO of A Mighty Blaze:
“My favorite place to view fall foliage is right here on Commonwealth Avenue, which in autumn is an orange-gold tunnel of leaves.”

Jenny Johnson, co-host of NESN’s ‘Dining Playbook’:
“Just past North Conway, Jackson [N.H.] is as quintessential New England in the fall as it gets. Covered bridges. Babbling rivers. Rolling hills and mountains. We’ll spend the day hiking Mount Willard up at Crawford Notch — an easy one hour out and back with the most arresting leaf-peeping views — with a healthy lunch packed from The Local Grocer. On the way home, we eat at our all-time favorite restaurant Thompson House Eatery, the James Beard-nominated true farm-to-table feast … that puts the perfect flavor combination to the dazzling colors right out the back door.”

Vermont in the fall. AP/Toby Talbot. – AP/Toby Talbot.

Keiko Matsudo Orrall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism:
“I love the cranberry bogs during harvest in Southeastern Mass. They are one of my favorite places to find the beautiful colors of fall.”

Lydia Shire, chef/owner of Scampo:
Concord is so special. To drive around is so serene, a quiet time. In the fall with the leaves ‘ablaze’ in color, the old homes, the history … it should be a must for every couple, young and old. My other childhood memory is, of course, going to Vermont, where it may be said is the finest place on earth to leaf peep. Every turn on the roads in Vermont, with leaves falling, fire wood burning in the air, the chill in the air, the color, color, color … is HEAVEN!!”


Shahram Khan, general manager of The Liberty Hotel:
“There is nothing in the world that compares to walking through the Boston Common and slowly watching the leaves transduce from the summer green to rich shades of red and orange. There are so many places in the city to do leaf peeping, but my favorite is walking near the Esplanade along the Charles River. This brings completely different energy. My favorite place to visit is the Berkshires, the beautiful mountains of western Massachusetts, to enjoy some of the delicious farm to table food with amazing views. I also love Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont and the Kancamagus Highway.”

Steve DiFillippo, chef/owner of Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse:
Smolak Farms in North Andover, Mass. The North Shore of Massachusetts has the most beautiful foliage!”

Will Gilson, chef/owner of Puritan & Company, The Lexington, Café Beatrice, and Geppetto:
“I think the best places to see the leaves change is from the top of the closest ski resort to you. In Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, we try to find a resort that still has their chairlifts running. Grab a hot chocolate or chai latte, hop on the chairlift and sit peacefully on top of the mountain. My favorite place to visit is Stowe, Vermont. The air is just different up there. The views are breathtaking, the hikes are amazing, and there are no shortage of breweries to hang out at.”


William Senné, founder and CEO of Senné:
“In the fall, I love walking down Brattle Street. The sun is out, there’s a slight chill in the air, but there is an excitement and energy with the historic homes, the students back and all the colors in the magnificent, old trees. The Minuteman Bikeway is another one of my go-to spots. There is so much activity on a sunny day, and since it’s not the height of summer, you can stroll or bike for miles. The leaves and all the color start to overshadow the path like a natural tunnel in some places as well.”

Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.


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