The New York Times recommends these fall hikes and drives in Mass. and Maine

The Mass. drive includes "the world's most mouthwatering cider doughnuts."

Getting to Grafton Notch State Park can be just as scenic as the hike through the park itself. The Grafton Notch scenic byway starts in Newry and follows Route 26 to the state park. Or for a longer drive, start in Naples and pass through the edge of the White Mountain National Forest.
Getting to Grafton Notch State Park can be just as scenic as the hike through the park itself. The Grafton Notch scenic byway starts in Newry and follows Route 26 to the state park. –Flickr / The B’s

The New York Times just recommended two fall drives located in Massachusetts and Maine, and they both offer several great hiking spots along the way.

The publication posted “Leaf peeping is not canceled: 6 drives and hikes to try this fall” on Friday, featuring fall hikes and drives in six U.S. states, including Massachusetts and Maine.

In Massachusetts, the Times focused on the Berkshires, recommending visitors use the Berkshire Natural Resources Council’s BNRC Berkshire Trails app for guidance “from one secluded wonder to the next.”

After a morning beverage at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield for “the country’s richest tasting lattes,” the Times recommended checking out Pittsfield State Forest, which has 30 miles of hiking trails and includes Berry Pond, the state’s highest natural body of water. It’s also worth stopping at Bartlett’s Orchard in Richmond for what the publication calls “the world’s most mouthwatering cider doughnuts.”

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From there, it’s worth checking Parson’s Marsh in Lenox, which winds “through a woodland worthy of Tolkien’s Galadriel, and wetlands even now bursting with life,” and Bosque Mountain’s Mahanna Cobble Trail, which just opened in June, according to the Times. Some of the region’s famous cultural institutions are surrounded by paths and trails as well, the publication noted, such as at the Clark Art Institute, Hancock Shaker Village, and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s former home.

In Maine, the Times focused on a fall drive from Portland to Grafton Notch State Park, noting that the first 10 miles of the nearly two-hour trip has “surprisingly vibrant leaf peeping on Maine’s primary artery, I-95-North.”

Drivers will pass by the historic buildings of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, which is closed due to COVID-19, and Poland, known for a vanishing ghost called “Route 26 Hitchhiker,” the Times wrote. More places worth checking out: Snow Falls; Mt. Abram Ski Area & Bike Park in Greenwood; Mollyockett Motel in Woodstock; Sunday River in Newry; and The Good Food Store and Smokin’ Good BBQ in Bethel.

From there, drivers will see “excellent foliage on the last stretch to Bear River Road and the 12 miles of the Grafton Notch Scenic Byway leading to the Appalachian Trail parking lot,” according to the publication. Stops worth making: Mother Walker Falls, Screw Auger Falls, and Grafton Notch Campground on the Bear River for campers.

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Hikers will discover plenty of options from the Appalachian Trail parking lot in Grafton Notch State Park, according to the Times, such as Table Rock Trail, “a popular favorite for its wide-open rock plateau and valley views.” Across from the lot, they’ll find Baldpate’s West Peak, which the publication calls “the best choice for a good day hike.”

The New York Times reminded leaf-peeping motorists and hikers to check for any travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic before crossing state lines.

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