Leaf-peeping. Along with thousands of others.
August 30, 2011 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Leaf-peeping on Columbus Day weekend (by car) - an insane idea?

I may regret wasting my weekly question as I plan the Most Awesome Holiday ever, but I need to book hotels/airbnb asap. I am flying to NYC (from London) 8th to 15th October. I want to see the New England fall for once, and this would make more sense at the beginning of the trip rather than at the end (no stress racing to JFK to catch plane, etc).

But of course this is Columbus Day weekend and I fear I will end up spending two days cursing traffic (I am prone to, um, impatient driving). I don't have definite plans yet, but was thinking of driving towards Boston in some sort of scenic route way. And back. In two days. (Though return by rail is also an option.)

Is it going to be crazy? Is this generally a crazy plan in 2 days? (Do you have any other helpful leaf-peeping advice?)
Thank you all for your help!
posted by ClarissaWAM to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Best answer: Take Amtrack up the Hudson Valley towards Montreal, and you'll get the whole gamut of leaf color- it can be somewhat hard to get perfect timing on the color change, but if you're on a train going north along the hudson, you're going to hit a fair amount of color.

Bring along a bottle of wine & snacks and it's a spectacular journey. Personally I'd get off at Hudson NY, and have a grand old meal there (it's a lovely walkable town) before returning to NYC. You could also go all the way to Montreal, spend the night there, then return.
posted by larthegreat at 2:34 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not a whole lot of people celebrate Columbus Day. I think you'll be fine.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:35 PM on August 30, 2011

Response by poster: Ooooh that sounds quite tempting and less stressful than driving!

Thanks also rabbitrabbit for allaying my fears.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:02 PM on August 30, 2011

Best answer: rabbitrabbit is correct that Columbus Day isn't really observed, but it is definitely a busy leafpeeping weekend in New England. In my neighborhood, if you avoid the major freeways (which is possible) the traffic is less rage-inducing. All of that said, larthegreat's idea is a good one. But be sure to sit on the left side of the train on your way up the Hudson, and on the right on your way back...otherwise you'll be looking at a lot of rock wall.
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:21 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd also add that it'd a good idea to travel latitudinally (N/S) to maximize the likelihood of seeing peak colors. The further south, the later the change. I've always thought NYC wasn't at it's best until early November.
posted by keasby at 3:51 PM on August 30, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, South to North it is. I know someone in upstate NY so may be able to fit in a visit to her place, which would be neat! :)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:59 PM on August 30, 2011

The only people that even make *note* whatsoever of Columbus Day are Italian-American neighborhoods.
posted by notsnot at 5:05 PM on August 30, 2011

While Columbus Day isn't a big holiday, it IS the biggest leaf-peeping weekend. I like the idea of the train up the Hudson, but you could also rent a car and drive up through the Berkshires to Vermont. The traffic shouldn't be bad once you're away from New York, but you will want to have your lodgings booked in advance.
posted by ldthomps at 6:29 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

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