Fall foliage between Montreal and Northampton, Mass.
October 13, 2015 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Next Wednesday I'm driving from Montreal to Northampton, Mass., staying overnight, and then driving back the next day. Are there routes/places you can recommend to see some great fall foliage?

I've done this drive once before during the summer. Now that the leaves are changing, I'd love to know if I could optimize my route to see some foliage.

Ordinarily, I would just take the route that Google recommends. But I'm willing to drive an hour or two out of my way both coming and going (although ideally I'd at least be making roundabout progress to my destinations.)

I have seen foliage maps like this that would seem to indicate my timing is pretty good, but it's hard to know which roads I'd want to take to get the best views, so personal experience or detailed routes are very welcome.
posted by veggieboy to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but I wish you luck.

I was visiting Montreal last week and had hoped to time my visit to hit at or near peak color but there was little showing when I arrived and just the beginnings of major change by the time I left. Next week probably will be pretty good (now that I'm safely gone) but things seem to be running later than usual this year.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:40 PM on October 13, 2015

A recommendation for the East-West leg of your trip is Rt. 9 in southern VT. Some really pretty views as you go through the Southern Green mountains.
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:46 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

(But that would assume you're coming down I-87 rather than I-89 -> I-91)
posted by Betelgeuse at 2:48 PM on October 13, 2015

Here's one idea: Take I-89 to Route 100 in Vermont. Take that to Ludlow, then head east on Route 103. If the Rockingham Meeting House is open, visit it (even if it's closed, you can stop and admire the cemetery). Then take I-91 to Northampton; you'll get some beautiful views on the Interstate. Here's the route on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/tvwvyvxLHC12

However, if you take I-89 to I-91, without getting off the Interstate, you'll still see some beautiful forests.

You could return by leaving Northampton heading west on Route 9, then in Goshen head north on Route 112, which you can take all the way to Route 100 in Vermont. From there, follow Route 100 north through the Green Mountain National Forest. You'll pass just west of Ludlow and rejoin the previous route. When you reach Route 125, turn left (west) and head up through the Middlebury Gap. (Stop at Texas Falls if you want a short walk to an impressive cascade.) In East Middlebury, turn right onto Route 116, and take that north to I-89, at which point you can take it back to the border crossing. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/V77UsedrPMr

Or you could reverse those routes. I think they'll both provide a fair amount of time seeing foliage.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:27 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I go to Canada every summer from MA. Rather than come down east of Lake Champlain, come down on 87 West of the lake to Plattsburg, NY and take the ferry over to South Hero / Grande Isle. Ferries run every 20 minutes 24/7. It's a quick hop across the lake that gives you a short break from driving while you're still moving. It's easy then to get back on 89.

It may not expose you to any extra foliage, but you'd have a nice water ride with views to the Adirondacks and the Green mountains. The drive through S. Hero is nice too. There's a section that goes along the edge of the lake where there are several osprey nests up on some poles.

There are three ferry crossings on the lake, this one is the shortest one.
posted by bondcliff at 3:56 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think I would do this.

Western route down, eastern back home. On the way home detour for coffee the Montague book mill, and then St Gaudens National Historic Park.
posted by ReluctantViking at 3:57 PM on October 13, 2015

I'd echo earlier suggestions to take rt. 100 south through the state. I'd actually take that all the way to Wilmington, and head down 9 east. On the way down on route 9, there's a great lookout spot between Wilmington and Marlboro. It may be the best view in Vermont. From there, stop for coffee in Brattleboro at Mocha Joes, and head on your way down 91.
posted by General Malaise at 4:26 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

The leaves in Montreal just flipped. Last week it was about 75% still green, and today it's almost all gone colours.

I don't know why – it's been warmer than usual.

Quebec's ferry operators are all on strike, so don't take a route involving ferries inside Quebec.

It's also apple season. I'd take the 112 out eastward to Rougemont and stop for apples. Cortlands, Lobos, crisp as you like. Any secondary highway south in that area brings you among the Monteregian hills and their colours. Can't go wrong.
posted by zadcat at 4:59 PM on October 13, 2015

As it happens, I just drove down to Burlington from Montreal today. All the colours are out and it was a glorious drive down 89. Tomorrow's plan is to check out Stowe via the 100, which was highly recommended by the folks we're staying with.
posted by betafilter at 6:07 PM on October 13, 2015

Northampton end recommendations: I would second the posters that reccomend drives which use rt 47 near the Montague book mill. I drove that route last week for work and it was glorious, expecially near the end of the day.
Also, would second Rt 112 north from Goshen which is easily my favorite road in the world- fast, winding, spacious, scenic. It's just spectacular.
posted by MacChimpman at 6:56 PM on October 13, 2015

Just took the train from Montreal a few weeks ago. Foliage was still pretty green and the guide on the train (NPS volunteer) said that the fall colors were late this year. I'd imagine they're out now. I'm a bit jealous since that's what I was hoping to see. Enjoy!
posted by timelord at 9:19 PM on October 13, 2015

Pick a VT sugar house or two on your route ( I won't get into a debate as to whether VT's or QC's are better ;-) ). The fall leaves I saw on my way to them were incredible.
posted by brujita at 9:25 PM on October 13, 2015

By a week from now, the higher elevation areas of Vermont will be well past peak foliage. If foliage is your main concern, you'd probably do better taking I-89 and I-91 - the average elevation of those roads is much lower than Route 100 (meaning better color), and there are plenty of nice views along the interstates. Route 100 is very scenic, but winding and slow.
posted by jkent at 2:36 AM on October 14, 2015

Head to Peacham and Barnet in VT. Drive around the dirt roads for a bit then head back on the interstate. As a slightly longer trip, but would make sense for you (coming from MA) drive up 91 and then use the area around Peacham and Calais to change between 91 and 89 in either Barre or Montpelier. It would add on about an hour, but you would be driving through areas that people photograph for their fall colours and consistently win awards.

I grew up there and always realised how spoiled I was wan it came to anything Autumn related.
posted by koolkat at 5:12 AM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Related: Drone footage of VT fall foliage. Getting close to peak! That was six days ago. Hopefully will be spectacular for your trip. Found the original post, said it was Devil's Hill.
posted by clone boulevard at 9:06 AM on October 14, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you all very much for the responses. You've presented a lot of good options. I know the timing is tricky and the leaves are fickle, but fingers crossed!
posted by veggieboy at 11:10 AM on October 14, 2015

Make sure to stop at Green Mountain Orchards for apples and cider doughnuts!
posted by TheCoug at 6:57 PM on October 16, 2015

Good luck with foliage. The random snow we got on Sunday and Monday ended the season for the most part. Leaves dropped.
posted by terrapin at 4:57 AM on October 21, 2015

Response by poster: Yeah, terrapin. We got the same snow in Montreal. And you're pretty much right -- there were some patches of color, but it's clearly past peak; there were a lot of bare branches. Still a beautiful drive though on Route 100. And maybe I'll catch some more patches on a different route back tomorrow.
posted by veggieboy at 3:46 PM on October 21, 2015

« Older What public figure has a great office in the New...   |   Should I buy a PPO insurance plan in addition to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.