“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” This profound note from a French philosopher does tell you a great deal about the beauty of fall. While poets have romanticized autumn and photographers have captured its colors, travelers have done both. The sight of scarlet maple, saintly orange aspens, and bright yellow tamarack is heartwarming. You realize that fall is the best time to set off on a journey. So, before winter unseats autumn and snow hides its hues, come out in the open and rejoice in the brilliance of the season.
The White Mountains in New Hampshire is where autumn creates all the magic. When red maple leaves cover the hills and deciduous trees dazzle by the Silver Cascade Falls, you know that this is going to be one great fall! From the hilly hamlets of Berkshire to scenic byway in New Mexico, everywhere you behold the burnt orange aspens vying for your attention. If you are in New York to attend the Woodstock Film Festival (Oct 11 - 15, 2017), you wouldn't mind heading west, preferably Colorado, for the Columbus Day weekend and seeing the golden face of the aspens.
In Canada, autumn is not a short-lived happiness. Find a place in the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and dedicate the entire day to the colors of fall. As the train crosses alpine lakes and goes about the 114-mile journey to Agawa Canyon, you soak in the charm of the unspoilt countryside under mellow sunshine. Between the end of September and beginning of October, the canyon turns into a kaleidoscope of green, brown, orange, yellow, and red.
You should also go hiking in the Canadian Rockies to find western larch turning into deep yellow. Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is ideal for spotting spruce, pine, red oaks, and tamaracks. Watching the sugar maple trees in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec and walking along the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia can give you a different high.
If viewing cherry blossoms in spring is a national obsession, admiring 'kouyou' during autumn is an addiction for the Japanese. As September nears its end, the leaf-viewing tradition (koyo) gains the centerstage. Crimson maples hang from the temple roofs, carpet the gardens, and embrace the cottages in ecstasy. When you are in Kyoto, your eyes feasts on the fall foliage. A short train ride from here takes you to Nara and its famous park. Leaves along the pathways look smeared in yellow, golden, and crimson.
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Fall in France is an epic adventure. Sparkling wine, crisp sun, and lustrous leaves in myriad hues: every day spent in France is like seeing your cup of happiness full. You have to come to Loire Valley to witness a large swathe of intense red, fiery orange, and golden yellow. The experience of cycling along the tree-lined roads that wind along the Loire River, picnicking on the riverbank, and visiting vineyards is peerless. The blue sky of Southern France enriches the canvas.
If Scottish highlands are breathtaking, the woods are enchanting. Just a casual glance at the waterside trees in Pitlochry is idyllic, especially during autumn. The season does to Scotland what spring does to Switzerland: it makes the place far prettier. Each October, Pitlochry hosts Scotland's premier sound & light show – Enchanted Forest. When the bright leaves are lit up at night, they look otherworldly. The riot of red, green, blue, and yellow lights in the woodland looks stunning. Glowing forest and throbbing music in the background are accompanied by Scottish beef burgers, hot dogs, mulled wine, and hot chocolate. Let indulgence prevail!
Fall paints the Black Forest in many hues. Amidst red and orange lies fading green and a tinge of brown that create a curious palette of colors. For a one-off experience, plan a stopover at Lahr that hosts the unique autumnal event – Chrysanthema (Oct 17 – Nov 8). The entire town gets flooded with round-faced chrysanthemums. When the nip in the air and crispy breeze tempt you to hike, set off on a journey to conquer the famous Romantic Road – a long-distance walking trail covering almost 500 kilometers. From the castles of King Ludwig to Gothic cathedrals and colorful meadows to mountains, the landscape goes through a dramatic shift. You can look forward to a memorable autumn.