This leaf-peeping tour begins on New Hampshire’s route 89 to White River Junction, and then up route 5 north to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. This is a good destination for an early fall foliage foray because color changes begin in northern New England.
We drove north from Massachusetts, crossing New Hampshire on route 89. Here’s a tip: don’t miss Georges Mills, New Hampshire, (between exit 12 and 13) where there’s a great rest stop with a fantastic view of the hills across the highway. They also have picnic tables to sit at and relax and enjoy the view.
At mile marker 48 there are some wonderful red swamp maples surrounding a low field on the west side of the highway that are among the first trees to start turning red. Then the rest of the hills will follow to pick up where the swamp maples leave off (no pun intended) if your trip is later in the fall.
On route 5 north of Thetford, Vermont, is Merry Meadow Farm, with wonderful fences and some nice maples that will make a great photograph.
Still driving north along route 5, we were in the Barnet area just north of Joe’s Brook Road when we found a great round red barn. There is a tree next to it and if you get up here at peak foliage time, it will make a great shot.
From there, take route 5A to drive by northern Vermont’s beautiful Lake Willoughby. We continued on 5A to Derby Center, then stopped for dinner at the Cow Palace, a steakhouse decorated throughout out with antlers that are almost all elk, with a few moose mixed in. Elk delicacies are also on the menu along with beef and chicken dishes. Twenty or so elk have made an adjoining field at the end of the parking lot their home.
From there we drove a couple miles more and checked into the Elm street Manor B&B in Derby Line, Vermont. This is a wonderful bed and breakfast in an old Victorian home with beautiful furnishings and a relaxing atmosphere. Now we are about as far north in the Northeast Kingdom as you can go and still be in Vermont.
This drive has been adapted from Jeff Folger’s 2009 blog post on Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.