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5 Fantastic Fall Views in Massachusetts

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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

When September and October arrive, leaf peeping in Massachusetts is a real treat. Of course, leaf peeping with a view is even better.

From majestic lookout points in the Berkshires to tucked-away ponds along the North Shore, the Commonwealth has a wide range of places where foliage fans can see autumn at its best.

So, grab your camera and pick out a nice day for a visit! Any time at these five spots during fall will be time well spent.

Stockbridge Bowl in Stockbridge, MA

Stockbridge Bowl, known better to some as Lake Mahkeenac, is man-made, but it’s Mother Nature that makes it shine every year. Located in the Berkshires, where some of the most spectacular fall foliage in all of the United States can be found, Stockbridge Bowl displays stunning colors against the backdrop of the lake.

Stockbridge Bowl

Photo: Peak foliage at Stockbridge Bowl

Wheatleigh, the Gilded Age villa home built by Henry and Mary Cook, can actually be seen from the water, which is accessible by boat, provided that the boat has been properly cleaned beforehand. For those traveling to the area, Stockbridge has a number of lodgings, including the Stockbridge Country Inn and 1796 Stockbridge House.

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in South Deerfield, MA

Franklin County in Western Massachusetts is another area recognized for its stunning autumn colors and Mount Sugarloaf provides one of the top elevation points to take it in. At the pinnacle, the mountain opens visitors’ eyes to a majestic panorama of surrounding scenery, including the Connecticut River, Pioneer Valley and Berkshires.

Sugarloaf

Photo: View from the top of Mount Sugarloaf in autumn

For those who’d like to drive, a road that winds its way to the summit is open from 9 a.m. to sunset through October 18. The peak area also happens to have a pavilion area for picnicking, making it a place where passersby can comfortably spend a few hours. To put your feet up nearby, the South Deerfield Red Roof Inn and Deerfield Inn are convenient options.

Doane’s Falls in Royalston, MA

Courtesy of the prehistoric glaciers that covered Central Massachusetts many moons ago, Royalston is home to a series of waterfalls that eventually cascade 45 feet into a central basin. Doane’s Falls is perhaps even more enjoyable during fall than summer, as the surrounding trees create a delightfully picturesque frame for the water’s boisterous activity.

Doanes Falls by Dorothy Miller

Photo: Doane’s Falls in Royalston, MA

Doane’s Falls is also something of a turning point for the river, which is quite placid a bit upstream but begins to rush before reaching Tully Lake. The nearby upstream area is home to Coddings Meadow, too, where hikers can see the river in its still-calm state and enjoy some lunch. For anyone traveling to the area, the Clamber Hill Inn in Petersham is cozy overnight spot.

Birch Pond in Lynn, MA

Birch Pond might not be one of Massachusetts’ most celebrated foliage destinations, but when peak foliage arrives, its colors are something to behold. The pond borders the west side of Lynn, a city of around 90,000 that’s located 14 miles north of Boston.

Birch Pond

Photo: Peak colors at Birch Pond, image by Jeff Folger

Parking can be tough to find near the pond, which is flanked by Walnut Street on its west side, so the best bet for visitors is to look for a spot on Pond Street or Birchwood Avenue, just across the city border in Saugus. Before or after a day around the pond, Chisholm’s Motor Inn is a suitable and budget-friendly place to stay.

Wayside Inn Grist Mill in Sudbury, MA

A Massachusetts landmark, the Grist Mill in Sudbury isn’t just a part of the country’s oldest operating inn. It’s also a magnificent leaf peeping location, as the iconic stone building provides a sharp contrast with the vivid red wheel and surrounding trees.

Grist Mill

Photo: Wayside Inn Grist Mill during fall

In addition to the landscape, the Wayside Inn is also home to a charming restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a wide variety of choices for fare, drawn from land and sea; gluten-free dishes are available, too. When it comes to staying over, the inn itself is a real prize, but rooms do get gobbled up quickly. Because of that, it’s best to book well in advance or look into alternate lodgings.

For more information on all things fall in Massachusetts, click here. And for a real-time look at the foliage across the Commonwealth, check out http://www.massvacation.com/fall/.

Where is your top leaf peeping spot in Massachusetts? Tell us in the comments!

  • hotwaterbottle

    I think that Grist Mill was on one of my calendars.
    Suffice it to say, Massachusetts is beautiful!

    • MassVacation

      That may be, hotwaterbottle. It’s one of our most recognizable fall sites. And thank you for the kind words 🙂

  • Anna

    I’m new to the area and planning a mini trip for the weekend. I was wondering, what places are worth seeing near Sudbury and near the Stockbridge Bowl?

    • MassVacation

      Hi, Anna. Thanks for asking. And welcome to the area! 🙂

      Near Stockbridge Bowl, there’s the Norman Rockwell Museum as well as Naumkeag, which is gorgeous during fall and open through this weekend. You can learn more about them there: http://bit.ly/1yNrltc.

      Near Sudbury, it might also be good to check out Walden Pond, which is just a little ways away in Concord. The museum there, which has a lot of history about the beginning of the country, is also very cool: http://www.concordmuseum.org/

  • Trijules

    I have one day (Oct. 23) to experience fall folliage in MA and CT. I’m arriving at 6pm-ish at Logan the day before and can drive out of town in order to get a jump on the next day. Final destination on 10/23 is Providence, RI – hopefully around 5-6 p.m. SO, I’m looking for a nice route with plenty of fall colors (if they’re still around) and can head into CT (towards Hartford) as well. Thanks for any advice you can give.

    • MassVacation

      Thanks for asking, Trijules! We have some suggested foliage routes on our website that could be really useful, which you can check out if you click here: http://www.massvacation.com/fall/ and click “Foliage Routes.” That website will also give you a real-time look at the foliage conditions, which should help with the trip planning.

      If you have the day and can get out early, the “Quabbin Reservoir Run” in Central MA has some really beautiful foliage. If you want something that will take you a bit further south, “The Southern Pass” and “The Cranberry Course” are both good options. If you have any questions, just let us know!

    • Connecticut Jim

      It’s already getting a little late but there should still be some nice colors. With all due respect to the website, I wouldn’t recommend taking a specific “foliage drive”. You never know where you will happen upon the most beautiful colors. Just get away from the city and stay off the highways.With your final destination, I would head south to Newport, R.I. It’s strikingly beautiful. Maybe hug some of the Massachusetts coast on your way down, depending on how much time you have to dawdle (you could hit the Pilgrim landing site, Plymouth Rock). Newport is only 45 minutes or so beyond Providence. Then you could drive back up to Providence through Bristol, R.I.

      • dianegordon

        there still is, Jim – I’m writing this on Oct.23.

  • Wow – what gorgeous, fiery landscapes. New England is unreal in the fall.

  • kiefmanjabs

    I grew up quite literally at the base of Mt. Sugarloaf. That picture is atleast 10-15 years old. It’s still just as beautiful up there every single year.

  • Waysidefan

    The Wayside Inn is a beautiful place to visit and stay, a piece of american history. The grist mill is something to see.

    • Elin Neiterman

      The beautiful Wayside Inn historic area is being threatened by commercial development. Please call the Inn and the town of Sudbury and tell them you support its preservation! Don’t let this serene area be lost to development.

  • I want to see fall in Massachusetts at least once before I die!

  • Honest Joe

    The Grist Mill is a recreation. It’s a Disney version of reality. Plastic history at its worst.

  • Jay Jay

    I C.U.P

  • Renuka Singh

    It’s incredibly beautiful!

    • MassVacation

      Thanks, Renuka!

  • Shannon

    I moved to MA from the south when I was in grade school. I had never seen snow or even Fall foliage comparable to that in New England. We lived about 5 miles from Wayside Inn & one of my favorite memories was our visits to the Gristmill. I always got a bag of “baking soda” candy when we visited. The Gristmill had always been a special & beautiful place that I had my wedding ceremony standing right there in front of the water wheel. It was one of the most beautiful October days back in the 80’s

  • Hi, the Birch pond image is mine. I don’t know if you are officially under Mass tourism and North of Boston. Ann Marie knows me and you have to always give the artist a credit line. please place credit line with: Photo by Jeff Folger, please view or purchase by clicking here http://vistaphotography.com/featured/lynn-woods-birch-pond-fall-colors-jeff-folger.html Thank you Jeff “Foliage” Folger

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