While autumn brings with it the promise of cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and exciting football games, many of us are still sad to say goodbye to the long lazy days of summer where everyone — even your boss — is in perpetual vacation mode. But fall doesn’t have to be all business. In fact, the season’s mild temperatures make it a great time to get away and witness mother nature’s glorious seasonal changes.
Photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash
Fall foliage car tours have been a cherished autumn tradition for as long as Americans have driven automobiles. And why not? The roads are clear of all those frantic summer travelers and witnessing this explosion of color is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In fact, we’ve been busy at Allstar Coaches putting customized tours together for people who want to extend their tours beyond a single afternoon and take in the sights via RV. Perhaps no part of the U.S. is better known for its magnificent fall colors than Vermont’s Route 100, which is widely regarded as the finest fall drive of them all. The Route 100 tour comes into peak color from mid-September through October but remains stunningly beautiful even into November.
Scenic Route 100 Vermont Attractions Map
Route Options along Vermont’s Famed Loops
Running up the center of the state, Route 100 begins at the Massachusetts border and extends north, all the way to Canada. As you begin your drive, you’ll pass through the majestic Green Mountain National Forest and continue on to a number of other state and city nature reserves where fall’s majesty will be on full display. This route extends some 200 miles one way, making it ideal for an RV tour.
Drivers looking for a shorter foliage tour can turn east off Route 100 onto Route 107 at Morrisville and then back south on Route 12 for the famed 88-mile loop. No matter which tour you choose, Vermont’s Route 100 will truly be a feast for the senses.
Between seemingly endless stretches of orange, yellow, and red leaves, travelers can take a break from the road to enjoy some of the other rare pleasures that come with a New England vacation. Incorporating something for everyone, be sure to experience these unique stops that only Vermont can offer.
Treasure Hunting at the Vermont Country Store
Looking for some one-of-a-kind gifts and crafts to remember your trip? Stop at the popular Vermont Country Store located at 657 Main Street on Route 100 in Weston. A family-owned entity, the store opened in 1946 as a mail-order business with a catalog, “The Voice of the Mountains.” Described by the New York Times’ Fashion & Style section as having “countrified appeal,” the store now offers a wide selection of items, from seasonal home decor and clothing to jewelry and soap to the hard-to-find like Fisher-Price record players. You’ll definitely want to plan to stay for a while to browse through the isles and see what wares you can find. This could also be a great place to knock out some early holiday shopping.
Sugar fixing at the Green Mountain Sugar House
Fall foliage is more than just a great sight to see – the colors produced during this time of year come from Vermont’s native sugar maples which give way to “sugaring season.” So, a stop at the award-winning Green Mountain Sugar House to sample the harvest is a no-brainer. Located at 820 Route 100 in Ludlow, the family-owned business was built in 1967 and gives travelers an up-close-and-personal look at the tastes behind the beautiful foliage. After an intricate process of tapping maple trees, boiling the sap, and packing the harvest, you can take home souvenirs like fresh maple syrup plus maple candy, cream, sugar, brittle, and endless other treats.
Fact-finding at The Plymouth Notch Historic District
History buffs should stop at The Plymouth Notch Historic District located at 3780 Route 100A – the birthplace and childhood home of the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge. This is also where Coolidge was sworn in as President. Exploring the district is like taking a step back in time as the village has been virtually unchanged since the 20th century. Here you’ll find the homes of Coolidge’s family and neighbors including a community church, cheese factory, one-room schoolhouse, and general store with their original furnishings. Additionally, visitors can pay their respects to Coolidge who is buried in the town cemetery. Open during the week all year, The Plymouth Notch Historic District is a National Historic Landmark and included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Social experimentation at the original Ben & Jerry’s Factory
One of the most popular attractions along Route 100 is the original Ben & Jerry’s Factory at 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road in Waterbury. Here, guests can sample ice cream and take a 30-minute tour to see how the sweet treat is made plus learn more about how the organization became a leader among socially-responsible businesses. If you stop in during the week, you’ll also have the opportunity to see the production team live. And, of course, there’s plenty of Ben & Jerry’s famous flavors available to take with you and enjoy on the road.
No matter where you plan to stop or what destinations you visit, be prepared for chilly nights — even if the days are mild. Leaf-peepers should bring long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and a sweater or light jacket to weather the evenings. It is also a good idea to wear sneakers or comfortable shoes to make it easier to jump out of the car or RV to view the scenery. Though you will probably want to bring a camera — and should! — be sure to take the time to observe mother nature’s beauty.
The world just looks different when you’re traveling on the road and that’s especially true in autumn. As you move through Vermont’s Route 100, the mad pace of summer melts away as you travel through the trees. You’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery, plenty of quiet relaxation time, and a reminder that, sometimes, nature is all the entertainment you need. What more could you ask for from your early fall getaway?