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Calling all New England Leaf Peepers

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We are planning a trip to New England in October to view the changing foliage. Since we live in Colorado we have no experience traveling and camping with our Oliver in New England. We will leave from upper PA about October 7 and head towards Cooperstown, NY.  We have no plans for the next 10 days after arriving at Cooperstown. As you might imagine I have more questions then answers. What are your favorite places to camp in NY and New England? During that time of year, should I make advanced reservations? We don’t make advanced reservations in the areas we usually travel because there are so many boondocking opportunities on federal and state land. Are there many boondocking options available. What are a few of your favorite places to visit for fall foliage? Favorite campgrounds or boondocking sites? Is there one place in New England you would recommend we use as a base camp for numerous days of leaf peeping? Is there anything else we should think about before departing? Thanks for the help.

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One thing to keep in mind is that a number of campgrounds in northern NE close after Columbus Day, so be sure to check ahead.  In NH, find someplace to camp and drive the Kancamagus Highway for stunning views. Go during the week, not on the weekend if possible since leaf-peeping season creates traffic jams everywhere.  It has been years since I've camped there but there are many places. Check on availability asap though.  Great time for a trip in NE!


David Caswell and Paula Saltmarsh


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As far as Connecticut there are very limited campgrounds as granitestate said most close early.  There are two casinos Fox wood and Mohegan Sun   Good area for foliage. You would need to call if they still allow camping.  If i remember Foliage starts to end in October. If so start to head to the Carolinas i always thought the foliage was better  and the temps weren’t as cold.  Timing is every thing, good luck

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I've lived from Massachusetts to South Carolina, and my folks live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but I've never camped to see the leaves.  The biggest piece of advice I have is to keep your eye on the fall color forecast.  I know this may sound a little crazy, but there are actually people who give forecasts based on the year's weather, current color, and forecast weather, guessing when "peak" color will be.  Some also just give you forecasts based on historical record...those can be WAY off the actual, so look for someone who is using current year data.   These historical ones can be helpful during your planning stages so that you get an idea of the progression through the area.  For instance: https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/

 

You can often enjoy an area even if it is before or after "peak" (and note that different species of trees change at different times, so its really hard to define "peak" in mixed forests).   However, if your destinations are somewhat flexible, you can try to move toward the places where there is better color.  I would also recommend that if you're in an area that is past peak, consider going towards the coast if you don't want to head south.  The coastal areas are warmer, so they peak later and some are quite stunning.  I highly recommend Acadia National Park if you've never been there.

 

I couldn't agree more with GraniteState about trying to do your driving/peeping during the week, and save laundry and down time for the weekend when the hordes are out on the roads!    I also concur on the Kancamagus highway (make sure you have fuel - there are limited services on it and if there's lots of traffic, you don't want to run out!)  In fact, I recommend fueling up any time you leave a highway because some of these areas are surprisingly rural and you burn a lot of fuel going up and down and up and down as you pass through ranges.  It doesn't help that the only East-West interstate is the Massachusetts Turnpike.   Be especially aware of traffic conditions if you want to pass through North Conway, NH, just north of the east end of the Kancamagus, as the congestion through town can be brutal.

 

Assuming you already visited the Finger Lakes region on your way to Cooperstown (Watkins Glen, Ithaca and the lakes themselves), you'll be relatively near Saratoga Springs, which is a lovely college/spa/horse town.

 

One other thought I had...while Olivers generally don't have to worry so much about height restrictions, New England has some VERY old roads, bridges and trestles.  It would probably be worth running any routes through a trip router that takes height into account just to make sure you won't have a problem.  I'm sorry I don't have more camping info, but we're total newbies and don't pick up our Oliver for a few weeks!  Hope this added a little more food for thought.

 

-Kathryn

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LEII Hull #517    |   Lincoln Navigator Reserve with Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package and owner installed OEM rear "splash guards" (aka mud flaps)  - "The Beast"


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Paul has family in western NY. We have visited Letchworth State park, not far from Rochester, a number of times. Had a camping family reunion one year. https://parks.ny.gov/parks/79/details.aspx

They close the camping loops around the third week of October, but they'd be open on your way east.

Whether there is leaf color or not, this park is fabulous. Billed as the "grand Grand Canyon of the east", the gorges, foliage, and views are worth the time, anytime.


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Thanks to everyone for the useable information. Your willingness to share knowledge helps assure we have a wonderful trip in the New England/New York area this fall.

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