An autumn fall foliage tour paints New England landscapes with bold, Impressionist colors that surprise, delight, energize and mesmerize, and awaken the visionary in you.
This excursion through Grand New England offers more than the visual excitement of a fall foliage tour. Enjoy exclusive filmed vignettes by filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan that share personal stories and take you behind the scenes of their films. See American history in a new light in places where it was made, then re-made by poets, painters and icon-makers... the Revolutionary heart of Boston, the Berkshire retreats of Norman Rockwell and Edith Wharton, and the Gilded Age mountain resort at Bretton Woods. Travel through lush forests and fertile fields sweet with fragrant air, rich in tradition and brimming with antique charm. Search out the elusive soul of New England from Boston to Bar Harbor, from fishing boats to the summit of Mount Washington and the wilderness of Acadia National Park... in the taste of fresh lobster and maple syrup, and in the dazzled eye of the beholder.
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Fairmont Copley Plaza. A transfer is included from Logan International Airport to Fairmont Copley Plaza, a historic, luxury central Boston hotel steps away from the Boston Public Library, historic Beacon Hill, and the Freedom Trail. Join us at the hotel this evening for a welcome reception and dinner; the dazzling reds, golds and oranges that accent Boston’s cityscape are a colorful prelude to your fall foliage tour.
Boston, the cradle of America
History is alive and around every corner of the exciting city of Boston on an orientation tour this morning that includes Boston Common, Beacon Hill with its elegant townhouses and narrow cobblestone streets, the ethnic flavors of the North End and a visit to the USS Constitution Museum. Walk back in time in the footsteps of literary giants, artists, and visionaries who inspired and shaped America in its infancy. Later, explore on your own this city teeming with historic treasures and hip modern pleasures, where the venerable past is always present.
The Mount & The Clark in the literary Berkshires
Begin today's travels in the Berkshires, long a retreat for artists and writers, at The Mount – the hilltop Georgian mansion of Edith Wharton. The celebrated author of The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence called it her “first real home.” Wharton was also a consummate entertainer – you’ll feel like one of her guests at a private lunch overlooking her bucolic grounds. Continue on to Williamstown for a docent-led tour of the internationally renowned Clark Art Institute ("The Clark"), one of the few institutions in the US combining a public art museum with research and academic programs. Arrive late afternoon at your historic resort in Manchester, Vermont. Note: On Mondays and holidays when The Clark is closed, enjoy an alternate visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge – dedicated to the beloved illustrator who spent the last 25 years of his life in this small Berkshire town, and displaying many of his original works and his studio.
Hildene's Lincoln legacy
The classic New England town of Manchester, Vermont is tucked between the Green Mountains and the Taconic Range, and is home to Equinox Mountain, the Taconics’ tallest peak. After a morning at leisure to enjoy your resort’s amenities or explore Manchester as you please, followed by lunch, set off on a self-guided visit to Hildene – the former summer estate of Robert Todd Lincoln, US President Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son, who himself served as US Secretary of War and minister to Great Britain, and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln. The 1905 Georgian Revival-style mansion – which today is on the National Register of Historic Places and is furnished largely with Lincoln family furniture and artifacts – remained in the Lincoln family until 1975, and has since been restored and maintained by a non-profit group. Dinner is included this evening.
More Vermont Americana & art in Shelburne
Depart Manchester and stop at the iconic Vermont Country Store before heading out across Vermont's classic New England landscapes. After lunch, arrive in Shelburne for a visit to the Shelburne Museum of Art and Americana. Spread over 45 acres, this unique museum holds a vast collection of prints, paintings, folk art and quilts reflecting 19th-century American life, in historic buildings – including barns, a meeting house, a jail, a lighthouse, and a railroad station – in a village-like setting around the Ticonderoga, a 220-ft. steamboat that once ferried passengers and livestock on Lake Champlain. Today’s final destination is Stowe, an iconic Vermont ski resort town tucked away in the Green Mountains, for an overnight at a resort in the foothills of Mount Mansfield.
From the Green Mountains to the White Mountains
Head out from the Green Mountains of Vermont via the state capital, Montpelier, and the elegant gold-domed State House. Just outside the city, Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks offers you a taste of pure maple syrup and an education in how it’s made, from the tapping of trees to the distillation of sap and the subtle shades and grades that result from an art they’ve perfected over eight generations in the family business. Continue on out of Vermont and into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, arriving in Bretton Woods for a two-night stay at the historic Omni Mount Washington Resort, one of New England's last grand resort hotels. Since its opening in 1902, this palatial hotel has been a magnet for presidents, robber barons and celebrities; Babe Ruth and Thomas Edison loved to golf here. In 1944, the World Bank was established here in the Gold Room; the stunning mountain landscapes outside glow with the same color.
The view from Mount Washington
The harshest winter weather on the planet can be found at the summit of Mount Washington, where a wind speed of 231 mph was once recorded in 1932, and the stone houses are anchored to the ground with chains. But at this time of year, you’ll meet only temperate temperatures and magnificent views, as well as the scientists at the meteorological observatory who will brief you on their work in this unique environment. It’s a day for indulging in the colorful quintessence of a fall foliage tour as you wind down New England back roads to return to your luxury resort at Bretton Woods, where you'll enjoy a presentation on the local ecology and wildlife. Dine as you please this evening.
A lobster experience in Portland, Maine
Arrive this morning in Portland, Maine where a local lobsterman takes you out into the harbor aboard his working boat for an authentic, hands-on experience in the lobstering trade. Back on land, enjoy time on your own along the waterfront, rich with restored 19th-century architecture and cobblestone streets, and settle in at your hotel before joining us for dinner tonight at – where else? – a Bailey Island lobster house overlooking Casco Bay, a favorite of local residents.
On to Bar Harbor for a schooner sailing
Make your way up to historic Bar Harbor today – and your luxury cliffside inn featuring lush gardens and panoramic waterfront views – in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise the harbor aboard a traditional wooden schooner, experiencing the picturesque coves, islands, lighthouses, and seaside cottages with the romance of a windjammer under sail; a park ranger accompanies the cruise and shares insights. Spend the rest of the day and evening as you please in Bar Harbor.
Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Luminist painters like Thomas Cole and Fitz Hugh Lane were among the first to document the awesome beauty of Bar Harbor, attracting Gilded Age high society who created an exclusive summer resort community to rival Newport. Discover exquisite examples of Victorian architecture that adorn the area en route to exploring the natural wonders of nearby Acadia National Park (color-drenched in autumn, the highlight of any fall foliage tour). You’ll love today, from the coves, pristine forests, beaches, plunging cliffs and rocky islands to the stunning view from the summit of Cadillac Mountain... the roadways within the park are historic. Return to your hotel with time at leisure; soothe at the spa, or explore the town with its charming shops, galleries, and superb seafood restaurants. Or... stand just about anywhere and admire the view.
Along the spectacular coastline of Maine
Journey southward this morning from Bar Harbor along the beautiful, rugged Maine coast; following lunch and some free time in Camden, settle in at Harraseeket Inn, a family-owned luxury inn; join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner.
After breakfast, travel from Harraseeket Inn to Boston. Tour ends: 11:30 AM at Logan International Airport, Boston or 12:30 PM at Fairmont Copley Plaza. Airport transfers are included. Flights shouldn’t be booked before 2:00 PM; allow a minimum of 2 hours for check-in. Ask at booking about extending your stay with additional hotel nights (rooms may not be ready until 3:00 PM).