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New England fall foliage: Best areas to watch the leaves change

Like in 2017, the fall colors in 2018 are expected to be particularly bright

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New England’s leaf-changing forecast this fall calls for particularly vibrant and full colors.

Experts say it’s been just warm enough at night and just cool enough (barely) during the day during the past couple of months to ensure a healthy return on the investment of taking in the region’s foliage fireworks. The situation was similar in fall 2017, and that season proved spectacular.

Said fireworks this go-round are expected to start peaking around September 30 and continue all through October.

Where best to see them? Try anywhere along these routes:

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Connecticut: Along Route 8 north and south of Waterbury and then farther west along Route 7 out of Danbury and up toward the Massachusetts line.

Rhode Island: U.S. 44 and U.S. 6 running into Providence, though the nation’s smallest state is probably the most skip-able in terms of fall foliage-watching.

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Massachusetts: On foot or bike, try the 10-mile Minuteman Trail through Cambridge, Arlington, and Lexington.

By car, it’s the Berkshires all the way! U.S. 20, which basically parallels the Turnpike, is an option as are much less traveled highways such as Route 9 into Pittsfield and Route 2 into Williamstown.

(May we suggest, too, that you don’t sight-see while driving on the Turnpike.)

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Vermont: Now we’re really getting into the fireworks! Basically any route through the slender state via foot, bike, or car works for leaf-viewing.

U.S. 7 takes viewers through the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, affording frequent opportunities for breathtaking stops.

U.S. 4 and Routes 125 and 73—all east off U.S. 7—take viewers through additional lush forestland (and U.S. 4 bisects prime ski country).

In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, U.S. 5 and Route 114 are viewers’ best bets.

Or take I-93 South into ...

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... New Hampshire: I-93 cuts through the White Mountain National Forest; and any route off that is a solid bet for seeing the Granite State’s prime leaf-changing areas.

The density of the colors tapers off farther south toward Manchester and Portsmouth on the coast.

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Maine: Like Vermont and much of New Hampshire, Maine is basically ablaze for much of October and early November, especially back from the coastline a bit.

U.S. 201 off I-95 is scenic as is Baxter State Park in the state’s northern center (it’s also home to Maine’s highest peak: Mt. Katahdin, pictured gloriously above).