Connecticut shows its brightest colors in early October. Best places to visit are the wooded areas of the state, like the Northwest Hills, the hilly Eastern parts of the state north of the Mystic, CT area, and upscale Fairfield County which is an quick drive or train ride from New York City. All these places have delightful small towns and gorgeous scenic drives.
The fall colors are just part of the natural charm of Connecticut. The capital city of Hartford, CT has a beautiful city park, Bushnell Park, while New Haven, CT hosts the larger and more rugged East Rock Park. And around the state you'll find vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail that host harvest season events and tastings in fall.
This drive will take travelers past the Housatonic River, famous for fly fishing and white water rafting; near two covered bridges; and through Kent, CT and its many art galleries, historic homes and churches; Washington, CT and its Institute for Native American Studies, and Mount Tom State Park. The Appalachian Trail passes through this area, and opportunities for day hikes are plentiful.
This drive passes through many lovely small towns of northern CT, as well as the adjacent Peoples State Forest and American Legion State Forest in Barkhampstead, CT. Also near this drive is Lake McDonough, a scenic, unspoiled public recreation area.
This loop is good for people with limited time to spend. With only short stops for viewing the scenery, the trip should take less than two hours. Black Rock Park in nearby Watertown, CT offers excellent hiking, scenic views, and Indian legends. People with more time to spend should visit Waterbury, CT's Mattatuck Museum, with exhibits chronicling the industrial and cultural history of the Naugatuck Valley.
The Last Green Valley is the 35-town National Heritage Corridor in northeastern Connecticut. It is a pristine and quiet spot of pretty town greens, country roads, wildlife preserves, unusual farms (alpaca, bison), wooded walking paths, calm waterways for paddling, history museums, towns with galleries and good food. Star gazing is popular; the Last Green Valley is one of the few places on the Eastern Seaboard with little nighttime light interference.
This drive along the tidal Mystic River, with its marsh meadows and waterfowl, is beautiful all year. From River Road, views of Mystic Seaport on the opposite bank of the river convey a shipbuilding community in the early 1800s. Downtown Mystic, CT is a delightful place to explore.
This route runs from Canterbury, CT to Woodstock, CT in the northeastern part of Connecticut known as the Quiet Corner. About 190 pre-1855 homes survive along the highway, as well as historic churches and farms. The highway winds through the towns of Lisbon, Canterbury, Brooklyn, Pomfret, and Woodstock, CT, an architectural feast surrounding a traditional town green.
Along this state scenic highway, travelers can see dramatic vistas from large hilltop farms. Three of those farms have been used by the same families continuously for almost 300 years. This route runs for 18 miles north to the Sterling Hill National Register Historic District. Offering views of fields and farms, it's a great way for visitors to nearby Mystic, CT in southeastern Connecticut and to extend their trip to northeastern Connecticut.
This drive takes you along the Long Island Sound shore and inland among salt marshes, classic town greens, sunflowers and a fine farm stand. If you're coming from the New York/New Haven, CT area, take exit 53 off I-95 north. If you are coming from New York City, consider taking the Hutchinson River Parkway to the scenic Merritt Parkway (Route 15) as a substitute for I-95.
Talcott Mountain State Park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Distinct geographical formations date back to ancient times. It also is home to Gilbert Heublien's unique summer estate, dating to 1914, which is open to the public.