Leaf Peepers Unite: The Ultimate Weekend Trip

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

One weekend, 230 miles, and a carnival of autumn brilliance.

Hordes of leaf peepers flock to New England each autumn determined to discover the brilliant colors that many of Robert Frost poems set out to describe. Those in the Connecticut Foothills understand the magnificence of autumn, but fail to explore them beyond their backyard. This year, set aside three days and discover a taste of what New England has to offer.

October
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
—Robert Frost

Spend your first day driving north to Amherst, MA, but try to keep your eyes on the road; you will find yourself lost in a sea of scarlet and sugar maples, ash, birch, beech, dogwood, tulip, oak and sassafras trees all more beautiful and vibrant than the last. Stay at the charming Allen House Victorian Inn, and travel back in time whilst enjoying modern amenities. Built in 1886, The Allen House overlooks The Emily Dickinson House, and touts a made-to-order hot breakfast, antique furniture, and exquisite views. Take an evening stroll down the street and dine at the famed Lumberyard, a romantic modern bistro serving grass-fed and organic, local beef.

Rise early on day two, and experience the morning sun reflect off the kaleidoscope of color on the screened-in balcony. After a hearty breakfast, stride across the street and take a tour of the Emily Dickinson Homestead. Recently restored to its original glory, visit Emily’s bedroom and examine her bed, writing desk, famed white dress, and more. Step outside and stomp through her garden, a sanctuary where many of her poems were written. Read aloud one of her many autumn poems while sitting on her very own bench. Later, hike a few blocks down the road and visit her grave, write her a note, or leave a small gift like so many continue to do. Enjoy the Dickinson mural adjacent to her grave. Finish your day off by taking a 30 minute drive to Aerostat Promotions and fly away in a hot air balloon at sunset over the gorgeous honey dipped trees and rolling hills.

Autumn
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
—Emily Dickinson

Sleep in on day three, and pack up your car after one final, mouth-watering breakfast. Drive a short distance to the Berkshires’ multi-colored utopia, and spend the day at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Beautifully manicured grounds surround the creamy building that contains some of the most important American work of the twentieth century. Explore Rockwell’s studio, and have a picnic lunch surrounded by panoramic views. Don’t forget to ring the Allen Bell and let the staff know you have had a wonderful time! Drive South back to the foothills, taking a short detour at Kent Falls State Park, walk through the bright red covered bridge, and enjoy one final glimpse of your most memorable harvest season yet.

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