Autumn in New England 2008 travel blog


Whenever we drive home from somewhere east of the Mississippi, we end up on I-80/90 along with half of the truck drivers on the road that day. There's something about the location of metro Chicago at the bottom of Lake Michigan in the middle of the country that causes this large gathering of traffic day and night. After about twenty years of construction - no exaggeration - the Illinois side of this mess has finally been finished and has so many lanes the traffic flows smoothly. Nevertheless I find it disconcerting when we are in the motor home and eyeball to eyeball with the trucker to the right of us and the trucker to the left of us and there is a handswidth of space separation. Luckily this doesn't bother Ken who is busy tuning back in this favorite Chicago radio stations and changing the clock from EDT to CDT. And now Indiana is working on their part of the I-80/90 section. Judging by all the bare earth we drove by yesterday, it will be many years before the drive from Ohio to Illinois will flow smoothly.

Eventually everyone works their way through and so we find ourselves home again. Even after two+ months away, it quickly feels as if we had never left. Fall is not nearly as far along here. The flowers still look like summer and the first hard freeze hasn't hit yet. So while the washing machine grinds away and we wade through stacks of mail, it is time to reflect a bit on our most recent adventure.

Those fall colors in New England - put them on your must see list. It's more than just hype that has been drawing tourists to the area every autumn. Word has even gotten out over seas. We were amazed how many voices we heard speaking varied European tongues, who were also pulled off the road, joining us in exercising our cameras. Even on the cloudy, rainy days that I whined about, the hues were unforgettably bright and florescent. Our strategy to remain in the area for a lengthy period of time was a good one. Even watching the fall foliage maps on the web, didn't really tell us what was going on in a specific area. Tourists who arrive for one precious week could easily miss it altogether. Even staying in one spot for only a week as we did, may not have been the best strategy to see that particular area at its best. Mother Nature has her own calendar.

When you look at a map of air traffic or the US at night, there are so many dots over New England, you can get the impression that the entire east coast is one concrete jungle. Nothing could be further from the truth. Large areas of each of the states we drove through are extremely rural and agricultural. The area where we live is far more built up and paved over. Any area that can boast both mountains and sea coast has a lot to boast about. The mountains may not be as tall or rugged as they are out west, but compared to the midwestern flatlands, there's always someting picturesque to enjoy.

If history or literature is an interest, New England could keep you happily occupied forever. So much has been lovingly preserved and museum-ified, you could spend months in an area and not see it all. Because the warm weather season is so short, some of these attractions have abbreviated seasons, but even those living history areas that involve being outside, offer limited programs year round.

You might think after all this time we saw it all. We only scratched the surface. We'd gladly return any autumn.

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