Fall Foliage Deals to Book Now

joiseyshowaa, flickr

Fall is just around the corner, which means that Mother Nature will soon be shedding her summer greens for the brilliant reds, oranges, yellows, and purples that signify brisk autumn weather. Want to get up close and personal this year? Hotels from the Appalachians of New England to the Ozarks of Arkansas, across the Rockies in the west and over to the edge of the Pacific coast are offering deals that make it easy to get close to those gorgeous hues. But you better book now. Like the leaves, these deals won't last.

schodts, flickr

10. Williamsburg Lodge, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Stay: You can't go wrong when one national treasure (Colonial Williamsburg) celebrates another (fall foliage). Here, the refreshing breath of autumn is showcased in the three days/two nights Autumn Stories package available at this Federal-style lodge just a short walk from the iconic village. Starting from $449 per couple, the package includes breakfast, passes to the historic buildings and museums, a $100 activities card to use at the shops, restaurants, and spa, and more, making it an incredible deal.

You won't have to even leave the lodge to see some color, since the trees within the living museum turn vibrant orange. To experience more, take a drive along the Colonial Parkway, which has multiple areas for pulling over and enjoying the view.
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Amish Country Inn

9. The Inn & Spa at Intercourse Village, Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Located in the heart of Amish country, this inn has all the details you are looking for: cozy rooms, patchwork quilts, and lots of fireplaces. During fall foliage season you can reserve an overnight from $159, including an extensive five-course breakfast each morning.

If you are looking to splurge, go aloft on a hot air balloon voyage that floats gently above the countryside ($174 per person). Back on earth, explore peaceful Highway 23, a gently rolling two-lane road tucked between lovely low hills. Surrounding Intercourse you'll discover a web of quiet country lanes woven deep into Amish farmland where, during harvest time, the earth tones of nature and the brisk nip of cool weather create a classic American autumn.
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Munro House

8. Munro House, Jonesville, Michigan

Midwesterner's in the mood for some foliage flock to this inn, about two hours from Detroit and three hours from Chicago. Munro House's Southern Michigan Fall Colors package, offered from mid-September to mid-November, includes two nights starting at $399. If the price still seems a little steep for a deal, know that besides the room you'll also get dinner both nights as well as a one-hour massage each.

Explore the back roads and lakes of Southern Michigan, the rolling Irish Hills, the Old Sauk Trail, and fields where the autumn visage of corn and alfalfa and hay complements the colors of the changing leaves.
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7. MSC Poesia

If you're not content with seeing just one fall foliage location, book a cruise that takes you to several. Departing from New York beginning in September, the fall foliage sailings of the MSC Poesia will hug the colorful New England coast on voyages from six to ten days with a selection of stops in Boston, Newport, and Bar Harbor and then along the Canadian coast to ports in Halifax, Charlottetown, Sydney, Corner Brook, and Quebec City. Sailings start at $599 per person, based on double occupancy.

The gold and crimson leaves will be exploding out your cabin window as you sail up the Atlantic Coast and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Quebec.
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Jiminy Peak

6. Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, Massachusetts

The Berkshires in western Massachusetts are gorgeous any time of the year, whether they are hidden beneath a layer of white snow or the vibrant green of spring. But when the fall weather triggers the beginning of the foliage season, resorts like this will be flooded with leaf peepers. Luckily the rates stay low, starting at $109 in September and $129 in October.

Tour the lovely two-lane roads that criss-cross the hills vibrant with fall colors and lead to wonderfully charming New England towns such as North Adams where, on October 3rd, the town will host its 55th Annual Fall Foliage Festival Parade.
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Waverly Inn

5. Waverly Inn, Hendersonville, North Carolina

Sitting in the center of a circle of western North Carolina destinations such as Asheville, Brevard, and the Pisgah National Forest, the Waverly Inn is offering an Autumn Colors package that starts at $149 per night and adds a third night free. At that price it would be silly not to add on extras like two Chimney Rock Park tickets ($25), two two-day Biltmore Estate tickets ($100), and a picnic lunch for two ($20). An impressive breakfast is included each morning, and the afternoon brings cool mountain breezes and the inn's casually comfortable Front Porch Social.

Drive US 64 up to the Highlands or follow your trip to the Biltmore with a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the red maples and yellow sassafras will likely peak in mid October.
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Valley River Inn

4. Valley River Inn, Eugene, Oregon

The name of this package says it all -- Oregon Wine Country: Autumn in the Vineyards. Priced from $159 per evening ($179 for a river view), the package includes breakfast, a road map to local wineries, a free tour and tasting and bottle of wine at the King Estate winery, and a $20 gas card to help get you there. But if you're willing to splurge, it's worth paying an extra fee and leaving the driving to the inn's shuttle chauffeur.

Since you'll be staying on the Willamette River in the heart of the Beaver State's wine country, you're only a short drive to vineyards and wineries in the valley where oak, aspen, and birch trees slowly change into the fiery colors of autumn.
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Grand Central Hotel

3. Grand Central Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

One of the oldest hotels in this unexpectedly artistic Gilded Age resort town, this historic 1883 hotel and spa has fourteen guest suites done in upscale Victorian style with high ceilings, period wallpaper, and antiques (plus king beds and double whirlpool tubs). In October and November, their Fall Foliage Package offers a book two nights get the third free deal. Visit Friday and Saturday and stay over on Sunday on the house ($450), or stay two consecutive days between Sunday and Wednesday and receive the following day free ($400). The package also includes extras like a $50 dinner voucher for the inn's Grand Taverne restaurant and a one-hour whole body massage for two in the hotel spa.

Drive along the area's country back roads for the best foliage experience. Northern Arkansas color begins in late September, when the Ozarks start putting on their fall wardrobe. The area peaks in late October, with black gum trees burning bright red.
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2.Strater Hotel, Durango, Colorado

For a fall package that will reveal the season from a whole new perspective, test-ride the Strater's Autumn in the Animas Valley package. The package at the classic 1887 hotel (a favorite of Western novelist Louis L'Amour) is a little pricey, offering two nights starting at $550, but includes expensive extras like dinner for two at the hotel's Mahogany Grille and a scenic train ride.

Included in the package price is a ride on the famed Durango-Silverton steam railroad which huffs and puffs its way to the mining town of Silverton at 9,288 feet. Along the way you'll be riding alongside cliffs and through the wooded forests along the Animas River Gorge, which bursts with color in autumn.
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Omni Hotels

1. Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

One of the Granite State's most famed grand hotels, this lodge in the heart of the Presidential Range is a great place to experience the beauty of a New England autumn. Priced at $159 per person per night, the Rest and Recreation Package comes with your choice of a 50-minute spa treatment in the hotel's new 25,000-square foot spa, a round of golf on a new Donald Ross-designed course or -- better yet -- a canopy tour in the Bretton Woods.

The 3.5-hour canopy tour will let you immerse yourself into the quintessential New England fall foliage. There are two sky bridges, three rappelling stations, and ten zip lines that are as long as 900 feet and as high as ten stories. But in this case, you don't even want to think of the word fall...
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The science behind leaf peeping

If your junior high biology is a little rusty, you may need a refresher course on how leaves change color. It's pretty simple, really. When the trees bloom in the spring, leaves are filled with chlorophyll that gives them their green pigment. As summer begins to fade, a layer of cells begin forming at the base of the leaf and the moisture, minerals, and chlorophyll that once flowed through the veins of the leaf are blocked. When the chlorophyll disappears, the leaf formerly known as green starts to show its true colors.

The beauty of this natural design is that fall foliage begins at different times in different places, depending on a forest's exposure to the sun, its elevation, and the amount of rainfall it receives. Generally you'll see leaves change at higher elevations in the north and then work down the hills and mountains. You can scramble to the top of a peak to find them, or contact the National Forest Service Fall Color Hotline at 800-354-4595. For the full experience, pick up the Fall Color Finder, which identifies more than 150 fall leaves in full color and spells out their range, leaf size, and shape.

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