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    New England: why go? The magical atmosphere of the Foliage region

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Discovering New England and its magical atmospheres A tiny white church with a pointed bell tower in a country with pretty wooden houses surrounded by woods, lakes, farms in an atmosphere of serenity. A marina, boats, fishermen and a stretch of water in which the trees are reflected. Welcome to the New England, in the northeastern United States, namely all the beautiful of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Here the Far West America is far, far away, not only in terms of kilometers.

    The protagonists of particular appeal are the villages and their scenic setting. The small urban agglomerations, mostly in Victorian style, become one with nature as in a naive painting. It is pleasant to walk along the main street where emporiums and commercial activities are concentrated, often with an ancient flavor.

    It would be a big mistake to limit yourself to a single glance from the outside as entering the various shops and laboratories in many cases means having pleasant surprises; for example, it is not uncommon to find emporiums, pharmacies or hardware stores where the floors, the cash register and the shelving date back to more than a hundred years ago. These realities are proudly kept alive with all the love Americans have for the past. Even the many antique shops that are found almost everywhere were not born only for business but to give a second life to things and to preserve history.


    This is also the area where the greatest concentration of covered bridges built during the XNUMXth century to prevent horses from being frightened when crossing rivers and to provide shelter from the elements for people, animals and goods. Now those bridges that are still in business, perhaps for four wheels rather than four legs, have a romantic charm and are excellent photographic spots.

    But there is a particular time when the beauty of New England reaches its peak starting in northern Maine and continuing south, mainly from the last week of September to the first two weeks of October. In this period, nature explodes its magic with particular intensity, gives idyllic images because the colors of autumn light up: red, orange and yellow. This spectacular palette along with so much more is what New England showcases in the period of Fall Foliage (autumn foliage), a natural phenomenon that can be briefly summarized as follows.

    During the cold season there is not enough light and water for photosynthesis. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves and discovers the red, orange and yellow colors. The first part of autumn is the period in which the red color is most evident in all its shades especially in certain trees such as maple, dogwood, sassafras and some varieties of oak. Poplars, birches, elms and beech trees show off a beautiful golden yellow. Climatic conditions also play a very important role; in order for a greater concentration of pigmentation and therefore spectacular foliage to occur on the leaves, it is necessary that in the summer months there are contrasting conditions of daytime heat and coolness of the night.

    Normally in this period of about three / four weeks the climate is pleasant and sunny, ideal characteristics for the exaltation of the phenomenon at its highest levels. This particular moment is also referred to Indian summer and on the origin of this appellation many have questioned themselves without reaching a common conclusion. Among the various versions in vogue we have "married" this one: by "Indian summer" we mean a period of good sunny and dry weather in an area where there were many Indian tribes who came into contact with the Europeans.

    In addition to the enchantment of the foliage, throughout the States the month of October largely means preparing for the celebration of Halloween (October 31) in its most varied forms. Adults and children go to great lengths to find the pumpkins that best suit their projects and orange spots are seen everywhere, in shops and on farms. In each country there are special days or fairs dedicated to the purchase of pumpkins and the personalized creation of scarecrows.

    It is a real ritual that gives rise to fun and gathering popular events. A consolidated tradition in this period is the frequentation of maize labyrinths. So far everything would be normal but since it is also Halloween time, the peculiarity is that in October the tour is often done at night to make the atmosphere scary.

    Then in all the cities and towns the strictly ghostly themed festivals begin and there is something for all tastes, with various "shades of fear" celebrated in the most disparate places. The Events more classic are the city ghost tours, paranormal rides, visits to haunted houses,haunted corn maize up to a quieter Halloween costume party (ghost tour in town, paranormal tour, visits to houses frequented by spirits, the aforementioned nocturnal labyrinth, Halloween costume parties). So, for those who feel attracted to stories about spirits and for those who are not the type who is easily scared, we recommend taking part in some events to fully get into the spirit of the moment.

    Never as in this period is it recommended to take the byways (secondary roads) for a variety of reasons: you feel the pleasure of driving without traffic problems immersed in a splendid rural landscape, hilly, sometimes mountainous, where every curve can reserve a surprise, for example the aforementioned parties in the farms or village fairs. Characteristic autumn decorations consisting mainly of carts with pumpkins, wreaths and pairs of scarecrows, can be found in front of the houses.

    Then, shortly thereafter, the typical Halloween decorations are added which in some cases, in terms of size and structure, go far beyond the simple definition of ornament and take on a scenographic character. But in America it works like this: everything is spectacular and we travelers immediately realize it, but behind this appearance of access there is actually a lot of attachment and enthusiasm for traditions and celebrations.

    New England is also one of the places where it is harvested and marketed maple nectar which is used simply as a juice or in the form of various kinds of candies, pralines, spreads and biscuit fillings. It is delicious in any way it is used. And in the breakfast of the Americans the ideal combination of maple juice is with pancakes: one leads to another! Check out our insight into New England cuisine.

    Across the six states of New England, in the "old America" ​​where pilgrims landed almost 400 years ago, some realities, settings and atmospheres have struck us in a particular way. Spacing between the Atlantic coast, green hills, mountains, lakes, visiting farms, crossing villages and covered bridges gives a sense of peace, creates a suggestion of other times that is good for the mind and the heart.

    Generally, there is never enough time during a vacation to stop and visit everything you would like. It is a shame but it is also a reason to decide to return to places like these and continue to discover them. We are doing this and after four trips to New England we keep coming back ...


    To start planning a trip to this beautiful region, we recommend that you first read our guide on how to organize a tour in New England and consult the various travel itineraries that you can find in the relative section.

    Other useful resources

    If you are thinking of embarking on a New England itinerary, I would like to point out some resources that may be useful for planning your trip.

    • Our guide on how to plan a tour of New England.
    • Our tips on Country Inn: the best Bed & Breakfasts in the region.
    • All you need to know about Acadia National Park, New England's most fascinating natural park.
    • Our advice on the city of Boston, a reference point for visiting the region.
    • Our section with all the recommended itineraries in New England.
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