Five Unexpected Places for Fall Foliage - Page 2
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Autumn in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
Autumn in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota  (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rural areas don’t have a monopoly on fall-foliage displays—some of America’s top cities can put on a show to rival the best New England countryside. One of our favorites is Minneapolis, with its fair share of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Autumn walks and jogs around the tree-lined urban lakes are a favorite pastime of city residents as the overhead canopy slowly transitions from the summer’s bright green to the autumn’s fiery hues. Right in the heart of the city is lovely Loring Park, a great spot to sip coffee and enjoy a pastry on a slow stroll in the crisp early morning. Then it’s off to two of the city’s best museums, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the hip modernist Walker Art Center, with its 11-acre outdoor sculpture garden. After the golden light of sunset turns into night, catch a show at First Avenue or the Varsity Theater, two venues still dedicated to bringing indie rock to adoring locals.

Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
Traditionally known for its boaters and seafood, Chesapeake Bay is one of America’s most stunning fall foliage spots. A seemingly endless number of forested peninsulas jut into the bay, which sprawls over 60,000 square miles with more than 11,000 miles of coastline. Pretty Annapolis, Maryland, home to the U.S. Naval Academy, makes a good base to start your explorations. Cross the four-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Delmarva Peninsula (so named as it’s partially in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia). This 170-mile long peninsula is mostly rural, with farms in the interior, beach towns on its eastern shore, and fishing villages on its bay side. Enjoy a sunny, winding drive from St. Michaels’ harbor through the colonial city of Cambridge, and finish in Crisfield, home to the National Hard Crab Derby and Fair every Labor Day weekend. The kicker to all this pastoral beauty? Eating blue crabs and fresh oysters at each stop.

Gaspé Peninsula, Québec
Remember Canada, that massive country just north of the United States? It has its own fall foliage spots. Heck, it’s even got a blazing red maple leaf on its flag. Thanks to Canada’s northern latitude, autumn comes a bit sooner here—perfect for early birds who can’t wait until mid-October. One of our favorite off-the-beaten-track places to see fall foliage is Québec’s Gaspé Peninsula, 120 miles northeast of Caribou, Maine. The drive from Campbelltown, New Brunswick, to Gaspé, Québec, rolls through 200 miles of rugged coastline with endless maple trees in various shades of red and gold on your left and the shimmering Gulf of Saint Lawrence on your right. Quaint villages such as Bonaventure and Percé make great stops along the way. The pièce de résistance is Forillon National Park, virtually unknown to most Americans but packed with leafy maple trees growing on the edges of high cliffs dramatically cut into the gulf.

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