Autumn is the best time to visit Japan: The humidity of the summer has subsided and the snow hasn't set in yet. In October and November the vibrant colors of kouyou (foliage) come into full force, and many festivals are celebrated around temples and shrines such as this one, Hyakusaiji Temple in Shiga.
Fall is gorgeous just about anyplace in New England with mountains and trees, but Maine is particularly beautiful thanks to the profusion of both. Hillsides turn ablaze as maples, oaks, elms, and all manner of their deciduous brethren make the splashy transition into winter. The quiet country roads, the quaint towns, and plenty of hiking and biking opportunities conspire to help you experience the state as its best.
Connecticut's northwest corner offers some of the country's best leaf-peeping. The area includes the southernmost edge of the Berkshires and one of the best, if briefest, portions of the Appalachian Trail, a 56-mile section hovering above the clear blue Housatonic River. Spend a weekend at one of the many B&Bs in the region and let your city stress melt away while gazing at stunning country landscapes.
Credit: courtesy, NW Connecticut CVB
If you like to slow down and enjoy the ride, Skyline Drive is the road for youand not just because the speed limit holds you to a leisurely 35 miles per hour. Driving this gently graded, sharply winding road lets you explore the beauty of Shenandoah National Park from atop the narrow spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pull off at one of 75 overlooks to take in the viewthe gentle, rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east, and the fertile Shenandoah Valley to the west.
Credit: courtesy, NPS
A weekend of sipping wine, gazing at stunning landscapes, floating in heated mineral pools, and bathing in mud should rank highly on anyone's list of relaxing vacation ideas. Spend a fall weekend in Calistoga, in the northern section of Napa Valley. The road to Calistoga winds through mountains and farmland, past country stores and veggie stands, and ends in a small town where the good life is everywhere.
Credit: Calistoga Chamber of Commerce
Winding roads through small towns, miles of undeveloped landscapes, and peaceful trails up scenic mountains give New Hampshire its reputation as an outdoorsy state. Fall enhances the state's beauty, painting leaves in cool crisp shades of orange, red, and brown; the 27-mile Kancamagus Scenic Byway and the 100-mile White Mountain Trail will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the state.