Monday, October 12, 2009

Fabulous Fall Travel Destinations

Where to go for fabulous fall travel? Take a look at these magnificent destinations.

New Hampshire
Fantastic Fall Foliage - With 62 deciduous leaf-bearing tree species, there are few places on earth that begin to match New Hampshire’s display of fall foliage. And 84% of the state is covered with trees! Foliage experts predict an especially beautiful harvest season this fall due to all the summer rain, which won’t change the duration of the foliage season; however, it will certainly make it even more magnificent than in previous years. NH Tourism Dept has developed three new motorcycle itineraries for those who want to enjoy nature’s changing beauty on two wheels.

Terrific Tours – Newly expanded and updated Wine & Cheese Tours are a great way to see the New Hampshire countryside and taste award-winning fruit and grape wines at local wineries and sample delicious fresh cheeses at local dairy farms. On the tours, you can meet the winemakers and dairy farmers who have a passion for farming and tour their facilities. For those with a sweet tooth, start at the coast then head west on Route 101 and experience the Chocolate & Martini tour. It includes New Hampshire Magazine’s “best martini”, handmade Belgian chocolate, award-winning Swiss chocolate, and a stop at Chutters that features the world’s longest candy counter.

Keene Pumpkin Festival, Keene – As the sun starts to set, hundreds of volunteers rush to light thousands and thousands of carved pumpkins at the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival. Visitors from around the world descend upon this Monadnock Region town to watch the night sky light up with approximately 25,000 votive candles; the final countdown is announced before the fireworks begin. While waiting to see that spectacle of lights, the entire family can spend the day downtown with special activities for the kids, including a costume parade, seed-spitting and pie-eating contests, live music on three stages and more.

Return of the Pumpkin People, Jackson – Spend the day in the charming Town of Jackson, and take a self-guided tour viewing the Pumpkin People. Area businesses and homeowners get into the fall foliage spirit and create unique, colorful and playful pumpkin people throughout the village of Jackson and surrounding towns. Visitors will see everything from the Red Fox Bar & Grille's "Pumpkin Nightmare before Christmas" to the Inn at Ellis River's Pumpkin Magic Tricks. Outdoor recreation continues to be an area attraction for everyone including pumpkin people who can be seen fishing, snowshoeing, playing hide and seek and enjoying activities on the school lawn.

North Carolina
With more than 120 species of trees, NC turns into a brilliant palette of color each year as the autumn leisurely makes its way from the mountain peaks down to the coastal plains. See the state from a fresh, active perspective by taking advantage of these five unique ways to experience fall color in NC.

1. Leaf Watcher's Favorite: Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, including popular Mystery Dinner Theatre Train

2. Roads Less Traveled: Bike Off the Beaten Trail with stops at charming vineyards and historic inns.

3. The View From Above: Enjoy the Color on a Balloon Adventure

4. Ride the River Wild: Whitewater Rafting on Nantahala River (8 miles ending at Nantahala Falls)

5. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is like taking a journey through fall colors. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular ways to view North Carolina's changing fall foliage.

Illinois is becoming more popular for getaways with its unique combination of cultural experiences, centralized location and mix of both urban and rural destinations. In fact, more than 70% of Midwest residents believe Illinois offers an easier and more convenient getaway than any other Midwest state. The unique combination of cultural experiences, centralized location and mix of both rural and urban destinations makes Illinois a great fall getaway choice. Some highlights include:

*St. Charles Scarecrow Festival. Scarecrow fans of all generations gather for this free event on the Fox River to explore hundreds of hand-crafted, whimsical scarecrows and vote for the favorite scarecrow of the festival in six categories. Families can enjoy the carnival rides, see the free Autumn On The Fox Art & Craft Show or Harley-Davidson Exhibit, listen to top-notch musical entertainment and savor delicious specialties from local vendors.

*Abe’s Corn Maze. Located in Springfield, this 10-acre Abraham Lincoln-themed corn maze takes visitors on various paths cut out in the shape of an American flag, log cabin and a portrait of the legendary president. It’s a patriotic, fun and festive family adventure that is sure to be an unforgettable part of a fall getaway. After making their way through the maze, fall festival-goers will not want to miss out on the pony rides, a petting zoo, flea markets and fireworks display.

*Applepalooza! Located in Alto Pass, stop at Rendleman Orchards Farm Market for everything apple, including fall recipe and baking needs. Bake seasonal delights with fresh apple ingredients such as apple butter and applesauce. Visitors can shop for all things apple, or browse the farm market to stock up on baking necessities such as spices and jams before the holidays. Don’t forget to pick up an apple gift box for your friends and family.

*Chicagoween: Chicago is packed with an array of haunted activities during the month-long Chicagoween festival, which includes pumpkin patches, haunted houses and a theater showing live performances. Daley Plaza is transformed into “Pumpkin Plaza,” an eerie city block with Halloween-themed decorations and pumpkin decorating stations. Kids can join in the fun by marching in the costume parade and enjoy the Midnight Circus.

Oktoberfest – Dubbed Georgia’s Alpine village, the quaint town of Helen was formerly home to a logging industry. The city resurrected itself by becoming a replica of a Bavarian town - in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. Located on the Chattahoochee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains (northeast of Atlanta), Helen hosts a fantastic Oktoberfest September – November each year.

Gold Rush Days - The oldest, most established mountain festival in Georgia. An Appalachian celebration, it marks Dahlonega’s place in history as the site of the first gold rush in the U.S. Selected as a “Top 20 Event in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, the fun unfolds on Dahlonega’s Town Square and will include a parade, children's activities, a fashion show, gold panning contest, wheelbarrow race, King and Queen Coronation, hog calling, live entertainment and food booths.

Corn Maze – Located 45 minutes north of Atlanta in Dawsonville, Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch has been recognized as one of most-well attended mazes in America, with 40,000 guests each fall. All 4 weekends in Oct have a special haunted maze. Other activities include bonfires and hayrides, and guests can also select their perfect pumpkin and shoot the corn cannon.

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