Five states where you’re most likely to hit a deer this fall

Leaf-peepers are about to hit the road in force – as they always do this time of year. While soaking in the burning foliage colors with your eyes, it’s only too easy to forget you’re behind the wheel, a situation that can lead to disastrous consequences. There are some states where beautiful foliage and deer prancing on the streets just seem to go together, according to a study by insurance company State Farm. So, if your autumn plans include scoping out the trees, make sure you look out for deer, too.

Here are the five states where you’re most likely to wind up with Bambi on the hood of your car if you aren’t careful (with the likelihood of doing so):

1. West Virginia: 1 in 42 (I didn’t see this one coming!)

2. Iowa: 1 in 67

3. Michigan: 1 in 70

4. South Dakota: 1 in 76

5. Montana: 1 in 82What’s particularly surprising is that none of the states usually considered to be leaf-peeping destinations made the top five, let alone showed high risk of deer collisions. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are low-risk, with New York, Vermont and Maine only showing medium risk. You’re more likely to wash venison off your hood in Arkansas than you are in New Jersey, a state where deer corpses are not uncommon on the side of the road.

Interestingly, the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists, according to State Farm, has grown only 2 percent in the past five years … while the number of deer/car smacks has surged 20 percent. From July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010, there were approximately 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles. The average cost for an incident was $3,013.

[Chart via Terms + Conditions: Insurance Industry Blog]

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Four New England leaf-peeping deals you won’t want to miss

Fall is right around the corner, and in New England, this means the leaves are getting ready to change. If you’re planning to be part of the influx of leaf-peepers to the northeast corner of the United States, New England Inns & Resorts has put together some great deals to help you make the most of your experience – without draining your pockets.

Whether this is your first trip to New England for this annual ritual or you’re already there and just want to get away for the weekend, there are some absolute bargains on the market right now. In addition to fantastic room rates, you can take advantage of discounts at plenty of local attractions.

After the jump, check out four great packages that will give you some good reasons to go to New England this fall.

1. Wander the corn maze
At Nordic Village Resort in Jackson, New Hampshire, you can get two weekend nights and two adult passes to the Maze at Sherman’s Farm (I went a few years ago and got horribly lost) for $220 a night. You’ll also get a coupon for $10 off at Yesterday’s restaurant.

2. Attend a scarecrow wedding
At the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, you can spend two nights in a water view room at the Carriage House Inn and pick up a $25 dining credit (per person) at 95 Ocean, the resort’s restaurant. For $359 a night mid-week ($519 a night on weekends), you’ll also receive bike rentals, one-day tickets for the InTown Trolley and breakfast every day. The most interesting perk, however, is the build your own scarecrow kit. All scarecrows constructed will be present at the “scarecrow wedding” at Nonantum Resort on October 11, 2009, the kickoff for Kennebunkport’s Gathering of the Scarecrows Festival.

3. Soak in waterfalls, lakes and covered bridges
At Centennial Inn in Farmington, Connecticut, the “Get Up and GO for Fall” package includes a night in a Studio Suite and a map of the most interesting local attractions. Use the complementary $10 gas card to fuel the travels guided by that map, and be sure to check out the cider mill, gourmet cheese shop and vineyard. The first night starts at $165, and you can get another for only $99.

4. Do you need a reason to go to Newport?
Well, if you do, the “Tranquil Autumn Getaway” package offered by Castle Hill Inn & Resort has one. In addition to two tickets to tour one of Newport’s Historic Preservation Society’s mansions, you’ll receive a romantic three-course dinner, afternoon tea every day and breakfast each morning. The package starts at $1,520 in September and $1,112 in October – a bit pricey … but c’mon, it’s Newport.