This year, we at Gadling have made a pledge to ban a certain phrase from our posts, one that refers to a particular activity that happens (often in New England) around October, when tourists drive around to photograph trees. Still, it’s hard to resist a good autumnal photo of flora. Today’s Photo of the Day does a great job of capturing the mood of the season without a single bit of foliage in sight. Taken by Flickr user Jason Rodman (his second POTD this week, nice!) in Basel, Switzerland, the image depicts a much-loved activity of the yearly fall fair. The people flying above him along with the flags even remind us of the annual shedding of organic material. Who’s ready for a hot gluhwein? This year’s Herbstmesse takes place October 27-November 12.
This summer’s weather patterns continue to astound me, between heat waves, hailstorms and the mighty Derecho, which was said to be the storm to end all storms before it narrowly missed New York City last week.
Today’s Photo of the Day is proof of even more global weirding: leaves changing color in Italy … IN JULY. As Flickr user Aviv reports from Venice, “One day it’s too hot to be outside, the other day it’s windy and leaves are falling.” Yup, sounds like my summer too.
Taking an autumn drive to see the leaves change colors is a time-honored tradition in the north and east of the country. While Kentucky might not be the first place you think of as a leaf-peeping destination, the state is full of scenic byways and rolling countryside to be explored. Plus….there’s bourbon.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is composed of eight distilleries scattered around Lexington, Bardstown and Frankfort, which are all about one hour from Louisville. Autumn is the perfect time to visit. The leaves are changing, the crowds are gone, and the weather is mild. You can fly into either the Louisville or Lexington airport, though flights to Louisville seem to be cheaper.
Four of the distilleries are closer to Bardstown. These are Jim Bean, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, and Tom Moore. Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve are closer to Frankfort. Most are open Tuesday through Saturday (some are open Sundays in summer as well) and offer tours every hour. Tours are generally free, or cost just a few dollars. Tours will often include a walk through the production area, a lesson in the history and production of bourbon, and of course, a tasting session.
You’ll need a car to get between the distilleries, so travel with a designated driver or visit no more than two distilleries per day. You could also book a tour guide and driver with a company like Mint Julep Tours.
Where to Stay
For a more urban experience, look for a hotel in Louisville or Lexington, where you should be able to find a room at a national chain for around $100 per night. You’ll find more bed and breakfast accommodations in the smaller town of Bardstown.
What to Do
Other than visiting the distilleries in the area, you can go also go wine-tasting, visit a Civil War Museum, Kentucky Train Museum, take a two-hour dinner train ride through the vibrantly-colored foliage of the countryside, or visit the Kentucky Horse Park. The Park features a daily parade, equine education, horseback and pony rides, and horse shows.
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.
When I saw this picture I thought I was going to find one of those motivational notes attached about success, following a dream or achieving some enormous goal, which by the sound of the caption it looks as if the photographer was very pleased with the results. This photo titled “Lonely Oak Leaf” was taken by Stormygirl while exploring one of California’s national parks. Great shot!