Tag Archives: fall

Top Leaf Peeping Destinations in North America

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While summer may be drawing to a close, the fall has plenty of attractions that make it a well-loved season in its own right. The oppressive heat and humidity that plagues us all will be departing, leaving behind cool and crisp mornings and pleasantly warm afternoons, the chill of the night will begin to kill off those pesky mosquitoes, and soon, farmer’s markets will be overflowing with healthy produce as the time to harvest the crops rapidly approaches.

The best part of all though, comes when the leaves on the trees begin to transform into a kaleidoscope of hot colors, breaking out in various shades of yellow, orange and red. With each succeeding weekend getting chillier than the next, high season for leaf-peeping in North America will soon be upon us.

Why not take to the roads and take in the splendor of this breathtaking time of year before the season’s first big storm blows this natural masterpiece away? The following three routes represent the top leaf peeping destinations in North America, so whether you decide to book an overnight or do it all in one big day trip, you’ll be taking in one of the aspects that make fall the great season that it is!

1) Agawa Canyon, Ontario, Canada

Our pick for Central Canada’s top leaf peeping destination of 2014 isn’t actually a highway like our other two selections, but a railway that runs within a river canyon that has carved out a spectacular route through the study bedrock of the Canadian Shield near Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.

This train trundles alongside the Agawa River, and boasts incredible views of maple tree studded bluffs on either side, causing these steep slopes to catch fire with shades of crimson red.

2) Route 100, Vermont, USA

As a whole, New England has a world famous reputation for fall colors, but the best mix of leaves and rugged topography can be found in the charming rural state of Vermont. Route 100 takes you across this small but beautiful state, combining brilliant oranges and reds with bucolic farmland and the subtle but gorgeous Green Mountains (which by October, it will be anything but!).

3) Florence-Eugene Highway, Oregon, USA

Many people write off the western part of North America as a whole, due to the fact that maple trees aren’t native to this portion of the continent. However, the flora that can be found central portions of Oregon challenge the notion that leaf peeping can’t be done in the west.

Dogwoods take up the slack on the red portion of the color scale along the Florence – Eugene highway, which is a route that takes you from the farmland of the interior, to the misty and moody environs of the Oregon Pacific Coast.

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Raffaldini Vineyards: A Colorful NC Fall Getaway

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She was breathtakingly gorgeous. He was in awe over her. Together on their wedding day, they were two of the happiest individuals I’ve watched in a very long time. Their smiles and look in their eyes said more than their vows.

Last Saturday, Marc and I had the pleasure to be guests at an absolutely beautiful wedding at Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery. We knew little about this vineyard until we received our invitation to the wedding. After a quick Google search, we learned that it was located about 30 miles north of Statesville, NC in a small town called Ronda. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Charlotte. Not bad.

Saturday definitely felt like a fall affair. Raffaldini Vineyards is a bit in the foothills and the actual winery is up on the crest of a hill. We had a breathtaking panoramic view of golden and red autumn colors. The ceremony was at 6:30 PM, so we were also able to enjoy an incredible sunset that created a warm glow prior to the wedding.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was sunny and crisp without a single cloud in the sky. I’m glad they were blessed with such beautiful weather at their wedding because they are  now on their honeymoon in Cancun and it has been raining most of their trip. I’m keeping them in my prayers as Cancun is in Hurricane Rina’s projected path. Luckily, the storm is weakening, but I still pray for their safety.

I loved that the wedding was at a vineyard and I was so happy to be a part of their beautiful day. However, I have to admit, it killed me that I couldn’t do the full-blown wine tasting. I love wine tasting. I had the Merlot at dinner and I thought it was pretty good. By the way, I’m a wine novice, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. I drink a lot of it and admire all the flavors, but I fully acknowledge my lack of wine expertise. I’m getting better at tasting notes, but that’s not saying much.

We’ll definitely visit Raffaldini Vineyards again so I can experience all their wine! It’s a romantic getaway that’s nice and close to Charlotte, so there’s no reason for us not to visit again. Men, if you’re looking for a good date option … take your girlfriends to do some wine tasting. This place is ideal for dates!

I also recommend staying where we stayed. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites since we knew we wouldn’t be up for driving home after the wedding. This hotel sure knows how to decorate for the holidays! There were so many Halloween decorations up in the hotel that it was somewhat tacky; however, if I had kids, I would have absolutely loved the decor. Since I don’t, I can say it was a bit much for my taste. Oh, I almost forgot, there was a Christmas tree outside of our door! That kind of topped the tacky Halloween decorations. A bit much?

Anyway, Marc and I were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotel. I was a huge fan of the cleanliness, room decor, and I was even a pretty big fan of the bathroom.  This hotel is a place two yuppies like ourselves can go and be completely satisfied, all for around $100 a night. It was actually really nice not to spend tons of money on a hotel room and still thoroughly enjoy our stay. Too bad you never know what you might get with a hotel like that. Luckily for us, this one was fantastic.

P.S. The complimentary breakfast was delicious! Marc and I were a bit surprised annoyed by the loudness of the dining area, but I guess we’re just not used to staying where families with little kids stay!

~ Lyndsi