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There are few places in the world where the transition from summer to autumn is as vivid and dramatic as it is in the USA and Canada, and in particular New England, Ontario and Quebec. Each year, the phenomenon draws visitors from far and wide, known as ‘leaf peepers’, to see and photograph the change, which is at its most impressive from September through October. The leaves on trees such as maple, birch and beech turn into a kaleidoscope of red, green, yellow, orange and gold before tumbling to the ground. The transformation is short-lived but spectacular.
The rolling hills, freshwater lakes and lush forests of the Laurentian Mountains are a year-round playground for visitors from Quebec City and Montreal. Soak up their beauty at sparkling Lac-Beauport, surrounded by emerald forest that turns stunning hues of red and copper in the autumn. You’ll also visit picturesque rural villages, a sugar shack and the magnificent Montmorency Falls.
New York’s Central Park is the scene of many an autumn romance, from When Harry Met Sally to the aptly titled Autumn in New York. You can create your own cinema-worthy scene in three easy steps. One: wrap up in your cosiest jumper. Two: grab a hot drink – try Breads Bakery if you’re on the Upper West Side (and treat yourself to some of their highly regarded babka while you’re there) or Variety Coffee Roasters if you’re on the Upper East side. Three: make your way into Central Park and amble along its pathways, taking in the crisp park air and the falling leaves.
You’ll stroll through the main hub of the park, located in the southern half. As you meander through the winding pedestrian pathways, you’ll learn about the history and design of the park and its attractions. You’ll stop at the landmark Loeb Boathouse Express Café before being taken on a drive around the outskirts of the northern half of the park, with a chance to take photos at the Conservatory Garden.
There’s no better way to get a taste of a destination than to, well, taste it. Canada’s Maritime provinces are perhaps best known for their seafood – the clear, cold Atlantic waters are home to a bevy of bivalves such as mussels, oysters, scallops and clams, along with plenty of fish and lobster – the latter being so ubiquitous that McDonalds even had a McLobster on its menu in the region until recently. The (relatively) small province of Prince Edward Island grows over 100 varieties of potatoes, while Nova Scotia produces over 40 million pounds of wild blueberries each year. In the autumn, the region is a cornucopia of fresh produce such as apples, pears, cranberries, pumpkin, squash and garlic, which many local restaurants proudly base dishes around.
After a tour through the beautiful scenery of Prince Edward Island, you’ll meet some of the producers and providers of the province’s fresh food. You’ll visit a working goat farm, an oyster bar and a lavender farm where honey from the bees is turned into mead, then head to an organic apple farm distillery to enjoy a tipple.
Seeing whales in the wild is a true bucket-list experience, and the waters of the North Atlantic are one of the best places in the world for spotting them. In the Bay of Fundy, which lies between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, whale-watching season runs from June through October. Up to 12 species of whales use the bay as a feeding ground, a place to give birth, a nursery and playground, feeding on the bounty brought in by the powerful tides – the highest tides in the world. It is estimated that between the Bay of Fundy and the adjacent Gulf of Maine, the whale population is 300-400 at any one time.
Cruising amongst the islands in the Bay of Fundy, you may spot eagles, seabirds, seals and porpoises. As you enter the open Bay of Fundy, watch for whales such as the finback, minke and the humpback.
The sticky, sweaty days of summer have passed, but the deep freeze of winter has yet to set in. Seasons in this part of the world can be extreme, but in autumn you stand a good chaance of hitting the weather jackpot. Temperatures in Boston in September tend to hover in the mid-teens to mid-twenties Celsius with little rain – the perfect conditions for exploring the city on foot.
Walk through the North End of the city, the oldest section of Boston, with its narrow, crooked streets laid over what were originally cow paths. Highlights include Paul Revere’s House (the oldest standing structure in Boston), Old South Meeting House, Granary Burying Ground, the State House, the Old Corner Bookstore and the King’s Chapel.
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