weekend wanderer

Biking Nature’s Sublime Palette

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While summer may still be flexing its heat, and icy Arnold Palmers and salt-rimmed margaritas remain the beverages of choice, crisp cool air and the changing of leaves, is in many parts of the country, just a flurry of wind gusts away.  What better place to experience the glory of autumn than in the Northeast, where the pageant of brilliant red and gold leaves etch out one of fall’s most awe-inspiring signatures?

foliage_Melt_magazineThis is an ideal time to take a long weekend in the great outdoors. With school back in session, the summer crowds have tapered off, often motivating hotels, inns, and tour operators to entice off-season visitors with discounted rates. Bike tours, which generally stay off of busy thoroughfares, allow you access to neighborhoods, quaint towns, and countryside that you would otherwise miss.  Tours range from easy to advanced skill levels and most operators are willing to let you use or rent their bikes.  Haven’t been on two wheels for awhile?  No worries, take a spin this weekend and you’ll remember how good it feels.  It’s nothing you easily forget.

foliage_Melt_magazineNew England encompasses New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut and in a car, let alone on a bicycle, it would be impossible to see them all in a long weekend or even a week, but there are picturesque villages, plenty of natural wonders, and local histories to discover while focusing on practically any specific area.

One reasonably priced 4-day, self-guided tour is sponsored by Bike The Whites and includes cycling inn-to-inn through New Hampshire’s majestic White Mountains. The tripMelt_Magazine starts at the base of Mt. Chocorua at the Brass Heart Inn and includes meals, maps, lodging at choice country inns, luggage transfers, and they’ll even rent you a bike if you choose not to bring one from home. Trips are priced at about $500 (not including airfare) and continue through the beginning of November. See: http://www.bikethewhites.com for more details.

VBT coordinates bike tours across Europe and North America but is based in Bristol, Vermont and offers two different local six-day tours.   Both are designated as easy rides and cyclists can choose between a Classic Vermont Tour through back roads and along Lake Champlain, and a Lake Champlain Valley and Island Trip.  Each tour is $1745, features accommodations in historic hotels, most meals, admission to various points of interest, and van support. For more information visit:


foliage_Melt_magazineVBT also hosts easy-to-moderate six-day bike tours along Maine’s beautifully rugged coastline, dotted with lighthouses, and graced with marine wildlife and crazy beautiful trees.   Leave from Bar Harbour and hike, bike and kayak, if you like, in one of the most unspoiled regions of America. Prices from $1875, not including airfare and continue through October. http://www.vbt.com/maine-bicycle-tour.aspx.

Bike New England has been around for the last eight years and sells maps and DVDs to help you plan your own bike tour through the Berkshires, Massachusetts North Shore, the rest of New England, and into Canada.  Owner Gordon Harris, who is an expert on all things New England and bikes, also leads custom group tours.  Visit http://bikenewengland.com or contact Harris at info@bikenewengland.com for more details.

foliage_Melt_magazineBefore you leave, you may want to bone up on just what sorts of wondrous trees you’ll see along the way.  Check out the following website and you’ll be tree spotting like a pro, http://www.northernnewengland.com/foliage/leaves.shtml

Don’t forget to check out a clambake and the best lobster rolls in the world. For more information on the region see http://www.visitnewengland.com.