The October landscape in the American Northeast, punctuated by exploding yellows, oranges and reds, is best experienced with a walk in the woods -- or a drive on the open road, moving fast, climbing and weaving through the rolling hills and winding roads of New England. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont reigns supreme over fall colors, and this year, according to the Vermont Department of Tourism, is one of the most vibrant in recent memory. Thank Mother Nature, of course -- good soil conditions brought on by a wet summer followed by a dry August and September. Most spectacular might be the 70-mile route that cuts through the Mad River Valley in central Vermont, beginning at the state capital of Montpelier and spiraling down into the college town of Middlebury. This year, the colors have never looked so good.
Vermont's velvety mountain majesty
The following can be a guide to your route and itinerary. Get up early so you can take advantage of a full day of bright Vermont sunlight and pristine autumn air, and start with weekend brunch at the New England Culinary Institute's Main Street Grill and Bar. Don't get up too early because the restaurant starts serving at 10 a.m. Since you're in the state of all that is cheese, try the Vermont cheese omelet, with your choice of Boucher blue cheese, Vermont butter and cheese chevre, Taylor Farm Smoked Gouda or Grafton one-year aged cheddar. Photo Gallery: Spectacular Fall Vacations Now that your belly is full, and you're sufficiently caffeinated if need be, turn the key in the ignition and take to Interstate 89, where you will roll until exit 10. There, hit Route 100 for about 14 miles, as you drive alongside mountain views of Sugarbush Resort's Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen, before turning off on East Warren Road, which runs parallel to 100, a ridiculously scenic ride connecting the quaint New England villages of Waitsfield and Warren.