BOSTON -- Vermont and New Hampshire get the lion's share of attention during fall foliage season, but New England as a whole offers great color, sightseeing and activities.

The season usually runs from mid-September to late October, as the peak period works its way from north to south and from higher to lower elevations. Tourism officials urge visitors not to become obsessed with arriving at the exact moment of peak season as the colors are well worth the trip at any time during the season.

Leaf watchers should book early and, if possible, include some midweek touring when the roads are less crowded. Accommodations can include hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfast properties as well as ski resorts.

In Massachusetts, most tours begin in Boston and wend through Lexington and Concord into the Merrimack Valley. Other popular Bay State locales include the Berkshires, Greater Springfield and Franklin County, the Mohawk Trail, central Massachusetts, Plymouth County and Cape Cod.

Massachusetts Office of Travel Tourism

Phone: (800) 227-MASS

Web: www.massvacation.com

In Connecticut, visitors can see a variety of foliage in the state's eight state parks and forests, offering scenic lookout spots and towers.

Top foliage-viewing locations selected by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Parks and Forests include Haystack Mountain State Park, West Norfolk; Macedonia Brook State Park, Warren; Mohawk State Forest, Cornwall; Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown; Peoples State Forest, Barkhamsted; Shenipsit State Forest, Somers; Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden, and Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury.

Visitors also can see the scenery from some of the state's ski resorts, according to the Connecticut Office of Tourism. They include Powder Ridge, Mohawk Mountain and Mount Southington.

Connecticut Office of Tourism

Phone: (800)CT-BOUND or (800) 282-6863

Fax: (860) 270-8077

Web: www.state.ct.us/tourism/

In Maine, visitors can see the colors in French-Acadian country in areas such as Aroostook County, where the leaves change first; Presque Isle; Ashland, and Frenchville.

The relatively unpopulated Katahdin-Moosehead region is a good match for outdoor buffs who want to try hiking, fishing and canoeing. Other especially scenic areas include Acadia National Park and Moosehead Lake, the largest lake in New England.

Coastal Maine, known to locals as "Downeast," includes the forests of Washington County and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. Other scenic sites include Fryeburg, Lake Pennesseewassee,Bethel and Newry. Newry offers visitors chair-lift rides overlooking the scenery at Sunday River ski resort.

Maine Office of Tourism

Phone: (888) MAINE-45

Web: www.visitmaine.com

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