A New England Fall Foliage Road Trip

Just came back from a ‘Thelma and Louise’ kinda road trip with my cousin to Northeastern United States. Kinda but not exactly, for obvious reason: I’ve come back, bearing photos and a foliage report that says it’s not too late to head out even now.

According to locals, due to the warm, extended summer days, foliage change has delayed by about a week. I started my drive in late September to the first week of October, and I’d say the foliage color change was from 10% to 40%, depending on the locale.

Here’s the itinerary of my travels:

Wayland, MA –> Portland, ME –> Rockport / Camden, ME –> N. Conway, NH –>
Stowe, VT –> Williamstown, MA –> Wayland, MA

I’ll be posting interesting sights I encountered during this trip. Here’s my first entry.

Walden Pond

I started from Wayland, MA, a suburb about 30 mins. drive west of Boston. Walden Pond is just 6.2 miles north of Wayland. In pursuit of solitude, to taste the bare essence and to ‘suck out the marrow of life’, Henry David Thoreau cleared some trees in the woodlands owned by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, built a 10′ x 15′ cabin and on July 4, 1845, began to live there by the Pond, an experience that lasted two years, two months and two days.

A stone-throw from the parking lot of the Walden Pond State Reservation is a replica of Thoreau’s cabin. A friendly ranger greeted me:

Thoreau's Cabin

Inside the cabin were the bare necessities, a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs: “one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”


As for the Pond, it was pure serenity. As for fall foliage, I could only see it in my mind’s eye:

Walden Pond

So you could imagine my surprise to see beaches and swimmers. But of course, this is now a National Park, and it’s summer still:

Swimmers at the beach

The day was September 28, the few autumn leaves reminded me that transition of the seasons was indeed happening, however slowly:

Autumn Leaves

As I walked around the lake, a sign pointed me to the actual site of Thoreau’s cabin in the woods:

Actual Site

And beside it, these famous words of his:

To live deliberately

But nowhere could I find a sign posting this other quote which I also admire, on the economy of work:

“For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living.”

Don’t you just love his calculations?


Follow my New England series:

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

16 thoughts on “A New England Fall Foliage Road Trip”

  1. Nice to meet you on wordpress. I have been wanting to do this fall road trip for so long and something always gets in the way. Thanks for sharing your great photos and Thoreau’s amazing message. All inspiring.


    1. Madeline,

      Thanks for stopping by the pond… mine here at Ripples. I usually attend film festival during this time, but I can tell you, this trip is worth a few festivals. 😉


  2. This looks soooooo serene and peaceful. Thoreau’s words about to front only the essential facts of life really strike a cord with me. Nowadays we can’t even have lunch or dinner with our own family without some people constantly lowering their heads to check their emails or play games. Can’t wait to see your upcoming posts.


    1. Bob,

      If you can’t wait, my whole travel log has just been posted on AAPress. I can’t wait too to share my trip in more details. So, come back here to Ripples for more stories and photography in the next while. 😉


  3. I’d love to visit Walden Pond someday. Your images capture the peacefulness. It hasn’t even cooled down here yet and the winds of the season’s change are howling. I wonder if the leaves will survive them long enough to colour?


    1. Michelle,

      I’m sure you’ll love this place. There wasn’t much wind when I was there. It was a picture of serenity. And though the next few days there were constant rain, when I went back there after my trip, there were still plenty of greens. The foliage was gorgeous when I drove inland from the coast of Maine. More coming up. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Even Thoreau stayed only two years. It was more like an experiment for him. As for me, that one hour of walking around the lake was enough… headed to Concord for lunch right after. Stay tuned. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice to only work six weeks a year and just be fine? I love your visit here — that water is the most shockingly gorgeous blue! Biggest sigh! And I’m glad they have the cabin rebuilt so one can see just what it was like. I never heard the quote about the chairs before. Perfect. Welcome home!


  5. I’m glad you didn’t do the full Thelma and Louise and drive off a cliff! What a great beginning to your trip! I’ve always wanted to go to Walden. The leaves here are a week behind too because the weather has been unusually warm. It’s really crazy.


  6. Welcome back, Arti! Love that picture of the Pond. That itinerary is awesome, looking forward to reading about interesting sights you encounter and your exquisite photos👍


  7. Welcome home! I’ve been looking forward to seeing your photos, and reading all about your explorations. Walden seems the perfect spot to start, and I loved the reproduction of the cabin. From what I’ve read, Thoreau could make that six-weeks-a-year calculation at least in part because of the largess of his friends. I don’t begrudge him that at all, if true. After all, we got his writings about the experience, and they’re well worth however he wangled the time to look, see, and write.

    We’re still at 90 degrees, although “they” are saying we may get down to 80 this weekend. Oh, joy!


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