Our actual leaf-peeping trip began in the Adirondacks, in NY state. The Adirondacks is a rugged, mountainous region famous for its lakes and winter skiing, so I hadn’t expected to see the stunning fall colours which arrive earlier than in New England. I was more unpleasantly surprised by the rural poverty in this region. In the build up to the presidential elections there were several televised debates and Hilary Clinton quoted statistics of 15% of American households living under the poverty line. This wasn’t hard to believe in upstate NY, clear evidence of it was shown in the ramshackle clap-board houses where it was hard to believe people actually lived. Impoverished living conditions contrasted starkly with the natural beauty of the surroundings.
What a change when we got off the ferry that crossed Lake Champlain and entered the picture-perfect state of Vermont, with its red barns, covered bridges and luscious farm land. Here the average income appeared to be much higher, reflected in a generally more affluent appearance both of people and buildings.
Days 6, 7 and 8 – Lake Saranac, Adirondacks. High points: visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s Cottage, climbing Mt Baker and seeing the High Gorge Falls
Day 9 – Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vermont. High points: Taking the ferry over Lake Champlain, meeting superhost Nancy and a couple from the UK with whom we shared mutual friends, and watching the sun set over the lake.
Days 10, 11, 12 and 13 – Shelburne, Vermont. High points: visiting Shelburne Museum, climbing Mt Mansfield and meeting superhosts Laurie and Mark.