4 autumn trips from the capital to enjoy the colorful foliage

4 autumn trips from the capital to enjoy the colorful foliage

Going out on a limb: Ella's Enchanted Treehouses in Maryland is a great fall getaway. Photo by Stacey Griffith.

Aerial view

1. North Fork Valley, West Virginia

Located in West Virginia, Harman's Log Cabins features views along the North Fork River. Photo courtesy of Harman Log Cabin.

Distance from the capital: 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Where to stay: Harmans log cabin (10042 North Fork Highway, The Cabins) It is a collection of 21 log dwellings on the banks of the North Fork River. Classic log cabins may look simple from the outside, but each well-appointed home comes with a stone fireplace, elegant kitchen, and hot tub on the wraparound deck. Seneca Rocks, a great place for hiking, is just 15 minutes away.

Log cabins feature modern touches like this stylish shower. Photo courtesy of Harman Log Cabin.

Leaf climbing trip: Why settle for staring at leaves when you can just hang out among them? Flight operator Nrocks (141 Nelson Gap Road, Circleville) Offers a canopy adventure that sails through the vibrant foliage of the North Fork Valley via 12 ziplines and three floating bridges. The tour costs $100 per person and lasts two to four hours, depending on the size of the group.

Riding a generosity bike

2. Loudoun County, Virginia

Stone Gables Bed & Breakfast is located in a converted barn. Photo by Leslie Tharp.

Distance from the capital: One hour.

Where to stay: Head to Stone Gables Bed & Breakfast (19077 Loudoun Orchard Road, Leesburg)It is a building dating back to the 1820s and is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The storybook guest house has fireplaces and stone walls, as well as four suites with features including king-size beds and a clawfoot bathtub. For an extra room, book the Loft, a spacious retreat accessed by a spiral staircase. In the morning, you can sip coffee on the backyard or covered porch before enjoying homemade cinnamon buns, omelettes and toast drizzled with local honey.

Leaf climbing trip: Pair foliage with wine on a self-guided vineyard tour organized by e-bike company Pedego Leesburg ($150 per person). Grab your wheels and map out at Stone Gables—you don't need to be a guest to go on the tour—and then head out on a ten-mile loop along quiet, color-filled back roads. (There is sparse car traffic on the gravel path.) You'll stop at Zephaniah Farm Vineyard, Stone Tower Winery, and Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, the oldest winery in the area.

Show train ride

3. Lexington, Virginia

the SHENANDOAH VALLEY LIMITED The steam train passes through rural towns and the national forest. Photography by Chris Pollock.

Distance from the capital: three hours.

Where to stay: House Mountain Inn is located on a picturesque mountainside (455 Lonely Pigeon Road) It is a huge wooden house with the aesthetics of a hunting lodge and ten suites. Many rooms have a private deck with rocking chairs overlooking 15 miles of tree-lined trails. (There are also more primitive two-bedroom cabins isolated from the main house with their own kitchen.) Breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and dinner are included with a stay in the central house.

Leaf climbing trip: Boarding SHENANDOAH VALLEY LIMITED, a steam train passing through the autumn landscape of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The antique train, the last of its kind built by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, sits in the nearby town of Goshen (340 Victoria Lane.). The round trip runs for up to four hours twice daily every weekend from October 6 through November 5, when the foliage is at its peak. Tickets start at $99 per person.

Mountain view

4. Frostburg, Maryland

Down the Savage River. Photo by Veronica Varos.

Distance from the capital: 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Where to stay: For a jungle getaway, escape to Savage River Lodge (1600 Mount Etna Road)A collection of 18 quiet cabins surrounded by forest. They all have a gas fireplace, and cakes and orange juice are dropped at the door every morning. The property features 24 km of hiking trails through the Savage River Forest.

Leaf climbing trip: Hop on a rail bike, a four-wheeled recumbent bike that travels on train tracks, for a ride along the Great Allegheny Passage with the Tracks and Yaks tour group (19 Depot Street). The 15.5-mile drive to the Cumberland takes you over the mountains to view the foliage of neighboring Pennsylvania's valleys. Each rail bike seats two to four people, and a shuttle takes you back to the rail depot in Frostburg. Tours on two-person bikes cost $119; For four people $199.



This article appears in the September 2023 issue of Washingtonian magazine.

Daniela BeckDaniella Beck

Lifestyle editor

Daniella Beck joined Washington in 2022. She previously worked with External magazine He lives in the northeast of the capital.

Catherine StreeterCatherine Streeter

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