Fall in New England ! Feel it Taste it – New England in October!

Fall in New England? I am sure some of you thought I was going to chat about safety but the Word Fall perfectly fits the Season. Like Spring is a popping UP an Awakening of sorts- Fall is a time to gather- collect our thoughts, our best feelings, our Warm experiences- gather the BEST to carry us thru what used to be very Long Dark Days of WINTER.

So when I get asked to create an Itinerary it’s difficult to sell you thru WORDS- you can’t see my face, I can show you some photos or maybe try to explain an experience but my experience is just that – an experience so to FALL in NEW ENGLAND – you have to do just that… FALL in.. Fall in and taste a warm slightly sweet cider donut hot in your hands, you have to hear the early morning cry of the loons, watch the clouds lifting and the light changing over the hillside and the fog lifting to reveal the picture postcard view of a Red Barn surrounded by bright colored trees, walk quietly and hear the leaves crunch… BUT I still have to try and find is an experience that is important to YOU!

Fall is also just by Nature and the word itself… you Fall you need to be SLOW… you need to take it SLOW- you need to not rush. By rushing you won’t have time to taste the hot sweet cider, or even have time to find the path to walk crunching thru the leaves, or look up at the light filtering thru the trees… let alone hear the whispers of history or feel the brisk air hit your face.

So… to really LOVE FALL in NEW ENGLAND – you need to be willing to slow it down-

Google Maps, Mapquest- all of these programs have made it easy to get us from Portland Maine to Bennington Vermont and back to Boston in a few days – say 3 or 4 because that’s all you have BUT is that Fall in New England? I don’t think so= that’s just a fly over to ME but…

So when you are planning your Trip to New England- give me some thoughts on why you want to go – what experiences you hope to have and let’s chat and make it memorable!

You gotta Fall- you gotta Feel and you gotta SLOW it down a tad to really experience why millions return each October to New England!

Planning Tips for Fall in New England-

  1. choose some Experiences to go with the Colors- because the Colors will be found but need to be paired with say a hike, beer tasting, finding the best cider donut or checking out all the Country Stores or a covered bridge-
  2. Time– the best roads are NOT 60mph or more like we drive getting to work in places like LA- the best roads are more like 35-40- and lots of stopping or slowing down- tractors are out, school buses, and small towns have one lane roads going thru them – YES they DO exist!
  3. Locations- there are many places- but do you prefer being by the Water, chatting with a few others over a Farm breakfast, = Locations work somewhat in tandem to your desired experiences

My name is April- I have been leaving LA each fall for over 15 Octobers to experience Fall in New England, sleeping local and Eating Local and I hope to help you create a memorable trip OR join me and spend more time capturing it with your camera OR leave the Driving to ME..

April

Fill out the FREE Form on my website www.fallphototrips.com or message me april @ aprilart dot com-

All the best! Now back to sipping my coffee and spice muffin !

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New England for October- still time!!

New England- specifically Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and states like Connecticut, and even Maine have beautiful fall foliage, covered bridges, small iconic Villages and 2 lane rooms – a sought after destination when the calendar turns to October.

Bookshelves are covered with travel guides and the internet full of ideas– but what IF you have just decided to take some time off and go… Now What??

Buy that Airline ticket- if you are lucky you can still find some great fares- Frontier, even Alaska Air fly to Boston and besides Boston you may want to choose one of the smaller airports such as Albany NY or Burlington Vermont.

Lodging- you can check on the chains and they will still have rooms in the larger places like White River Junction, Lebanon/Hanover and others BUT you CAN still find rooms in smaller places- unique finds. HOW do I do that you may ask- well you can spend a lot of time hunting- making phone calls and being on the internet but there are some hidden gems- or get yourself an Itinerary Planner- let them find places, and often someone like myself will have relationships with many bed.breakfasts and inns and be in the know about available rooms.

Be willing to lower your “standards” if Money is a concern or a factor- choose something with fewer reviews or places that are more “basic”,  many of the old 50’s roadside motels have been updated with clean hardwood floors, and basic clean lodgings for a fraction of some of the chains. Read the reviews and realize you are only sleeping there- prices in fact can triple during the month of October.

Secure your WEEKEND LODGING first- I can’t stress this enough – the Weekends fill up- because those living/working in the metro areas of New York, Boston so on and on also get out and take Fall Weekends, and the many Colleges, and Universities have Parents Weekend, Homecoming and other events that fill up the rooms !

Plan now- do some research- be flexible or get some assistance. BUT PLEASE GO!! Mother Nature is continually creating changes- so don’t wait plan to go to New England EVEN IF you just started your PLANS !

 

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Fall Foliage in New England- Facts, and Fun!

Tourism is big business in the tiny New England states of New Hampshire and Vermont. Each year millions of visitors descend on the 2 lane roads, filling the bed/breakfasts and lining iconic hillsides at sunrise with tripods to get that postcard image.

Historically the First 2 weeks of October bring colors to the Northern tier of Vermont and New Hampshire. Color travels south and areas by water such as coastal areas tend to turn last.

New England consists of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Vermont Fun Facts: Largest producer of Maple Syrup – takes 40years to grow a maple to be able to get Maple Syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup! There is also a grading system for syrup!

New Hampshire is the birthplace of Poet Robert Frost, the first public Library was founded in Peterborough and New Hampshire was the first to declare Independence from England prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

more fun facts to come-

Fall Foliage tips- get out early to make the most of each day- daylight usually ends the first couple of weeks of October by 6pm and earlier. Plan ahead for lodging. Be patient- most roads are two lanes and people do live here, working, going to school and getting ready for Winter! Don’t let the numbers keep you away- with planning you can find many quiet places, trails, views and undiscovered gems!

46 days until October 1- so if you have not started planning- get cracking!

I can also assist you- since 2003 I have slept in many bed/breakfasts, small hotels, motels, family owned lodgings and a few corporate ones. I have driven back roads and taken many photographs- so drop me an email! april@aprilart dot com

 

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Fall Foliage Activities for ALL AGES

October will be here before we know it! It seems many school age children now get a “Fall Break” similar to a Spring Break but in the Fall so many families have a week to spend enjoying some Fall Time together- plan ahead for activities and destinations that will appeal to all!

New Hampshire- The Flume Gorge open until October 21-walking, waterfalls and lots of stairs, a covered bridge and exploring thru the woods. Not recommended for those who have trouble walking as there is a lot of walking and a lot of stairs zig zagging thru the gorge.

there is an admission charge- for a family plan on Adults $16, kids under 5 Free, and kids over 5 = $14.00 check the website for hours and up to date pricing

https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/flume-gorge.aspx

Antique Speedboat Rides on Lake Winnipesaukee– not a slow scenic boat though you could get on one of those as well – there are hourly scenic cruises or longer day trips but for something more authentic and exciting how about a ride on a real ChrisCraft boat from 1931. Check the website for pricing and availability!

http://www.ekalactivitycenter.com/antique-boat-ride

Moulton Farm- Quarry Road- Meredith New Hampshire-

Stop by in the summer for fresh produce- a walk in the gardens and more

September the fun begins with the Corn Maze, wagon rides, cider donuts and more! Small admission price for the Corn Maze but everything else is free- and sometimes they even have free samples!

The Inn at East Hill Farm-603.242.6495

More than just an Inn- they offer all kinds of farm activities- call to see if you can pay for the day or stay longer if you wish. Milking cows and other activities for all ages on a real working farm!

weekly summer programs, special events and more! Memorable place to spend with family or friends!

FunSpot– Weirs Beach- Laconia- everybody needs a place to go if it RAINS- how about 3 floors of pinball machines, video games, indoor mini golf and bowling just to start- great place for all ages and has been there for years!

Hobo Railroad– Lake Winnipesaukee- you always waved at the man in the caboose as the train went by- well now get a chance to be in that caboose as the train circles Lake Winnipesaukee. Check the website for prices and dates www.hoborr.com

Gould Hill Farm– Contoocook, New Hampshire- all kinds of apples to pick, sample and more! Sample, see how cider is made, and explore! www.gouldhillfarm.com

This is just my sampling of suggested places for visitors of all ages to New England in the Fall- check back for more suggestions, and if you need a personal itinerary email me at april@aprilart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New England for YOU-

Overwhelmed trying to plan your Fall Foliage trip to New England? Not sure where to start? Just don’t have hours to spend on the internet or even trying to read all of those travel guides lining the shelves at your local bookstore…

Well- maybe a personal travel planner would be of help.

I have been going to New England specifically New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts since 2003. I have personally stayed in many many bed/breakfasts, hotels, motels and inns. I have eaten at many restaurants, diners, cider stops, ice cream shops, lobster shacks and donuts – it’s amazing I don’t gain 50 pounds every time I go!

I have an interest in history, architecture, hiking, photography, and offbeat destinations- so I can suggest more than enough places to fill your days!

I am not a travel agent but a travel planner – I will work one on one with you to help you plan your unique trip, whether it is your first time or your fiftieth and can customize it for the type of experience YOU want- a little outdoors, romantic, solo, group or a photography guide and you make the bookings. You are in charge of how much you want to spend on lodging, dining or just doing nothing.

How does it work-

1. send me a detailed email letting me know if you have specific dates, how many people, what kind of trip it is or what kinds of activities you enjoy.

Let me know if you have a budget for lodging. Have you already done some booking let me know so we can work that into your plans.

2. Connect with me-

Once we have agreed on a price if it doesn’t fit a 7 day, 14 day or weekend or you have a special request we will work together over email, phone or skype.

We will review your plans- get your lodgings reserved and be sure we both are on the same page as to your wants and goals.

3. Reservations- I will work with you to be sure you have lodgings. I can often save many hours of internet research to be sure you have places that fit your needs and match your budget.

4. You will get a detailed itinerary with daily suggestions for activities- and maps to match

And you may also just want a quick Off-The Shelf- Daily guide for a specific destination- contact me.

I am also always adding more Destinations- not just for Fall but anytime of year- so contact me and let me know where you are going! I know many fellow travelers, guides, photographers and tour leaders so drop me a note and let’s chat!

The Internet provides a lot of great information but sorting thru it all can feel tiring so let’s get chatting and creating your personal trip of a lifetime!

 

 

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Best Places to Photograph Fall Color- Planning Tips!

Wow- here it is JULY 1-and it’s probably pretty HOT and bright wherever you are- the kids are running around or playing in the pool and hopefully you are relaxing.. but it’s already TIME to start planning your Fall Travels!

Photography in the Fall is obviously one of my favorite seasons! I live to get out and capture the “carpet” of trees- reds, oranges, greens, yellows and browns against a bright blue sky!

The United States has some incredible destinations for Capturing Fall Colors-

  1. New England tops in my book for its variety of scenics- small towns, covered bridges, small farms and iconic steeples dotting the landscape. New England for most is Vermont and New Hampshire. Contact the state tourism offices for Free Maps and guides. Classic Movies like “On Golden Pond”, “Funny Farm”, “Beetlejuice”, and “Jumanji” were all filmed in Vermont and New Hampshire.
  2.  Boston and Massachusetts- Boston is a trip in itself as you don’t want a car and the city is full of historic spots and brownstones! Best advice- don’t rent a car, stay a few days and then you can rent a car and hit the Mohawk Trail one of Americas earliest trade routes follows a couple of rivers. Plan early for Boston- Boston is probably the priciest place to stay in the United States with rooms during Fall Weekends starting around $250.00 unless you have friends or family to crash on their couch!
  3. New York state- Upstate New York – all along the Hudson River communities like Senaca Falls which is forever linked to the classic Christmas Movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” and gateway to the Finger Lakes. You can sip wine, and watch the leaves fall! For something relaxing and wonderful to do in the Fall Consider a Hudson River Cruise- consult American Cruise lines or other provides and enjoy a unique trip and never have to deal with “traffic” !
  4. Virginia- The Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park – get your car packed and head out on another incredible drive thru the trees. Shenandoah National Park also has an incredible Artist in Residence program. This is a great trip for those who enjoy driving but don’t have a lot of vacation days. There are plenty of places to pull off and also places to stay within the park- get outside or take it at your pace. See the website for the National Park for more tips!
  5. Maine- kind of a hidden gem- lots of Trees, and miles and miles of shoreline. Acadia National Park glows in the fall and offers places to get away from the hoards of Leaf Peepers! Pick up a guide book, this park offers a variety of landscapes to keep a photographer busy, a lighthouse, beaches, rocky, smooth, trees and water and changes in elevation offer plenty to fill your memory card! A few photographers Collen Miniuk Sperry, and David Middleton both have great guides you can pick up at your local bookstore or order online.

 

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Photography and Safety

Photography and Safety- Some tips to keep in mind:

If you are a Landscape Photographer or an Avid Traveler who enjoys taking photos it is important to take time to be SAFE

If you are Driving – know where you are going – don’t just rely on your cell phone, many places even within the United States. Be prepared- make sure your car is full of gas, often when we are photographing in Nature we get excited and the chase is on!

The Buddy System- I highly highly advise the Buddy System- I can’t stress this enough. It is important if you are going outside even if you think you know the area, the park, the neighborhood- go with someone. IF you insist on going it alone- let the hotel front desk know you are going out, where you plan on going to and a contact phone number. If you don’t return by a certain time wouldn’t you rather have someone out looking for you– than not?

Proper ATTIRE– for outdoor photography know the weather, know the potential conditions, coats, hats, boots, don’t be out without proper clothing- carry extra with you if you go out for a long hike or have in your car.

FOOD– be sure and take some FOOD- I can’t stress this enough either especially for landscape and travel photography. A few power bars, nuts, and bottled water can carry you over for a few hours when the light gets great!

Basics like a FLASHLIGHT, bandaids, aspirin, are minimum items you should keep on you. You can purchase a travel size pre-packaged First Aid Kit as well to keep with you, in a backpack or in your car.

If you Join A PHOTOTOUR – ask questions so you will be comfortable with the guide, or some trips you do your own driving.

Thanks for reading my blog and if you have comments or would like to see a destination covered let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

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Year end- London Calling- Night Photography Fun!

pubscene_2016Well 2016 has slipped away.
What were some of your favorite destinations of the past Year?
Today I am going to share a few favorite images from a last minute trip to London yes right before Christmas! As a traveler who loves to take photos I often think of destinations not from a sense of when to go based on Airfare, Vacation time or best temperatures but when is the best time to capture the place the way I envision it.

Think about it- do you see a City in Springtime with trees in full green, sidewalks edged with flowers or do you see a City in the heart of a season like the Holidays- sidewalks full, people hustling and lights twinkling.
trafalger

For me London has been a city I viewed in Black/White- stark, dark, mysterious, a place where the likes of shady characters, Sherlock Holmes roamed, writers walked and something always seemed amiss. The Tower of London, kings, beheadings… all seemed kind of dark and gloomy. London seemed a place perfect on a rainy day or dreary cold day… but how about Christmas when the streets might be full with people hustling to buy their gifts, Charles Dickens, children excited.. hmmm I thought..
The characters from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol walked in my head, trampling my desktop with wet footprints… stirring my thoughts… Finally I just realized I had waited too long.. too long- I must go- I must see this place .. London..

So within a few clicks I found an Airfare/Hotel deal and off I was packing… a direct flight and my feet were on the ground LONDON!

London in December before Christmas at NIGHT does not disappoint. Take the tube to any number of neighborhoods, Soho, Kensington, Tower Bridge, the Thames, Hyde Park or Trafalger street… you will see streets draped in lights- store fronts with moving cakes-snow that seems to filter from the air as the lights shimmer, booths with Holiday Jumpers (sweaters to some of us) and all kinds of lights- music and people all moving past in a frenzy!
angels_img_9265

Photo tips:
Carry a small camera something like a mirrorless- compact easy to blend in and to keep it tight to you. Many of the newer Mirrorless models perform very well in low=light situations that you will be photographing in at night.

Increase your ISO to try to capture some sharpness in your image=

Keep some composition in mind as you set up your shots- lights will draw a lot of attention in a mostly black image- are there shapes- can you hold you camera still and do a 2 second exposure to get a blurred red line of a car going thru your image? Moving people will just be ghostly barely there images but if someone is standing still where will they appear in your image.. sometimes you can crop them out and sometimes you cannot-

Carry an extra battery with you- low light photography can quickly use up your battery.

Dress to be comfortable- good walking shoes- jacket- hat- appropriate coat for cool weather. If you are cold you won’t be enjoying anything.

Check local websites- newspapers for special events- like tree lightings, Christmas markets,etc.

Most of all- be in the moment and have FUN!!

Thanks for reading my blog=
This is April with FallPhototrips.com and YourPhotoTravelGuide.com hope you had a most wonderful Holiday season and check back for more photography tips, where to travel to get great images and more! carnaby_2016

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New Year 2017- January Photography Destinations USA

Yosemite in Winter....One of the 10 Hottest Cold-Weather Photo Spots !January is here again.
Stark landscapes- great places for using black and white. Locations that have architecture can really benefit as buildings are not hidden behind lush trees and foliage.
Birds gather and migrate to warmer places.

If you have been following the news- California has been getting a bit of rain which can mean snow

Yosemite National Park is a beautiful treasure in any season but to me especially stunning it is quiet season.. winter- fewer visitors and more places to take in the parks majesty and wonder.
Besides the waterfalls, and traditional valley views check out the parks schedule of daily nature walks, photography classes and more!
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/yg17-1.pdf

Plan your sunrise and sunset locations- many of the best photos take a little planning- be in a spot ready and waiting. A great guide to pick up is “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite” by Michael Frye- pick up a copy before you go- Michael gives you details on locations=times and more-an excellent guide!

Give yourself time to wander- explore- you need to find your own unique place or image that inspires you- once you have collected your postcard image or that wall hanger just have fun or take some time to explore! And again it is always best to travel with a buddy- if you venture off alone be sure to let someone even if it is the front desk know where you are going and when to expect you back… many people are lost or disoriented and winter can descend quickly. Be smart- take a friend someone who enjoys similar activities and will allow you equal space to create and explore. yose_2011_bw

You don’t need to be an avid outdoorsman to take in the beauty or capture some great images here in the Park but you do need to be prepared.
Pack warm clothing- layers are best. A cold photographer is not one that is a happy or focused photographer. Look into fingerless gloves so you can still operate your camera. Warm socks- extremities- fingers-feet are most vulnerable to cold temperatures. Consider renting some snowshoes so you can hike a bit further into meadows or areas that off the trails a bit for unique winter perspectives or new takes on sights that have been photographed many many times.

Location and Camera tips:
Airport: Fresno http://www.flyfresno.com
Airlines that service Fresno- United, American, Delta and Alaska Airlines
Bus=public transport from Fresno – there may be service but you probably want to check first- Yarts is one. http://yarts.com/
Rental cars are available at Fresno Airport.
Lodging- highly recommend staying in the park to get the most out of your visit and increase your photography opportunities!
Yosemite Valley Lodge= originally known as Lodge At the Falls is my first choice for its proximity to the lower falls and valley floor, rooms are comfortable and you have dining options on site as well. Weekends will book quickly so plan ahead or be able to visit during the week.
https://www.nationalparkreservations.com/lodge/yosemite-lodge-at-the-falls/
Camera tips- extra batteries are necessary if out in cold weather.
Bring a back-up set-up. Tripod is really a good idea to get the sharpest images possible. A camera that is resistant to wet weather or be able to wrap your camera well.
Lens suggestions- this is really up to you as an artist but Yosemite is really about Big Landscapes- so a good solid wide angle lens for those postcard images, a macro for interesting and unique tight images that you may find right after a fresh snow or heading out on a trail. You may also want to do some night photography- so again a prime wide angle lens might be a good choice for long exposures for star trails.

Most of all- go explore- and have fun!! Your eye is unique and what you create will be special to you!
Explore and create!
Thanks for reading my blog and may you have an incredible 2017!

April
YourPhotoTravelGuide
www.fallphototrips.comyosemitewinter

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History in New England- Photo Day trips

New England is full of HISTORY! Historic spots can offer a wealth of opportunities for photography, architecture, events, and even just wonderful landscapes filled with old growth trees or at least properties that are being cared for continually which makes for great subjects for your photographs.

Hildene_2014

Things to check before adding Historic spots to your photography stops is find out
1, Indoor photography yes or no.
2. Tripod or handheld only.
3. Location accessible such as the ground open after hours- some locations you can’t really lock after hours- so you can at least photograph outdoors at sunrise and sunset
4. Your use of the photos-many places are ok with photos for personal use- but selling them is where you may need permission etc.

Links:
http://www.historicnewengland.org
http://historicsites.vermont.gov/

Historic Sites

https://www.nps.gov/state/me/index.htm
http://www.nhstateparks.com/historicsites.html
NENGLAND_2015_OSV_

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