Leaf-Peeping Along Lake Champlain
The ideal way to explore this 115-mile-long valley and lake is by car. A bonus: the efficient ferry system lets you pass back and forth between Vermont and New York's Adirondacks. We've plotted a circular route that takes in some of New England's best fall foliage—all in one day. (For map and driving directions, go to travelandleisure.com.)
What to Do
Start in Burlington, Vermont, then take the Charlotte-Essex Ferry to Essex, New York—a former shipping hub with stone houses and antiques shops. Some of the richest fall color is found on Route 22, which hugs the lakeshore. Hop on the Ticonderoga Ferry, which has operated continuously since 1756, to cross back to the historic village of Shoreham, Vermont. Then head north through Bridgeport and Addison to Vergennes--the state's oldest city, with a 37-foot-high waterfall in its center.
What to Eat
Order an apricot- almond scone and a cup of Indonesian coffee for your road trip at Burlington's Muddy Waters café (184 Main St.; 802/658-0466; breakfast for two $7). In Essex, stop at the waterfront Old Dock (2752 Lakeshore Rd.; 518/963-4232; lunch for two $50) for steamed mussels or sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna in wild-berry sauce. Back in Vermont, 60-odd sketches and prints by the French artist and caricaturist Honoré Daumier are on display at the Black Sheep Bistro (253 Main St., Vergennes; 802/877-9991; dinner for two $60), a favorite spot for buttermilk-marinated pork chops and hand-cut fries. End in Burlington at Daily Chocolate (7 Green St.; 802/877-0087; snack for two $6) for a cup of hot cocoa, made with organic sugar, milk, vanilla, and a scoop of ganache.
Where to Stay
The Inn at Shelburne Farms (1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne; 802/985-8498; doubles from $150)—set on a 1,400-acre working farm—is a sprawling 19th-century country house on Lake Champlain with Adirondack views. The 24 sun-drenched upstairs rooms are outfitted with antiques.
"Stop by the five-story Firehouse Gallery [135 Church St.; 802/865-7166] in Burlington," says Muddy Waters barista Ben Nordstrom. "The converted firehouse has rotating art exhibitions every fall."