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Last Chance: Maine Leaf-Peeping At Its Best

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Fiery red, amber orange, golden yellow—these autumn colors are trademarks of the season, and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway along New England's coast.

Maine’s striking foliage is still in its prime, and just an easy drive from Boston. Pack up the car and course along one of America’s best fall color drives to get there, or opt for a train ride to take in the hues. (Amtrak's Downeaster service departs five times daily from Boston to Portland.) Once you arrive, the fall viewing opportunities take to the sky, literally. Step onto a private plane with The Inn at Brunswick Station, whose “Fall Foliage Flyover” package offers for an hour-long aerial tour of Maine’s coastline. Or, take the Maine Eastern Railroad further north. Passengers will get an eyeful of colorful views on the 57-mile trip along state's scenic Mid-Coast, from Brunswick to Rockland.

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3 Fun Getaways From San Francisco

Looking for a sunny getaway from San Francisco? T+L News Editor Amy Farley shares three of her favorites, from indoor camping in Lake Tahoe to biking across wine country in Napa Valley.

How to Keep Pets Happy on the Road

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Road trips are a blast with friends, furry or not. But there inevitably comes a point when you have to whine, “Are we there yet??” Teddy, the ecstatic dog above of pet parent and T+L Instagram follower, @lundec, journeyed several days from Duluth, MN to San Francisco—stopping midway at the pet-friendly Mountain Sky Guest Ranch for a well-deserved run-around. We asked for @lundec’s trick to keeping Teddy happy while driving the distance:

“Set up a cozy spot in the car. Give them occasional snacks during the trip such as a couple raw almonds, etc.”

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Crash-Test Dummy Dogs Help Make Pet Travel Safer

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Road trips with your pup just got a little safer, thanks to a new pack of crash-test dummy dogs. Partnering with Subaru, the Center for Pet Safety in Virginia used the dummies—which stimulated dogs from a 25-pound terrier to a 75-pound golden retriever—to test out seven different pet harnesses. Findings released last week “uncovered serious flaws in many of the popular pet restraints…with many resulting in catastrophic failure.”

“Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all,” claims Michael Michale, Director of Communications at Subaru of America. While pet owners may get giddy at Fido hanging his head out of the window, pet advocacy groups insist this is a serious danger to both pet and passengers during a crash.

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A Very Ohio Island Getaway

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Here’s a fun exercise: Tell people you’re taking an island vacation…to Ohio. Then see how quickly they start measuring you for a straightjacket.

It turns out, though, that Ohio does have islands, floating in Lake Erie just a few miles from shore. And they’re not the single-palm-tree variety; these tree-filled expanses spread over hundreds of acres and feature parks, Victorian-era B&Bs, historic sites, shopping, and wineries (yes, wineries).

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TODAY Show Video: Affordable Getaways for Fall

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Whether you’re looking to take a trip to a national park, a scenic drive, or to visit an island in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve got the perfect affordable fall getaways.

Northeast Wine Retreat: Long Island, NY

Stay: Greenporter Hotel

The Greenporter Hotel is in the heart of the North Fork's wine country, in historic Greenport, Long Island two hours from Manhattan by car. With floors of bright maple and sleek aluminum furnishings, the 30 rooms are all about cool minimalism and convey the feel of a comfortable beach house. The restaurant Cuvee Seafood & Grille highlights seasonal produce, seafood, game, and wine from vineyards and local purveyors. Sip rosé at Croteaux Vineyards in the shaded garden, visit McCall Wines, Long Island’s largest vineyard for Pinot Noir, or stroll around Paumanok Vineyards, known for its crisp, fruity Chenin Blanc. Fall rates start at $149 on weekdays and $239 on weekends.

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Last-Minute Labor Day Travel Advice

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Getting excited for one last hurrah this Labor Day? You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.

According to travel club AAA, 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. That’s up 4.2 percent from last year, and is the highest number since 2008, when a staggering 45.1 million took a vacation.

An “increasingly positive economic output and optimism in the housing market” are the main factors of this year’s higher numbers, says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet. With home prices improving across much of the country, “more families are feeling comfortable about traveling.”

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Secret Amish Country

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Last summer I took a road trip to “secret” Amish country—a little-known stretch of farms on route 772, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. But how did I get away from the touristy version of Ye-Ancient-Country and experience the reality of America’s oldest locavore movement? We followed insider tips from the horse (-and-buggy)’s mouth: Joel Cliff, of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau: “The stretch of Rt. 772 that runs Southeast from Route 23 at Leola in the North to Route 340 at Intercourse in the South is chock full of authentic ‘finds’ without being a main tourist corridor.” Cliff was right. At the first roadside stand we pulled into, a twenty-something (barefoot!) couple sold us their homemade cheeses, mint tea, and the best cantaloupe I’ve ever tasted, all as their sweet-natured dogs lazed nearby in the sun. We asked what was down the side road that ran by their house, and the man answered: “Well, everything,” as if his whole world could be found along that gravel path. For two people from New York City, it was very nearly heaven.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Photo Courtesy of PaDutchCountry.com / Brian Evan

TODAY Show Video: America's Top Free Attractions

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Want to sightsee across the U.S. without spending a dime? Travel + Leisure’s features director and senior correspondent, Nilou Motamed, shares her tips on America’s top free attractions.

Her picks:

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Pet Travel Wednesdays: Road Trips

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Look over on the highway to find a dog with his tongue hanging out of the window, ears flopping through the wind, and it’s hard to fight a smile. There’s something classic about a pup braving the open road.

But of course, safety comes first, and all those “Buckle Up” signs apply to Fido as well. For this week’s pet travel tip, we reached out to our Instagram follower Tiffany Tosh (@tiffxtosh). Sure enough, she confirmed that her Chihuahua, Louie (pictured), “is so happy go-lucky with traveling, but I always keep safety first and keep him buckled up in his car seat!”

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