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The Amazing Fall Colors of Lake Placid, New York and Northeast Iowa

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

If you ever get a chance to travel to the Northeast United States in the fall, do it! The fall foilage colors are amazing and well worth the trip! We travled to Lake Placid, New York and while I am usually searching for wildlife to photograph, I found myslef photographing one hillside after another filled with colorful leaves!

We flew into Portland, Maine the first week of October, rented a car and drove to Conway, New Hampshire. From there we took the scenic route to Lincoln, New Hamshire through the White Mountains to see the fall leaves. There are several turnout areas to stop and take photos at the overlooks. From Lincoln we headed to Burlington, Vermont which sits on Lake Champlain. Burlington is a beautiful city, much larger than I thought, but a great place to visit in the fall! We took the southern route to get to Lake Placid from Burlington. There is no simple direct route because of Lake Champlain. We stayed several nights in Lake Placid, New York and then drove to Albany, New York to fly back to Chicago. It was one of our more relaxing trips just driving, stopping, and photographing spetacular sites and gorgeous colorful leaves. We stopped at the Sugar Hill Scenic Vista along the route to Burlington, Vermont.

“As I get older, I find myself appreciating the simple things in life such as the fall foilage colors; visiting a former Olympic Village; and enjoying the beautiful sights right here in the United State. The trip to Lake Placid, New York during the first week of October was more than I had expected. October was the perfect time of year to travel the Northeast taking in the natural beauty of the change of seasons!

Lake Placid is a village near the lake of the same name, in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. It's known as a Winter Olympics venue and a hub for snow sports and other outdoor pursuits. In the center of town, Mirror Lake has a trail around the shoreline.

Eagle in the Adironkack Mountains

The trail is apporximately 2.6 miles around the lake and is for all skill levels. Lake Placid is continues to keep the Olympic spirit alive with several Olympic sport venues operating for tourists. Whiteface Mountain has skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. Since we were visiting in the fall the slopes were not open but we were able to see the ice arena and the ski jump. The bobsled is also an attraction that remains open.

I was hoping to come across wild life while in Lake Placid but we didnt have any luck other than a beautiful eagle. We didn't see bear. We went out each evening about dusk for a drive and headed out of town toward the wooded areas but nothing but trees and leaves!

The colorful drive from Portland Main to Lake Placid, New York

The fall colors can be just as spectacular right here in my own backyard in Northeast Iowa. I do not have to travel far, only a couple of miles to the beautiful Dubuque, Iowa Mississippi riverfront to see amazing colorful leaves in late September or early October annually! Many times the midwest is overlooked for its beauty, but I am fortuante to live on the bluffs of the Mississippi with rolling hills and beautiful farmland. If we don't want to travel in the fall to far from home, we can head to the riverfront to see the colors of fall or take drive either north toward Guttenburg, Iowa or south to Bellevue, Iowa and I am never disappointed with the country side beauty!

Farm land outside of Dubuque near Balltown, Iowa

Dubuque has much to offer with its midwest charm and relaxed pace of living. The riverfront is a main attraction but there are many parks, golf courses, trails, skiing, ice arena and local shops to keep you entertained and busy! Below are more images of the Dubuque area in the fall. Remember, you do not have to travel too far to see the splendor of the fall in Dubuque!


I also get asked many times, "How do you travel so often and keep it affordable?" A few tips are below:

  • For me, planning and researching is part of the excitement of the trip! Visioning is so much fun!!!

  • I plan all of my own trips and research, research, research on the internet. I utilize TripAdvisor, Frommer's, and blogs from other travelers to find the information I need for my trip. I do ALOT of reading and researching. It takes patience to plan a good affordable trip!

  • I have a budget in mind for each trip and challenge myself to stay in the budget. Depending on the location, I typically start planning and booking hotels, cars, etc., approximately 9 months out. Hotel prices usually get more expensive the closer to the trip unless you are willing to do a last minute internet deal. Car rental and airline prices also go up the closer it is to your trip. Occasionally you can get a last minute deal but something else may be more expensive and you are really not saving. I like to plan!

  • For hotels, I use, or I look for hotels with good reviews, pay when you stay, and free cancellation in advance.

  • We have done all-inclusive in a couple of tropical locations years and years ago but found that we do not eat and drink enough to make it worth the extra expense. We like to go off site from the hotel and experience the local cuisine and traditions. We have not done all-inclusive in the last 15 years. However, all-inclusive is wonderful if you want to stay at the resort for all meals, not rent a car, and have the hotel shuttle you to your destinations. That has worked for us in Jamaica and it was very relaxing! But I would not drive in Jamaica so all-inclusive was the smartest option! If you enjoy all-inclusive, the earlier you book the trip the lower the price. Unless you are game and are not a planner, and are willing to travel where the last minute deal is advertised. Then you could get a great all-inclusive deal!

  • If we are flying, I use the Skyscanner app to check airfare prices and I try not to buy until about 60 to 75 days out. There are times where I will by earlier if the price is super reasonable. I usually do not book on Skyscanner. It will tell me the site that is the most affordable to purchase the tickets and if it is a more well known trust site, I go directly to the site to purchase the tickets. Many times Skyscanner will take you right to the airline website. Skyscanner will search all airlines and will sort by price, times, shortest trip, etc.

  • Have a credit card that gives you miles or hotel points. We will use points for many of our trips. We are American Advantage members and have an Advantage credit card. We try to fly American as often as we can to earn points and then use those points for future airline tickets. Our credit card is tied to our Advantage numbers and awards points as well.

  • We drive if the location is in the United States and we can drive and sightsee along the way. If we need to rent a car, we reserve online using,, or They are usually the most reasonable. I watch for specials and never book a luxury vehicle! We also have a credit card with a low limit that we use for vehicle rentals that provides insurance as a credit card benefit. We always decline the insurance when we are in the United States. If we are traveling out of the United States, we check with the credit card if the insurance is valid internationally. We have found it is valid in Europe, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, but in other locations, we are forced to purchase the liability insurance from the rental car company.

  • While there are free maps online for most destinations, I always go onto Amazon and buy a map of my destination, especially if it is international. I do not buy maps for tropical Caribbean islands. I just get one when we arrive. But for countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, England, Canada, Germany, France, etc., I always purchase a good map. As you do you research, you can use the map to highlight the places you want to visit and the sites you want to see. I have it as a reference later for putting my memories and photos into a photobook!

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