A Raft Of Fall Foliage Viewing
by Blair Winans
Charlemont, MA, -- This summer's cool temperatures and frequent precipitation in southern New England should provide prime weather conditions for the up-coming fall foliage season. Fall is the perfect time to visit the Berkshires with its vistas of colors splashing over rolling hills. Traditionally, leaf peepers have jumped in their cars to ride the scenic byways in search of the peak colors. For those seeking a more adventuresome and novel way to see the foliage, Zoar Outdoor offers several raft trips on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts, and on the West River in Jamaica, Vermont. Fall is the best time to raft because of warm water temperatures, cool crisp air, and minimal crowds on the river.
Zoar Outdoor follows the foliage peak as it moves from north to south starting with raft trips in Southern Vermont on the West River on September 21st and 22nd. This trip provides 8 miles of intermediate to advanced level whitewater against the backdrop of the Green Mountains in the Stratton-Manchester area. We base at the Stratton Mountain, which has a golf school and mountain bike program. Folks often combine rafting and golfing or biking to create a weekend of outdoor adventure in Vermont.
Zoar Outdoor moves south with the colors to the Deerfield River Valley with several levels of whitewater rafting during the fall foliage season. Zoar Gap, a 10-mile easy to intermediate level trip is ideal for families or youth groups and operates Wednesdays through Sundays until October 15th. The trip includes a picnic-style lunch with warm drinks, soups, salads and sandwiches. The Dryway is advanced level whitewater with foliage trips scheduled for September 27th & 28th and October 11th & 12th. This trip has very exciting whitewater and is not for the timid. It ends with a slideshow and barbecue back at our base. Overnight accommodations can be arranged in one Zoar's cabin tents located in its wooded campground or at one of the many local B & Bs.
Another popular option for a longer stay is to combine several days on the river a cultural trip to the Berkshires. Cultural offerings in the Berkshires and surrounding Deerfield River Valley include Mass Museum of Contemporary Art, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Clark Art Museum, The Bridge of Flowers, Historic Mohawk Trail, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare and Company, Jacobs Pillow, and of course, the world-renowned Tanglewood. Area lodging and other attractions are usually more available during fall weekdays, since weekends often book well in advance. What better way to see the vibrant colors of the fall than from the seat of a raft floating down the river with the sounds of rushing water in your ear?
For vacation planning contact the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce at 413-773-5463 orwww.Franklincc.org, the Shelburne Falls Village Info Ctr at 413-625-2544 orwww.shelburnefalls.com, the Mohawk Trail Association at 413-743-8127 orwww.mohawktrail.com, and the Berkshires Visitor's Bureau at 413-443-9186 orwww.berkshires.org. Zoar Outdoor's website at www.zoaroutdoor.com lists all of its trips and events as wells as linking to many of the attractions in the area.