Don't drive it; Vermonter it.
New England is the gold (and red, and orange) standard of fall foliage, and with the leaves now in their peak, consider a quick weekend getaway where you won't have to drive.
Known for its tidal wave of crimson and gold that splash across the mountains and valleys during the changing seasons, Vermont is also America's second least populous state. And less congestion means more time for reflection, right?
We suggest taking Amtrak's Vermonter train to Brattleboro, Vt., the state's oldest city.
Situated in the southeast corner of the state near the New Hampshire border, Brattleboro is full of charm and personality. It's also a community full of arts and culture, hiking and cross-country skiing -- in other words, you most likely won't get bored, even sans car.
We recommend renting a car once you arrive, though, if you plan on visiting the local mountains to hike or catch views.
Book a room at a quaint bed-and-breakfast like Forty Putney Road (192 Putney Road, Brattleboro, Vt.), complete with an in-house pub and in-room facials.
After your fair share of pampering, head east in your rental car (Brattleboro has many options) towards historic Route 7 toward Stratton Mountain, 50 minutes away, where you'll find plenty of not-to-miss events, along with a delectable squash casserole at the main lodge and a village center with plenty of shopping.
Hiking is accessible at Sun Bowl (10 minutes from the main lodge) with plenty of parking at each summit. Most areas consist of wooded trails, paved sidewalks or gravel work roads.
Mount Equinox (40 minutes away from Stratton) is another good option for hiking, as well as skiing. Equinox has views of the Green, White, Adirondack and Taconic Sunset Mountain ranges, perfect for catching the fall foliage and beyond.
If the riding the rails isn't your cup of tea, then you may prefer to drive it. Brattleboro is roughly an eight-hour drive from downtown D.C., with roads that pass through New York and Connecticut on your way up to Highway 91, which brings you directly to West Brattleboro.