6 favorite autumn spots that inspire blog cover
Adventures,  Life

6 Favorite Autumn Spots That Inspire


If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ve likely noticed the trees have been turning beautiful colors this past month.  According to the NYS Fall foliage report this week the colors in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier region are at peak.  The next week or so may be your last chance to enjoy the vibrant reds and oranges, so I’m sharing six of my favorite autumn spots that I find inspiring!  These are all places that I’ve painted at least twice in the past and will likely paint again. 


Harris Hill Overlook

Elmira, NY.  This is one of my favorite locations during all times of the year.  It’s fun to see how the valley changes throughout the seasons and it’s a perfect place to watch the sun set.  This small roadside park has a short walking path and bench swings to sit and enjoy the vista.  Depending on the day you may also experience glider planes taking off from the runway above.

Access: Open year round.  
Directions:  Get to Harris Hill Road from Route 64 or Route 352 in Big Flats, or W Hill Road from Elmira.
Parking:  There’s a few spots along the road,  There’s also a lot with more parking just past the sign for the National Soaring Museum on the left as you go up the drive.


Photo of Harris Hill Overlook at sunset in autumn by Laura Jaen Smith

Newtown Battlefield State Park

Photo of fall leaves at Newtown Battlefield overlooking Elmira by Laura Jaen Smith

Elmira, NY.  This is another local place that has a beautiful overlook of the valley.  Enjoy driving through the changing leaves of the woods on your way to the top of the park.  The park has camping, pavilions, and informational displays about the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign of the Revolutionary War.

Access: Open seasonally Mid-May to Mid-October (view official website for specifics).
Directions:  Get to Newtown Reservation Road from County Route 60/Oneida Road from Elmira and Lowman.
Parking:  Multiple parking areas at the top of the park near the monument, overlook deck, and pavilions.

Eldridge Park

Photo of Elridge Park looking towards lake by Laura Jaen Smith

Elmira, NY.  Eldridge Park is beautiful year around.  Enjoy the fall colors while walking the mile path around Eldridge Lake.  This is one of my favorite places to see the clouds reflecting over the water’s smooth surface.  Seasonally the park offers a carousel, mini-golf, rides, and dragon boat rides as well as a skate park and ball fields.  

Access: Park open year round, attractions open seasonally. 
Directions:  Get to Eldridge Park Road via Route 14 or Thurston Street/Woodlawn Ave.
Parking:  Multiple parking areas near attractions area and various ball fields.

Owego Riverwalk

Owego, NY.  The Owego Riverwalk is my favorite place to visit in the Owego area.  The Riverwalk is a walking path that trails along the Susquehanna River.  Enjoy being by the water, the beautiful landscaping, and the intriguing details of the historical buildings. 

Access: Open year round.
Directions:  Access the Owego Riverwalk via Draper Park or Ahwaga Park on Front Street.  
Parking:  Street parking along Front Street 

Photo of Owego bridge from the riverwalk looking at Susquehanna River by Laura Jaen Smith

Taughannock Falls State Park

Photo of Taughannock Falls from overlook in autumn by Laura Jaen Smith

Trumansburg, NY.  North of Ithaca on the west side of Cayuga Lake, Taughannock Falls State Park features the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.  Enjoy the changing leaves from the overlook or take a short hike along the gorge trail below.  This is one of my favorite local hikes because it is pretty accessible for beginners – the trail is only 3/4 mile each way and is relatively flat. (Read more about Taughannock Falls from my blog.)

Access: Open year round. (view park details)
Directions:  Access Taughannock Blvd via Route 96.
Parking:  Parking lots at base of park and at the visitor center overlook area. 

Hector Falls

Photo from Hector Falls looking out towards Seneca Lake by Laura Jaen Smith
Photo of Hector Falls in autumn by Laura Jaen Smith

Watkins Glen/Burdett, NY.  There are so many beautiful places throughout our region to take a drive and see the changing leaves.  One of my favorites is driving along Route 14 and Route 414 around Seneca Lake to Hector Falls.  Hector Falls is located along the road – you can see it from your car, no hiking required.  Even during years there the waterfall isn’t as flowing, the view of the lake is always pretty with the changing leaves and the drive from Elmira to the falls has lots of scenery to enjoy along the way.  (Read more about Hector Falls on my blog.)

Access: Open year round. 
Directions:  Access Route 414 from Route 14 in Watkins Glen.
Parking:  A few spaces available along the road. 

Do you have a favorite location to see the autumn colors?

Maybe it’s time to go for a drive and see what you can find!  

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