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Leaf Peeping Central: Top Spots to See Fall Foliage

Riots of red, swashes of yellow, shrieks of orange, slashes of magenta: if you’ve never experienced the fabulous annual changing of the leaves, it’s a little like the aurora borealis of trees: Bright, beautiful, but gone in a flash if you don’t know where to look. But don’t worry, you haven’t missed Mother Nature’s great kaleidoscope, yet. Here are options in the North, South, and West for fall foliage spots where the leaves are still peaking and you can get your fill of autumn’s colorful fireworks.

Best Places in New York to Escape New York

Without a doubt, the greatest thing about living in—or visiting—New York City is the diversity of its offerings. The city that never sleeps can be anything to anyone, but it’s an exceptionally good fit for would-be world travelers: in just one day, you can stroll China’s alleyways in Manhattan, learn about Congo in the Bronx, discover Tibet on Staten Island, and get a taste of Italy in Brooklyn and Egypt in Queens.

You can even, I’ve discovered, escape the feeling of being in any city, be it New York, Beijing, or Rome. Here, my top picks for strolling bucolic pastures or burying your feet in the sand—without ever leaving city limits.

How to Run a City

Today is Halloween, I am aware. However, there is something about fall weather in New York that gets people thinking about one thing in particular: The Marathon (We don’t call it the ING New York City Marathon. We’re New Yorkers, there is no need to modify. We live in the City, we eat pizza and cheesecake, and we run in the Marathon). This weekend, I am running the Marathon. A mixture of excitement and fear has been welling up for weeks. This will not be my first marathon, but it will be my first marathon in my hometown. To help with my training, I was recently given the opportunity to take a running tour around my fair city with City Running Tours, which popped up in a post this time last year

Surf’s Up: In-Flight Internet is on the Rise

On Wednesday, American Airlines expanded its availability of in-flight Internet services, essentially granting everyone with a laptop, BlackBerry, or other Wi-Fi-enabled device the ability to stay plugged in once they hit the skies. Services are available for $12.95 per flight on Boeing 767-200 airplanes connecting New York with Los Angeles and San Francisco with Miami.

American isn’t the first airline to offer such services. JetBlue has been connecting passengers for free on its BetaBlue aircraft since December 2007, as has Air France on its Airbus A318 jets. Other international airlines such as Qantas in Australia and Dubai’s Emirates airlines offer similar services. Domestically, Delta, Southwest, and other airlines also have in-flight Wi-Fi programs in the works.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member

Prescription: Day Trip

If you’re an American who’s been tuned into the news lately, you’re probably finding it difficult to paint a picture of travel in 2008 that’s anything but bleak. You’ve seen the stack of travel-associated fees rise. You’ve been privy to the latest airline fiascos. You’re aware of the sobering decline of the dollar. And if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to wrap your head around the series of crises related to the US economy. It’s all a virtual kick in the shins to the avid traveler, and I count myself among the injured ranks.

We all keep hearing that domestic travel is the way to go, and while I’m down with that—I’m a little embarrassed at how much of my home country I haven’t seen—I’ve found that staying even closer to home is a great way to get some instant relief. And the relief, it turns out, isn’t just temporary: a day trip done right can be a powerful cure for the ailing traveler.

Photo by IgoUgo member Constance