Fellas, look outside.
Locate the nearest deciduous tree.
You'll notice something: color(s). Multiple.
Along with football, pints of Oktoberfest and flannel undies, it's why we love fall.
So sometime before November, grab your gal, jump in your jalopy and make for un-greener pastures. Below, you'll find five stunning hotels around the country that are good for just that, each one located in prime leaf-peeping country and equipped with roaring fireplaces, mountain views and, in at least one case, ample trapshooting permits.
Keep in mind: you'll want to plan ahead (Google "fall foliage map" — this is our choice); leaf forecasters are calling for a good (if not spectacular) display this year, due to drought (out west) and a dry spring followed by the deluges of June (in the Northeast). All the more reason to be sure your accommodations are tip-top.
The Pitcher Inn
Mad River Valley, VT
The Pitcher Inn is a 19th-century Vermont guesthouse that is also a Relais & Chateaux property: basically, it's the best of both worlds, with individual design schemes in each room. We suggest the Mallard, with its plethora of duck decoys-as-design objects and decorative antique guns. They've got the cozy-corner, roaring-fireplace hygge thing down to a T. Don't forget a reservation at its restaurant, 275 Main, which puts a Yankee twist on the locavore concept.
Welcome to the Gilded Age, 2015-style — so Gilded Age, in fact, that it was actually created by a Rockefeller. The 19th-century "Great Camps" vibe remains in place in every aspect of this adults-only resort, from the rather sumptuous dinners (it's black tie Wednesday and Saturday, FYI) to the property-wide open bar to the evening cocktails on the Elco Motor Yacht, which runs along Upper Saranac Lake.
For us, this is the superlative leaf-peeping hotel: a 1795 Vermont farmhouse renovated to exacting degree in prime leaf-peeping country northwest of Killington. Some rooms come courtesty of architect Peter Bohliny, who also has residences for Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on his CV. Keep an eye on the exemplary modern art collection (with pieces by Jasper Johns, Nam June Paik, David Hockney, etc), which offers an object lesson in how to integrate new-ish work into a heritage property.
Ruby of Crested Butte
Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte, surrounded on all sides by national forest land, is our choice for Rocky Mountain leaf-spotting — and antiques-laden Ruby is our pick for accommodations, with a laundry list of high-end amenities, beginning with Frette spa robes and ending with 1,000-count sheets. Borrow a bike for a spin around town, or just take in the fall colors from the inn's six-person hot tub, followed, of course, by some time in front of the fireplace.
You want to get going on your very-Upper-Midwest leaf-peeping: experts report that some areas in Wisconsin are already at the 25 percent point, with peak color arriving next week and the first week of October. Where best to enjoy the show? The American Club — especially if you best enjoy the changing colors from a golf course or while hunting, fishing and trapshooting your way through exquisite Wisconsin wilderness.