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3 road trips to do this fall out of NYC

Thanks to car-share providers like Zip Car, New Yorkers have can access to a set of wheels. So pack up the rental car for a fall road trip to these destinations. All are under a five-hour straight drive from NYC, which leaves plenty of time for sightseeing.

Washington, Connecticut

Watch the turning leaves on the road to
Photo Credit: Mayflower Grace

Watch the turning leaves on the road to this New England town. To get there, take 1-684 north toward Brewster, I-84 east toward Danbury and US-202 east toward Brookfield. Near New Milford, stop at Lover's Leap State Park (60 Lovers Leap Rd., New Milford, Connecticut, 203-797-06776) -- divided by the Housatonic River -- for hiking and picturesque views of the fall foliage.

From the park, you're almost 15 miles from Washington. Continue on US-202 east to CT-47 south, or set your GPS to take the back roads. In town, stop for healthy comfort food at Hidden Valley Eatery (88 Bee Brook Road, 860-619-0660), or the G.W. Tavern (20 Bee Brook Road, 860-868-6633) for craft beer and American fare.

If you're looking to make a luxurious night of it, head to the Mayflower Grace (118 Woodbury Road, 860-868-9466), pictured, a boutique hotel and spa.

While you're still in Washington, visit the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum ($8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children ages 3-12; 38 Curtis Road, 860-868-0518) before heading back to NYC.

The Catskills, New York

Day-trippers can connect to the northern Catskills via
Photo Credit: Visit the Catskills

Day-trippers can connect to the northern Catskills via the New York State Thruway (I-87). For a slower yet more scenic ride, take Route 9W north on the western side of the Hudson River (running parallel to I-87), with points of interest along the way including the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (316 Old Stage Road, 845-336-8447), which offers public tours on the weekends from April to October, and the farm-to-table Miss Lucy's Kitchen (90 Partition St., 845-246-9240), both in Saugerties.

After lunch, continue on 9W for a drive through the Catskill Mountains on your way west to Hunter Mountain (64 Klein Ave., 518-263-4223 ) for zip-lines (pictured) and Oktoberfest fun.

At the base of Hunter Mountain, check in at the Kaatskill Mountain Club (62 Liftside Drive, 518-263-5580), where each master bedroom has a fireplace and Jacuzzi tub.

Return to NYC via Route 32 to NY-199E and cross the Hudson River for stops in Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie.

Loudoun County, Virginia

Less than an hour from the nation's capital,
Photo Credit: Visit Loudoun

Less than an hour from the nation's capital, D.C's "wine country" is peppered with 40 wineries throughout its rolling countryside. So pick a designated driver for this road trip. To get there, start on I-95 south to I-70 west toward Frederick and US-15 south toward Leesburg. Get the vineyard tour started with one of three wineries located about 10 to 12 miles west of US-15, including Tarara Winery in Leesburg (13648 Tarara Lane, 703-771-7100).

After wine tasting, get back on US-15 south and stop for a bite in downtown Leesburg, with several casual dining options including The Wine Kitchen (7 South King St., 703-777-9463).

Continue south and explore historic downtown Middleburg. Switch to hard cider and spirits at the Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery (207 W. Washington St., 540-687-8100) and brush up on your field sports at the National Sporting Library & Museum ($10 adults, $8 seniors, $8 ages 13-18; 102 The Plains Road, 540-687-6542). Watch the sunset at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards (23595 Winery Lane, 540-687-6968) and dine at the famed Red Fox Inn & Tavern (2 E. Washington St., 540-687-6301).

To sleep, check in at the upscale Salamander Resort & Spa (500 N. Pendleton St., 540-687-3600), pictured, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Before heading back north, fuel up at Market Salamander (200 W. Washington St., 540-687-9720).

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