Today is the start of the long Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (Columbus Day weekend in the U.S.) and close to the peak of leaf colour in southern Quebec and northern New England. While there are a lot of people crowding into the mountains and along the seashore to view the spectacular annual display, it is possible to enjoy it without spending a lot of money.
For the best rates on hotels, travel during the week if you can. Seek out lesser-known places to stay, such as monasteries or smaller hotels and motels. I recently learned from an ad in my local newspaper of a monastery guest house on the Maine coast, at Kennebunk Beach. Rooms with private bath and breakfast start at $69 a night during the week at the Franciscan Guest House Hotel (www.franciscanguesthouse.com.) Kennebunk Beach is right beside Kennebunkport, summer home of the Bush family.
Another good place to enjoy the fall foliage is along the shore of Lake Champlain, the large body of water which connects Quebec to New York state and Vermont. In Plattsburgh, NY you can stay at the Best Value Inn for only $120 Canadian cash for two nights. You don't even have to be Canadian, and by paying in Canuck bucks you save about 10 per cent now. Across the water in Burlington, VT you can stay at the Smart Suites for as low as $92.95 U.S. for an efficiency.
Both Plattsburgh and Burlington are charming towns, but Burlington is larger and boasts such attractions as the Church Street mall, a pedestrian shopping right area downtown that has a view of the lake and a lot of independent shops.