Connecticut’s Best Scenic Foliage Drives



Happy Friday, Connecticut Drivers!

We’re sure you’ve heard us say this before, but we really love the fall season! The crisp, cool nights….cozy sweaters…. pumpkin-flavored everything… apple picking…and especially the beautiful Connecticut foliage, whose peak season is just around the corner!

If you haven’t taken any scenic foliage drives before, we highly recommend you take a tour this season! The best time to take in the fall foliage this year is between October 3 and November 15, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). predicts that peak foliage season for the majority of the state will take place over Columbus Day, with the leaves changing in the northern parts of the state first (October 9 – 15) moving down through the middle portion of CT next (mid to late October), and finally hitting the shoreline between late October and early November).

Before you hop in the car, though, here’s a bit of background on the leaf changing process and our top 3 recommendations for scenic Connecticut drives.

Why Do Leaves Turn Color?

Ever wonder why it is that leaves change their color each year, and what makes Connecticut’s annual display particularly breathtaking? Frost, which is commonly believed to be the color change catalyst, actually has little to do with it. In fact, leaves often change color before the first hint of frost. Foliage changes are actually a result of chemical processes taking place in the tree as the growing season ends.

When leaves emerge from buds in early spring, they serve as “factories”, manufacturing the food trees need to grow. This process of food-making takes place in millions of leaf cells, which contain a green pigment known as chlorophyll. There is so much chlorophyll in a grown leaf that it gives leaves their vibrant green color. But leaves also contain yellow or orange carotenoids this whole time, whose pigments are “hidden” for most of the year by the overwhelming amounts of green chlorophyll present.

In fall, when the leaves’ food factories shut down for winter, the chlorophyll breaks down and the green diminishes, allowing for the ever-present yellow or orange carotenoids to shine through. At the same time, other chemical changes are also taking place, giving rise to more pigments ranging from yellow to red to blue. That’s why certain trees, like the sumac, are more red or purple in coloration, while beeches are more golden bronze.

CT tree foliage

via Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

When the autumn days are bright yet cool, and the nights chilly but not freezing, we see the brightest foliage colors develop. All of the different species of trees together give us the foliage display we witness throughout the US each year – and which is particularly dazzling here in Connecticut.

In fact, only a few regions around the world have seasonal displays of color like ours. And when you add the picturesque backdrop of its quaint New England towns and seaside villages, the leaf peeping in the Nutmeg state is pretty much unrivaled.

3 Not-to-Miss Foliage Drives in Connecticut

So where should you go? While there are several gorgeous foliage sightseeing opportunities through the state, we recommend these three from the DEEP:

CT fall foliage toursOption 1: Hartford West

Beginning in Hartford, this foliage drive is approximately 90 miles long. Take 1-91 north to exit 45 (Bridge Street, East Windsor). Head west on Route 140 to the airport, then south on 75 to Route 20. Head west through Granby, the Hartlands and Riverton, picking up West River Road south through People’s State Forest to Pleasant Valley. Continue south on Route 181 to Route 44 and head east through New Hartford, Canton and Avon to Route 10 – south to Farmington. Pick up Route 4 and head for Hartford to close the loop. While you’re on this tour, we also suggest taking a little detour to Simsbury to check out the oldest sycamore tree in the state!

Option 2: CT Heritage

This scenic tour starts in New London and is also approximately 90 miles long. Take I-95 north across the Thames River to lefthand exit 86. Go east on Route 184 to Old Mystic. Take Route 27 south to Mystic. Go east on Route 1 to Route 2, then north on Route 2, 184 and 49 to Route 14A to Canterbury. Head south on Routes 169 and 2 to Norwich then take Route 32 south to close the loop at New London.

Option 3: Connecticut River Gateway

Approximately 80 miles in length, and beginning in Middletown, start this foliage drive by going south on Route 9 to exit 10. Take Route 154 south to Route 148, then head east to a ferryboat crossing. (Note: ferry season in April – November; alternate crossing is the I-95 bridge between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.) From the landing, continue east on 148 and 82 to Route 156, then turn south to I-95. Cross the river on 95 to exit 69. Head north on Route 154 to Route 82 and recross the river at East Haddam. Continue east to Route 151 and turn north to Cobalt. Turn left on Route 66 and close the loop at Middletown.

So prepare yourself for a cornucopia of colors, put the pedal to the medal, and don’t forget to stop by Hoffman Auto if you do some leaf peeping in our neck of the woods!

2014 Nissan Awards: The MAKE That’s Making Lots of Headlines!

Looking for a new car? This year has been a great one for Nissan across the boards. Nissan Versa Note, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Leaf, Nissan Juke, and Nissan Pathfinder are all making waves in their own right for everything from safety to eco-friendliness to affordability and more. Check out some of the awards Nissan models have garnered this year!



2014 Nissan Versa Note

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note (the 5-door hatchback sibling to the Versa sedan) was rated one of the “Top 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000″ by Kelley Blue Book this year. With 27/36 MPG, it offers great fuel economy, not to mention offering lots of rear leg room and boasting some seriously cool features like Nissan’s handy Around View Monitor, which makes parallel parking a breeze. The Rogue also met with the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s praise, earning an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award for good performance in each of the Institute’s five crashworthiness evaluations. The 2014 Rogue offers an optional forward collision warning system, a first for the model.

2014 Nissan RogueNissan Rogue

Cited as the “Most Fuel Efficient Small Crossover“, the 2014 Nissan Rogue made it on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s 2014 Best Value Awards. Kiplinger’s annual buyer’s guide sorts the 2014 models by price and category and ranks them for performance, safety, and value. The 2014 Rogue was particularly heralded for its affordability and for its excellent combined fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon. It also received accolades from US World News for being one of most affordable compact SUV’s (4th out of 22)!

2014 Nissan Juke2014 Nissan Juke

Like the Rogue, the 2014 Nissan Juke has been recognized by US World News as one of the most affordable compact SUV’s. Offering great fuel economy, lively performance, and sporty handling, the Juke comes with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, and is available in all-wheel drive. Nissan’s Intelligent AWD not only distributes torque from side to side, it can also vary the front/rear torque split up to a perfect 50/50 balance if needed. The system improves traction in snow and mud, and also helps to reduce understeer when cornering on dry pavement. What’s more, the Juke also received four out of five stars for overall crash protection in government crash tests. This is a great SUV for braving wintry weather conditions!

2014 nissan leaf


 2014 Nissan Leaf

The 2014 Nissan Leaf has dethroned the Toyota Prius this year and captured’s  Eco-friendly Car of the Year Lifestyles award. The highly affordable 5-seat compact hatchback runs on an electric battery, which can be fully charged in about four hours (it previously charged in eight). With fast acceleration, remote charge control, low fuel cost, and zero tailpipe emissions, it’s easy to see why the Leaf is this year’s winner!

2014 nissan pathfinder2014 Nissan Pathfinder

Voted one of the 12 best family cars of 2014 and one of the 10 best midsize SUVs by Kelley Blue Book, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder offers a stylish interior, good fuel economy, and ample passenger room in all three rows – an excellent choice for larger families!


Remember Hoffman Nissan in West Simsbury if you’re considering a Nissan. Our knowledgeable staff can guide you through every step along the way in finding the best model for your needs – from the test drive to the drive home. 

And don’t forget – our Dare to Compare sales event is going on from now until September 30!



Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Weekend

walk to end alzheimers

courtesy of

Wondering what to do with your weekend? We’ve got a great idea!

Why not get some exercise in with the whole family while you help raise money for an amazing cause? The Alzheimer Association is holding two Walks to End Alzheimer’s this weekend – one on Saturday in New London and another on Sunday in Hartford. Walk to End Alzheimer’s unites the entire community in a display of combined strength and dedication in the fight against this devastating disease.

When you participate in Walk to End Alzheimer’s, you help increase awareness of the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death, and your fundraising dollars benefit Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Don’t feel like walking, but still want to make a difference? You can help out by volunteering at either event or provide long-term help by joining a Walk to End Alzheimer’s planning committee. See details below for more information.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – New London

Date: Saturday, September 20
Location: Ocean Beach Park, 98 Neptune Avenue, New London, CT
Phone: 860-828-2828
For more event details  click here
To volunteer at this walk click here

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Hartford

Date: Sunday, September 21
Location: Bushnell Park, 99 Trinity Street, Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860-828-2828
For more event details click here
To volunteer at this walk click here


Hoffman Auto is a proud sponsor of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Hartford and New London events, and we hope you’ll join in the fight too. Let’s walk together to end Alzheimer’s!

Check Out Antique Cars & Support Breast Cancer Research at the CT USA Car Show!

CT USA Car Show 2014

Looking for a fun driving destination that also supports a great cause? Look no further!

Take the whole family out for a Sunday road trip to check out some street rods, antique cars, trucks, show cars, and bikes (or bring your own down, if you’ve got one!) at the Connecticut Street Rod Association’s CT USA Car Show. There will be a 50/50 raffle, as well as many other great giveaways!


Sunday, September 28 from 9 am – 3 pm 9 (come rain or shine!)


Hammonasset State Park, Madison


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and all proceeds generated from the show go to the CT Breast Health Initiative, a non-profit whose mission is to make a difference locally in the fight against breast cancer through education and research.

Donations are $5.00 per person. For more info call: 203-697-9113

Let’s rally for the cure – see you there!

Tailgating Gadgets: Make Your Next Pre-Game Celebration a Touchdown

Football season is officially here, which means lots of you out there are probably gearing up for some tailgating sessions in your very near future. Are we right?

Though the tradition of tailgating at sporting events is nothing new, it has over the years developed into quite a phenomenon – and is now more a part of American culture than ever. Over time, this sports pre-game celebration has morphed into an affair that includes barbecuing, friendship-making, beverage-swigging, game-playing, recipe-exchanging, music-playing, and lots of merrymaking!

To get the art of tailgating just right, (yes, it’s an art according to the American Tailgater’s Association), you need to plan and pack accordingly. Before you hop in the car to watch your favorite team toss the pigskin this season, be sure to pack these awesome tailgating gadgets.

igrill thermometer

Grill to Perfection

It wouldn’t be a tailgate without your favorite grilled delicacies cooked to perfection on the barbecue. The iGrill² is an advanced Bluetooth Smart grilling thermometer that lets you know from your mobile device when your food is ready by connecting to the iDevices® Connected App. It includes two heavy-duty meat probes, measuring between -22°F and 572°F, designed for extreme grilling and smoking. Leave the probe in the meat while it cooks, and the iGrill²  will summon you back from your tailgating activities when it’s ready!


ION Tailgater

Tune In or Sing Your Heart Out

Whether you want to set the stone for your group with some festive music or you want to keep tabs on the game, the ION Tailgator AM/FM Portable Speaker System with 30-pin iPod dock has you covered. Plug in your iPhone or Ipod playlist or tune in your favorite sports radio station.



tailgater hammock

Take a Load Off

Relax in these dual tailgater’s hammocks, which set up on a trailer hitch. The 600-denier polyester hammock chairs have hanging footrests, so tailgaters can kick back and recline in comfort. What’s more, they store easily for portability and transportation.




Backpack-Cooler-ChairKeep Everything Conveniently Accessible

This multi-functional backpack cooler chair is the perfect addition to your next tailgating event. The chair features a cooler that attaches to the left armrest and has high-density closed cell foam insulation that will keep either 24 12-oz drinks or 35 lbs worth of food cold for hours. It also includes a side table  that folds out from the right armrest and has an integrated cup holder and a two-tiered under mounted canvas shelf that provides convenient storage for reading material and snacks. The chair and cooler can be conveinently transported as a backpack.


blacktop 360Barbecue on the Go

Get on your way to barbecuing bliss with the Blacktop 360 Premium Party Hub Grill. It’s got everything you need to get your grill on; cook burgers, hot dogs, and fries all in one place with this combination deep fryer, grill, griddle, and warming plate set-up. Featuring a cutting board, 452 square inches of porcelain-coated cooking space, and 24,000 BTU’s total cooking power!


go plateEat While You Play

We know you don’t want to miss out on a moment of tailgating fun. The handy go-plate lets you enjoy your food and drink, while keeping one hand free to play some corn hole. Just slide the plate over your can, bottle, or plastic cup, load up your plate, and you’re good to go!



hitchnview03Bring the Game to You

For those times you want to tailgate but don’t have tickets to the game, you need the Hitch’N’View. Weighing in at just 14 lbs for convenient transportation, it securely attaches to your vehicle for your game-viewing pleasure. Watching your favorite team has never been easier – they’re practically within arm’s reach!





We hope this gives you some ideas for how to kick this seasons’ tailgating up a notch! As always, Hoffman Auto Group reminds you to drive safely and responsibly. That means never drink and drive!