Drive or Fly – no contest

Even dappled leaves contribute to the beauty of fall colors.

Yesterday I made my way to New York City for the launch of The Traveler’s Handbooks at Housing Works Bookstore Café. If it had been winter, the drive or fly decision would have landed on the side of fly. At this time of year, when the fall colors are in all their glory, the decision landed squarely on the other side.

On the road in New York State.

A Life of Loving the Fall

As a child, I collected the best maple leaves and pressed them between pieces of wax paper to save their beauty.

As a teenager, hikes through colorful forests were a typical fall activity.

By the time I was raising my family and building a business with my late husband, making time in short supply, my luxuriating in fall colors seemed limited to the drive to Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. Traveling along the QEW across the base of Mississauga, Ontario, there is a 10 second span when one crosses the Credit River valley and on that weekend, the colors in that valley are at their peak. I adored those 10-seconds every year.

Yesterday, traveling to New York, the joy of those 10 seconds lasted 8 hours. It was spectacular. I never tired of looking. I just couldn’t stop marvelling at the passing scenery.

Hours upon hours of enjoying the colors.

The Drive or Fly Decision

Last month, as part of my return from Costa Brava, Spain, I flew through JFK airport. That’s how I know that the flight between Toronto and New York City is exactly 1 hour and 1 minute. Yes, that’s what they reported to us.

Ah, but that’s not how long a flight really takes. I often opt for driving or the train because flights take so much longer than their flying time. Here’s the reality:

  • 45 minutes – Time to drive to airport
  • 3 hours – Time that is recommended that Canadians arrive for flight to US because of security and because we cross customs and immigration before leaving Toronto.
  • 1 hour, 1 minute – Flying time. We’ll forget the 1 minute.
  • 1.5 hours – From past experience and what I can find on line, this is the minimum amount of time to bumble around the airport and get to downtown Manhattan.

So, it really takes 6 hours 15 minutes to fly to New York.

View of the valley from a rest area south of Syracuse.

The time it took to drive from downtown Toronto to New York, stop for a picnic and other rests, get stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel traffic (wow) get lost because the GPS seems to get confused in Manhattan (is it the buildings?) was almost 12 hours. But, I loved those 12 hours. I thoroughly enjoy the colors and even the nuttiness of driving (actually navigating as a friend came with me for the launch) in NYC.

Drive or fly to New York City from Toronto? In the Fall, my decision will always be to drive.

I want to say a big thanks to Doubletree by Hilton who supported me with accommodation in New York during the launch.

Rest area – still picnic weather.

Fields and fall colors in New York State.

The oranges and greens and reds – just wonderful.


  • Joan Kosmac

    So happy you got the full color treatment! I contemplated driving to see you at Meet, Plan ,Go in Toronto and driving there from near Johnstown, PA, approximately a 7 hour drive up Rt 219 to Buffalo then around the Lake to Toronto, because of the Fall Foliage and it was cheaper to drive than fly. Just couldn’t get away for 3 days. Now I’m sorry I didn’t come after seeing those pictures of the foliage!
    I also wanted to see and hear your lecture at MPG! PLUS I WANT YOUR BOOK! When will you be speaking again? So happy for your success! I have been a fan for years and I identify with your story. Will you ever be in Pennsylvania? I will drive to Pittsburgh, Philly or Harrisburg. Or even DC or Baltimore. Would you post your book tour schedule? Be Well and Safe Travels! Joan

  • Lucy Sunshine

    It must have been a beautiful drive. Your pictures show views very similar to the English countryside, just as green (we’ve had a very wet summer!)

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