Fall Weekends in New England: 2017

By Victoria@celebratetheweekend
In Boston and New England
Sep 21st, 2017
15 Comments
7608 Views

This post has been updated for 2017!

While my favorite  New England season is summer, fall comes very close second. With an ever time-consuming summer pass time (the beach!) no longer factoring into our weekends, there is time to appreciate many other outdoor celebrations in New England – within a short drive from Boston.

Here is what’s on our TO DO list this fall.

LEAF PEEPING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE’S WHITE MOUNTAINS

It is not difficult to find your spot to observe the bright colors of New England fall (even if only while driving to work on I-495). But with just a little driving effort, you can enjoy the legendary New England foliage colors in full glory.

We took this photo near Castle in the Clouds estate in Moultonborough, New Hampshire (2.5 hour drive from Boston).

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

There are several easy hikes alongside cascading brooks, and the Castle itself is a gorgeous early 1900’s estate settled  “in the clouds” on top of the lake Winnipesaukee.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

Castle in the Clouds Estate in Moultonborough, New Hampshire

Another fall foliage favorite, Kancamagus Highway stretches for 35 miles across New Hampshire’s White Mountains, from Lincoln to Conway, with many opportunities to stop for a view, walk or picnic.

12+ Fall Weekend To Do Ideas in New England

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area off the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire

The peak of foliage in the White Mountains is expected in mid-October, here is a link to White Mountains’ fall foliage report to help you plan your own leaf peeping.

MASSACHUSETTS FARM VISIT

There is no apple picking at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA- the oldest, continuously operating farm in North America, but let that not deter you from a day of “earthy” family fun. During our recent visit as guests of The Trustees our daughter Vi met the newest baby cows on the farm and then participated in the bread and butter making class.

Fall Things to Do in New England

Bread Making

To pick your own farm festival to visit, check out this list of Trustee’s fall farm events and festivals here.

The Trustees is Massachusetts’ largest preservation organization with over 100 natural, scenic and cultural sites across the state in their care, including Appleton Farms and Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Weir River Farm in Hingham, Bird Park in Walpole, the Governor Ames Estate in Easton, and The Trustees KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market.

 

APPLE PICKING

(with its companions – apple donuts and apple cider) is our other fall MUST. Our current picking choice- is Westward Orchards in Harvard, Massachusetts.  You can find a quiet spot for a picnic under the apple tree, and there is a big country store with apple donuts and other goodies.

Fall Things to Do in New England

Westward Orchards in Harvard, MA

The orchard closes at 5:00pm (wagon rides 11-4 daily). Check their website for seasonal apple’s varieties.

 

SEASIDE BIKING IN MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND

Biking while leaf peeping is our favorite kind of biking and here are our 2 favorite bike paths:

Cape Cod Rail Trail in Massachusetts (CCRT) is a relatively flat paved bikeway that runs 25 miles from South Dennis to Wellfleet along scenic lakes, meadows and ocean vistas.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

Fall Biking at Cape Cod Rail Trail

Our other favorite is a 14-mile East Bay Bike Path in  Bristol, Rhode Island which runs for 14 miles along the Narraganset Bay and offers an opportunity to stop at a scenic Colt State Park.

FALL WEEKENDS

along East Bay bike bath in Bristol, RI

 

East Bay Bike Path

Minuteman Bikeway in Massachusetts connects Cambridge and Bedford, via Arlington and Lexington.

 

WALKING ON THE BEACH ON CAPE COD

National Seashore beaches on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (such as Marconi Beach in Wellfleet ) offer gorgeous sea vistas in any season.  See our full list of Cape Cod’s fall weekend favorites here.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

National Seashore, Cape Cod

 

PUMPKIN SPECTACULAR

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

There is no fall in New England without a pumpkin, and you can bring one home from a number of  farms near you. For pumpkin carving turned into a form of art, check out Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, a nighttime display of 5000 illuminated lanterns (and pumpkins carved into forms of art) daily starting at 6 pm (October 5 through November 5th this year).

We made a mistake of going on a Saturday night last year and it took us about an hour and a half to get to the display.  Go on a weeknight, or go late (there were no lines as we were exiting the Zoo at 10pm ).   Adult tickets are $18/kids are $15 (yes, prices went up a bit this year!)   Check their website for discounted fares and  closing times.

 

Fall weekend in New England

Jack-O-Lantern Spectatular at Roger Williams Zoo

HALLOWEEN GHOST TOURING IN THE BERKSHIRES, MA

There are many ghost tour options around, but why not combine the “spookiness” with some culture and haunt the ghosts at historic estates.

The Ghost Tours at The Mount (writer Edith Wharton’s estate in Lenox, Massachusetts) are hosted on Friday and Saturday nights in October, concluding with Halloween Ghost Tour on October 31 at 8 and 10:30 pm.

 

12+ FALL TO Do Ideas in New England

With its 3 acres of formal gardens designed by Edith Wharton herself, the Mount is a gorgeous site in the fall

Naumkeag, another architectural masterpiece of the Gilded Age in the Massachusetts Berkshires  (Stockbridge, MA) with magnificent garden and panoramic views offers its own version of the Haunted House  on Saturday October 28.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

The view onto the Berkshires Mountains from Naumkeag Estate

For more Spooky East Coast ideas check out this post from We3Travel.

ROAD TRIPPING IN COASTAL MAINE

With summer traffic out of the way, fall is a perfect time to visit Maine. We have gone on a coastal Maine road trip on our anniversary weekend in mid-September, but Maine’s coast could be enjoyed for many more weekends in the fall. While a visit to Portland and BoothBay Harbor are more suited for a weekend (or longer) trip, a drive to Ogunquit is less than 1.5 hours from Boston and could be easily done as a day trip.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

BoothBay Harbor, Maine

 

CITY TOURING IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

On a recent Saturday in Newport, RI, (as guests of Discover Newport) we took a tour with Viking Trolley Tours.  We were excited to go beyond our “usual” Newport day trip itinerary of Cliff Walk and downtown’s Bannister’s Wharf to the scenic Ocean Drive where we discovered our “new”  favorite spot – Gooseneck Cove.

Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

Gooseneck Cove, Newport

 

GETTING ON THE WATER

We have done this in early September, but sailing in Newport, RI is going strong through the end of October. Just watch for sunny days (or dress warmly).

Fall To Do Ideas in New England

 

WINE TASTING at historic Greenvale Vineyards on Sakonnet River in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (6 miles from downtown Newport) is combined with live Jazz tastings 1-4 pm on Saturdays through December 9 this year.  Read about our visit here.

Fall weekends in New England

Jazz Saturday at Greenvale Vineyards

 

MAKING MEMORIES AT STORYLAND, NEW HAMPSHIRE

My favorite New England kids’ park – Storyland in Glenn, New Hampshire is not your typical “amusement” park. It is smaller in size but offers many “hands-on” play areas that are popular with kids (up to age 8, probably) and their parents.   The park is open through Columbus Day Monday, October 9. Check out their website for daily closing times and beware certain rides’ seasonal closing. I am sure your young kids will thoroughly enjoy the visit and you will be able to stop at scenic Kancamagus Highway on your way back home.

12+ Fall Weekend To Do Ideas in New England

Storyland Park in Glenn, HN offers lots of whimsical fun for young kids and even occasional mountain vistas for parents

This year we probably won’t get to HIKE the Monument Mountain or Mount Greylock (Massachusetts highest point) in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, but I  recommend to add the mountain hike to your own New England fall list.

WHAT IS ON YOUR FALL LIST?

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Fall Weekends To Do Ideas in New England

15 Comments to “Fall Weekends in New England: 2017”

  1. Anda says:

    I love New England in fall, Victoria. In fact I like it more than in summer. There is nothing like those colors that the trees display in celebration of the season. I’ve never been in Moultonborough before. Looks beautiful!
    Anda recently posted…Lake Como, the Playground of the Rich and FamousMy Profile

  2. Karilyn says:

    touring New England in the fall is high on my to do list. There seems so much to do and of course the changing colors is a big draw. Being in LA we don’t get a real sense of the seasons so I am always looking for ways to bring it into our life.
    Karilyn recently posted…Fiji…FinallyMy Profile

  3. Samiya selim says:

    This post has me so nostalgicabout the three years I lived in Boston! Loved fall in New England, haven’t seen it so beautifulanywhere else! Some really great suggestions, would love to experience it again with my children 🙂
    Samiya selim recently posted…6 months of travels in New Zealand captured in InstagramMy Profile

  4. Lesley says:

    There are only two days of the year I don’t love living in SoCal: Halloween and Christmas Day. I love Halloween haunts but they are just not as scary with palm trees. Fall in New England really is great. 🙂
    Lesley recently posted…What Makes Hard Rock Cancun the Best All Inclusive ResortMy Profile

  5. Keryn says:

    We missed the fall foliage of the east coast so much while living on the west coast. This will be our first full autumn back though and we need to make the most of it to see all of the colors. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Keryn recently posted…Mother Daughter getaway to Seven Springs Mountain ResortMy Profile

  6. Tamara says:

    Great suggestions!! It really makes me want to get on the road for the next few weekends. We will be checking out fall in Mystic, CT over Columbus Day weekend. A fall foliage train ride on the Essex Steam Train can be quite fun too. Thanks for linking to my list of spooky destinations!
    Tamara recently posted…A Guide to When to do Iceland with KidsMy Profile

    • Victoria@celebratetheweekend says:

      Yes, Tamara, you are filling my “gap” in the post with CT visit (foliage trains sounds great!), although I will actually be on a college tour in UConn this month.

  7. I have always wanted to visit New England and now I do even more! I love the fall colours and I really like the look and sound of Storyland Park and just look at those pumpkins!!! One day I will get here and I hope it’s in autumn 🙂

  8. Victoria@celebratetheweekend says:

    Thanks for following along on our “list”, Katja. Let me know when you are ready and we’ll give you even more things to consider for your visit! Early to mid-fall would be a great time for New England!

  9. Dana says:

    A hike to Castle in the Clouds and a visit to Storyland are 2 things my kiddos would adore. We need to explore more of New England….
    Dana recently posted…10 “Don’t Miss” Attractions at Busch Gardens Howl-O-ScreamMy Profile

  10. As much as I prefer warmer months, fall festivities + natures colors are special… and it’s important to embrace every season.
    Alyssa | Adjust Your Focus™ recently posted…What to Do: Gauteng province, South AfricaMy Profile

  11. Marta says:

    I’ve been nagging my husband to go to new England for quite some time now, but we never got organised. My only memory of it is from my pre-kids days and I guess I failed to make him see how family friendly it can be: I’m sending him your post right now and who knows, maybe next year we can finally make it there – it looks stunning in the fall!
    Marta recently posted…Dublin’s culture nightMy Profile

  12. […] resources, it is easy to create your own family traditions for each season. (Read about our Fall and Summer favorites;  spring list will be my new challenge next […]

  13. These are some great suggestions, we loved apple picking last fall, we missed it this year unfortunately as we weren’t around a whole lot. Also, the Kancamagus Highway is beautiful regardless of the season, we drove along there in Winter earlier this year, and were amazed by how beautiful it is. Definitely book marking this!
    Bell | Wanderlust Marriage recently posted…Palace of Gold and Fish Fry in West Virginia!My Profile

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