The Northeast is known for many things (our accents, sports, clam chowder …), but the fall season is where we really shine. From some of the most awe-inspiring fall foliage to the best seasonal activities to enjoy, it’s truly one of the best places to be this time of year.
Speaking of places to be, here are some of our favorite fall activities in New England, New Jersey and New York.
Fall Activities in Connecticut
As a 10th generation farm, Lyman Orchards has been growing everything from apples to corn since 1741, and today, it’s one of the most popular places to enjoy in fall among locals and visitors alike. Besides its reputation for excellent apple picking, it also creates a themed corn maze every year, offers horse-drawn hayrides and has a stocked farm marketplace for all the essentials. The farm also hosts a variety of vendors throughout the year from breweries to petting zoos and even dueling piano performances.
Fall is the time for hot beverages – chai, pumpkin spice lattes and, of course, apple cider. But have you ever had cider that’s freshly pressed, right in front of you? At B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, the last standing steam-powered cider mill in the United States, you can watch an apple-pressing demonstration before purchasing your own beverage (plus an apple cider doughnut or two). Also available are eight versions of hard cider and 14 apple wines, all aged to perfection in oak whiskey barrels.
Fall Activities in Maine
The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta is just as fun as it sounds. The four-day event is completely volunteer-led, from the third graders who plant the pumpkin seeds in spring to the more than 400 folks who grow the pumpkins over several weeks. Once the giant pumpkins have grown to size, the festival commences with such events as the pumpkinboat regatta, where enormous hollowed-out pumpkins are raced in the Damariscotta Harbor. Other featured events include the pumpkin derby, pumpkin pie eating contests, the pumpkin drop and who can forget the pumpkin catapult, where 20-pound pumpkins are hurled high into the air. A quintessential New England fall activity!
A farm that’s all about community, Treworgy Orchards’ mission since 1983 has been to give friends and neighbors the opportunity to pick their own fruit – and so they have, plus much more. Come to pick your own pumpkins, apples and squash, get delightfully lost in the corn maze (which can also be enjoyed at night), enjoy an apple cider doughnut with accompanied cider, take a relaxing hayride or even book a mini family portrait session. And that’s just seasonal fun! All year round, visitors can get ice cream, pet farm animals and browse the gift shop full of Maine and farm-themed goods.
Fall Activities in Massachusetts
We’d be remiss not to mention one of the most popular fall destinations, well, ever. With over 1 million visitors to the town every year, Salem has a reputation for everything spooky, witchy and all-around fall. Known for its role in the witch trials of 1692, Salem has become a favorite fall activity in New England for everyone from kids to adults. Learn about the town’s sordid history at one of numerous museums, take a spooky ghost tour, do a little shopping, get your fortune told or even have dinner inside one of the most haunted buildings in town.
As America’s oldest agricultural fair, this massive 10-day event has been running every fall since 1818. From live music, carnival rides, contests and pumpkin weigh offs to pig racing, parades, cooking demonstrations and woodcarving, it’s simply everything you’d want a fall fair to be – and there’s something to enjoy for everyone in the family. Make sure to check the daily calendar for updates on the alternating entertainment schedule before your trip.
Fall Activities in New Hampshire
Alyson’s Orchard boasts over 50 acres of fruit-bearing trees, offering fresh fruit from midsummer to late fall. With 50 apple varieties, seven types of peaches and various berries, plums, pears, pumpkins, gourds and winter squash, it’s a paradise for pick-your-own enthusiasts. Visitors can create lasting memories among the tranquil farm setting, which includes ponds, playgrounds and even a bocce ball court. After you’ve picked your bounty, visit the farm stand for locally made products and treats.
With its iconic jack-o’-lantern pyramid rising above the festival like an autumnal beacon, the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival calls all pumpkin enthusiasts, costume-wearers, foodies and game lovers to its event. Folks of all ages are welcome as there’s plenty of fun to be had from craft shows and food trucks to a beer garden, dinner train and zombie walk – a spooky “choreographed jaunt” down the festival streets. And did we mention it’s free?
Fall Activities in New Jersey
Put on your Lederhosen and pay homage to the German tradition of Oktoberfest at the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse this October. Enjoy imported beer, all the bratwurst you can eat and live performances that go all day and into the night. If lagers not your thing, the event also offers craft beer, wine and whiskey, so there’s something for everyone. Kid-friendly activities are planned, too, so make sure to bring all members of the family for a fun fall day out.
Fall Activities in New York
Rolling hills, shimmering lakes and idyllic farms make Hudson Valley the perfect stop during fall when leaves are at their peak. In particular, Fishkill Farms is more than worth the drive. Every weekend in September and October, this Insta-worthy farm celebrates its Fall Harvest Festival. Ticketed events include everything from pick-your-own apples, wagon rides, a corn maze and live music. While you’re there, enjoy a panoramic view of the farm from their on-site cidery or grab a bite to eat from the Fishkill Farms Grill.
Hudson Valley and Long Island
Taking a spooky stroll through the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze will have you constantly asking, “How did they do that?” as 7,000 carved pumpkins take the shape of the unimaginable, from a T. rex to a functioning Ferris wheel and pretty much everything in between. The Hudson Valley event takes place at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, while Long Islanders can enjoy the experience at Old Bethpage Village. To make the experience even better, proceeds from ticket sales help to support the education and preservation efforts of Historic Hudson Valley and Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
Fall Activities in Rhode Island
The Farmer’s Daughter has the fall season mastered. If you’re not convinced by the expertly arranged pumpkins, gourds and squash upon entry, walking through the back-to-back greenhouses filled to the brim with fall decor, pottery and plants of every size and genus will certainly change your mind. Even better, their Fall Harvest Festival takes place every weekend through October and features hayrides, a pumpkin dunk tank, scavenger hunts and more.
Fall Activities in Vermont
If you’re seeking the epitome of small-town fall, look no further. Held by the Danville Chamber of Commerce, Autumn on the Green is a festival designed to showcase the works of small local businesses from artists to crafters and antique sellers. Stroll along the booths, admire the beautiful foliage around you and listen to live music before partaking in delicious food, like burgers, pulled pork, stews and whoopie pies, made onsite.
For even more Northeast fall fun, check out the Your AAA Fall Fest.
What did we miss? Tell us your favorite fall activities in New England and New York in the comments below.