No matter who you want to get away with this fall – your family, your girlfriends, the guys, the love of your life – there’s a trip that combines the season’s scenic splendor with activities that match your travel style. Enjoy reading about these fall escapes nestled throughout the Northeast.
Block Island, R.I.
This small island – reachable year-round by ferry from Point Judith in Narragansett, R.I. – enters low season in September, making it ideal for an affordable stay at a romantic inn. Visit the circa-1834 Gothic Revival-style Southeast Light atop the Mohegan Bluffs, stroll a deserted beach, spread a picnic blanket and bird -watch, and dine on fresh seafood in and around Old Harbor.
Savoring The Season
Family-friendly lodging, activities for kids and cool hangouts for adults – this popular Connecticut destination has it all. Mystic Aquarium features everything from African penguins to beluga whales; Mystic Seaport Museum showcases 19th-century wooden ships and buildings; and historic downtown Mystic has shops, galleries, a craft brewery and even a beer garden.
North Fork of Long Island, N.Y.
For a relaxing midweek getaway with the girls (weekends draw crowds), head to this farm-and-vineyard region located two hours east of Manhattan to sip wine at convivial tasting rooms, dine on fresh local fare and scoop up just-picked apples, pumpkins, squash and more. From Jamesport to Greenport, the North Fork’s charming towns are ripe with autumn goodness.
Walden Pond State Reservation
If you’re a Henry David Thoreau fan who hasn’t yet visited the 19th century philosopher-naturalist’s neck of the woods in eastern Massachusetts, September and October are lovely. Thoreau lived here for two years, two months and two days, and a calming walk through this protected 462-acre site might inspire your own autumn awakening.
The Poconos, Pa.
Whether you’re a couple, best friends or a mother and daughter duo, The Lodge at Woodloch in the Pocono Mountains offers relaxation to the max – and its 400 soothing woodland acres are especially splendid in autumn. When you’re not hiking, biking, kayaking or being massaged at the adults-only resort, you’ll be wrapped in a cozy robe by a fireplace.
When it’s time to hang with the guys, the great outdoors kayaking and fishing and the great indoors (craft brewpubs serving seasonal ales and sports bars with TVs tuned to NFL games) merge at this Vermont city on the shores of Lake Champlain. Add juicy burgers, spicy wings and pancakes smothered in fresh maple syrup and your taste buds (and best buds) will be happy.
Foodie Road Trip
Portsmouth, N.H., to Portland, Maine
It’s a 52-mile drive and there’s plenty of satiating spots along the route. Portsmouth’s booming foodie scene offers everything from tapas-style bites and curried mussels to a traditional New England raw bar. Kennebunkport and Ogunquit are the spots for lobster rolls, fried clams and chowder. And Portland’s memorable nibbles range from gastropub burgers to sophisticated menus by James Beard Award semifinalists.
Cape May, N.J.
Rent a house, invite your friends and enjoy sea-meets-seasonal splendor as you sip morning coffee on the deck, check out the city’s Victorian and Italianate architecture, cook family-style dinners and gather around a fire pit beneath the stars. Added bonus: If you have a thing for birds, the New Jersey Audubon’s annual three-day Autumn Festival happens in October.
With two art museums, 20-plus galleries and scenic inspiration for your own artistic dabbling, Rockland is the perfect getaway for the creatively inclined. For modern immersion, visit the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, while the Farnsworth Art Museum’s collections span all genres.
White Mountains, N.H.
Foliage peaks in mid-September in the White Mountains, and while the weather can be unpredictable, anyone up for a challenge should consider a guided hut-to-hut hiking adventure. You’ll enjoy panoramic views, small-group camaraderie and insights into the Appalachian Trail and 6,289-foot Mount Washington.
Go to AAA.com/YourAAAFoliage to read about more ways to enjoy the season.