1. Bake a fresh apple pie after visiting an apple orchard.
Getting outside is good for the soul, and apple orchards smell heavenly. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with healthy snacks for the following weeks. Look for an apple orchard near you, or check out a few of my favorites:
- In North Kingstown, RI, Narrow Lane Orchard has a small orchard with well-marked apples and peaches and a level hiking trail.
- Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick, MA, features a more extensive orchard with a train ride into the fields and a children’s play area.
- Dame Farm, Johnston, RI, also has gorgeous pick-your-own flower fields.
2. Be a leaf peeper.
Leaf peeping is generally more intensely colored the more north you travel. Our foliage turns first in the north, then slowly works its way south. Refer to these foliage maps to see the best place to view when you are visiting. New Hampshire and Vermont are top on my list of places to see amazing fall colors.
3. Have a romantic sleep away among the leaves.
Long walks through the leaves, followed by cold nights by the fire, are pretty romantic.
- Darby Field Inn is an old rustic inn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
- Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts– escape to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.
4. Explore any of New England’s many harvest festivals.
Here are a few of the ones I go to, but there are a few in every state each weekend to choose from that you can look for here.
- Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest Celebration– The colors and tastes of cranberries are synonymous with fall. See how the fruit is harvested in this cute fall festival on the beautiful peninsula of Cape Cod. My family acquired a couple of our recipes at Thanksgiving from this fair, such as our Cranberry P’Cake.
- Plymouth Cranberry Festival– Climb into a cranberry blog.
5. Drink freshly pressed apple cider.
- BF Clyde’s Apple Cider Mill in Old Mystic, Connecticut, is the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the US. After your tour, you can munch on homemade cider donuts while listening to live music on the lawn.
6. Hiking is the best way to get a close-up view of our beautiful leaves.
Nature never disappoints. Get out into it, and it will elevate your mood! Here are some of my favorite spots!
- Stepping Stone Falls, West Greenwich, RI, has small, long falls with trails that follow the river.
- Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury, CT, overlooks the whole state.
- Purgatory Chasm, Sutton, MA is great for bouldering and one of my kid’s favorite hikes.
- Tumbledown Mountain in Byron, ME, has spectacular views and a pond for fishing at the top.
- Warren Falls, VT, has massive falls and swimming holes.
- 5 Scenic, Family Hikes in Lincoln, New Hampshire
- Mount Major, New Hampshire, has spectacular views of Mount Washington as well as the Lakes Region.
7. Go to a pumpkin festival.
- Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a beautiful display of cut and lit pumpkins at Providence’s Roger William’s Zoo. Go on weeknights when it opens (at 6 p.m.) or expect long lines. Spooky Zoo is also at the zoo with trick-or-treating for kids in costume on designated days.
- Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival– I love the beauty of pumpkins, but there is something very satisfying in watching one flying through the air after being slung from a trebuchet. Apparently, enough people agree to hold a festival around this idea.
Look at the list of New England’s Five Best Pumpkin Festivals.
8. Waterfire, Providence
9. Get scared at a haunted something.
Haunted spots abound in New England, but we put on quite a show even where we don’t have real hauntings. Check out our numerous haunted houses, hayrides, and trails.
- Scary Acres in West Greenwich, RI, is one of our favorites and boasts four adventures, including shooting scary zombies with paintballs.
10. Carve a jack-o-lantern from a pumpkin picked from the field.
This massive renaissance celebration in Carver, MA, is a recreation of England’s 16th century complete with jousts, marketplace, colossal turkey legs, and many shows. Although costly, it is always a day that my children adore.
12. The Big E
The Eastern States Exposition takes place in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It is a huge New England fair, with everything you could imagine to eat, ride, and see. My favorite part is the statehouses, which are replicas of the New England capital buildings full of vendors with state-specific foods and items.
13. Visit some real-life colonial history.
Nothing says fall like Thanksgiving, native Americans, and pilgrims. Take this opportunity to learn about our country’s history first hand by visiting a few of these attractions located in New England:
- Plimoth Plantations (yes, that’s the original spelling)- Visit this living history museum to see how the pilgrims and Native Americans lived and celebrated their first fall in the New World after fleeing England. Did you know that you can eat Thanksgiving dinner here?
- The Mayflower Boat and Plimoth Rock– Here, you can see a model of the Mayflower and the actual Plimoth Rock, which is admittedly underwhelming.
14. Visit a vineyard.
- We love to dine at Sharpe Hill Winery in Pomfret, CT, in the old farmhouse with fantastic food in a rustic fall setting. You must have reservations well in advance.
- Jonathan Edward’s Winery- read about my fall wine tour there.
- The Newport Vineyards is a great place to have a relaxing lunch on the patio overlooking the vines. You can read more about it and the fun you can have in Newport, Rhode Island, here.
15. Take a spooky ghost tour.
Be regaled by our area’s history, both real and lore. You may find yourself hearing things or looking over your shoulder more once you hear about what things have gone on here. Find a ghost tour in any New England state.
16. Visit Salem, Massachusetts.
Salem, Massachusetts, is scary and commercial, full of tours, museums, and real and imagined haunted houses. This town was the locale of the famous Salem Witch Hunt Trials. Be sure to read my post A Day with My Boy Looking for Ghosts.
17. Embrace the season with some pumpkin-flavored everything.
- New Englanders are crazy about fall and Dunkin’ Donuts, which makes a delicious pumpkin muffin and spiced coffee.
- After hiking Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, Massachusetts, try some pumpkin ice cream at the West End Creamery.
18. Take a hayride.
- Foster Family Farm– This family-run farm in South Windsor, Connecticut, has an interactive corn maze, pumpkin patch, animals, and lots of fall activities. You can even buy your mums here!
- Connors Farm- Read all about our full day of family fall fun.
19. Get lost in a corn maze.
20. Have a picnic among the leaves.
21. Learn all about how cranberries are harvested by visiting a cranberry farm.
22. Take in the Highland Games and Festival on Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Grab your kilt and head into the beauty of the White Mountains to watch the strength games, listen to Scottish music, eat Scottish food and try your hand at some of the games yourself. It is officially the last weekend of summer, but feels like fall in this setting.
23. View the foliage from the top of a mountain by taking a ski gondola up.
24. Enjoy the backdrop of fall foliage against a garden built on a bridge in a typical New England village.
25. Visit the site of one the most famous patricides in the colonial US.
At the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast not only can you tour 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts, the house where Lizzie Borden was said to have butchered her parents with an ax, but you can also stay the night.
Please have a great fall, Y’all!
What are your favorite fall activities? I would love to hear in the comments. If you are planning a trip, be sure to read my Local’s Guide to New England and subscribe to get all my new New England posts as they are published.