It’s that magical time of the year when it’s no longer sweltering but not yet freezing. It’s perfect for Fall getaways, so take advantage! Though most New Yorkers are well aware of the commonly crowded, much-hyped, and occasionally pretentious vacation spots like the Hamptons, Montauk, or Martha’s Vineyard, here are five destinations that are equally — if not more so — gorgeous, quaint, and relaxing for the perfect Fall weekend getaway.
1.) Cold Springs, New York
Want to get out of the city but don’t want to drive? Go by boat! Venture on a catamaran Fall Foliage Cruise before it gets too cold and jet up the gorgeous tree-lined Hudson River to the adorable and historical small town of Cold Spring, New York. Guests will enjoy fantastic views of New York City on the way to the destination and can look forward to insanely vibrant foliage while on the water. Fiery reds, bright oranges and golden yellows — the colors are literally glowing this time of year!
While on the cruise, guests can listen to their enthusiastic tour guide point out all the noteworthy places that include the Cloisters, George Washington Bridge, huge castle-like mansions, West Point, Bear Mountain, as well as the delightful towns on the shore of the Hudson. Arriving at Cold Spring, established 1846, feels like taking a step into the past. The streets are lined with grand Victorian homes. Strolling along the 19th century waterfront main street will be a huge contrast to walking anywhere in New York City — you’ll love it.
Activity options include boutique shopping, pursuing through local artisans’ shops, and dining at farm-to-table restaurants. In addition to a variety of packed antique shops, other locales include a trendy apothecary, general store, and some great places to get unique gifts. Get some brick oven roasted pizzas at the restaurant, Riverside, while taking in views of the Hudson. Stay the weekend at the three-story Pig Hill Inn and unwind in one of its nine individually decorated rooms or outside on its garden terrace. Built in 1895, the Inn is filled with antiques, romantic allure, and offers a full country breakfast every morning. Cold Springs is just the place to unwind and enjoy small town living in a beautiful setting.
2.) Berkshires, Massachusetts
The Berkshires is home to beautiful scenery, lots of great hiking and outdoor activity, culture and art museums, and all the charm of a small town. Check out the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art which houses larger-than-life installations and boasts over 100,000 square feet of open and naturally lit space for art lovers to explore. MASS MoCA is also home to over 75 performances year-round. Or there’s the Clark Art Institute which features a range of masterpieces that include: European and American paintings, sculpture, drawings, and more.
Just want to be outside? Take a walk on its 140-acre oasis filled with looming trees, meadows, landscaped walking trails, and experience the vibrant colors of fall foliage. Swing by Hilltop Orchards for some old fashioned apple picking, fresh cider doughnuts, wine tastings, and hikes on its 200 acres of land. Feeling adventurous? Take a hike on one of the Berks’ many trails. Climb up Bash Bish Mountain for an unbelievable views of Bash Bish Gorge, New York’s Harlem Valley, and the distant Catskill Mountains; or hike the Jug End Loop Trail for a more peaceful, chill excursion.
Stay at one of the many lovely bed and breakfasts or inns around. A few recommendations are: Devonfield, a Colonial style inn that sits atop a hillside that overlooks 32 acres of meadows; the Gateways Inn, originally the Procter (of Procter & Gamble) mansion converted into a charming, 11 room B&B; or the Whistler’s Inn, a fairytale 1870 English Tudor mansion.
Anyone who loves Fall needs to visit the Adirondacks now when the foliage is at its peak for the season. Mountain lovers, and anyone seeking the opposite feeling of being in Times Square, won’t want to leave this outdoor wonderland. Rent a boat or kayaks at Mirror Lake and explore; venture through High Falls Gorge, a 22-acre nature park, complete with four scenic Adirondack waterfalls cascading over boulders; or get your boots on and hike through the trails of Adirondack Park and savor its panoramic mountain views. You can also go fishing, hunting, or rock climbing… this is truly the destination to-be for any outdoorsy person.
Stay at an upscale lodge such as the Lake Placid Lodge, with luxury comforts, a view of the lake, rustic hand-crafted furniture, fireplaces, deep tubs and cushy beds; or the Mirror Lake Inn which offers a spa and salon, indoor and outdoor pools, and Colonial-style rooms with views of Whiteface Mountain. Looking for more of a nature-filled campground? Stop by the Adirondack LOJ, a 1920’s lodge on the shore of Heart Lake where you’ll sleep in classic log beds stacked four or six to a room.
Fans of Gilmore Girls will be thrilled to know that the picturesque town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is basically a real-life version of Stars Hallow. For those of you not familiar with TV’s most beloved mother/ daughter duo, Portsmouth is a peaceful, friendly New Hampshire town, filled with museums, history, wide sandy beaches, and good food. Did we mention that it’s also home to Lindt Chocolate USA headquarters and a glorious Lindt outlet shop? Because it is must-see.
As the nation’s third-oldest city, it’s filled with historic sites such as the Strawberry Banke Museum, a historic waterfront museum featuring homes and exhibits from three centuries; landmarks that include Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, a 48-foot tower of Portsmouth Harbor Light; and Moran Towing Tugboats. Day trip locations such as the Isles of Shoals, which was discovered by Capt. John Smith, of Pocahontas fame are also nearby. Take one of numerous Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Sankofa Tours if you want an afternoon of educational information and a bit of exercise. In addition, stroll through Market Square for an eclectic range of small shops, cafes, restaurants, and waterfront attractions.
Stay downtown at the historic mansion, The Hotel Portsmouth, a 135-year-old historic hotel that is a classic example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture. Each room in this boutique hotel is individually decorated and designed with a mix of both retro and modern touches. Or spend a night at the Inn at Strawberry Banke, a unique seven-room colonial bed and breakfast.
5.) The Farm at Woods Hill
The Farm at Woods Hill is the ideal getaway for lovers of fresh air, animals, wide open spaces, excellent farm-to-table fare and those interested in sustainable farming. Owned by Kristin Canty, filmmaker of Farmageddon and proprietor of Woods Hill Table, The Farm at Woods Hill was built to supply pasture raised meats and produce to her restaurant. The farm has a variety of animals from cows and pigs to chickens and lambs, as well as tons of fresh seasonal produce growing out of its flourishing edible gardens.
If you’ve never spent time on a farm, a stay here will be quite an experience — both tranquil and fascinating at the same time. Guests have the option of staying at the Lodge, a gorgeous 3200-square-foot log cabin overlooking a swimming pond in the peaceful hills of western New Hampshire, or the charming, sky blue Farm House around the corner which houses an extra 20 people. The Lodge has a Jacuzzi tub and shower, a loft with a queen-sized bed and sitting room, a large fireplace for chilly nights, and even an amazing library — reminiscent of the one in the Beauty and the Beast — stocked with unique reads.
With a fully outfitted kitchen, a huge screened in porch, and a fire pit, you’ll be able to fully take in the nature around you. If you want to explore, the property is surrounded by miles of hiking trails. It is 28 miles to Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain Ski Resorts, 39 miles to Mt. Washington, and 15 miles to the Appalachian Trail. Plus, you can opt for a stay package, which includes a farm stay with tours; a spa stay including yoga classes, facials, manicures, and pedicures; and a maple stay which offers a taste of real New Hampshire maple syrup!