Hey, summer, fall would like a word. Though the stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day calls for leisurely walks along the beach and half-day Fridays, autumn gives you a chance to get away for long weekends and take in the season’s spectacular leaves as they change colors around the country. Rustic small towns offer ideal fall foliage viewing. Hard ciders and buzz-worthy brews can keep you feeling warm and toasty, too.
As fun as Long Island corn mazes and pumpkin patches are for little ones, these fall escapes will take your breath away. Treat yourself.
Set along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a leaf peeper’s paradise. Though it varies by the year, peak foliage season typically happens during the first two weeks of October. While you’re gazing at the spectacle of gold, crimson and orange unfolding before you, partake in a myriad of outdoor activities.
What to do: Take in the foliage while getting some exercise along Burlington Bike Path. Though the name includes the words “bike path,” walking is totally fine, too. Once the site of the Central Vermont Railway, the trail winds through beaches and provides breathtaking views of the sprawling Lake Champlain, Adirondacks and city.
Burlington is also home to several cider houses and breweries within a hop, skip and a jump of one another. Citizen Cider has a spacious deck, where guests can sip cider made from local apples. Less than a mile away, Zero Gravity has easy-drinking IPAs and a pet-friendly outdoor space.
Church St. Marketplaceis Burlington’s bustling downtown open-air mall with more than 100 places to shop and dine (and yes, there’s a Ben & Jerry’s).
Where to stay: Hotel Vermont has a rustic vibe and sits in downtown Burlington. The rooms feature plenty of exposed wood, and some have beautiful views of Lake Champlain. The Essex: Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa is nestled between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain and is a short drive from Burlington. The hotel is home to two restaurants, an on-site culinary school and a spa for added TLC. Golf enthusiasts can take advantage of the nearby course — a stay at the resort comes with access.
Pocono Mountains, Pa.
From water parks in the summer to ski slopes in the winter, Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains region has established itself as a year-round playground. Come mid-October, the Poconos get extra-colorful as fall foliage paints the town brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.
What to do: Here’s a 90-minute train ride you can get behind: The Foliage Express. The 20-mile trip takes you through the Northern Pocono Mountains. Don’t be so dazzled by the colors that you miss out on an extra treat — the bald eagles that have been spotted along the route. Because one can never have enough orange gourds on their lawns come October, head to the Great Pocono Pumpkin Festival. Grab your pumpkin, indulge in food and hop aboard a hayride. For something a little less PG, dare to be scared at Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares Halloween Haunted House. Set inside the Lake House Hotel, the walk-through haunted houses are full of more tricks than treats but are pretty sweet for adrenaline junkies.
Where to stay: 1870 Roebling Inn on the Delawareis a country-style B&B with rooms with water views and a one-bedroom cottage with a full kitchen and living room. The Lodge at Woodlochfeels like a great escape in and of itself. Situated on 150 acres of woodland and overlooking a lake, the luxe rooms feature private verandas made for watching the sunrise. There’s also an on-site spa.
If you’re ready to take the post-vaccination plunge — or flight — Charleston is an unbeatable destination. The temperatures are often in the mid-70’s throughout October and November. The warmer weather delays the foliage from turning colors until late-October and early November. The Southern hospitality can feel like a welcome respite from New York traffic or that train commute. Historic homes beckon for a stroll.
What to do: Walking through Hampton Park feels like a procession under a colorful canopy once the leaves change. And there are many surrounding lush gardens and trails to explore.
Take a walk back in time at The Battery. It’s a gorgeous spot with a postcard-perfect 12-acre Waterfront Park and is known for its gorgeous foliage once the leaves start to turn. Before heading there, enjoy a savory bite at Brown Dog Deli, which is nearby.
Charleston City Market, one of the nation’s longest-running public markets, is open every day but Christmas. There, you’ll be able to browse for unique finds from more than 300 vendors — perhaps a painting of Charleston in the fall or lawn decor.
Since the fall weather tends to be milder in Charleston than on Long Island, nights are full of more thrills than chills. Get in a spooky state of mind with a haunted carriage ride through alleys and graveyards.
Where to stay: The stately Planter’s Inn is located in Charleston’s Historic District and a stone’s throw from Waterfront Park, giving guests easy access to two of the area’s most scenic, foliage-filled spots The building dates back to 1844, and the period-style furniture, like the four-poster beds, add a quaint touch. But other amenities like free Wi-Fi keep it squarely in the 21st century. Also located in the Historic District, Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel, is a four-star hotel. The Georgian-style lobby is elegant and welcoming, with a carpeted grand double staircase and bronze horse statues. It sets the stage for an upscale and comfortable stay, complete with king sized beds and access to a spa and rooftop infinity pool.