Having been born and raised in Vermont, I’m rather partial to New England in the Fall. While I don’t love winter these days, or being cold enough to need more than a sweater — I do love a good crisp, fall morning where I can just see my breath but the sunlight turns the trees into liquid gold and warms my face in the process. Preferably I will also have hot cider in my hands and be on my way to some donuts or pumpkin pie…
So when Massachusetts invited me to spend two nights enjoying the changing leaves in their lovely state I thought that was the perfect way to return to my roots. Just one notch shy of actually enjoying the splendid autumn color in my native Vermont.Our itinerary is perfect for a quick weekend getaway and I know that is a common way to travel for Americans given our limited vacation time. So here’s what I would recommend to enjoy a similar experience to the one I had, whether you’re an American or a foreigner visiting our lovely New England:
Arrive in Boston via train from a larger city like New York or directly by plane, check into the Revere Hotel where you’ll enjoy one of the few properties in the city to have balcony access. And complimentary champagne upon check in! I had my own private balcony from my room and I truly loved this view every evening and morning of my short stay. The Charles River is just off to the right and downtown is right in front, stroll along the Charles before breakfast to see teams rowing out on the river in the early morning mists.
The next day, rent a car and head out of Boston, so that you can explore all the small towns in rural Massachusetts because small towns are where Autumn is at its best.
Stop in Northampton to rent a bike from Noho Bike, or take a tour with RideNoho so that you can take a bike across the longest steel railroad bridge in New England which is now part of the rail to trail system allowing biking, walking, and running through wooded areas, past farms and across wide, slow moving rivers. You’ll get a bit of a work out, as much or as little as you want, and you’ll enjoy great history and landscapes along the way.
Proceed to Zoar Outdoor where you will then enjoy the Fall color by riding on a zipline through the forest’s colorful canopy. Charlemont is a gorgeous area in the Fall so leave some extra time for picture taking in the villages or on the river where even later in the day the mists in the valleys combine so beautifully with all the changing trees to lend a feeling of mystery to your adventure.
Now depending on how long it has taken you to do all of that, you’ll either be having a late lunch or perhaps an early dinner at Kringle Candle’s Farm Table in Bernardston. Arrive hungry because the menu is terrific and Chef Brent Menke is an ace with fall ingredients such as brussel sprouts, squash, root vegetables and hearty meats. Click through to my Instagram photo from my visit so that you can learn about Kringle’s commitment to sustainability as well.
But don’t go back to Boston before you get out on the water of the Quabbin Reservoir in a kayak or canoe. Of all the things I did during my visit, this was my favorite. The peace and stillness of the water married with the color in the trees that surround the water was positively transcendent. I actually have a paralyzing fear of dark water and yet I still could not have felt more at peace because when I looked up, all I saw was beauty and I was able to forget all about the water under my boat.
Another good option for enjoying Autumn and its brilliant color is horse back riding at Cornerstone Ranch in Princeton. Originally, this was part of my itinerary and I was sad that in the end we weren’t able to do it for timing purposes. Go! And let me know how it is 🙂
When you return to Boston, book your last night at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and make sure to enjoy dinner at OAK Long Bar & Kitchen. At the Fairmont, old elegance combines perfectly with modern luxury in a building that dates to 1912. The same site was once the Museum of Fine Arts, built in 1876, and since I’m a huge history geek who loves old world glamour — I just loved spending my last evening at the Fairmont. The menu at OAK is superb, changes with the season, and is complimented by an inventive cocktail menu plus an extensive liquor & wine list. I didn’t want to leave nor even say goodnight. The people watching at OAK was also superb. It’s an eclectic mix of locals and visitors to the city of Boston. Old money sits next to new and young right next to old. One of the most enjoyable dining experiences I’ve had in some time in fact, all told. Capped by a new obsession of mine: warm Pumpkin Bread Pudding.
I published these photos on Instagram during the trip that you also might enjoy:
My #MAinstaFoliage trip to Massachusetts was part of a promotional partnership where my trip was sponsored but I am sharing this post with you because as a proud New Englander I am always looking for ways to help people experience the part of the USA where I grew up!