fall weekend massachusetts

How to Spend A Fall Weekend in Massachusetts

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.opener1Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetOur 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.reverehotel1reverehotel2

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.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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.zoarzipline

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.farmtablecollage

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.canoequabbin

quabbincollageAnother 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.fairmontoakcollage

I published these photos on Instagram during the trip that you also might enjoy:

Biking Northampton with RideNoho
Zipline with ZoarOutdoor
The Farm Table
Canoeing on the Quabbin Reservoir

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!

  • October 15, 2014
    Stephanie @ PlainChicken.com

    Amazing photos! I would love to spend a fall weekend in Massachusetts. The colors are incredible!

    • October 15, 2014

      Thank you so much Stephanie! 🙂 I hope you get to VisitMA sometime in the Fall. Perhaps 2015 will be your year!

  • October 15, 2014

    New England in the fall is magical! It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to go there during what I think is the best season of the year. I loved the kayak photo when I saw it on Instagram, a splash of red always draws my eye. I have had drinks in the Fairmont – they have an awesome bar, but I had not seen the inside of the Revere, I love the vibe and character of that room! I am currently grounded at home, but you brought me such joy in the virtual trip that I was able to take along with during your weekend!

    • October 15, 2014

      Thanks for the comment, Andi! And I am so glad that I could take you along with me on a little virtual trip 🙂 Even better, I am glad you agree that Fall in New England is magical! I am biased of course so it’s nice when others get my feeling as well.

  • October 15, 2014

    Absolutely gorgeous! My husband is from New England, and I fell in love with that part of the country the first time I went to visit his family. We’re heading to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving – can’t wait to get back up there!

    • October 17, 2014

      Thanks Ash! I hope your Thanksgiving trip is a really special one and I am so glad you’ve fallen for New England because of family ties 🙂

  • October 15, 2014
    Pauline Susanto

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve always always wanted to do a New England/Massachusetts road trip during the fall – just look at those colors! AAHHH!!

    • October 17, 2014

      Thank you so much, Pauline! I hope you get to do a road trip like this sometime!

  • October 16, 2014
    Rebecca {foodie with family}

    My word… we do live in a beautiful part of the country, don’t we? I think StayCations here are the best. Thank you for the great day trip ideas!

    • October 17, 2014

      I think we do. And yes, I am biased. But I really do love Fall in New England. And you’re right, staycations can be awesome.

  • October 16, 2014

    Great photos and guide! I’m heading on an East Coast road trip next week – definitely bookmarking this post!

    • October 17, 2014

      Thank you so much, Valerie! I’m glad to hear you will be in the area and that my tips might come in handy. I hope you enjoy your trip and Cheers!

  • October 17, 2014
    Leyla Giray

    That fall foliage is extraordinary – next year I plan to visit the US in the fall – I’d like to see this, all of it. Truly superb – and I’m feeling nostalgic for past trips to the East Coast in this season… thanks for the memories – and for coaxing me towards future plans!

    • October 17, 2014

      Thank you so much, Leyla! I was pretty impressed by it as well. It was better in some areas than others but when it was great, it was GREAT. So glad I could inspire you for future travels 🙂

  • October 20, 2014

    Wow, I can’t believe how much you pack into a couple days! Yet, it all seemed so relaxing. Beautiful shots, as always. 🙂

    • November 14, 2014

      Yeah it was a lot!! But it was relaxing at the same time. I’m glad you like the photos. Thank you, Noelle!

  • October 21, 2014
    Megan {Country Cleaver}

    How absolutely picturesque!! Fall in Mass looks like my kinda season!

    • November 14, 2014

      Thank you Megan! I’m glad you think so. I certainly can’t picture anyone not liking it. But I guess it could happen.

  • October 27, 2014
    Amanda Green Bottoms

    Breathtaking! Love the fall colors reflecting in the lake 🙂 The zip-lining through those leaves must have been a blast!

    • November 14, 2014

      Thank you so much, Amanda!! Yeah, that lake reflection picture is a popular one, actually my most liked photo on IG right now. Hard to not like Fall color 🙂

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