New England Fall Bucket List
Not to get all Game of Thrones on you, but winter is coming and we all know what that means – lots of time indoors. Since absolutely nothing about that is ideal for families who just want to get out and run, we’ve created your must-do bucket list for the fall. Yes, all of the things you’ll want on your radar to really get the wiggles out before hibernation kicks in. Will it entirely ease the pain when you’re cooped up for a few months? Probably not, but at least you’ll have the fun memories to keep you (kinda) warm.
Quick Weekend Getaways
Whether you want to take advantage of a three-day weekend or simply want to do a one-nighter to get out of town for a fast recharge, these spots are downright wonderful.
While you’re taking in the splendor that is the fall foliage of New England, stay at Maine’s most family-oriented resort – the Anchorage Inn. There’s an indoor pool so your kids can swim to their heart’s content even when the weather has turned too chilly to do so outdoors. And their Sun and Surf restaurant (207-363-2961) is not to be missed. It’s open on most weekends from February through November, so make sure you call first before assuming service is in full swing. 265 Long Beach Ave., York Beach, Maine; 207-363-5112; anchorageinn.com.
Inn at East Hill Farm
Don’t just visit the farm for an afternoon, experience it for a weekend! Your kids will love the Inn at East Hill Farm, which offers a host of activities year round depending on the season. Thoughout the fall you’ll find special schedules that provide a little something for everybody, and a Harvest Festival Weekend that will really get you into the spirit of this gorgeous season. And not only is there cool stuff for kids, but grown-ups can grab some much-needed downtime with a massage or reflexology. 460 Monadnock St., Troy, N.H.; 603-242-6495; east-hill-farm.com.
Get outdoors and get active at this Vermont inn that boasts the fact that Kingdom Trails runs right through their property – so cool! There’s all types of biking available (even balance bike rentals for the littles!) as well as hiking, gardens and even a playroom and playgrounds for kids. You’ll be oh-so-close to the Vermont Reindeer Farm and tree climbing with the New England Tree Climbing Association. What’s not to love? 2059 Darling Hill Road, Lyndonville, Vt.; 802-626-8310; wildflowerinn.com.
Forget the four wheels parked in your garage and break out the two-wheelers. Go for a family ride through Boston on the Emerald Necklace and Fall Foliage Tour (103 Atlantic Ave., Boston, Mass.; 617-670-0637) as you breathe in the fresh, crisp air. The Battle Road Trail that begins at Meriam’s Corner in Concord, Massachusetts, is also a great path to follow when you have your whole clan because the five-mile route is not only part of Minute Man National Park, but it also tends to be less packed than some other popular area trails. You might also want to head over to the Paul Dudley White Charles River Bike Path (251 Causeway St., Boston, Mass.) for a lengthier trail (it’s 18 miles) that you can break up into shorter rides when your kids just aren’t having it.
Gazing up at the night sky can feel magical to kids both big and small. If you want to give your kids a quick lesson in constellations (or just stare dreamily at them), go to Castle Island (Day Blvd., South Boston, Mass.), the park that also serves as the home to Fort Independence. There’s plenty of green space to lay a blanket and get lost in the stars. Coit Observatory (725 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, Mass.) is a natural choice for learning all about what’s above us, even getting an up-close look with telescopes and binoculars that are available for use.
It wouldn’t be fall without a masterful corn maze to delight your kids. Mike’s Maze (25 South Main St., Sunderland, Mass.) is a popular spot that’s route is brand new each and every year. They also have a themed game to help you find clues and figure out puzzles to explore different parts of the maze. You can also stop by Hanson’s Farm’s own variation – Tom and Matt’s Excellent Adventure Corn Maze (20 Nixon Road, Framingham, Mass.) for a wicked corn maze plus pick your own fruits, vegetables and flowers, hayrides and a tent-covered picnic area.
Knowing that your produce is truly sourced locally can make you feel good about what you’re eating, just one thing that makes farmers’ markets so darn special. You have until November to enjoy Copley Square Farmers’ Market (St. James Avenue, and Dartmouth and Boylston Streets, Boston, Mass.), which is in full swing on Tuesdays and Fridays. Not only do they have fruits and veggies, but ready-to-eat foods are plentiful if you’re not in the mood to cook. Everett Farmers’ Market (Broadway and Norwood Streets, Everett, Mass.) is open from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays, so ideal for early risers who want to get a start on their weekend shopping while soaking up some sun. Fans of Ashland Farmers’ Market (125 Front St., Ashland, Mass.) rave that they can basically do all of their grocery shopping here as the vendors range from those selling grass-fed beef to those offering fruits and veggies they’ve grown themselves.