5 incredible fall getaways in the Northeast
This story has been updated with new information.
Summer is winding down, and autumn is close behind. Fall brings a welcome respite from summer’s heat and humidity, a handful of long weekends (including Labor Day and Thanksgiving) and glorious landscapes bursting with colorful foliage.
If you live in the Northeast, you’re especially well-positioned to take advantage of all the joys fall brings, from meals made with farm-fresh produce to leisurely, scenic drives through forests transformed into kaleidoscopic backdrops.
To help you sort through the region’s spate of charming towns, we zeroed in on five destinations within driving distance of New York City, Boston and other Northeastern hubs — all with compelling reasons to visit this fall.
Remember to bring along a good credit card for earning points on gas purchases if you’re planning on a leaf-peeping drive and be sure to book soon.
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Depending on where you live, you could escape to the mountainous, sometimes rural areas of the Catskills in just over two hours. This area of rippling terrain is punctuated by rambling rivers and waterfalls, making it perfect for scenic fall foliage hikes and drives.
Consider the Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain trails, near Big Indian; Kaaterskill Falls in Hunter, New York; the hike to the restored fire tower on Mount Tremper, near Phoenicia; and the Overlook Mountain trailhead just outside Woodstock.
The Catskills region is in the midst of another resurgence, making it easy for even frequent visitors to experience a new, undiscovered part of the sprawling wilderness areas.
Consider the Urban Cowboy Lodge in Big Indian from $360 per night (opt for a room with a clawfooted soaking tub or an outdoor cedar tub) or Kenoza Hall, from the area’s esteemed Foster Supply Hospitality. The 55-acre property dates back to the 1800s and room rates start at $349 per night. Or, splurge to stay at The Chatwal Lodge, a new rustic getaway from the man behind The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection hotel near Times Square in Manhattan. Rooms here start at $1,200 a night.
If you thought the only thing to do in Saratoga Springs was to go to the racetrack, think again. This city about four hours north of New York City is having a bit of a renaissance, thanks to some excellent new hotel openings and the Upper Hudson Wine Trail, which features an ever-growing roster of family-run vineyards and wineries.
If you visit between mid-September and early October, you might even catch the harvesting action. From here, you can easily explore scenic Lake George and the high peaks of the Adirondacks.
The Brentwood Hotel, which opened in 2016 in a revamped motor lodge, is a frontrunner on the scene. Designed by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack, the 12-room boutique hotel features equestrian motifs inspired by its location just steps from the racecourse; rooms start at $300 per night.
Joining it is the historic Adelphi Hotel, which emerged from a top-to-bottom renovation in 2017 with charming rooms starting at around $259. Even if you’re not staying in the hotel, be sure to elbow up to the bar at Morrissey’s, named for the yarn-spinning sportsman who brought horse racing to town.
The secret’s out about this mountainous region in western Massachusetts. Equidistant from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires make for a perfect fall getaway complete with excellent hiking, cultural attractions and great places to spend the night.
There are plenty of ways to fill your fall days in this area. Housed in a complex of 19th-century mill buildings in North Adams, MASS MoCA, or the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, has long been a pilgrimage site for art lovers. Don’t miss Sol LeWitt’s staggering wall drawings — a cornerstone of the museum since they were installed in 2008. The area is also home to the Norman Rockwell Museum (for which you should purchase timed tickets in advance of your trip) and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s mansion in Lenox.
Miraval Berkshires is the third iteration of the wellness-focused chain. Guests can try horseback riding at Meadowview Stables, take classes on beekeeping, hike in the adjacent forest and enjoy relaxing treatments at the 29,000-square-foot Life in Balance spa. As part of the World of Hyatt program, an off-peak award night at this Category 12 resort will cost you 40,000 points for single occupancy, with cash rates from about $650 this fall.
Travelers can also bed down at the ajacent Wyndhurst Mansion, which occupies a Gilded Age mansion and cottage. The complex has elegant rooms, an outdoor pool, an 18-hole golf course and a fitness center. There are also two restaurants — a tavern serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the upscale 1894 Fireside Bistro serving lunch and dinner.
The Hudson Valley
When it comes to an easy weekend escape from New York City, it’s hard to beat the Hudson Valley. The charming town of Hudson is just two hours away via Amtrak or two and a half hours by car.
You can easily post up at the laid-back Rivertown Lodge (starting at $239 per night) or the food-focused Wm Farmer & Sons (starting at $269 per night). Another great option is The Wick, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel which opened in a reborn 19th-century candle and soap-making factory in town (though expect to pay 49,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night if you’re booking this fall). There’s also The Maker Hotel, an intimate 11-room property spread across three historical buildings downtown; rooms start around $450 per night in the fall, but be prepared for a two- or three-night minimum stay. For a more pastoral setting, head to Amenia and check into Troutbeck — an inn on a historic estate that once played host to Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt. The spacious, airy rooms here will set you back upwards of $435 per night.
Regardless of where you stay, be sure to go sailing on the Hudson, enjoy leisurely hikes and go apple picking. This is fall in New York state, after all.
About five hours from New York City and less than three hours from Boston, central Vermont’s bucolic mountain landscapes and small-town charm make it the perfect destination for an autumn getaway. The entire state has a population of around 624,000, so you’ll find that even the capital of Montpelier feels like the kind of place where everyone knows each other’s names.
Situated in the heart of Woodstock, the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort — established by Laurence and Mary Rockefeller — recently emerged from a $16 million renovation to the Federalist-style building and its 142 rooms and suites. You can dine on the farm-to-table fare at the Red Barns and indulge in a spa treatment at the 10,000-square-foot spa. Rates start at $342 per night.
In nearby Barnard, discover the all-inclusive Relais & Châteaux property Twin Farms — a collection of beautifully appointed, art-filled cabins spread across a 300-acre estate starting at $2,550 per night. Here, you can admire the changing leaves on the grounds, soak in the Japanese-style furo, and go canoeing or fly fishing on the property’s pond.
Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman, Madison Blancaflor and Lynn Brown.