Fall in the United States has begun! The trees are morphing into fiery colors of red, orange and yellow; the air is crisp, clean and ripe with the harvest, and there is no better time to visit the Northeast.
I was raised jumping into leaf piles and drinking hot apple cider on evening walks with my mom in New York. Don’t take my word for it though, head north and experience some of the time honored traditions that autumn has to offer.
Apples in all forms.
- The apple harvest in the NE is something to visit for. Apple orchards line local driving routes through Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. Pick apples with your buds and bring your harvest to where you are couchsurfing, and have an apple pie making extravaganza. This is sure to be a solid (and sweet) way to repay the host you are staying with!
- “What is an apple cider donut,” you ask? Only the world’s most amazing treat from the Golden Harvest Orchard in Valatie, NY. I grew up going on motorcycle rides with my father to this quaint red-roofed orchard that spills charm onto Route 9. Golden Harvest is about a 30 minute drive from Albany, NY. Head inside and order 1 dozen hot cider donuts (watch out for the huge line) and grab a half gallon of chilled cider. Sit outside at one of their picnic tables and well, get ready for a foodgasm.
Besides celebrating Halloween like the rest of the USA, the northern states really know how to celebrate their autumn cocktails as well.
- Many orchards offer short wine tastings and pair different preserves/breads with them. Goold’s Orchard is a great one in NY to do a wine tasting, and if you go on a weekend there is usually a local art and crafts event happening as well.
- More of a whiskey chick? Golden Harvest, mentioned above, is your spot. It also houses the Harvest Spirits Distillery which has free tours, $1 tastings, and a range of brandys, whiskeys, and vodkas infused with the local produce. My favorite is the Cornelius Applejack: fermented apples aged in bourbon barrels.
- If you fancy a cider and find yourself in NYC and not in the countryside…fear not. Cider Week is an annual event held all over NY. Last year I happened to be on a road trip through Astoria when it occurred. My city slicking friends took me to a rad cafe where I had a flight of incredible ciders from all over the state. There are tastings, workshops and events all during this week-long festival.
Take in the view and weather
Food? Check. Drink? Check.
Our NE experience of the fall season could not be complete without enjoying the season itself! Here is a quick rundown of our top picks for a Go! Girl to bask in fall’s glory.
- Skyline Drive. This is a picturesque mountain drive that spans from just outside of D.C all the way down to North Carolina. There are hundreds of lookout points to pull over and enjoy the rainbow of colors. It was featured in our article on Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Drive in movies. Hathaway’s Drive-In is just 30 minutes west of Bennington, VT. Cozy up on Route 67 with your beau, bestie, or road trip buddy for a double feature, crisp evening breeze, and hot chocolate. This is one of the oldest theaters in the US; you can still see the old microphones next to each parking space.
- Camping. The Adirondacks in NY, the White Mountains of NH, or the Heldebergs in MA, every mountain range is guaranteed to be a fall stunner! Post up your tent at a camping site and hit the trails for some gorgeous day hikes. If you are in the Adirondacks, make sure to venture over to Lake George and have a paddle with a day-long kayak or canoe rental. Spend the dwindling daylight hours setting up camp, getting the s’mores supplies ready, and jump into that warm sleeping bag.