Fall Activities: New England Style!

Life starts all over again
when it gets crisp in the fall.
//F. Scott Fitzgerald

Although it is widely known that Summer is my most favorite and precious season, if I had to pick a second, I guess it would have to be fall. The color orange is my favorite, so all of the beautiful foliage we are lucky to have here in New England makes the change of seasons a little less depressing for me. Aside from being the time of year to break out your sweaters and boots while sipping pumpkin spice lattes, there are a ton of fun fall activities that I like to try and do every year. Just because it's getting colder out doesn't stop me from going on adventures and enjoying the outdoors all year round. Here are some of my favorite fall activities, in no particular order:

Fair Season and The Big E
One of my favorite things to do in the fall in New England is to visit some of the many fairs that are held throughout the region. It definitely signifies the true beginning of fall, with some of my favorites being the Durham Fair and of course, The Big E. I was lucky enough to be able to get to the Big E twice this year! We went the Sunday of the first weekend it started for the Darius Rucker Concert, and then about a week later during the week to do some of the other things we missed on the night of the concert. It's really fun just to walk around and people watch and to try all of the foods and drink a few beers. I love visiting the State houses to see what each state in New England has to offer. It's fun to go with a big group of friends and makes for a great day trip.
Grabbing a drink at the beer tent before the show!

The girls!

 CT State house! Woo CT!

The Darius Concert was great!

On our second visit, we got to see the farm buildings that we had missed prior. I love seeing all the animals and especially the babies!

The piglets were adorable.

And the baby chicks!
 There are so many different foods to try, it's definitely not a night to count calories! The theme for the Big E is usually the crazier and more unhealthy, the better.
For instance- the Moonut. An ice cream filled donut with your choice of two toppings! I went with vanilla soft serve filled and covered with caramel and heath bar. SO good.
One of my faves in the VT State house- the flannel store!
Seasoned salmon on a stick. Another yum!

Having a beer with friends at the Opa-Opa tent. Their pumpkin beer with a cinnamon sugar rim was delicious.
Cinnamon sugar rim with maple syrup- yes please!
Bummed that the line was too long for the Ferris Wheel this year, it's definitely a fair favorite of mine.
Orchard Visits/Apple Picking
CT and the surrounding states have TONS of orchards and farms that have apples and other fruits to be picked and harvested during the fall season. Some of my favorites for apple picking are Roses Berry Farm and Dondero Orchards. Another family tradition is to visit Rogers Orchard for their famous apple cider donuts. Sadly I have not gotten a chance to go yet this year but I am hoping I can make it in the next few weeks because they are SO good! Apple picking is always a fun activity and a great thing to do as a date. The apples are so fresh and tasty, my favorite are the Macouns.
Dondero pictured above and QuonQuont Farm in Mass pictured below.
Winery and Brewery Visits
Who doesn't love a nice glass of wine or cold beer on a fall weekend? Visiting Wineries and breweries is another one of my favorite to-do's in the fall. It's great to go with family or friends and see how the beer/wine is made and get to taste locally made brews. Some of these photos are from previous years but I have been to a ton of wineries and breweries in the tri-state area an am always looking to check more off of my list! For us CT people, the Connecticut Wine Trail is a great place to start!
Chamard Vineyard in Clinton, CT

Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT

Kontokosta Winery in Greenport, NY

Hardwick Winery in Hardwick, MA

Thomas Hooker Brewery in Bloomfield, CT

Schilling Brewery in Littleton, VT

Pumpkin Patch and Carving
I am a HUGE fan of Halloween, and everything that goes with it. I love going to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve. There are tons of patches and farm stands throughout New England where you can pick up a few local pumpkins. I usually go with the tall and oblong ones, but last year I actually went for a more short and round look. We always have a great time listening to spooky music and carving out faces. Also, we love to cook up the pumpkin seeds after we are done for a nice salty fall treat. Here is a look at our pumpkins from last year and this year as well!

 This years carvings! Lindsays, mine, Mikes, and Nicks
Fall Foliage Drives
There is no better place in the country to see fall foliage than in New England! The bright pops of orange, yellow, and red make a lot of our monotonous drives a lot prettier. I definitely suggest you take a lazy Sunday to drive through some of the winding country roads and take it all in. Yankee Magazine puts out a great fall Foliage Map that shows what areas are in their current peaks, and the best places to go for nice views and vistas of the foliage. You can find the map here.

Weekend Trips
Fall is a great time to take weekend trips. The kids are back in school so a lot of locations will be a lot less crowded, and the weather is still reasonable. So far this fall, we took a day trip to Salem, MA to see all of the spooky sights and historic witch hunt landmarks. We walked around a lot and even checked out an old cemetery and a haunted house. It was a lot of fun and there was so much to do, we ran out of time before seeing it all!

We also just this past weekend took a weekend trip to upstate Vermont to my Dad's cabin. We had such a great group and had a lot of fun just relaxing, checking out the little town, eating and drinking and laughing our butts off. It is definitely worth a couple hour drive to feel like you have really escaped and gone off the grid for a couple of days. A great way to rest and recharge before the busy holiday season ahead. There are tons of quaint B&B's all throughout New England as well, so there is no shortage of places to stay.

Olde Cider Mill for Fritters and Hot Cider
This is a tradition for me right by hometown. I always have to visit the Old Cider Mill for their cider, fritters, and petting zoo. It is the oldest continuously running mill in the US! The hot apple fritters on weekend mornings are a great way to start the day. I am a sucker for anything sweet, so the cinnamon and sugar covered dough is right up my alley. I also recommend Elm Knoll Farm in Enfield, CT for a similar array of fall activities.

Football Games
F stands for fall, but it also stands for Football. One of America's favorites sports, it is always a fun time to watch the games with your friends or out at a bar. Occasionally I even make it to a College game at Rentschler Field to watch UCONN play. Tailgating is a lot of fun, just so long as you stay warm! I am a Cowboys fan for the NFL (cue the boo's), so although I am anti-New England in that sense I still enjoy watching the games no matter who is on the field.

Halloween and Haunted Events
As I said before, halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I LOVE to think of unique costumes and really go all out when it comes to dressing up. I am all for good ole halloween party or event. A great thing to go see around Halloween is the Roger Williams Zoo Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, which we got to go to last year. Thousands upon thousands of carved pumpkins are everywhere you look throughout the trail through the zoo. It really is an amazing sight and really gets you in the Halloween spirit. Here are a few of my favorites! A couple to get us in the mood for our upcoming Hawaii trip...!
Ms Audrey Hepburn herself!

Hundreds of jack-o-lanterns fill the trees from bottom to top!
Here we are last year as Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. Tune in to see what we come up with this year!
Another spooky event to do in CT is the Trail of Terror in Wallingford, CT. I haven't been in a few years but it's probably one of the better haunted events in CT.

B.F. Clydes Cider Mill
This is on my list for this fall as I have never been and really want to go! They have all the fall staples including pumpkins, donuts, fritters and apple cider, but they also have spiked ciders that I really want to try! I am hoping to get the chance to go within the next few weeks to round out my fall activities. (Image Via)
What are some of your favorite fall activities!? I would love to hear new things or what you and your family/friends do as fall traditions. I plan to have another Fall happenings post up soon to go into more detail on some of our recent adventures, but this is just a list of what I like to try and do each year around this time. As always, thanks for reading and Happy Fall!