Half of autumn’s beauty stems from the harmonious hills and deciduous trees that illuminate rich harvest hues. The other half: the weather is still pleasant enough to turn your attention towards planning some well-deserved weekend excursions. Five entertaining road trip ideas make for the ideal getaway before the mercury drops for good.
Flying in the Finger Lakes
Up, up and away. At daybreak or dusk soar thousands of feet above vineyards, lakes and of course trees with beautiful foliage in a hot air balloon. The Chalet of Canandaigua will prepare a pre-flight picnic that includes bistro-style roast beef or turkey sandwiches, fruit cups, potato chips, brownies and chocolate chip cookies. All you need to bring is your excitement.
Rock Climbing in New Paltz
Some of the best rock climbing on the East Coast lies six miles away from New Paltz. The Shawangunk Ridge boasts three-pitch climbs with vertical cliffs and overhangs reaching all levels of difficulty. Incredible mountain views and the bucolic farm valleys far below give adventure-takers a new perspective. Fuel up at the Main Street Bistro in the heart of downtown New Paltz that dishes out a delicious new American menu. They’re lauded for their classic eggs Benedict made with two poached eggs, grilled ham and cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin topped with a savory hollandaise. Think of it as the ultimate five-hour energy. For a less exhilarating but still gorgeous Gunks experience, hike at Minnewaska State Park, where some trails lead to pristine lakes, or on the property of the landmark Mohonk Mountain House.
Exploring the Berkshires
Renowned for outdoor activities, fall foliage, a farm-to-table food scene and thriving arts institutions, the Berkshires in Massachusetts evoke a sense of place so simply. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown features European and American paintings, sculpture, photographs and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, as well as elaborate landscape portraits that illustrate the unique character of its beautiful rural setting. Watch the paintings come to life by steering your expedition towards Mount Greylock. It rises 3,491 feet, offering extensive mountain and river valley views encompassing five states. The 12,500-acre reservation is home to 70 miles of trials ideal for hiking and biking.
Unwinding in Maine
There’s still time to relish in the old seacoast life at York Village and York Harbor. Visit the enchanting New England lighthouse at Cape Neddick. It was constructed in 1879 to protect mariners navigating Maine’s rocky coast. At Ogunquit Beach dunes stretch for three and a half miles along the Atlantic Ocean, perfect for some peaceful downtime and reflection. The voyage isn’t complete without a trip to the cliff walk known as Marginal Way. It’s one of New England’s only paved public shoreline footpaths. The gem spans a little more than a mile along a spectacular coast, connecting Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach.
Stroll Bucks County
Take a walk on the wild side at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. There are more than two and a half miles of picturesque trails that offer some of the best hiking in Bucks County. Saunter through the 134 acres of native plants like asters and goldenrods to learn more about the wealth of birds, butterflies and other wildlife that thrive off the land. Find a memento at Rice’s Market. There are 30 acres of farmers’ stalls and flea market fare with 700 vendors that offer assorted antiques, jewels and baked goods.
For more fall getaway ideas, check out the September issue of Pulse out now.