We’ve found five easy big-city escapes, whether your perfect fall weekend involves hiking among changing foliage colors or joining in the wine harvest.
Easy Getaway from NYC and Boston: Litchfield County, CT Stay:The Falls Village Inn You can really get off the grid here: cell phone reception is almost non-existent. Recently redesigned, the four guestrooms and suites have botanical prints, crisp linen upholstery, and bathrooms with black-and-white tiles. The dining room showcases the work of local artists and the casual table coverings are brown butcher paper. Food is sourced locally, including hamburgers made from the grass-fed beef of nearby Whippoorwill Farm. Walk it off on the Appalachian Trail, which is right outside the door. Doubles from $199/night.
Follow these three travel tips to get the most value out of your getaway this fall.
1. Tip: Head to a Popular Summer Beach Escape
Beach getaways that people love in the summer are an insider’s secret in the fall – the weather is still great, crowds are few, and the prices drop dramatically. The quintessential New England island destination of Nantucket is a great example.
White Elephant, Nantucket, MA:You’ll find this classic resort—with expansive lawns and 64 airy rooms—occupying a prime spot on Nantucket Harbor In October, you can stay here for a low as $195/night, about half what you’d pay in the summer high season.
Silver-screen actors are answering the curtain call. Here, a look at who you’ll see in New York and London this season.
The Star: Frank Langella The Show: Roundabout Theater Company’s Man and Boy, Terence Rattigan’s drama about a ruthless tycoon facing ruin by scandal. The Details:American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., New York; 212/719-1300; through Nov. 27.
The Stars: Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett The Show:The Mountaintop, centered on the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. The Details:Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., New York; 212/239-6200; throughJan. 15.
The Star: Tracey Ullman The Show:My City—the premiere of acclaimed writer/director Stephen Poliakoff’s first play in more than a decade—follows a former teacher and two students from her past. The Details:Almeida Theatre, Almeida St., London; 44-20/7359-4404; through Nov. 5.
The Star: Harry Connick Jr. The Show:On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, a twisted and funny redo of the 1965 musical about reincarnation. The Details:St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., New York; 212/239-6200; opens Dec. 11.
The Stars: Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones The Show:Driving Miss Daisy, the classic tale of friendship between a stubborn old lady and her driver. The Details:Wyndham’s Theatre, 32 Charing Cross Rd., London; 44-844/482-5120; through Dec. 17.
The grapes of Napa often grab the headlines coming out of California wine country but the discerning vino cognoscenti knows that the Golden State harbors some of the best wineries in the world along its central coast. In the thick of it is Paso Robles, a vast countryside of rolling vineyards where vintners sport rustic spurs on their cowboy boots and the pace of life is calm. The annual Harvest Wine Weekend kicks off today, Friday, and promises to be the most robust yet. Over 150 wineries will host grape stomps, tours, tastings, dinners, and pairings (wine and bacon anyone?). One oenophile who will be traipsing around Harvest is Paso Wine Man (above)—the unabashed, vivacious Paso wine country cheerleader whose verve for the region’s splendors knows no bounds.
T+L caught up with the wine man before the big weekend to uncover his wines of choice; find out what makes “Tuscany with cowboys” so special; and why Paso Robles's brand of reds can’t be made anywhere else.
The Catskills Mountains are a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and a great place to soak in the best of fall, with picturesque hiking and horseback riding trails, quirky antique shops to explore, and gourmet restaurants and markets. But if bucolic tranquility isn’t enough to get you pumped for fall, I’ve got a suggestion for all you thrill-seekers out there.
Hunter Mountain is a popular spot in the winter with skiers and snowboarders in the northeast, but it's also home to the largest Zipline course in North America, with 4.6 miles of runs at higher than 600 feet in the air. I sought out the ultimate thrill not too long ago, with New York Zipline Adventure Tours’s Skyrider course, which includes five dual runs (so you can challenge the person opposite you to a race), a 500-foot jungle bridge, and a self-powered Zipline, where "take off" means taking a running jump into thin air on a downhill slope.
Pack your scarves and a great digital camera: this fall, head west, to two of North America’s best wine regions. Outdoorsy types will want to unpack at Sonoma’s six-suite Chauvet, for easy access to the walking trails in Jack London State Park, while spa-goers will love the lavender-accented treatments at the rustic Farmhouse Inn, just 25 miles east in Glen Ellen. Or try something entirely unexpected with a stay at Sparkling Hill, a Swarovski-crystal-filled property in the northern corner of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. What do the hotels have in common, you ask? Unexpected amenities and bottles of standout Pinot Noir—best enjoyed in the fall, against a bright landscape swathed in fire red and tangerine.
Small-batch breweries are mixing in inventive autumnal ingredients. Here, a taste of the season’s best.
Autumn Maple Where to Try It:The Bruery, Placentia, Calif. Tasting Notes: This Orange County brewery, in a former warehouse, has made headlines for its creative brews—including this sweet and spicy one made with 17 pounds of yams (yes, yams)—plus cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, and maple syrup. 715 Dunn Way; 714/996-6258.
Fuego del Otoño Where to Try It:Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Café & Brewery, Ann Arbor, Mich. Tasting Notes: Head to the brewery’s laid-back restaurant for a sample of its annual fall release, a blend of anise, cinnamon, and Michigan-grown chestnuts that’s aged in oak barrels. The deep flavor also features the brand’s calling card—a smooth sourness, thanks to a special yeast. 311 S. Main St.; 734/913-2730.
Punkin Ale Where to Try It:Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, Del. Tasting Notes: Pumpkin beer should complement pie, not taste like it. Luckily, founder Sam Calagione has mastered restraint: the taste of the fresh fall squash and hints of cinnamon and allspice are noticeable yet subtle—and are best enjoyed at the cozy brewpub. 320 Rehoboth Ave.; 302/226-2739.
Golden Delicious Where to Try It:Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Pleasantville, N.Y. Tasting Notes: This gold-toned beer isn’t technically made with fruit—but a stint maturing in apple-brandy barrels at a cozy brewery lends it cider-like sweetness and a tart bite. 99 Castleton St.; 914/741-2337.
Babayaga Where to Try It: At events throughout the Northeast. Tasting Notes: Some of the barley malt in this stout—from the roaming brewery Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project—is smoked over rosemary. Who says the herb is just for hearty fall fare? 617/682-6419.