12 unexpected New England towns to visit this fall

New England Travel

Plan a fall trip to one of these off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Mt. Orne Covered Bridge in Lancaster, New Hampshire. James Hatcher / flickr

Towns like Stowe, Vermont, and North Conway, New Hampshire, receive (well-deserved) accolades every fall season for their spectacular fall foliage and many fall activities. But there are many other cities throughout the region that are full of color and entertainment.

Ahead, local travel experts recommend some more unexpected New England towns that are great for exploring this fall.

Eastham leaves. Bill DeSousa


Cape Cod is a great destination for fall trips and Eastham has a lot to offer, according to Bill DeSousa, publicist for the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Eastham’s beaches are great for walking in the fall, he said, especially Coast Guard coastalways one of the America’s top 10 beachesand First Meeting Beach, the site of the first encounter between the pilgrims and Native Americans. There are also many trails that are perfect for fall exploration, he said, such as Cape Cod National Seashore’s Fort Hill Road, Red Maple Swamp Trail, Nauset Marsh Trailand Buttonbush Trail. Visitors can also check out the Eastham Turnip Festival in November.

Andover, “a quintessential New England town,” is worth exploring in the fall, according to Nancy Gardella, executive director of the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Head closer Smolak farms for apples, pumpkins, hay rides, and other seasonal treats. Enjoy the hike – and the leaves of the season – on Harold Parker State Forest or Ward Reservation, where visitors can find the Solstice Stones from Holt Hill. And don’t forget the “gem” that is Addison Gallery of American Artsaid Gardella, whose current exhibits include “Harry Benson: Four Stories” and “Rosamond Purcell: Nature Stands Aside.”

New Hampshire

Lancasterlocated in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods Region, offers easy access to the White Mountains region with fewer people, according to Kris Neilsen, communications manager with the New Hampshire division of travel and tourism department. A good place to view the foliage is Weeks State Park, Neilsen said, where visitors can drive the auto road to the summit of Mount Prospect and enjoy a 360-degree view of the Presidential Range, Kilkenny Range, and Percy Peaks. Other places worth visiting include Polish Princess Bakery, The Granite Grindand Copper Pig Brewery. Don’t forget to check out the historic covered bridges such as Mount Orne and Mechanical roadhe said.

For a “quintessential country vibe,” go to Sandwiches, Neilsen said, where people will find fewer crowds and “amazing photo ops with stone walls lining the road and amazing mountain backdrops.” Guests can check out locally made ice cream at Sandwich Creamery. Another must-see: the Durgin Covered Bridge. Walk through the village, full of white clapboard buildings, which are “everything you imagine a small country town to be,” according to Neilsen.


Bangor is an ideal destination for leaf spotting, according to Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. Great places for leaf viewing include Bangor Waterfront Trail for beautiful views of the colorful foliage against the Penobscot River, and the 680-acre Bangor City Forest for hiking and wildlife viewing on nine miles of trails. Other activities include restaurants, breweries, and the Zillman Art Museum.

Another great destination in Maine is Rangeley, according to Lyons, where fall adventures await at Saddleback. Attend a Oktoberfest or explore the paths of SaddleBack Mountain Bike Park, where the base lodge’s bike shop offers rentals, service, and accessories. Last fall, Saddleback opened its first network of single-track mountain bike trails in the lower mountains of the South Branch area. For a scenic drive, follow 35 miles Areas called Rangeley Lakes on the Scenic Byway.

Equinox Pond in Manchester, Vermont. – Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing


Manchester givelocated between the Taconic and Green Mountain ranges, is one of the best small towns for a fallaccording to Travel + Entertainment. Visitors can enjoy Vermont’s iconic fall foliage while walking or drive to see the covered bridges, fields, and “beautiful scenery,” according to the publication. Choose from many restaurants, shops, and fall fairs and festivals.

In the northern part of the state of Greensboro, “You can feel this far-from-it-all atmosphere,” according to PlanetWare travel guides. the Highland Center for the Arts, with a 250-seat state-of-the-art theater, has year-round programming. Hike the trails of Barr Hill Nature Preserveone of the highest points in Greensboro, and towards Jasper Hill Mountain for fall activities and a sampling of award-winning cheeses, according to PlanetWare.

Rhode Island

on Lincolnvisitors can check out the Hearthside Housea shooting location for “Hocus Pocus 2,” according to Robin Erickson, director of local tourism and marketing operations for RI They can also enjoy the “stunning” Park Lincoln Woods State Park in the United States and Park Blackstone River State Park, which offers riverfront bike paths and historic walking tours. The colorful, canopied street of Blackstone River Bikeway is a good place to get autumn colors, he said.

Visitors can spend time at Buck Hill Management Area on Burrillville and soak up fall colors among 2,049 acres of forests, wildlife, marshes, and wetlands, according to Erickson. The town, which has been called “comfortably tucked away in Northwest Rhode Island,” has biking, hiking, fieldsand nine villages for visitors to explore.

Wethersfield, Connecticut. – Town of Wethersfield


Fall is a great time to enter Wethersfield, according to Noelle Stevenson, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. Visitors can explore the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museumwhere George Washington met with Comte de Rochambeau for “The Wethersfield Conference,” shopped and dined at Old Wethersfield Country Store, Lucky for Lou, Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre, Main Street Creameryand river, with its “stunning” views of the Connecticut River and Putnam Bridge. And, finally, visitors can stroll down Main Street during October during Annual Spices Mainly.

on Cornwallvisitors can check Cornwall Covered Bridge, one of three surviving covered bridges in the state, according to Stevenson. Visitors can also hike a part of the famous Appalachian Trailgo canoeing, river rafting, or kayaking in Clarke outsidecheck the Mohawk State Forestride an electric bike with Covered Bridge Electric Bikebuy local products at The Localand eat at RSVP or Frank Food Co.he said.

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