Updated December 2018:
Obviously, autumn of 2018 has passed us by as have the events linked to in this guide. You can still check out what happened last fall to get an idea of what might be in store for fall 2019.
When most people think of New England the first thing that comes to mind is probably fall foliage. They imagine winding backroads lined with crimson and gold leaves. They see themselves picking apples while wearing flannels and fuzzy sweaters. Kids look forward to wagon rides and pumpkin carving. They can almost smell the cider before they even hit the road.
Well, Western Mass has all of that in spades but we also have sculpture trails, haunted houses, beer fests, riverboat rides, music festivals, skillet tossing, and craft fairs. So, park the car for awhile, make it a weekend instead of a day trip. Because there’s more to local color than foliage.
Change Your Perspective on The Changing Leaves
Sure the leaves look pretty while you’re driving down Route 2 or staring out the window of your B&B. But there are so many other ways to appreciate them. Hikes that only take a few hours or that last all day. Zip Line rides and the mountain coaster for the more adventurous. Or even just a leisurely float down the Connecticut River in a river boat. Don’t forget to look down as the ferns on the forest floor can be just as beautiful as the leaves above.
Check Out A Fall Festival
Summer may be the peak season for both agriculture and festivals but there’s plenty to celebrate in the fall as well.
The days may be shorter but they’re also less buggy. Throw on a sweater and sip some hot cider as you carve pumpkins at Great Falls Festival or toss skillets at Conway Festival of The Hills.
Pick Your Own Autumn Fruits
A staple activity in the fall is picking your own apples and pumpkins. No matter where you are in Western Mass you’re not far from an orchard or pumpkin patch.
There’s often more to the experience than just the orchard. Many of the farms offer events like a sculpture trail, cooking demos, hayrides, educational programs and unique products.
There are plenty of opportunities to get your scare on in Western Mass.
There are zombies in cornfields, haunted houses and plenty of opportunities to don your scariest costume.
For those not ready for the big scares there are plenty of other kid friendly Halloween themed events
Enjoy The Arts Outside
Don’t pack away those folding chairs and picnic blankets quite yet.
Summer may be music festival season but there are still opportunities to see outdoor music, film and theater in the fall.
Sure you may need an extra blanket but at least the mosquitos won’t torture you as much.
Nosh Al Fresco
The days are getting shorter but that just means the sun won’t melt your desert.
There are plenty of places to enjoy a side order of scenery with your fine dining.
Foodtrucks also abound through most of the fall. Whether they’re at a local brewery or in a park they offer a huge variety of foods at a low price.
And of course you can always BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) to a park or even an orchard full of sculptures.
Switch Over To Fall Beers
While Western Mass may be best known for New England Style IPAs and Saisons plenty of local breweries have fall seasonal options as well. Sure there are pumpkin beers but also excellent German style lagers, porters, maltier ales and experimental offerings.
Buy them straight from the brewery, get a taste at a beer fest, or pair with food at a beer dinner.