Northeast Florida is a golfer's paradise, with 27 courses that are especially gorgeous in the fall when temperatures drop to cooler levels. For inspiration, duck into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, and then hit the links at the King and the Bear (the only course in the world co-designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus). Hammock Beach resort and the Ponte Vedra Inn offer a pair of breathtaking courses overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
This rustic yet elegant resort in New Paltz, N.Y. was founded in 1869 as a summer retreat, but now it operates all year round with some terrific packages for fall. If you can slip away midweek, Mohonk offers Sunday through Thursday rates beginning at $206. Visit area farms and pick your own apples and pumpkins, or stay on the hotel grounds and partake in hiking, golfing, rock-climbing, carriage rides and an on-site spa. Mohonk also offers deep fall discounts on its cottages, which start at $284 and sleep four people. The cottages are two miles from the main hotel, so guests have a choice of joining Mohonk's plethora of activities, or staying in and enjoying the gorgeous seclusion of upstate New York.
This Garrett County classic has loads of fall activities, like offroad Segway tours (from $39) and the Flying Squirrel Canopy Tour ($39). One of your best seasonal values is the Haunted House, which runs Fridays and Sundays, Sept. 30-Oct. 30, beginning at dusk. For $15, you get a tour of the "quite scary" haunted house at the top of the mountain. (There's a "scare lite" hour for younger visitors, with several of the creepiest-crawliest elements taken away.) The house itself is only part of the fun, though--you travel to and from the location via Wisp's Mountain Coaster. The Mountain Coaster, the only one of its kind on the East Coast, is combination of an alpine slide and a regular roller coaster, in which the driver of each car controls his pace with handbreaks. Gliding down the lit coaster trail at night, you might see a few ghosts among the trees at no extra charge.
Although your morning commute would tell you differently, driving can be relaxing and fun, especially when you're cruising down the 105 miles of Skyline Drive, taking in majestic views of the Shenandoah Valley. The maximum driving speed is 35 mph, and there are 75 overlooks where you can stop to smell the wildflowers that grow untamed along the route. All this for just a $10-per-car Shenandoah National Park entry fee. If you¿re really pinching pennies, the park is totally free on September 24 (Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11-13, in observance of Veterans Day
"Ithaca is Gorges," according to the classic punny bumper sticker. Ithaca is also lakes, forests and an impressive foodie scene. Start your day by working up an appetite hiking Buttermilk Falls ($7 vehicle entry fee), or getting lost in the Ithaca Sound Maze, a corn maze with oversized instruments such as a giant dulcimer or a wall of drums tucked into its corners ($5). Next check out Ithaca's farmer's market, or visit a local farm or winery for a locavore dinner. For a cheap culture fix, make like a college student and see what festivals, lectures and concerts are scheduled at Cornell University and Ithaca College
Produced by the Berklee College of Music, this celebration of jazz, Latin, R&B, soul, funk and rap runs from Sept. 23-25 and is totally free. With 3 stages and 70 vendors stretching across six blocks in Boston's South End, you can listen to established acts like the New Gary Burton Quartet or rising stars like rapper Shea Rose, herself a 2011 Berklee grad. This year's festival has a focus on global music, so it's kind of like going on a `round-the-world trip for the price of an AirTran flight to Boston
The Great White Way can be greatly expensive, but from now through Sept. 30, you can get 2-for-1 pricing at select shows, including The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Chicago, the last of which features the Broadway debut of erstwhile American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. If you like your theater (slightly) less mainstream, Off-Broadway Week runs from Sept. 26 to October 9. Check out The Bald Soprano for Ionesco absurdism, The Awesome 80s Prom for a pop-inflected send up of the "Me Decade" and Naked Boys Singing! for naked boys singing.
Once skyscrapers, then wreckage, now a garden. Two enormous waterfalls surrounded by the names of 9/11 victims now exist in the footprints of what were the Twin Towers. The National September 11 Memorial opened on the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks, and offers a peaceful space for remembrance amidst the bustling, resilient city. Access is free, but timed tickets must be purchased
Knitters in the know flock (pun intended!) to this wild and wooly festival in the Hudson Valley. This is not your grandmother's craft fair. The Oct. 15-16 event features lectures, a fashion show, livestock competition, a petting zoo and gourmet food demonstrations. Learn how to "paint with wool" or how to shear a llama, and don't miss the Punkin' Chuckin' competition, in which the hapless fruits are launched into the air by enormous mechanical slingshots