Check out these great getaways for the fall, including a mouthwatering weekend at the NYC Food Film Festival and a "Dirty Dancing" themed stay at Mountain Lake Hotel.
If you can't afford the trip to Munich to toss back cold beers with hot frauleins, there are two great options in New England. Harpoon Brewery holds not one but two Octoberfests at its locations in Boston (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) and in Windsor, Vt. (Oct. 8 & 9). Come to the outdoor Bavarian-style beer garden and get your fill of live music, lederhosen, keg bowling, brewery tours and of course, delicious beer. For people with a competitive streak, there is both a chicken dancing contest and a German chocolate cake eating contest.
Founded by nineties alt-rocker Edwin McCain as a Hurricane Katrina relief fundraiser and now in its sixth year of existence, Euphoria has grown into one of the premier food and wine events in the South. Running from Sept. 22-25, the weekend is filled with wall-to-wall tastings and cooking demos with a sizeable music scene to boot. Your hedonism is even for a good cause--all the proceeds go to Local Boys Do Good, a Greenville charity.
It will be hard to go back to regular movie theater popcorn with "butter-flavored topping" after this mouthwatering event. The NYC Food Film Festival, held in association with the James Beard Foundation, serves up both movies about the world's most delicious cuisine and the featured foods themselves. The 2011 official selections include films about coconut macaroons, a Texas molasses producer and the perfect bahn mi sandwich
Stratford Hall, the historic home of Robert E. Lee, is the setting for this regional wine festival. On September 24 & 25, oenophiles can taste 13 wines from the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail, a consortium of regional vineyards, as well as participate in a grape stomp. Non-drinkers can enjoy the petting zoo, tours of the historical grounds, an assortment of vendors and nearby hiking trails. Everyone can chow down on local foods like crabcakes, oysters and BBQ.
If you've ever wanted to pretend you were a character in an Edith Wharton novel or a Merchant Ivory film, get thee to Newport. This Rhode Island seaside town, once the summer retreat of Gilded Age robber barons, is now a vacation spot for everyone. During the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, you can stroll on the lawn of the Marble House, once the "summer cottage" of the Vanderbilts, sipping wine and gazing out to sea. The combination of fabulous homes and top-level chefs--the event is headlined by PBS cooking legend Lidia Bastinach--is tough to beat.
Contact Raft Maine, a collective of the state's seven licensed whitewater rafting companies, for trips down the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead Rivers. The Dead River, the longest continuous stretch of white water in the East, has Class IV and V rapids, but you don't need any previous training or a particular fitness level to conquer any of Raft Maine's trips. They require only a love of adventure and the outdoors. The rafting season in Maine ends in mid-October, so don't miss your chance to float (or shoot) down a river as the New England foliage turns pretty colors overhead. Prices range from $80-140 per person.
Bill and Linda Lane, a husband-and-wife team, have been teaching outdoor photography together for 17 years. During their trips exploring central West Virginia (Oct. 5-8), southwestern North Carolina (Oct. 16-19) and Chincoteague, Va. (Nov. 9-12), you¿ll be able to witness natural beauty firsthand and learn how best to capture it for posterity. Snap pictures of the mist spraying off North Carolina waterfalls, or a catch a still moment of one of Chincoteague's famous wild ponies. Bring a camera with a manual mode (i.e., not a point-and-shoot), and ideally with a single reflex lens.
The White Mountains, a range that covers most of the state of New Hampshire, is great for leisurely activities like leaf-peeping and tax-free shopping. But it also has some really challenging hiking trails, if you want to lace up your boots, strap on your camel pack and see how much of those piney peaks you can handle. The nine-mile Franconia Ridge Loop is a classic choice, as is the 8.5-mile hike to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest point in the northeast.
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.
There are a plethora of shore and deep sea fishing options available at Wrightsville, Kure and Carolina beaches, the trio of towns that make up Cape Fear. In September and October, anglers can reel in king mackerel and false albacore, as well as mahi-mahi, bluefish, flounder, and many more. In November, the striped bass begin their migration down the Eastern seaboard towards their winter home and start turning up in Cape Fear waters. The Wild King Classic Fishing tournament is Sept. 23-25, and the Southeast King Mackerel Fall Challenge runs Oct. 1-2. If the fish aren't biting, the area offers kayaking, surfing, beach camping, a boardwalk and bird watching, too.
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
This music festival is named after Bob Moog, an early electric music pioneer and inventor of the Moog synthesizer. Moby, the Flaming Lips and TV on the Radio, as well as dozens of other acts, are slated to perform. The event will also include an "Illustrated Talk" from Brian Eno, a hybrid presentation from one of the genre's greats, and a display of Eno's celebrated "77 Million Paintings."
The Boston Museum of Fine Art has long been one of the nation's finest museums, and it has two recent additions worth visiting. The Art of the Americas wing opened in 2010 and features four floors of galleries, ranging from Pre-Columbian works to 20th century pieces. For something even newer, the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art opened on September 18th, and features modern artists in the context of the museum's encyclopedic collection.
If you go to the Hoboken Waterfront today, you won't find longshoremen grappling with issues of loyalty and union corruption, as in the 1954 Best Picture winner, starring Marlon Brando and directed by Elia Kazan in the wake of the latter's HUAC testimony. You will find the Hudson River Waterfront Promenade with stunning views of the New York skyline and generous bike paths along the water's edge. Pier Park A is a great spot for a picnic, or you can head into town to check out Hoboken's art scene (more than 40 studios in one square mile) or visit the birthplace of Frank Sinatra. Fun movie trivia fact: Hoboken native Sinatra was originally promised the leading role of Terry Malloy, but ultimately Kazan went with Brando, who was a much bigger star at the time.
If you're searching for some pre-Halloween ghostliness, visit this gothic, gorgeous and grim cemetery, which was featured prominently in Clint Eastwood's 1997 adaptation of John Berendt's book of the same name. There are some famous graves to visit--namely, that of composer Johnny Mercer--but it's enough just to soak in the sculpture and architecture of the tombs. The cemetery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is about a $10 cab ride or a short bike ride from downtown Savannah. Guided tours are available.
It is the montage to end all montages: Rocky Balboa does one-handed push-ups, punches a frozen side of beef and jogs his way through Philadelphia, finally mounting the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and raising his arms in triumph. It's definitely worth downloading the movie's iconic theme song and taking your own run up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, overlooking Benjamin Franklin Boulevard and the city skyline in the distance. Once you're there, keep on running into the museum and go see the "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" exhibit that runs through Oct. 30. The show focuses on the Dutch master's daring choice to depict a very human and Semitic-looking Jesus, which was revolutionary for its time and changed the course of Christian art.
Hollywood has had a long fascination with Beantown, and with Boston Movie Tours you can check out iconic locations from dozens of those movies and television shows. Walk down Boston's "Movie Mile" and weave through historic Beacon Hill and see Jack Nickolson's mob hangout from "The Departed." Or try the bus tour if you want to drink at the Southie bar where Will Hunting smacked down that Harvard snob. How you like them apples
You can have the time of your life (like you've never had before) at this resort, which was one of the shooting locations for the 1987 classic coming-of-age story. The hotel offers several "Dirty Dancing" themed weekends complete with dance lessons, including one on Nov. 18-20. If you have two left feet, you can still partake in mountain biking, hiking and hay rides in the beautiful Appalachian setting. Or you can just amuse yourself by screaming, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" at every available opportunity.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun