There’s absolutely nothing on earth like fall in New England, and Massachusetts knocks it out of the park when it comes to incredible autumn scenery and events. Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to check out the changing leaves, cozy up to a cup of hot cider or celebrate the spookiness of the season, this list has you covered.
1. Pick your own cranberries in Plympton.
If you love those tart berries, why not don a pair of overalls and become a cranberry farmer for a day? At Mayflower Cranberries in Plympton, you can sign up for an afternoon of working the bogs with a rake and live out your cranberry dreams. (72 Brook Street, Plympton)
2. Enjoy art amongst the apple trees in Easthampton.
Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton features a beautiful half-mile path through apple trees that is dotted with stunning sculptures. The Art in the Orchard event runs from August 12 until late Thanksgiving, so get out there and enjoy the crisp fall air and beautiful artwork. Walking the trail is free, though a voluntary donation of $5 per person is welcome. (82 Park Hill Road, Easthampton)
3. Drive the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway.
Wind your way along the North Shore on this stunning scenic byway that is perfect for viewing the fall foliage. You'll be taken through 14 coastal towns and past some truly incredible colonial architecture and historic sites. Plus, rolling down your windows and smelling the fresh sea air is unbeatable.
4. Tackle the Davis Farmland Mega Maze in Sterling.
According to CNN, this is the best field maze in America. The Davis Farmland Mega Maze offers over three miles of twists and turns, as well asl fully-fledged attractions right in the giant maze. You can stop for food, play lawn games and even ride a zipline all without stepping foot outside the hedges. (142 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling)
5. Take a fall foliage bike tour in Boston.
You don't have to travel far from the city to get an eyeful of some gorgeous fall foliage. Sign up for a fall foliage bike tour of the famous Emerald Necklace park system with Urban AdvenTours and take in the beauty of the city in the fall. (103 Atlantic Avenue, Boston)
More info and directions here
6. Ride in the Great Dome Car on Amtrak's fall foliage train.
From now until September 24, passengers on Amtrak’s Downeaster route can sit in the Great Dome Car and take in the splendor of the season with nearly panoramic views of the foliage. With windows on the sides and ceiling of the car, you'll be treated to a view of the countryside that you won't be able to see anywhere else. Best of all, this experience is the same low price as a regular service ticket.
More info and directions here
7. Go on the ultimate haunted hayride in South Hadley.
Head to McCray’s Farm in South Hadley to hop on an extra spooky hayride and explore a haunted farm. When the leaves start to turn, the Monster Mash Scream Park takes over this gorgeous New England farm and transforms it into a spot famous for its creepy hayrides. There’s also a far less scary Mini Munchkin Mash ride that runs earlier in the day and is perfect for the kids. Grownups who don’t mind getting goosebumps can also check out the a genetic research facility on the farm where something has gone terribly wrong. (55 Alvord Street, South Hadley)
8. Visit the charming village of Historic Deerfield.
Historic Deerfield brings the past to life like nowhere else in the state. This living history museum is actually an entire town of full-scale houses that date back to the 1700s. You can stroll along the 350-year-old street, take a guided tour of the community, or wander at your own pace. You'll be able to try your hand at things like 18th-century gardening, open-hearth cooking and woodworking. Check into the Deerfield Inn if you want to keep the fun going for another day. There are also plenty of special events for the fall season.
More info and directions here
9. Get scared silly at Fright Fest in Agawam.
Each year around Halloween, Six Flags New England transforms into a spooky land filled with ghouls, zombies, creepy mazes and plenty of haunted attractions. Fright Fest is a special month-long event that is held after the sun sets on the park, and is perfect for visitors looking for an extra side of thrill with their theme park experience. You can explore terrifying spots like a forgotten laboratory, a sinister town in the Wicked Woods and the bloodcurdling Midnight Mansion, as well as check out special haunted rides and enjoy ghoulish entertainment. This year’s Fright Fest is happening September 23 to October 29.
(1623 Main Street, Agawam)
10. Pick the perfect pumpkin.
It’s not fall without a beautiful pumpkin on the doorstep. Head to spots like Carver Hill Orchard in Stowe, Parlee Farms in Tyngsborough, Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon and Fletcher Farm in Southampton to adopt your perfect pumpkin. Stick around the farm for cider and donuts after selecting your prize gourd.
11. Savor cider doughnuts in Amherst.
Atkins Farm in Amherst is known for dishing out some of the tastiest, fluffiest cider doughnuts around. If you’re not located out west, check out Cider Hill Farms in Amesbury for cider doughnuts that will make you melt. (1150 West Street, Amherst)
12. Take a leaf-peeping road trip.
The best road trips are all about enjoying the journey, and taking a leaf-peeping drive across the state (or just around your county) is the perfect way to savor the beauty of the season. Don’t forget to pack some snacks and your camera. If you’re out west, driving along the Mohawk Trail is a surefire way to see some spectacular foliage. If you’re in the east, driving to the tip of Cape Cod yields some unexpectedly lovely sights.
13. Visit the Salem Witch Museum.
The town of Salem is perhaps best known for the infamous witch trials of the 1600s, and this creepy museum is the best way to learn about past and present witchcraft in Salem. Visit during the of October to take advantage of all the other festive fall happenings around town. (19 1/2 Washington Square North, Salem)