15 Great Scenic Fall Vacations
The fall season offers an unlimited selection of vacation options. From bright yellow aspens in Colorado to crimson reds in Vermont, fall foliage alone is a reason enough for a quick getaway. In addition, many destinations are cheaper and quite uncrowded during the fall months. Play golf in Arizona, relax on a beach in Florida, or take a dream vacation to Hawaii - the choice is yours.
Estimating the best time to go in various areas is no easy task and if you have set your mind to seeing the brightest of colors, you will have to monitor the weather before you go. In Vermont, the season generally runs from late September through the third week of October. Columbus weekend is usually a good bet, but your should book your room well in advance. Woodstock Inn, the Basin Harbor Club, Windham Hill Inn and the Pitcher Inn are all great choices. Combine a fall foliage trip with a visit to a farm, driving tour and wildlife watching.
In late September, visit Colorado Springs to view bright yellows and golds of the aspens. Fly to directly to Colorado Springs or Denver which is 1.5 hours away. Stay at the family-friendly Broadmoor Hotel. Maine fall foliage peaks during the early part of October. Acadia National Park will be awash with bright colors and much less crowded than during the summer.
The Manor on Golden Pond
If you are looking for unique getaways from Boston, the Manor on Golden Pond is a historic English Manor House retreat set on 15 acres overlooking Squam Lake in New Hampshire. Plan a romantic trip to this inn which has an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a private beach with canoes and paddle boats. At the end of the day, guests can indulge in a relaxing massage in the spa treatment room. There are 25 guest rooms, including two suites. All of the rooms are individually designed and have views of the water of the White Mountains. Some rooms have working fireplaces and private porches, perfect for relaxing surrounded by nature.
Dining is an integral part of a relaxing getaway. Start your day with a breakfast buffet, enjoy afternoon tea in the library or overlooking the lake, then sit down to a gourmet dinner, and finish off your evening with a drink at the Three Cock's Pub. The property is a 2-hour drive from Boston and one hour from Manchester Airport. Room rates start from $220 per night; from $265 in on weekends and during the fall foliage season. Minimum guest age is 12 years (800-545-2141, website).
Encantado in Santa Fe
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is a luxury getaway with a beautiful spa and Southwestern decor. Hotel guests are accommodated in 65 luxury casitas and suites set on 57 acres in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Each guest room and suite has its own kiva-style wood-burning fireplace and private terrace from which you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding nature. Beathrooms feature plush bathrobes, heated floors, custom-blended natural bath and body amenities, a deep soaking tub and a separate shower. The spa offers a diverse menu of treatments, including Traditional Eastern Medicine, Ayurvedic Rituals and regionally inspired treatments. The spa offers a labyrinth, state-of-the-art fitness facility, movement studio, separate steam rooms and soaking pools, and relaxation areas.
The signature restaurant serves fresh seasonal cuisine. Room rates at the hotel start at $475 per night. The resort is located 10 minutes from Santa Fe where you can go shopping, attend a concert, visit a museum and choose from a variety of restaurants.
Sugar Hill Inn
Dream Cottage at the Sugar Hill Inn in New Hampshire's White Mountains is the ultimate couples' hideaway, offering scenic views, elegant decor and a spacious layout. The free-standing cottage has a romantic stone fireplace, a cathedral ceiling, wood beams, and Pine floors with radiant heat. The bathroom has a private sauna, whirlpool tub for two and an over-sized shower with multiple shower heads. The bathoom has a window that opens to the living room so that you can see the fireplace from the tub.
Sugar Hill Inn is a year-round, adult-only getaway with an outdoor swimming pool, spa, gourmet restaurant and a choice of guest accommodations. The restaurant serves seasonal dishes which incorporate the freshest local produce and herbs grown in the hotel's own gardens. The dining room has scenic views of Cannon Mountain and Mt. Lafayette. You will find an array of activities nearby, including skiing, cycling, golf, horseback riding, antiquing, shopping, museums, waterfalls and farmer's markets. Dream Cottage rates start at $430 per night with a 2 night minimum stay required. Guests have to be 14 or older. Rooms start at $150 per night (800-548-4748, website).
Fearrington House in North Carolina
Plan a romantic getaway to the charming Fearrington Village near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and stay at the Fearrington House, a luxury inn with a first class restaurant. The inn has earned prestigious awards for its service and elegant accommodations, including the AAA Five Diamond Award and membership in the Relais & Chateaux organization. Nearby, you will find beautiful gardens, open seven days a week. Tour the Herb garden which grows fresh herbs used at the inn restaurant, view the wildflower garden, and stroll through the Perennial Border garden which is the site of many weddings.
The guest rooms are individually furnished with original art, antiques, canopied beds and beautiful fabrics. If you are planning a romanticweekend getaway, ask for one of the rooms with a fireplace and a Jacuzzi tub. The restaurant is famous for its sophisticated Southern cuisine and romantic atmosphere. Several times per year, the property offers cooking classes with hands-on instruction by award-winning chefs from the inn as well as other Relais & Chateaux restaurants (919-542-2121, website).
Woodlands Mansion in South Carolina
Woodlands Mansion in Summerville, South Carolina, about 20 miles from Charleston, offers several event venues in a relaxed Southern atmosphere. The mansion is popular for weddings and business gatherings. The whole mansion can be rented for a party, including 18 elegant guest rooms and suites which have recently been refurbished. Elegant events can be held in the historic mansion, in the Pavilion or outside on the lawn surrounded by trees and flowers. To stay active, bicycle through the picturesque streets of Summerville. Nearby vacation attractions include world-famous gardens at the Middleton Place, Historic Charleston, Aquarium, Beidler Forest, Cypress Gardens and beaches. Spring is a great time to enjoy blooming flowers or a round of golf at one of the nearby golf courses. Major airlines service Charleston International Airport where you can rent a car. Woodlands is located 20 miles from Charleston (843-875-2600, website).
Golf Getaways for FallFall is the best time to finally take that golf vacation you have been waiting for. During the fall months, look for golf deals in some of the most popular golf destinations, including Arizona, Hawaii and Florida. And remember to bring along a friend to split the cost of the room.
In Arizona, stay at Arizona Biltmore in September before room rates jump from $205 to $340 per night in the first week of October. Similarly, room rates at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort stay low through the end of September and increase in the first days of October.
Fall Vacation on the Coast of Maine
November is the perfect time to take a week-long vacation to the coast of Maine and stay in one of the oceanfront cottages at the Oakland House Seaside Resort. The air is crisp, ideal for walks through the woods and wildlife watching from the beach. There are ten rooms and 15 individual cottages scattered throughout the 50-acre property. If you want to be close to the restaurant, book a room in the main building. Two guest rooms feature their own fireplaces which create a romantic atmosphere.
If you are looking for a more secluded getaway, a stand-alone cottage right on the water is a great choice. Guests staying in the cottages have the option of preparing their own meals or ordering take-out from the dining room. Bangor International Airport in Maine is about one hour from the resort, and the Bar Harbor Airport is 50 minutes away. The resort is a 3.5-hour drive from Portland, Maine, and 5 hours from Boston, Massachusetts. In the off-season, doubles start at $185 per night, including full breakfast and dinner. Cottages start at $475 per week without meals. Find out more about the resort in Maine and browse more photos.
Since airfare is a considerable expense when traveling to Hawaii and you probably know as well as we do that redeeming frequent flier miles for a ticket to Hawaii is nearly impossible, take advantage of lower airline ticket prices through the beginning of November. Prices generally go up 30% in mid-November, so go before then and save on your vacation.
At Doral in Florida, room rates and tee times at Red, Gold and Silver Courses are 40% lower in September than in October. Check the weather to find a few sunny days enjoy a last minute golf trip for less.
Small Town Escapes
Small towns are particularly charming in the fall, especially during the week when you can have them all to yourself. Shop for antiques, visit a local farmer's market and relax in a coffee shop.
While you may be inclined not to go anywhere near Martha's Vineyard in the summer, fall is the perfect time to visit. There is little or no waiting for the ferries and good deals at local accommodations. Try the Colonial Inn in Edgartown which has doubles starting at $145 per night in the fall.
Taos, New Mexico, is home to a number of events and festivals in the fall, including Oktoberfest, Taos Mountain Film Festival and Taos Fall Arts Festival. La Posada de Taos offers doubles starting at $124 through October 31.
If shopping is on the top of your list, visit Manchester, Vermont, which is home to factory outlet malls and antique shops. During the day, play golf, go on a scenic drive and walk in the woods. At night, get a table at the historic Marsh Tavern at the Equinox which serves hearty soups as well as locally-grown vegetable and meat dishes.
The luxurious Spa at Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is an extensive facility measuring 25,000 square feet in size. Decorated in a style reminescent of the 19th century New Orleans, the spa offers a menu of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments. The spa has 22 treatment rooms, a full-service fitness center, saunas, steam rooms, resistance pool, movement studio, relaxation rooms and a beauty salon. And if you thought that it wasn't possible to loose weight on vacation while surrounded with New Orleans' tempting restaurants, order a healthy meal at the Spa Cafe. Guests can hire a certified personal trainer seven days a week at the fitness center.