4 Incredible Fall Getaways in the Northeast

Aug 29, 2018

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The summer may be winding down, but that’s no reason to stop traveling. Fall brings a welcome respite from summer’s heat and humidity, a handful of long weekends (hello Labor Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving!) and glorious landscapes bursting with colorful foliage.

If you live in the Northeast, you’re especially well positioned to take advantage of all the joys fall brings, from meals made with farm-fresh produce to leisurely, scenic drives through forests transformed into kaleidoscopic backdrops. To help you sort through the region’s spate of charming towns, we zeroed in on four destinations within driving distance of New York City, Boston and other Northeastern hubs — all with compelling reasons to visit this fall.

Just remember to bring along a good credit card for earning points on gas purchases if you’re planning on a leaf-peeping drive. With the Citi Premier Card, for example, you’ll earn 3x points when you fill up, along with 3x points on many travel purchases, 2x points on dining and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

The Berkshires

The secret’s out about this mountainous region in western Massachusetts. Equidistant from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires make for a perfect fall getaway complete with excellent hiking, world-class culture and great places to spend the night. Recent developments have made the area even more appealing for a weekend trip.

Housed in a complex of 19th-century mill buildings in North Adams, MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) has long been a pilgrimage site for art lovers, and last year it nearly doubled in size, adding long-term exhibits by James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson and Louise Bourgeois. Don’t miss Sol LeWitt’s staggering wall drawings, a cornerstone of the museum since they were installed in 2008. The area is also home to the Norman Rockwell Museum  and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s mansion in Lenox.

Just opened, TOURISTS is the buzzy new place to stay in the Berkshires. The 48-room design-forward hotel is the brainchild of Wilco bassist John Stirrat; developer Ben Svenson; Eric Kerns of Bright Ideas Brewing; and Northside Media co-founder Scott Stedman. The talented quartet even lured James Beard Award-winning chef Cortney Burns east from San Francisco to open the forthcoming restaurant LOOM, which is slated to open in 2019.

Saratoga Springs

If you thought the only thing to do in Saratoga Springs was go to the racetrack, think again. This quaint city about four hours north of New York City is having a bit of a renaissance, with excellent new hotels and the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail, made of an ever-growing roster of family-run vineyards and wineries. Some of them, such as Victory View Vineyard, are open for tours and tastings. And if you visit in mid-to-late September or early October, you might even catch the harvesting action. From here, you can easily explore scenic Lake George and the high peaks of the Adirondacks.

The Brentwood Hotel, which opened in 2016 in a revamped motor lodge, was a frontrunner on the scene. Designed by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack, the 12-room boutique hotel features equestrian motifs inspired by its location just steps from the race course. Joining it is the historic Adelphi Hotel, which emerged from a top-to-bottom renovation last year that evokes the area’s golden age. (Even if you’re not a guest, be sure to elbow up to Morrissey’s, a clubby bar named for the yarn-spinning sportsman who brought horse racing to town.)

The newest property to join the scene is the Downtowner, by Massachusetts-based Lark Hotels, which delivers punchy pops of color to the vintage motel backdrop. Book your fall getaway by Sept. 30 for 15% off your 2018 stay, and charge it to your Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3x points on travel purchases.

The Hudson Valley

When it comes to an easy weekend escape from New York City, it would be hard to beat the Hudson Valley. The charming town of Hudson is just two hours away on Amtrak and about 2.5 hours by car.

You can easily post up at the laid-back Rivertown Lodge, the food-focused Wm Farmer & Sons or the Wick: a brand new Tribute Portfolio Hotel that just opened in a reborn 19th-century candle and soap making factory in town (from 25,000 points per night).

For a more pastoral setting, head to Amenia and check into Troutbeck, which has been gaining buzz since it opened late last year in a historic estate that once played host to Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt. The quaint inn is a family project run by Anthony and Charlie Champalimaud with a cozy design by Anthony’s mother: hotel designer extraordinaire, Alexandra Champalimaud.

Or sleep in a luxury tent at Collective Hudson Valley, a glamping site on the grounds of Liberty Farms, where you can go sailing on the Hudson, enjoy leisurely hikes and even go apple-picking. This is fall in New York state, after all.

Central Vermont

At about five hours from New York City and under three from Boston, central Vermont’s bucolic mountain landscapes and small-town charm makes it the perfect destination for an autumn getaway. The entire state has a population of around 624,000, so you’ll find that even the capital of Montpelier feels like the kind of place where everyone knows each other’s name.

Situated in the heart of Woodstock, the historic Woodstock Inn & Resort — established by Laurence and Mary Rockefeller — completed a $16 million renovation this spring, updating the Federalist-style building and its 142 rooms and suites. You can dine on farm-to-table fare at the newly opened Red Barns and indulge in a spa treatment at the 10,000 square-foot spa.

In nearby Barnard, discover the all-inclusive Relais & Châteaux property and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts member, Twin Farms — a collection of beautifully appointed, art-filled cabins spread across a 300-acre estate. Here, you can admire the changing leaves on the grounds, soak in the Japanese-style furo and go canoeing or fly fishing on the property’s pond. And if you book with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll get a $125 spa credit and guaranteed late checkout, among other perks.

New this season, executive chef Nathan Rich and executive pastry chef Chris Wilson will lead guests foraging for lavender, chamomile, thyme, rosemary and mint to create their own teas and treats. Ask nicely, and they might even take you to visit the local farms where they source their produce, dairy products and meat.

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