4 Fall Foliage Getaways That Are an Easy Drive From the Main Line Area

Photo courtesy Canyon Ranch

With the dazzling autumn colors as your inspiration, it’s time to visit these seasonal escapes for a change of scenery outside the Main Line.

Lenox, Massachusetts

This fall getaway situated in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, Lenox and its surrounding area offers a host of outdoor and cultural activities.

Peak foliage: mid-October

Drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

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Stay here: Canyon Ranch is an all-inclusive mind-body wellness retreat that includes everything from thoughtfully crafted meals and snacks to more than 35 activities per day, including group hikes, bike rides, yoga, aquatics, fitness and painting. You’ll work with a diverse team of healthcare professionals who combine Western and Eastern healing techniques to create a customized program all at the posh Bellefontaine Mansion. Starting at $1,300/night. 165 Kemble St., (413) 637-4100, canyonranch.com

canyon ranch, fall getaways
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Canyon Ranch

Eat here: Dine indoors under crystal chandeliers or ask for a table outside at the Red Lion Inn, known for its award-winning wine menu and outstanding American-style food. Think prime rib and dry aged pork chop. Breakfast choices include eggs Benedict and corned beef hash with poached eggs (a New England favorite), both hearty meals on this fall getaway. 30 Main St., Stockbridge, (413) 298-5545, redlioninn.com

Do this: Take an exhilarating hike up Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state at 3,491 feet, and you’ll be rewarded with a 90-mile view encompassing five states. Or choose anything from an easy walk to a challenging hike at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, 1,000 acres of wilderness with a variety of terrain. 472 W. Mountain Road, Lenox, (413) 637-0320, massaudubon.org

The Norman Rockwell Museum displays the world’s largest collection of the beloved artist’s large-scale paintings and illustrations, along with works by other artists, in several galleries. Through Nov. 5, the museum features on exhibit exploring the life, art and adventure of Tony Sarg. 9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge, (413) 298-4100, nrm.org

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Most people are familiar with the Shakers through the handsome utilitarian furniture they built. Established in 1780s and active until the 1950s, Hancock Shaker Village offers a deeper view of how this humble community lived and worked in their quest to create a heaven on earth. 1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, (413) 443-0188, hancockshakervillage.org

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Surrounded by the Pocono Mountains on three sides in the Lehigh Gorge, this tiny town appears to be frozen in time—specifically, the Victorian Era. First impressions are breathtaking when the autumn colors are on full display at this fall getaway. The beautifully preserved downtown streets are lined with boutiques and restaurants.

Peak foliage: early November

Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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Stay here: The imaginative minds at Walt Disney World were so impressed with the authentically Gothic Harry Packer Mansion Inn—built in 1874 high on a hill overlooking the town—that they designed the park’s Haunted Mansion ride in its image. Stay in the mansion or choose the adjoining Carriage House, built in 1861 as a hunting lodge, with six guestrooms. Some accommodations have sitting rooms, electric fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Breakfast is included. The inn is also known for its elaborate Murder Mystery Weekends, which include Saturday night dinner. $220-$345. 19 Packer Hill, (570) 325-8566, murdermansion.com

Eat here: Stop in for weekday happy hour at Broadway Grille’s original Victorian bar and stay for a short-rib grilled cheese, an underground steak burger or something more substantial like the lemon garlic glazed salmon or chicken pot pie to warm yourself up on this fall getaway. 24 Broadway, (570) 732-4343, broadwaygrillepub.com

The upscale, eclectic menu at Moya is the love child of Ecuador-born internationally trained owner/chef Heriberto Yunda. Recent selections seared yellowfin tuna, fresh rigatoni Bolognese, and flat iron steak. 24 Race St., (570) 325-8530, jimthorpemoya.com

Do this: Rent a bike for a leisurely pedal along the scenic Lehigh Gorge section of the Switchback and D&L rail trails to the village of White Haven. Pocono Biking will shuttle you to the trailhead. 7 Hazard Square, (570) 325-8430, poconobiking.com. Pack a picnic or grab a bagged lunch at Renee’s Cold Cut Hut in White Haven. 103 Berwick St., White Haven, (570) 215-0057. Or buzz through town and the surrounding countryside in a vintage BMW sidecar with Jim Thorpe Sidecar Tourz. Options include wine tasting, countryside or mountainside scenic tours. Tours start at Marion Hose Bar, 16 W. Broadway, (570) 249-1570, jimthorpesidecartourz.com

Rafting on the Lehigh River is a big draw in September and October. First-timers and families with children (age four and up) will enjoy three hours of easygoing water time with Jim Thorpe River Adventures on this fall getaway. Longer and more challenging excursions are also available. Lehighton Outdoor Center, 123 Lehigh Drive, Lehighton, (610) 377-1230, jtraft.com

eagle, fall getaways
Hawk Mountain’s main attraction. Photo courtesy of Hawk Mountain

Every year since 1934, birders have flocked to Hawk Mountain for the Autumn Hawk Migration, the longest running raptor migration count in the world. Aside from hawks, you’ll spot eagles, falcons and vultures. 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, (610) 756-6961, hawkmountain.org

Hop on the diesel engine Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, with its vintage coaches (some built in 1917) for a relaxing round-trip ride between downtown Jim Thorpe and Lehigh Gorge State Park for a glimpse of the beautiful fall foliage. 1 Susquehanna St., (570) 325-8485, lgsry.com

Or take in a show at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, an intimate spot for music and comedy established over 142 years ago, making it one of the oldest venues in the country. 14 W. Broadway, (570) 325-0249, mcohjt.com

Luray, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park is the big attraction in this northwestern Virginia area nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The famous Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the mountain crest and is the only public road through the park.

Peak foliage: It varies, from the first week of October in the highest spots to the rest of the month for mid to lower elevations.

Drive time: 4 hours

skyland resort
Skyland Resort. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Park

Stay here: Disconnect on this fall getaway and leave your electronics behind (no phones in the rooms and cell access is spotty) for a stay at Skyland Resort, a collection of traditional and preferred rooms, suites and detached one- to four-bedroom cabins located in 28 buildings along the ridge and in the wooded areas at Shenandoah National Park. All suites have wood-burning fireplaces, though they are out of commission for 2023 due to a rehabilitation project. 7 Skyline Drive Mile 41.7 and 42.5, (877) 847-1919, goshenandoah.com

private room
134 Prince. Photo by Laura Metzler Photography

Eat here: Skyland is home to the Pollock Dining Room, known for comfort foods like venison stroganoff and pan-seared campfire rainbow trout. For dessert, don’t miss the signature blackberry ice cream pie. A grab-and-go outlet offers sandwiches, snacks and beverages. Sip a a little stronger at the Skyland Taproom. Wings, pimento dip, salads and sandwiches are available. Skyline Drive Mile 41.7 and 42.5, (877) 847-1919, goshenandoah.com

If you’re craving an early Thanksgiving feast, order the signature roast turkey dinner at Spottswood Dining Room at Big Meadows Lodge, another park accommodation. Or try a draft brew flight and one of half a dozen creative personal pizzas at Big Meadows’ New Market Taproom. Skyline Drive Mile 51, (877) 847-1919, goshenandoah.com

Do this: Start your Shenandoah National Park hike at the Dickey Ridge (Mile 4.6) or Harry S. Byrd (Mile 51) visitor centers to pick up maps and get information. The park has 500 miles of well-marked trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. To get to its highest point is an easy two-mile walk to Hawksbill Summit. (540) 999-3500, nps.gov

It takes about three hours to drive the length of the park on Skyline Drive. The 35-mph speed is due to the abundance of wildlife—mostly deer, bears and wild turkeys—that cross the road. More than 190 species of birds either reside or migrate through the park, especially at Big Meadows, a large grassy expanse located about a mile from the lodge. Other outstanding birding sites are Fox Hollow Trail (which starts at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center), Stony Man (at Mile 41.7) and South River Falls (at Mile 62.7). The latter has an 83-foot waterfall and observation point.

Even if you’re a beginner at rock climbing and rappelling, Teamlink has a guided adventure for you. (301) 667-3560, teamlinkinc.com
Or visit three wineries and distilleries on the Skyland Whisky Wine Shuttle. Skyland Resort, (540) 999-2212, goshenandoah.com

Annapolis, Maryland

Set sail for a nautical adventure on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland’s capital city. On downtown Annapolis’ brick and cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by four centuries worth of history, architecture and art.

Peak foliage: mid to late October

Drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Stay here: Opened as recently as 2021, 134 Prince is a five-suite luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of the city’s downtown. Colonial architecture combines with tastefully elegant décor and amenities for a truly upscale experience. Breakfast is included on this fall getaway. $499-$599 weekdays, $649-$749 weekends. 134 Prince George St., (866) 595-4389, 134prince.com

Eat here: Situated on Spa Creek overlooking the waterfront, Carroll’s Creek Cafe offers a quintessential Eastern Shore dining experience that includes jumbo lump crab cakes, signature baked oysters and an herb-encrusted rockfish fillet. Steaks and lamb are also a specialty here. 410 Severn Ave., (410) 263-8102, carrolscreek.com

At Flamant, Belgium-born chef Frederik de Pue offers a four-course menu that changes monthly to match the seasons and the availability of fresh, local ingredients. Recent menus include rabbit ragout, and sous vide Irish salmon. A clear roof on the covered patio lets you dine under the stars. 17 Annapolis St., (410) 267-0274, flamantmd.com

At Preserve, simplicity allows the carefully sourced ingredients to shine. Think strip steak or pan-roasted rockfish. 164 Main St., (443) 598-6920, preserve-eats.com

Do this: Nicknamed “America’s Sailing Capital,” Annapolis offers so many ways to get out on the water. Built in 1940 and one of only several remaining Chesapeake skipjacks (oyster-dredging boats), the Wilma Lee offers heritage or sunset cruises. Annapolis Maritime Museum, 723 Second St., (410) 295-0104, amaritime.org

boat in maryland
The Schooner Woodwind. Photo courtesy of Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County

On the Colonial Annapolis Walking Tour, you’ll stroll the brick-lined streets of the nation’s first peacetime capital with a period-garbed guide, passing stately mansions built by signers of the Declaration of Independence. You’ll also visit the Maryland State House, where George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War. Market House Park, 25 Market Space, (410) 268-7601, watermarkjourney.com

After extensive renovations in the past several years, the Preserve at Eisenhower Golf Course is a challenging 18 holes. Seventeen boardwalks protect its natural resources. 1576 Generals Hwy., Crownsville, (410) 222-3400, thepreserveateisenhower.com

Opened in August, Gallery 57 West is the exhibit space for the nonprofit Annapolis Arts Alliance. Members work in a wide range of media, including paints, photography, jewelry, sculpture, glass work, pottery, textiles, mixed media, maps and collages. 57 West St., (410) 263-1300, gallery57west.com

Take in an evening of live music featuring headliners and up-and-comers in the intimate atmosphere of Ram’s Head Tavern. 33 West St., (410) 268-4545, ramsheadtavern.com

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