Situated in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, Lenox and its surrounding area offer a host of outdoor and cultural activities.
Peak foliage: mid-October.
Drive time: 4 hours, 15 minutes.
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 dance classes, and creative arts. You’ll work with a diverse team of healthcare professionals who combine Western and Eastern healing techniques to create a customized program. At the posh Bellefontaine Mansion, you can even select your perfect pillow from a special menu. Starting at $1,580/night. 165 Kemble St., (413) 637-4100, canyonranch.com
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 maple-cured pork loin. Breakfast choices include eggs Benedict and corned beef hash with poached eggs (a New England favorite). 30 Main St., Stockbridge, (413) 298-5545, redlioninn.com
Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud brings his signature style to Café Boulud at Blantyre, offering French classics with innovative twists. A recent menu included shrimp risotto and rack of lamb. Coat and tie required. 16 Blantyre Road, Lenox, (413) 637-3556, blantyre.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. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, (413) 499-4262, mass.gov
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 10 galleries. Through Oct. 31, the museum features an outdoor sculpture exhibition on its 36-acre riverside campus. 9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge, (413) 298-4100, nrm.org
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 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
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 fall colors are on full display. The beautifully preserved downtown streets are lined with boutiques and restaurants.
Peak foliage: early November.
Drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Stay here: The imagineers 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. $195-$295. 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, a Chilean sea bass taco or something more substantial like Argentinian grilled bavette steak or wild shrimp linguini. 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 include crab agnolotti with saffron cream sauce, honey-glazed and tomatillo-sauced shrimp, and rack of lamb. 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, (800) 944-8392, 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, a waterfall, Lehigh Gorge and Hickory Run State Park. 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 4 and up) will enjoy three hours of easygoing water time with Jim Thorpe River Adventures. Longer and more challenging excursions are also available. Lehighton Outdoor Center, 123 Lehigh Drive, Lehighton, (800) 424-7238, jtraft.com
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. 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 138 years ago, making it one of the oldest venues in the country. 14 W. Broadway, (570) 325-0249, mcohjt.com
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.
Stay here: 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. 7 Skyline Drive Mile 41.7 and 42.5, (540) 999-2213, goshenandoah.com
Eat here: Skyland is home to the Pollock Dining Room, known for comfort foods like old-fashioned pot roast and pan-seared rainbow trout. For dessert, don’t miss the Mile High Blackberry Ice Cream Pie. A grab-and-go outlet offers sandwiches, snacks and beverages. Sip a Prohibition Punch, Speakeasy Sour or other specialty cocktail at the Skyland Taproom. Wings, spinach artichoke 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 almost 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 at 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) 695-1814, teamlinkinc.com
Or visit three wineries and distilleries on the Skyland Whisky Wine Shuttle. Skyland Resort, (877) 847-1919, goshenandoah.com
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: Just opened this past December, 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. $499-$6.99 weekdays, $649-$749 weekends. 134 Prince George St., (410) 834-4606, 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 are also a specialty here. 410 Severn Ave., (410) 263-8102, carrollscreek.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 lamb saddle with pistachio sauce, and squid with an eggplant and zucchini stuffing. 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 bone-in lamb shoulder chops or butter-baked scallops. 164 Main St., (410) 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 22 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
Or you can help hoist the sails on the sleek 74-foot Schooner Woodwind during a daytime or sunset cruise. Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, 80 Compromise St., (410) 263-7837. schoonerwoodwind.com
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
Travel from tasting to tasting in an electric cart on Annapolis Eventours’ two-hour Original Annapolis Seafood Crawl. Departs from the Annapolis Visitors Center, 26 West St., (443) 510-1348, annapoliseventtours.com
Just reopened after extensive renovations, 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
If you’d like to exercise your own creativity, take an evening workshop at ArtFarm Annapolis Studio. 111 Chinquapin Round Road, Suite 200, (443) 360-5278, artfarmannapolis.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