As the summer winds down, many city dwellers assume that means the fun has to stop. And while certain aspects of the summer won’t be back for another year, we’ll miss you, frosé and summer Fridays, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the fall, if you know where to look. However, while New York City may seem to have virtually everything a person could ask for in ample supply, there’s one place that outdoes the city when fall rolls around: the Hudson Valley. This section of New York State, which starts in Westchester and goes up to the Capital Region, is particularly picturesque in the fall, and has countless autumnal activities, perfect for any tired city-dweller who needs a break.
Not sure where to head? We’ve rounded up the Hudson Valley’s top fall activities for you to visit this fall.
The New York Renaissance Festival
Now celebrating its 41st season, the New York Renaissance Faire is a must-see event that takes place in the Hudson Valley each year. Spread across 65 acres in the town of Tuxedo, this unique festival, which packs live theater, sword fighting competitions, games, magic shows, jousting, vendors, and more, runs from the beginning of August through early October, and provides the perfect day trip for anyone who wants to feel like they’re a world (and maybe a few centuries) away from city life.
Fall Harvest Festival at Fishkill Farms
If you’re looking for something that will make you feel like you’re light years away from your life in the city, head to Fishkill Farms in Fishkill for their Fall Harvest Festival. This annual celebration, which takes place on weekends in September and October, combines all the wonderful things about farm life in one place: animals, live music, a corn maze, fresh and hard cider, hay rides, freshly-made cider donuts, apple picking, and, of course, plenty of that fresh country air.
Oktoberfest at the Bear Mountain Inn
Beer lovers, look no further than Bear Mountain State Park this fall. Held at the Historic Bear Mountain Inn, just steps from beautiful Bear Mountain State Park, this weekend celebration runs from September 22nd through October 2018, and is home to dozens of vendors (both beer and food), live music, and all the camaraderie you’d expect from a group of people in lederhosen getting tipsy during the day.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
If you love Halloween, you’ll be spellbound (and spooked) by The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. This annual celebration, which takes place in the town of Croton-on-Hudson from late September through November, takes visitors through the Van Cortlandt Manor site, which is illuminated by 7,000 stunning, hand-carved pumpkins in a series of incredible displays. You’ll not only see typical jack o’lanterns, you can also check out pumpkin dinosaurs, carousels, skeletons, and mythical creatures, all adorning the grounds of this gorgeous estate.
The Haunted Mansion at Bowdoin Park
Of course, it’s not all fun and games in the Hudson Valley this fall—things can get downright spooky, too. Case in point: the Haunted Mansion at Bowdoin Park. This Wappingers Falls park hosts one of the scariest fall attractions around, thanks to director Kevin McCurdy’s blood-curdling haunted house. Running from the end of September through Halloween night, this unique attraction is sure to leave you with chills long after you’ve returned to the safety of your home.
Whether you’re eager to spend the last of your vacation days outside the city or are just looking for a great day trip, the Hudson Valley is a great escape from the confines of city life. Fortunately, in just under two hours, you can feel like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, and enjoy some of the best fall fun you’ll find anywhere—all you have to do is hop on a train.