Fall in New York

The sudden gust of cold breeze brings with it an inevitable change of season. The weather of sweaters and beanies is here!
I remember yearning for some cool crisp air on a stuffy August day and wishing fall could come sooner. Here we’re now, pulling on turtlenecks and socks! Heaps of fallen leaves, cozy bonfires, hot concoctions on stoves to lend some warmth and of course, s’mores! Fall is my favorite season!

The aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin spice wafts through every coffee shop and bakery. Pumpkin Spice Latte and Maple Pecan pies start popping up on every menu. Even the breweries and wineries spice up their craft brews. Oktoberfest at breweries and Cider Mills are popular with the crowds.

Fall colors
Fall colors at New York state parks

Landscapes gradually change from green to brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Every year we make a pilgrimage upstate to see surreal fall colors spread out and across the vast mountains in New York. Its the best place to have a fall weekend getaway without having to drive too far. A scenic drive along the Hudson river alone is enough to make you crave for more of those vibrant autumn shades. Mother nature truly fascinates me with such exhibits of incredible hues as far as the eye can see.

We usually plan ahead and pick the weekend when fall foliage is at its peak. You can usually keep a tab on fall foliage tracker here. That way you get to see the best fall colors of the season. There’s a myriad of options to select from . Upstate NY is full of amazing preserves, wilderness mountains and valleys. We hit the road early to make most of the day time since it gets dark early during this time of the year.

Things to do in New York during Fall :

1. Walkway over the Hudson is a couple of hours from Long Island and a fun way to see fall colors.

View from Walkway Over Hudson
View from Walkway Over Hudson
Walkway over Hudson from down below

2. One year we targeted Harriman State Park and drove around Seven Lakes Drive. Serene lakes surrounded by golden-green bushes all over the place.

Lake at Seven Lakes Drive
One of the Seven Lakes

3. The following year we had a small barbecue party next to a lake at the Bear Mountains State Park.

A man fishing at a lake in Bear Mountains State Park
A man fishing at a lake in Bear Mountains State Park

4. Another year we hiked in the Adirondacks and booked a cozy little cottage near Lake George for a night. The Prospect Mountains near Lake George is your best bet to witness breathtaking views of the lake and fall colors around it. Upon driving further we stumbled upon the less touristy but epic Lake Placid. Reflections in the glassy lake are a phenomenal sight.

Sunset at Lake Placid
Nightfall at Lake Placid
Nightfall at Lake Placid

5. Just like that, we spent one fall weekend road tripping through the Hunter Mountains, Catskill Mountains and Big Indian Wilderness. Acres and acres of land covered in a blanket of golden-orange-crimson peaks.

Surreal fall hues from Hunter Mountains NY
Surreal fall hues from Hunter Mountains NY

6. Once we drove from NY to Niagara through Greater Niagara in 8 hours flat and not once did we blink our eyes. It was one of the most scenic fall drives I have ever experienced.

7. Kids, at this time of the year, plan their Halloween costumes, compare their pumpkin carvings to see who’s is the scariest and dive head first into all sorts of candies. Its not just them, the grown-ups too get a chance to relive their inner child, dress up like their favorite Marvel character and parade around town at the NYC Halloween Parade. Its not hard to see how much efforts go into makeup, costume designing and hair styling to be the scariest among a thousands other participants.

Halloween decorations
Pumpkin mummies = Halloween Fun

One year I participated in the parade and while boarding train from Penn Station I lost my mobile in the crowd. I didn’t even get a chance to take a back up of all my photos. So, bottom line of the sad story, I lost my only memories of my first Halloween Parade in the Big Apple.

8. A herd of artists pop up in Central Park to paint fall colors with skyscrapers as a backdrop and use their magic wands on a canvas to immortalize breathtaking scenes. Some of them put them up for sale on the spot. Personally, I could spend hours there reading a book, sipping hot coffee and observing the charming city and its eccentric yet free spirited people.

Central Park, NYC
Last sunshine of the season at Central Park. Thats my spot!

9. Long Island sees people swarming in, trying to pick their own apples from orchards and pumpkins from pumpkin patches. Farmers markets are loaded with the seasons fresh produce – apples, pumpkins, gourds, squashes. We hit Lewin farms every year at least twice – once to pick strawberries and then to pick apples and pumpkins. Its a fun weekend activity for the kids to spend the day at a farm. You could also explore plethora of hiking options all throughout Long Island.

Pumpkin picking in Long Island
Hiking through the secluded Cold Spring Harbor trail

10. The pumpkin carving exhibit at the Westbury Gardens is totally worth a visit.

Dinosaur made of pumpkin carvings
Incredible pumpkin carving exhibit at Westbury Gardens

After thanksgiving, the pumpkins disappear and they’re now replaced by huge Christmas trees and once again people flock to pick their own.

New York always has something to do, new places to explore, new things to experience, year round. That’s probably why its called “New” York! (Lame joke, I know!) Its also why I love New York, any time of the year.

Interested in bringing fall flavors to your kitchen? Check out some super easy Fall recipes in the Food Stories section – Mashed potatoes, Green beans, Autumn Hash, Squash soup

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