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on location: northeast â?–

angela verrier

fall festivities

in Massachusetts

Spooky events, harvest celebrations and plenty of New England charm highlight the Bay State during the prettiest weeks of the year


colorful fall cornucopia beckons group travelers to the cradle of American history. From the blazing palette of fall foliage to the dazzling jewel-tone shades of fruit ready for harvest, Massachusetts is the ideal canvas for planning an autumn tour.

Here is a look at some of the crowning festivals and events to consider when planning fall tours in Massachusetts: 28 October 2010

Tim Grat/MOTT

As the first cool breeze of fall blows through the trees, anticipation grows for the fall festivities and approaching holidays. Visitors pour in to experience the bounty of Massachusetts as colors change from emerald greens to vibrant shades of orange, yellow and red.


Cranberry Harvest FestiSEPTEMBER Brimfield Antique and val, Wareham. Cranberry bog Collectibles Show, Brimfield. tours, helicopter rides, cookThe largest outdoor antique ing demonstrations, crafters show in the world, this weekand musical performances are long exposition is thoughtall part of the fun. This colorfully organized in grassy fields ful event is sponsored by the along the roadside with tented Cape Cod Cranberry Growbooths, making strolling ers’ Association and the through the 6,000 antique A.D. Makepeace Company, dealers easy and fun. To refuel the world’s largest cranberry after a day of shopping, samgrower. Take a wagon ride ple tasty New England treats and explore a spectacular crimlike fresh lobster. Whether son cranberry bog. 2011 dates: you are looking for a specific Oct. 8-9. (508-322-4000, piece for a design project or a hardcore collector looking to Topsfield Fair, Topsfield. The Topsfield Fair, held every October, is America’s add to your collection, sorting It was here, in the famed longest continuously running agricultural fair. through the trove of old treasNew England Giant Pumpment park. Watch a fall cranberry harures is a delight. 2011 dates: Sept. 6-11. kin Weigh-off, where a 1,689-pound vest aboard the train and enjoy live (413-283-2418, pumpkin earned its place as heavymusic and other entertainment as the New England Dessert Showcase, weight champion in the Guinness Book park celebrates cranberries with arts, Boston. A premier culinary experience of World Records in 2007. Established crafts and food. Be sure to stay for all on the East Coast, this mid-September in 1818, America’s oldest continuously the rides and attractions, set against a event features the finest exhibitors running agricultural fair offers 10 days backdrop of fall foliage. 2011 dates: Oct. and samples of their chocolates, ice of action-packed fall mania during the 8-10. (508-866-8190, cream and more. Caterers, restaurants, first weeks of October. Witness the craft bakeries, chocolatiers, specialty cake of butter sculpting and watch as 300 designers, pastry chefs and ice cream pounds of butter is sculpted into a cow. makers all gather to share a sweet 2011 dates: Sept. 30-Oct.10. (978-887taste of Massachusetts. (617-381-4746, 5000, Apple Fest, Princeton. Mount Wachusett offers loads of winter fun in OCTOBER the colder months but doesn’t disapApple Days, Sturbridge. Marking point in the fall. Apple Fest is spread the apple harvest at Old Sturbridge over two weekends in mid-October, ofVillage living history museum, this fering both an Oktoberfest theme and a tasty weekend event celebrates all Celtic fest theme, simultaneously staythings apple. Sample fresh cider, made ing loyal to New England traditions. from an animal-powered mill, and the Sample all-American treats as competimany varieties of crisp heirloom apples. tors square off in the Great American Enjoy the smell of apples cooking as Apple Pie Contest and a BBQ cook-off. you stroll through the village orchard Enjoy a ski-lift trip up the mountain to with a horticulture expert and learn lay eyes on the brilliant fall foliage. about the art of preserving and storing (978-464-2300, fruit that was such a part of early New Davis Mega Maze, Sterling. InEngland life. 2011 dates: Oct. 1-2 & spired by a traditional English maze in 15-16. (800-733-1830, a countryside manor across the AtNational Cranberry Festival, lantic, the layout for this corn labyrinth Cranberry festivals in Eastern Carver. Celebrate this Columbus Day was drafted by a renowned architect. Massachusetts offer tours of cranberry bogs at harvest time. tradition at Edaville, an historic amuseSpread over eight acres, the

October 2010 29

on location: northeast ❖ NOVEMbEr America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Day Celebration & Food Festival, Plymouth. Historical reenactments, patriotic concerts, vintage cars and a food festival boasting the area’s best chowders, soups and desserts bring history to life during this colorful holiday celebration. Considered the birthplace of Thanksgiving, Plymouth honors its past as Pilgrims, Native Americans, soldiers, patriots, and pioneers emerge from the

The Topsfield Fair features the New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off. A 1,689-pounder made the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007.

maze boasts elevated bridges and over 100 variations in routes. For a modern twist, navigate through the towering corn maze using mobile GPS devices or connect to WiFi and communicate with friends while inside the maze. Attracting international visitors looking to test their skills, this mega maze offers a challenging adventure to all. The maze is open daily during the month of August and through early September, but remains open on weekends until midNovember, or as long as the crops last. (978-422-888, Bluegrass and Brews Sunday, Bolton. Family-owned Nashoba Valley Winery celebrates the fall season in style. This annual one-day event in late October highlights the region’s own hand-crafted, micro-brewed beers, allowing for a relaxing afternoon to sit back and enjoy some bluegrass music and wander by the pavilion and try a cider doughnut, a caramel apple or some savory barbecue. Winery tours and tastings of award-winning wines are available. 2011 date: Oct. 22. (978779-5521, 30 October 2010

Haunted Happenings, Salem. A month-long October festival in the bewitching historic seaport of Apple Fest at Mount Wachusett offers all-American Salem involves a series of food and fun on two October weekends. spooky events that includes haunted houses, storytelling tours and a pages of history books and onto the Grand Parade. As the colorful fall landstreets. The Grande Parade even offers a scape saturates the evening sky, the thrill chronological look at America’s rich herof Halloween slithers into the streets of itage throughout the past centuries and Salem. The Haunted Happenings Caran impressive display of creative floats. nival runs during the celebration’s last The festival kicks off with a free concert two weeks. (978-744-1692, hauntedand concludes with a waterfront turkey dinner on the weekend before ThanksFright Fest at Six Flags New Enggiving. 2011 dates: Nov. 18-20. (508land, Springfield. Are you brave 746-1818, LGT enough to enter the Midnight Mansion or the Wicked Woods? JawObtain Massachusetts visitor guides dropping rides make for a thrilling and itineraries – and contact groupday of fun, but when the sun goes friendly suppliers down the fright-factor goes soaring directly – at as Six Flags New England is transformed into a Halloween celebration ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more New England fall itinerary ideas, go on weekends in the online and see the article on what Vermont offers groups ghostly month of during the leaf-peeping season. Log on to http://leisuregroupOctober. ( 9300,


Fall foliage group travel ideas in Massachusetts

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