By mid-November, every pumpkin- and apple-picking day trip has been ticked off the weekend to-do list. So take the kids farther afield to see New England’s fall foliage and partake in cold-weather fun.
Here are three family-friendly options within driving distance.
Sag Harbor, NY
Just 100 miles and two hours from Manhattan, Baron’s Cove is an ideal place to stay in the summer, with its kid-friendly pool, tennis courts and proximity to both town and the beach. But the inn is just as fun in fall and winter. There’s also live music on weekends by a woodburning fireplace — with hot chocolate for the kids and cocktails for the grown-ups — all in a historic setting where writers and artists like John Steinbeck, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock used to hang out. Hotel chef and award-winning pitmaster Matty Boudreau cooks up American fare, including Thanksgiving dinners. The lobby lounge and eatery also feature a curated wine list by noted author and wine critic Jay McInerney. Baron’s Cove even has pet-friendly rooms.
The hotel is also a short drive from Wolffer Estate, famed for its rosé, which hosts candlelit tastings every Friday night. Take your kids to the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum. There’s also the Children’s Museum of the East End, which has interactive exhibits for all ages and miniature golf, too. The hotel concierge can also arrange special activities, including horseback riding on the beach.
An iconic gardening center nearby, Marders, also offers fun daytime options, like holiday wreath-making workshops ($65 for adults and $55 for kids; Marders.com). At East Hampton’s Buckskill Winter Club, families can glide around its ice-skating rink starting Dec. 1 (from $17). Half an hour from Baron’s Cove, the indoor Southampton Ice Rink is open now (from $15).
From $199 on weekdays and $249 on weekends (Baron’s Cove also offers a package deal that includes Buckskill entrance, dining credit, hot chocolate and free kids’ meals)
Gurney’s year-round resort in Montauk is a tried-and-true favorite for New Yorkers. So check out George Filopoulos and Lloyd Goldman’s latest project, Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. Its location on Goat Island — connected to the mainland by a bridge across a narrow slice of Narragansett Bay — is a three-hour drive from the city, or a 45-minute seaplane ride away via flight-sharing startup Blade (about $795 one-way). Appropriately, there are two goats on the property, named Cornelius and William after the scions of the Vanderbilt family, who built area mansions like the Marble House and the Breakers.
Park your little ones at the kids’ club — they’ll have a blast — and head to the Seawater Spa, which offer great fall deals, like spa treatments from massages to facials for $75 including tip. Like in Montauk, there’s an outpost of legendary Manhattan restaurant Scarpetta in Newport, too. And the Rhode Island version of the Regent Cocktail Club has a three-tiered outdoor deck with 11 fire pits. It’s a hot spot to watch the sunset over the Newport Bridge.
Children will also love Gurney’s water taxi and its house car — a Porsche Cayenne, natch — which ferry folks into town to check out the famed Beaux-Arts architecture. The Breakers offers a family-friendly audio tour, bringing the 70-room estate to life with tales from children who lived there. Then hike a section of the Cliff Walk, a paved, 3½-mile path that offers glimpses of the Gilded Age mansions’ backyards and sweeping Atlantic Ocean views. Some of it is stroller friendly, and ambulatory kids will love scrambling over the sometimes rocky shoreline, as well as the abundance of birds and wildflowers.
From $189 a night, down from $329 summer stays. There’s also a Thanksgiving special: stay for two nights and the third is free
It’s a beautiful time of year to be in southern Vermont, where the foliage-covered Green Mountains serve as a stunning backdrop. The hotel began as the Marsh Tavern, which offered lodgings in 1769, and became the root of today’s 2,300-acre Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, which was officially founded under the Equinox name in 1853. It’s a veritable living history lesson. Four presidents stayed here: William Howard Taft; Ulysses S. Grant; Benjamin Harrison; and Theodore Roosevelt (who gave a campaign speech on the front lawn). Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary, visited with her two sons in the summer of 1864 and planned to come back with her husband. A special suite was built in his honor, but he was assassinated the following year. Their son, Robert Todd Lincoln, built his summer estate nearby. These days, an actor dressed as Abraham Lincoln often wanders the majestically columned estate, educating kids and parents alike about the historic significance of the hotel.
Across the street, the 1811 House is also part of the hotel complex. It was founded and built by Lincoln’s granddaughter, Mary Todd “Mamie” Lincoln Isham, and her husband, Charles Isham. The rooms are charming and cozy but technologically behind; they’re ideal for couples seeking a romantic getaway, not families looking for things to do.
This is a great ski season home base. The closest mountains are Stratton, Bromley and Mount Snow. Killington, Okemo and Pico are not far from Equinox, which is itself 200 miles from New York City. Give yourself four to five hours for the drive, allotting for a few stops along the way.
It’s worth the trek. There are also unusual activities on offer, like the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Depending on their skill levels, its grown-up pupils learn to go off-road on challenging terrain. The 6.6-mile Mount Equinox trail, meanwhile, is family-friendly but tough, with lots of sheer uphill climbs. Bring water, and skip this one if it’s mucky and wet out. Kids may complain, but the awe-inspiring views at the top — 3,044 feet up, the tallest peak in the Taconic mountain range — will make the trek feel worthwhile.
There’s also horseback riding in Green Mountain trails surrounding the property available by appointment through the hotel concierge; glassblowing classes at Manchester Hot Glass and cheesemaking courses at Taylor Farm.
During the colder months, there’s also sledding, tubing, dog-sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing — available via the concierge and at other resorts. Strap on those ice skates at the Olympic-size Riley Rink. On the way back, visit Manchester’s collection of outlet shops — including Vineyard Vines, whose preppy attire seems to adorn every person in town no matter the season.