As a basic white girl, I love all things fall -- pumpkin-flavored everything, cider donuts, pinecone crafts, you name it. Since fall is basically two weeks here, I always try to make the most of it and cram as much in as possible before the polar vortex hits and I forget what the word "hot" means.
Here's what I'm looking forward to the next two weeks...
Apple Picking in Poughkeepsie
Let's get this out of the way - I love the idea of apple picking, but not the actual activity itself. You get there, its beautiful, but do you really want to haul 25lbs of apples around? No thanks. It's not like I'm gonna go home and bake something. Instead, I indulge in a variety of apple-flavored cakes other people have made, wander through corn mazes, and take pictures in pumpkin patches.
Admittedly, the orchard we visited in the pictures wasn't the most convenient to get to (cabs in Poughkeepsie are a joke), so I'd recommend visiting one of these instead:
Masker Orchard is in the Hudson Valley region and offers amazing views of the valley in its entire fall foliage splendor.
Take the NJ Transit bus #196 or #197 from Port Authority to the Willowbrook Station in Warwick. Masker Orchard is ½ mile walk from the station.
Ok, not technically an orchard, but it is a working farm with a pumpkin patch, corn maze and Hudson Valley apple cider + donuts, so it works.
Take the E or F Train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station, then transfer to Q46 Bus (eastbound on Union Tpk.) to Little Neck Parkway stop. Cross Union Tpk and walk North on Little Neck Pky 3 blocks to Museum entrance.
Football in Central Park
If you're anything like me, you saw the 1996 Thanksgiving episode of "Friends" and thought to yourself, "this is what living in New York as a 20-something is going to look like. And I can't wait!" Well, it took seven years of living in the city, but I finally got to live out my ideal autumn "Friends" experience. I have no idea where Rachel & Co. played their game, but ours took place in Central Park. The park's North Meadow is the only area where football is permitted in the entire park, so you have to hope that there aren't too many other people playing. After the game, I highly recommend watching actual football and grabbing wings at the International Wings Factory. They have like 100 sauces and five different flavored fries.
Storm King Art Center
I've talked about Storm King before, but I'm gonna talk about it again because its seriously amazing. I'm sad it took me so long to even realize that it existed, but now that I know, I'll be going back as much as possible. It's open year-round, but fall is obviously the best time to visit. The open-air museum contains the largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculpture in the US. Get there early to rent one of the 20 bikes. It'll make it much more enjoyable when you're trying to cover the vast grounds and still leave time to grab homemade chili before the bus leaves.
Take the $55 R/T Coach USA bus service from Port Authority to Storm King. This used to be a direct trip, but now they've included Woodbury Common Outlets on the ride. Note to Coach: I do not want to go shopping after walking for five hours.
Hiking in New Jersey
I know there's tons of great hiking in the Hudson Valley, but most of it is pretty inaccessible by car. Instead I recommend going to the Garden State and checking out the spectacular views of NYC. South Mountain Reservation has it all -- waterfalls, streams, vistas, and close proximity to a sad zoo and like 10 diners. You can't go wrong.
Take the NJ transit Morristown Line to Millburn and walk west along Lackwanna Place to Glen Avenue. Cross Glen Ave and enter the park at the Locust Grove parking area. $25 R/T
Sleep No More
So Sleep No More technically isn't a haunted house, but since the first time I experienced it was Halloween, I associate it with that. I've seen the show four times now, and the best time is by far around Halloween. I don't want to say too much about the immersive Macbeth show since the less you know the better, (even though I'm sure you've already heard all about it anyway). Just be prepared to wander, chase, be thouroughly entertained and a little creeped out.
Gallow Green, the show's restaurant (which is accessible without seeing the performance) is a dreamy, over grown rooftop bar with delicious food and drink. The enchanting space feels like a garden party lost in time.
What are you doing this fall? Are you also piling on all the infinity scarves and going on a cider donut crawl, then filling every corner of your house with Anthropologie's pumpkin souffle candles like I am?