All Ages

Weekend Trips From New England

See recent posts by Hilarey Wojtowicz


New England is a vast region, with small costal towns, large cities and mountainous areas to explore. If you live in the area, start planning your weekend getaways, as there are many to be had with the kids this year. School may be in session, but Saturdays and Sundays offer plenty of time to travel to the various corners of the region. Spend a night or two in Maine, then a three-day weekend in Rhode Island, with another getaway planned for anywhere in between. Here are five destinations throughout New England for your family to explore over a weekend this fall.

Written by Hilarey Wojtowicz

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island is not a large state, which means your family can see a lot in just two days. Newport and Providence are two great cities and they are just 40 minutes away from one another. Watch the Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game on a Saturday afternoon and then spend Sunday at the various kid-friendly museums. If the fall weather is still warm enough, sail the harbor and stop at a historic lighthouse. Whatever it is, visit the Ocean State with the kids this year for a weekend getaway they won"t forget.

Must-See Areas and Activities
Newport, R.I.
Located on the coast of the state, Newport is known for its mansions and yacht races. Families can book a sight-sailing trip with a guide who can inform them of the history of the city, while also teaching them how to steer the boat! Or, stay on land and visit Fort Adams State Park, which offers zip lining, walking trails, picnic areas and themed tours. Guided tours of the Fort are offered through October. Newport is also home to the Tennis Hall of Fame for those families with athletes, and offers clean beaches for kite flying and surfing.

Providence, R.I.
The city of Providence is made up of history, art, food and family fun. Take a historic walking tour and learn about its role in the American Industrial Revolution and then stop at one of the many art museums -- this is the creative capital you know. Wake up and spend a morning at the Children"s Museum, an afternoon at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, an evening at a Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game and a night at the WaterFire bonfire event -- all can be done in Providence. The Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the nation"s oldest, but it is always adding new areas for families to see, such as the Alex and Ani Farmyard. The farm area teaches kids about day-to-day life on a farm, with hands-on activities like the Egg Collection Station and the Milking Station. Visit the zoo in October and November for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular -- an annual event that displays more than 5,000 pumpkins, all carved by local artists.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Newport Dinner Train
The Newport Dinner Train in Newport, R.I. may not have an extensive menu, but the options are hand-selected dishes that are sure to please. Plus, the food is just part of the fun -- while dining, take in the views of Narragansett Bay for 2.5 hours before returning to Newport. Lunch, dinner and dessert are available.

Angelo"s Civita Farnese Restaurant
Angelo"s Civita Farnese Restaurant is a family-owned eatery that has been a staple in Providence since 1924. Menus consist of classic Italian dishes that are affordable and kids can choose from pasta, pizza and other favorites.

Hotel Picks
In Newport: Vanderbilt Grace Hotel
In Providence: Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown

Upcoming Family-Friendly Events
September/October/November: WaterFire Providence
Oct. 18-19, 2014: Newport"s Bowen"s Wharf Seafood Festival
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Vermont

Vermont may be known for its skiing, but a weekend in the Green Mountain state during the fall will include beautiful foliage, American history and ice cream (yes, ice cream). If the weather allows, take a hike and canoe on a lake, but know that museums and historic sites are abundant and great for cold afternoons, too.

Must-See Areas and Activities
Stowe, VT
Head to Stowe, VT for fishing and boating on the Lamoille River. Canoe and kayak rentals are available and tours are also offered. Even a simple drive through the winding mountain roads will be entertaining with views of the mountains and fall foliage in every direction. The Ben and Jerry"s Factory is another must on your trip to the mountain town. Take a behind the scenes tour of the factory and then pick up a pint of your favorite flavor to enjoy in your hotel suite before bed.

Manchester, VT
Home to Abraham Lincoln"s son"s longtime home, Manchester has history for families to explore, along with tours of the countryside that is just one of the state"s best-kept secrets. Backroad Discovery Tours are perfect for families visiting just for the weekend. Tours run daily through late fall and take visitors to alpaca plantations, old-fashioned general stores, working farms, historic properties and more. Hildene was the home to Abraham Lincoln"s son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Mary Lincoln, for years. The estate has more than 400 acres to explore and tours take families through the home, the Observatory, Hildene Farm and the gardens. The historic site also offers other fun activities for families, like tractor-drawn wagon rides.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Gracie"s
Gracie"s is a great family-friendly restaurant. It"s casual and cozy and offers traditional American fare and New England favorites like clam chowder. The children"s menu is long and includes everything from PB&J to fish and chips to a New York strip steak.

Ye Olde Tavern
Ye Olde Tavern is a family-friendly restaurant that will take you back to colonial New England. The 1790"s-style décor adds to the atmosphere, but menu items are contemporary and range from seafood to pasta, with vegetarian options available, too.

Hotel Picks
In Stowe: Topnotch Resort & Spa
In Manchester: Casablanca Motel

Upcoming Family-Friendly Events:
Oct. 10, 2014: Stowe Foliage Arts Festival
Oct. 18, 2014: Manchester"s Pumpkin Festival
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Massachusetts

Massachusetts is known for Boston, Martha"s Vineyard and Nantucket. But there are so many other great areas in the state, including the Berkshires, with its museums, living history parks and farms, and Salem, with its famous witch history, memorials and characters in period clothing. With the Berkshires bordering New York on the west and Salem along the east coast of the state, families can choose which destination works best for them. Plan one weekend away in Salem and the next in the Berkshires for very different, yet fun and entertaining trips.

Must-See Areas and Activities
Berkshires
Enjoy fall foliage in the green hills of the Berkshires, with outdoor adventures and tours, and check out the Berkshire Museum for interesting exhibits like a 2,300-year-old mummy and dinosaur fossils, plus hands-on activities for kids. Dine at local favorites, like the Barrington Brewery (perfect for parents) and then retreat to a luxurious, yet cozy resort. Celebrate the harvest season in the Berkshires this year with your family. The Ioka Valley Farm is a working dairy farm where kids can pet animals, pick their own fruit, take a hayride and enjoy rides and slides. Uncle Don"s Barnyard features goats, cows, rabbits and donkeys, all of which kids can pet, plus kiddie rides and a 40-foot slide.

Salem, Mass.
Step back in time to the late 1600"s when trials were held to determine if someone was a “witch” or not. That"s Salem for you -- a seaside town with history and haunts all around. Check out the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, take part in a trial with characters in costumes and stop by the House of Seven Gables. The Salem Witch Museum teaches visitors of what life was like in the 1690"s when innocent people were accused of practicing magic. Stroll through the museum and learn of the interesting history behind the town. The museum is open year-round, with affordable admission for all. A gift shop also sells fun and educational souvenirs.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
The Barrington Brewery
The Barrington Brewery in the Berkshires has craft beer for adults and a kids" menu for children – isn"t that the best of both worlds? Menu options include American favorites and the kids" dishes come with ice cream for dessert.

Red"s Sandwich Shop
Red"s Sandwich Shop is a local favorite of Salem, with large portions and budget-friendly prices. Although there is no kids" menu, options are endless and include dishes for every palate. Open for breakfast and lunch only.

Hotel Picks
In the Berkshires: Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club
In Salem: Hawthorne Hotel

Upcoming Family-Friendly Events:
Oct. 11-12, 2014: Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival
Oct. 1-31, 2014: Salem Haunted Happenings
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Maine

Whether you"re visiting for the beaches, the mountains, the moose or the lobster, Maine has it all in a family-friendly setting. Pack up the kids and head to the Pine Tree state for a visit to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. Although beaches are not ideal for the fall with the water temperature dropping quickly, the park has trails for hiking and Bar Harbor is a resort town with family activities like mini-golf and a drive-in theatre. Let your kids become a Junior Ranger and a sailor all in one weekend this fall.

Must-See Areas and Activities
Acadia National Park
Get the best of two very different areas right next to each other when you visit Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine. The national park has hiking trails, camping areas, mountains for climbing, museums for exploring and so much more. Pick up Acadia Quest, a map of kid- and family-friendly experiences throughout the park, or visit one of the two museums that are located within Acadia, both open into the fall. Be sure to wind your way through Acadia"s “carriage roads,” but not by bike or car -- it must be done by horse-drawn carriage. Carriages of Acadia leads one- and two-hour tours around Day Mountain and the Rockefeller stone bridges, with stories of the history narrated by guides during the trip.

Bar Harbor
Besides the quaint shops and eateries within this resort town, families should sign up for a Lulu Lobster Boat Tour. Learn about the history of lobstering and let the kids join in on the fun of hauling up traps on the boat. Tours run through the end of October.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Rupununi American Bar and Grill
Be sure to dine at Rupununi American Bar and Grill if in the area prior to November 1, because this great restaurant closes for the winter. Enjoy New England classics and American fare, with a children"s menu available.

The Thirsty Whale Tavern
Fans of pub fare should head to the Thirsty Whale Tavern for burgers, sandwiches and fresh seafood. The setting is casual and prices are budget-friendly.

La Bella Vita
If planning a late-fall weekend away, try La Bella Vita for impeccable Italian food.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Acadia Pines Motel
Moderate: Bar Harbor Inn
Luxury: Harborside Hotel & Marina

Upcoming Family-Friendly Events:
Sept. 25-29, 2014: Acadia Night Sky Festival
Oct. 24, 2014: Family Halloween Party
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New Hampshire

Don"t wait for ski season to visit New Hampshire -- fall is the perfect time for a weekend getaway with the kids. Between Lake Winnipesaukee and the outdoor adventures in Bretton Woods, N.H., the Granite state has more than mountains and snow. Ride the scenic railroad with little ones and bring your ‘tween scientist to a center just for them. There"s so much for families to do in New Hampshire that you might need to plan more than just one weekend away.

Must-See Areas and Activities
Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.
Water sports, sailing, swimming -- that"s why New Englanders come to Lake Winnipesaukee (also known as Lake Winni) in the summer. But it is just as beautiful and inviting in the fall. Enjoy views of the lake and the mansions along the water"s edge on the Scenic Railroad with your little ones. Opt for lunch in the caboose car before returning from the two-hour ride. The Glidden Toy Museum is another great attraction, as it has classic toys dating back 150 years and kids will be in awe at the difference from today"s selection. And for a little action, check out the Funspot, one of the largest arcades in the world with more than 500 game machines. Your family can have fun inside and out throughout the Lake Winni region.

Bretton Woods, N.H.
Although great for winter getaways, fall in Bretton Woods is the perfect time for outdoor adventures before it gets too cold. The Canopy Tour allows kids – if they meet the weight requirement of at least 90 pounds – to journey on a three-hour tour of Bretton Woods. Zip, glide and fly through the air above Mount Stickney; tours are offered year-round. And if traveling with little ones who are not yet old enough for the canopy tour, take a ride up to the top of the mountain for picturesque fall foliage and picnic areas.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Canoe Restaurant and Tavern
Set on Lake Winnipesaukee, the Canoe Restaurant and Tavern has awesome views and an extensive menu, with everything from ribs to steaks to seafood and lamb, with kid-friendly dishes, too.

Top O" Quad Restaurant
Head to the top of the Bretton Woods ski summit for the Top O" Quad Restaurant. Enjoy scenic views year-round and American dishes sure to please.

Hotel Picks
In Lake Winnipesaukee: Mill Falls at the Lake
In Bretton Woods: Omni Mount Washington Resort

Upcoming Family-Friendly Events:
Oct. 4-5, 2014: 16th Annual Autumn Craft Festival
Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2014: Bretton Woods Wicked Woods Weekend
Nov. 29, 2014: Bretton Woods Tea with Mrs. Claus

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