For many people, September is the best month. The weather has cooled down and the leaves are starting to turn, giving a hint of the spectacular fall foliage panoramas in New England and beyond. The ninth month is also a time for apple picking, festivals, and harvest celebrations at wineries. Here are the best places to visit in September so you can start planning some weekend getaways!
Vermont is famous for its spectacular fall foliage, which kicks off in mid to late September. Manchester, in the heart of the Green Mountains, is a top spot to see the brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows of the turning oak and maple trees, especially along Route 7A, part of the Shires of Vermont Byway.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Taconic Hotel
Napa Valley, California
September is the beginning of harvest time, and many wineries have crush parties to celebrate. In Napa Valley, Rutherford Ranch Winery hosts a Harvest BBQ event on Sept. 29, complete with a pig roast, live music, and lots of good wine.
Where to Stay: Rancho Caymus Inn
Jumbo's Pumpkin Patch in Middletown, Maryland (an hour's drive from Washington, D.C.), is a seventh-generation family farm where you can pick your own pumpkins, take a hay ride, walk through a 15-acre corn maze, and shop in the farm store that's stocked with fall-themed crafts.
Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn Frederick
Get ready to chow down on delicious barbecue and other tasty Southern treats, sip craft beers and spirits, and rock out to bands ranging from country and bluegrass to rock and funk at the Music City Food + Wine Festival, which takes place Sept. 14 through 16.
Where to Stay: The Westin Nashville
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
One of the most famous scenic roads in the country is the 105-mile Skyline Drive, within Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. It runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains, and you'll be treated to vistas of meandering valleys and rolling hills, which are especially beautiful at the start of fall.
Where to Stay: Hotel Laurance
Yakima Valley, Washington
Catch the Crush is the annual harvest event celebrated on Oct. 13 and 14 in Washington's Yakima Valley wine region. At various wineries, including Kana Winery and Gilbert Cellars, expect grape stomps, live music, artisanal bites, and, of course, plenty of wine-tasting!
Where to Stay: Hotel Maison
If you're into the cool sounds of jazz, catch California's Monterey Jazz Festival, the world's longest-running jazz festival, which takes place Sept. 21 through 23. There are eight stages and hundreds of shows on the schedule; last year's headliners were Herbie Hancock and Branford Marsalis.
Where to Stay: Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Princeton, New Jersey
Spend a day on the farm at Terhune Orchards in Princeton, New Jersey. There are U-pick apple trees, along with a farm store selling fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade jams, and apple cider, as well as a wine-tasting room. On the weekends, there's live music and wagon rides for the kids.
Where to Stay: The Peacock Inn
Taos, New Mexico
It may surprise you, but the southwest also has some stellar leaf peeping. In Taos, New Mexico, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is an 84-mile road circling 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak. As you drive the loop, you'll marvel at the high-altitude hillsides of aspen trees in the process of turning a beautiful golden hue.
Where to Stay: Hotel La Fonda Taos
Asheville, North Carolina
September is a glorious time to be in Asheville. After a tour of Biltmore, the country's largest privately owned home, be sure to stroll the estate's grounds and gardens, and for jaw-dropping Blue Ridge Mountain vistas, take a ride along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
Where to Stay: The Windsor Boutique Hotel
Finger Lakes, New York
In the Finger Lakes, the Keuka Lake Wine Trail's Harvest Celebration of Food & Wine takes place Sept. 15 and 16. Visit wineries like Heron Hill and Vineyard View, where you can take a tour and sample some newly released wines that might include rieslings, pinot noirs, and pinot grigios.
Where to Stay: Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Fair takes place from Sept. 13 through 23. On the fairgrounds, you'll find concert stages, an antique tractor exhibit, amusement park rides, zip lines, and snacks like corn dogs, deep-fried pickles, and frozen hot chocolate — plus pig races and bull riding!
Where to Stay: 21c Museum Hotel
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Less than an hour's drive from Asheville is Sky Top Orchard, a U-pick farm in Flat Rock, North Carolina. After picking a bag of Granny Smith or Fuji apples amid mountain views and duck ponds, take a break at one of the many picnic tables and enjoy some apple cider and cider donut.
Where to Stay: Highland Lake Inn & Resort
Who's ready to stomp like Lucy? Head to the annual Grapefest event in Grapevine (just outside of Dallas), which takes place Sept. 13 through Sept. 16, to sip wines from all over the state and participate in fun events like grape-stomping and a Champagne cork shoot-off.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport
Las Vegas, Nevada
Catch some of your favorite bands at the three-day Life is Beautiful Festival (Sept. 21 to 23) in Sin City. This year's headliners include The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, and DJ Snake. You can also nosh on food prepared by some of the city's top chefs in the Culinary Village.
Where to Stay: Palms Casino Resort
Dutchess County, New York
Barton Orchards, in the town of Poughquag, is one of the state's most popular U-pick farms. There are more than 120 acres of apple trees with dozens of varieties, including Gala, Cortlandt, and Red Delicious. There's also a pumpkin patch and a petting zoo for the kids.
Where to Stay: The Beacon Hotel
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