As the temperatures cool, thoughts of colorful fall foliage, pumpkins, apples and hayrides bring the traveler back from the beach and onto the road to sample the Boston area’s fall festivals. The list below is just a small sample of the delights of fall within a day’s drive of Boston, M.A.
The Big E New England Fair in West Springfield, MA
The Big E is the largest fair in New England. This 17 day fair in West Springfield, M.A., really starts out the fall festival season in New England. The dates for 2012 are September 14 to 30. Enjoy events like a Mardi Gras parade, a circus and carnival, a horse show, agricultural displays and competitions, and demonstrations of many crafts. www.thebige.com.
Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Shelburne Farm in Shelburne, V.T., will celebrate its 34th annual harvest festival. This 1,400 acre working farm celebrates fall with hayrides, music and dancing, craft demonstrations, The Hay Bale Maze and lots of local food. 1611 Harbor Road, www.shelburnefarms.org.
Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA
The Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, M.A., is one of the very oldest agricultural fairs in the United States. The 11 day festival dates in 2012 are September 28 to October 8. There are many events over the extensive fairgrounds, including 4-H exhibitions, a pumpkin contest, amusement rides and live entertainment. 207 Boston Street, www.topsfieldfair.org.
New Hampshire Fall Festival
The Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., hosts its 5th annual fall festival on Saturday October 13, 2012. The festival is complete with 18th-century restored houses and shops celebrating the traditional harvest season. Enjoy traditional crafts, heirloom flower arranging, lessons on canning, sheep shearing and more. The whole family will enjoy a tour of the garden and fun activities like Victorian lawn games. 14 Hancock Street, www.strawberybanke.org.
Wellfleet Oyster Fest
This two day celebration of the venerable oyster has been an annual event in Wellfleet, M.A., for more than a decade. The dates in 2012 are Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. This fun festival is only a two hour drive from Boston, in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. The local cuisine features delicious oysters and clams along with great brews and wine. Watch a road race, a spelling bee, the great Oyster-Shuck-Off competition and more. Games and play areas keep children well entertained. Main Street, www.wellfleetoysterfest.org.