by Karen Rubin Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
This fall, you can enjoy your favorite corn mazes, pick-your-own-fruit and vegetable activities, hayrides and haunted houses, plus farmers’ markets and craft beverage trails in New York State, albeit under special health protocols for low-risk outdoor outdoor arts and entertainment. You can also visit the state’s farmers’ markets and craft beverage trails, which have remained open under New York’s NY Forward guidance, supporting agriculture and tourism in the state.
Sleepy Hollow’s Iconic 16th Annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze Comes to Long Island for the First Time
The extraordinarily popular Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze event that takes place each extended Halloween season at historic Hudson Valley is coming to Long Island for the first time, as Nassau County’s Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) hosts the iconic fall event in conjunction with the original Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze® Hudson Valley, kicking off this week, running for a record 53 select evenings from September 18 through November 21. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze® Long Island will run for 23 nights from October 2 through November 1. Both locations feature outdoor self-guided, touch-free walk-through experiences through the wooded pathways, orchards, and gardens of historic sites. A small team of local artists hand-carved more than 7,000 Jack O’Lanterns and elaborate pumpkin sculptures at each site. Nassau’s location will feature pumpkin sculptures that celebrate icons of Long Island culture – from the Apollo Lunar Module to the Montauk Lighthouse to the windmills of the East End.
Bringing the event to Nassau County is part of County Executive Laura Curran’s efforts to expand on the variety of extraordinary, cultural and memorable activities available to residents close to home – making the County a spectacular place to live, work, and play. OBVR provides a perfect 19th century backdrop for this magical and spooky event where attendees can safely socially distance across the property’s 209 acres. Advance purchase tickets are required; prices start at $32/adult, $24/child, purchase online (https://pumpkinblaze.org/blaze-long-island.html). (Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage, NY 11804)
To see the original, come to Van Cortlandt Manor. Meander through an 18th-century landscape and discover a breathtaking display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack o’ lanterns—all designed and hand-carved on site by HHV’s team of artisans. New for 2020, a fire truck—making a special rescue—and witches stirring up a spell. Tour the Museum of Pumpkin Art, where classic paintings get the gourd treatment, see who let the (pumpkin) dogs out, listen for the Headless Horseman—and watch out for swooping jack o’lantern bats. See the Pumpkin Carousel twirl and the Pumpkin Windmill whirl and step inside the Pumpkin Planetarium for a star show like you’ve never seen. Hold a torch for the 25-foot-tall jack o’lantern Statue of Liberty and get personal with Instagrammable signs of the zodiac. Social distancing and masks required at all times (no food and beverage on site and no outside food or drinks permitted). Tickets must be purchased in advance. (Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520, https://hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze/).
Historic Hudson Valley is also re-creating its famous “Legend” event for these times. Sunnyside celebrates its connection to Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, at this family friendly daytime event. Home of the ‘Legend’ includes a literary-themed scavenger hunt and a Legend-themed exhibit on the grounds of Washington Irving’s estate. Weekends through Nov. 6-8; tickets $12/adults, $10/seniors and children 3-17. (Sunnyside, West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown, https://hudsonvalley.org/events/home-of-the-legend/).
Buy tickets online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-366-6900 ($2 per ticket surcharge for phone orders).
Hudson Valley Bountiful With Farmers Markets, Pick-Your-Own, Biking, Hiking
Hudson Valley is full of farmers markets, pick-your-own, and tastings that show off New York State’s bounty.
After biking the River to Ridge trail in New Paltz, just off a Springtown Road, filled with apple and pumpkin farms and stands, just a few minutes away from the trailhead (and actually located right off the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail), we found Coppersea Distilling, with beautifully laid out bar stands for tasting their wonderful whiskeys and brandies, made with “heritage” methods, and locally source (within 25 miles) all the ingredients. They even use New York State wood for their barrels (which actually shape the taste). They floor-malt grains, ferment in wood tanks, distill in direct-fired copper pot stills to crate spirits with “provenance.” (It’s fascinating to hear James explain these processes.) They also have resurrected a 250-year old process for “green whiskey” – the significant difference in method and taste is that the grain is still alive and has chlorophyll, which gives the whiskey a kind of green-tea flavor. (Coppersea, 239 Springtown Road, New Paltz 12561, coppersea.com, 845-444-1044).
“New York State’s amazing outdoor attractions and recreational opportunities are a boon for families and communities during the fall season each year, and we want New Yorkers to be able to enjoy this time with their family responsibly and safely,” Governor Cuomo said. “The new guidance will ensure that these businesses can open to the public, allowing families to enjoy their favorite fall activities while providing a boost for our farming communities and local economies.”
“As one of the nation’s top agricultural states, New York traditionally comes together in the fall to celebrate the harvest—from apples to grapes to pumpkins,” State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said. “This year, while things may not look exactly the same on your favorite farm, I am happy to say we can still celebrate agriculture’s bounty and the many family-friendly activities that go with it. With this new guidance, we hope New Yorkers will be able to enjoy some of the best of New York agriculture in a safe and socially distanced manner.”
The protocols include reduced capacity, face coverings, social distancing between individuals and parties, and frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, cleaned and sanitized between rides. (See https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus).
Autumn in The Adirondacks
Autumn is always a fabulous time to visit the Adirondacks in upstate NY, but in a year when fresh air and wide open spaces are what we are all craving, the region’s natural landscape is especially nurturing. Travelers will find endless opportunities for adventure, exploration and relaxation, from hiking the High Peaks to scenic drives along the Whiteface Memorial Highway to fireside dining on outdoor patios.
The Adirondack Fall Foliage Meter provides up-to-the-minute fall foliage reports on where the leaves are prettiest and most colorful. In Lake Placid, the new Skyride, an 8-person state-of-the-art gondola, takes guests from the Olympic Jumping Complex’s base lodge to the 90-meter and 120-meter ski jump towers, where a new glass-enclosed elevator brings them to the top to enjoy the panoramic vista of the Adirondack High Peaks (and to experience what the jumpers see as they start to accelerate towards the end of the ramp!). The new Sky Flyer zipline also offers unparalleled views of Lake Placid and the High Peaks. (https://lakeplacidolympicsites.com/todo/skyride/)
For a COVID getaway, which we just did over Labor Day, enjoy fall foliage colors and no quarantining required (if you live in the Northeast) in New York State’s Adirondacks State Park.
While in North Creek (Gore Mt ski area), visit and/or take a class with artist-in-residence glassblower extraordinaire, Greg Tomb — last day for classes this season is September 23, 2020.
In cooperation with North Creek’s Tannery Pond Center, Tomb has made hundreds of colorful, glass-blown pumpkins that will be sold at the “Glass Pumpkin Patch” weekend, September 25-27, 2020, from 10am – 6pm daily. Each pumpkin has been hand-blown by Tomb, giving them their unique and distinctive sizes and designs (starting price of $35). A sizable percentage of all sales goes towards the arts and operations of North Creek’s Tannery Pond Center, North Creek, NY. For more info, visit https://tannerypondcenter.org/event/fundraiser-glass-pumpkin-patch/). — Laurie Millman and Martin Rubin/Travel Features Syndicate
SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY — Halloween in Sleepy Hollow Country is legendary, and this year, introduces new events including The Unsilent Picture. Historic Hudson Valley’s fall events, the largest in the tri-state area kick off Friday, Sept. 28, take place on selected evenings through Saturday, Nov. 24, and are expected to draw more than 250,000 visitors,
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze®, the Hudson Valley’s biggest all-ages fall extravaganza, will run for a record 45 select evenings from late September through Thanksgiving weekend. The walk-through experience lights up the wooded pathways, orchards, and gardens of historic Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., where a small team of artists hand-carve more than 7,000 jacks and elaborate pumpkin sculptures. Visitors will see Blaze favorites, such as a giant spider web and the mammoth sea serpent. New additions include a medieval castle guarded by a flock of jack o’lantern owls, a functioning windmill, and a full set of Instagrammable zodiac signs all made of jack o’lanterns. (Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue, just off Route 9 in Croton-on-Hudson.)
Horseman’s Hollow takes Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to its most terrifying extremes. Visitors walk a haunted trail where creatures lurk in the shadows, ready to strike fear into the hearts of those brave enough to venture into the darkness. Professional actors, award-winning feature-film makeup artists, and state-of-the-art special effects make the Horseman’s Hollow experience all too real. This 16-night haunted attraction at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is recommended for ages 10 and up.
Also at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow is The Unsilent Picture, a brand-new event for 2018. The immersive theater experience features an original black and white film starring Tony Award-winning actor Bill Irwin, accompanied by live music and a Foley artist. The movie, which was commissioned by Historic Hudson Valley and shot on location in buildings at Van Cortlandt Manor, is the center of this 16-night experience. It is recommended for ages 10 and up and contains scenes of drinking alcohol, smoking and snuff tobacco use, implied violence, and mature themes. (Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow.)
There are more opportunities to be captivated by Irving’s ‘Legend’ than ever before. Master storytellers Jonathan Kruk and Jim Keyes, accompanied by live organ music, bring to life The Legend of Sleepy Hollow during 45-minute afternoon and evening performances at Sleepy Hollow’s circa-1685 Old Dutch Church. Irving’s ‘Legend’ runs for 16 select dates in October and is recommended for ages 10 and up. The circa-1685 stone church is across the street from Philipsburg Manor, where visitors will park. Weekend afternoon performances are by Jim Keyes and weekday and weekend evening performances are by Jonathan Kruk.
Home of the ‘Legend’ is a daytime, all-ages experience at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside homestead in Tarrytown, N.Y. Visitors can tour the author’s home, embark on a literary-themed scavenger hunt, see a shadow puppet performance, and take part in historic games and Halloween-themed art activities. (Sunnyside is on West Sunnyside Lane, off Route 9 in Tarrytown.)
All events are held rain or shine. Proceeds support Historic Hudson Valley, the Tarrytown-based private, non-profit educational organization that owns and operates the historic sites that host these events.
These events have limited capacity and sell out. All admissions are by advance purchase timed ticket.
Blaze dates are Sept. 28-30; Oct. 4-31; and Nov. 1-4, 7-11, 15-17, 23-24. Online tickets are $22 for adults ($27 on Fridays and Saturdays), $16 for children 3-17 ($20 on Fridays and Saturdays), and free for children under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members.
Horseman’s Hollow dates are Oct. 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 25-31. Online tickets are $20 ($25 on Saturdays). Fast Track, a $15 per ticket upgrade, lets visitors skip the line in their time slot. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.
The Unsilent Picture dates are Oct. 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 25-31. Online tickets are $18. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.
Irving’s ‘Legend’ dates are Oct. 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 25-31. Seating is very limited and there are three performances on weekday evenings and six performances on weekends. Online tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children under 18. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a $5 per ticket discount.
Home of the ‘Legend’ dates are Sept. 29-30; Oct. 1, 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28. Online tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children 3-17, and free for those under 3 and Historic Hudson Valley members.
Buy tickets online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-366-6900 ($2 per ticket surcharge for phone orders and for tickets purchased onsite, if available).
Haunted Happenings in Salem
Probably the epicenter of Halloween is Salem and to accommodate all the people who want to experience its annual Haunted Happenings festival (more than 500,000 come from around the world for the festival), the entire month of October is devoted to it. Events include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations.
Classic experiences include:
Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop, Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, daily thru October. The year is 1692. Bridget Bishop has been accused of witchcraft and you are on the Puritan jury. Hear the historical testimonies, cross-examine the witnesses and decide the verdict. Is Bridget Bishop capable of witchcraft? The outdoor arrest scene begins approximately 15 minutes before show time.
Spirits of the Gables: Get swept into Hawthorne’s tale of guilt, greed and revenge as the characters from The House of the Seven Gables (1851), come to life and recount their stories while you walk through the very house that inspired Hawthorne’s timeless novel.
Legacy of the Hanging Judge takes visitors back through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth home to the events of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, through the eyes of the author, whose own ancestor, Judge John Hathorne had a hand to play in the tragic events of 1692. The 35-minute performances begin every 10 minutes in The Nathaniel Hawthorne birth house. Combination tickets available. Reservations highly recommended.
House of the Seven Gables: Discover 330 years of Salem’s history as you experience the museum and collection of historic buildings. Built in 1668, this is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. The House of the Seven Gables inspired author Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his legendary novel of the same name. (House Of Seven Gables, 115 Derby St. 978-744-0991)
The Witch House, home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692. Corwin was called upon to investigate the claims of diabolical activity when a surge of witchcraft accusations arose. He served on the court which ultimately sent nineteen to the gallows. 310 1/2 Essex St. (978) 744-8815
Witch Dungeon Museum. Experience the acclaimed performance of a Witch trial adapted from the 1692 historical transcripts. Most chilling is that it is real. 16 Lynde St. (978) 741-3570.
Enhance your paranormal experience with a stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, one of Historic Hotels of America’s most haunted member hotels. Built in 1925, in the city notorious for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the hotel has ghost stories of its own, mostly attributed to the sea captains who were returning to their gathering place. In particular, rooms 621 and 325 have had reports of lights turning off and on and a general uneasy feeling throughout the rooms (www.hawthornehotel.com).
National Ghost Hunt Day at Lord Baltimore Hotel
Baltimore, Md.– Over the years, guests and staff of the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, built in 1928, have reported sightings and supernatural activity. On September 29, 2018, the hotel, along with R.E.A.P. Investigations and Spirit Flows Studios, will kick off the Halloween season by taking part in the world’s largest ghost hunt as part of National Ghost Hunt Day.
Activities include three different supernatural settings including an intuitive development class with Spirit Flow’s Amanda Jackiewicz at 5 p.m., which will teach participants how to strengthen their intuition and heighten their awareness and conscientiousness. Following the workshop, Jackiewicz will conduct a limited amount of individual medium sessions from 6-7:30 p.m.
During these sessions, guests will work one-on-one with Jackiewicz to communicate with loved ones in the afterlife. For the final portion of the supernatural event, attendees will participate in a ghost hunt with the R.E.A.P. Investigation team led by Bill Reap beginning at 8 p.m. R.E.A.P. Investigations will hunt for ghostly activities throughout four areas of the hotel, including the Calvert Ballroom and the 19th floor, which are said to have heightened supernatural activities. At 10 p.m., the Lord Baltimore Hotel will join a live feed with more than 100 other locations as each conduct a ghost hunt at the same time.
Perhaps participants will get a glimpse of Lord Baltimore’s resident ghost: a little girl, wearing a long, cream-colored dress and black, shiny shoes, running by the open doorway, bouncing a red ball before her. There have been many times when guests have asked, “Little girl, are you lost?” and the hallway has been completely empty.
Event proceeds will be donated to Back on my Feet, an organization that helps to combat homelessness through the power of running and community support.
Held on the last Saturday of each September, National Ghost Hunt Day serves to enthusiastically commence the start of each new Halloween season. Its noble intention is to globally observe the most haunted properties in the world while recognizing the novice, curious, experts and professionals that investigate paranormal activity in these iconic locations! For more information, visit http://nationalghosthuntingday.com.
The Lord Baltimore Hotel is in the heart of downtown Baltimore, within walking distance of many local attractions. Originally built in 1928, the hotel was purchased in 2013 and completely renovated by Rubell Hotels. A member of Historic Hotels of America (historichotels.org), the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Lord Baltimore is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (20 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201 www.lordbaltimorehotel.com).
But what may be the most haunted of Historic Hotels of America members is 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, in Eureka Springs Arkansas: “Guests who check out but never leave” at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa include Michael, the Irish stonemason who helped build the hotel in 1885; Theodora, a patient of Baker’s Cancer Curing Hospital in the late 1930s; and “the lady in the Victorian nightgown”, who likes to stand at the foot of the bed in Room 3500 and stare at guests while they sleep. These are only three of the dozens upon dozens of spirits that guests and visitors have reported encountering in this historic hotel in the Ozark Mountains.
This mountaintop spa resort, which has also become known as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,” has been featured on popular shows like Ghost Hunter’s and Bio Channel’s My Ghost Story offers nightly tours that gain exclusive access to some of the most famous ghost sighting locations (recommended for 8 years and up; families with younger children should join the earliest tour.) And on October, 31, you can join a Halloween Séance.
Also in Eureka Springs, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, which features a mysterious underground cave, offers a 90-minute Spirits of the Basin “ghost adventour” that combines a ghost tour with the adventure of paranormal investigation. It starts with a guided ghost hunt (in period costume) of the most haunted spaces and ends with a chilling ghost story told by candlelight and a sample of the bootleg liquor (http://www.spiritsofthebasin.com/)
Oktoberfest Weekend Celebrations Return to Hunter Mountain
Temperatures in the northeast have begun to trend cooler, and as the leaves begin to change, Hunter Mountain is hosting its long tradition of Oktoberfest celebrations.
Voted among the top 10 Best Oktoberfests in the Nation by USA Today, Hunter Mountain’s Oktoberfest weekends celebrate the arrival of autumn with authentic traditional German-American festivities, food and culture with a variety of entertainment options during all four free weekends. Oktoberfest weekends also occur in conjunction with specialty events alongside plentiful food and craft beverages, live music, artistic vendors, lawn games, our Scenic Skyride and much more.
The Colors in the Catskills: Off-Road Edition is a new arrival for our second weekend of Oktoberfest (Sept. 29 & 30) and allows guests to explore Hunter Mountain’s vast trail network in the midst of fall foliage season. Lead by knowledgeable and experienced guides from Northeast Off-Road Adventures, guests can register their 4X4 vehicles to participate in off-road tours of Hunter Mountain. Additionally, drivers and passengers alike will be able to purchase exclusive camping packages that grant them access to camping right on the Mountain.
The Das Laufwerk Eurocar Rally and 18-time Grammy award winner Jimmy Sturr return to Hunter Mountain for the third weekend of Oktoberfest (Oct. 6 & 7) to rock the stage and showcase some of best European cars our guests have to offer. The Das Laufwerk Eurocar Rally is open to guests and completely free to attend! All European car models are welcome and will have access to exclusive parking in a reserved lot located close to the Hunter Mountain base lodge. Guests attending this weekend of Oktoberfest will have a chance to see the finest in German engineering including Audis, Volkswagens, Porsches and much more.
The final weekend of Oktoberfest (Oct. 13 and 14) will celebrate wineries from around New York State with our Wine Tasting on the Mountain event. This year’s wine tasting event will host wineries from Long Island to the Finger Lakes. Similarly to our Ciders in the Catskills event, guests will be able to purchase VIP tasting packages which provide them with a voucher for 20 wine tastings, a commemorative wine glass and t-shirt as well as admission for one to our Scenic Skyride.
Admission to Oktoberfest is free and gates open each weekend at 11 am – 6:15 pm Saturdays and from 11 am– 5:15 pm Sundays. All four Oktoberfest weekends are held indoors and outdoors, rain or shine.
Located in the heart of the Great Northern Catskills, Hunter Mountain is a four-season resort. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, Hunter Mountain offers a variety of outdoor activities, weddings, group retreats, festivals and concerts while surrounded by magnificent views of the Catskill Mountains. The 3,200’ summit of Hunter Mountain provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is accessible from May – October via the Scenic Skyride. An easy 2 ½ hour ride North of New York City, Hunter Mountain can be a day trip or overnight getaway for sightseeing, relaxation, hiking, fly fishing, zip lining and much more.
Hunter Mountain abuts the Catskills Preserve with spectacular hiking. Follow the Hudson River School Art Trail (my favorite trails are in the North-South Campground and Kaaterskill Falls).
The I LOVE NEW YORK weekly foliage report – a detailed map charting fall color progress, vantage points for viewing spectacular foliage, suggested autumn getaways and weekly event listings – is available at www.iloveny.com/foliage or by calling 800/CALL-NYS (800/225-5697).