There’s More To Fall Than Pumpkins

Tractors, Tree-Line Hikes, And Off-Season Surfing

Autumn is the Northeast’s glory season. Here are three ways to soak it up with the fam—and, figuring you’ve got the whole U-Pick thing figured out, nary an orchard in site.

Tractor Reveling In Cooperstown, New York

Save the Baseball Hall of Fame for spring, and hit up Tractor Fest  instead. With a heavy bent on farm life, the two-day festival features a parade of vintage tractors (Sunday at 12pm), a wagon ride pulled by a Ford Golden Jubilee Tractor (both days from 1pm to 3pm), pedal tractors (appropriate for any kid who’s mastered a trike), and an Empire State Carousel. Farm animals, a working blacksmith shop, and an open-hearth cooking demo round out the way-back-when fun.

STAY: The top two local hotels, the Otesaga Resort and the Cooper Inn are sold out for Columbus Day Weekend; try for a home rental through Airbnb or Kid & Coe .

DETAILS: Tractor Fest at The Farmers’ Museum (5775 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY; 607.574.1450) takes place on 10/10 & 10/11, 10am to 5pm. Tickets are sold at the museum’s main entrance: adults are $12; kids 7-12 are $6, and children 6 and under are admitted free. Approximately 3.5 hours by car from NYC.

Leaf Peeping Above The Trees In The Adirondaks

A thousand feet of stroller-accessible bridges and walkways meander above the tree line at the new(ish) Wild Walk in Tupper Lake, New York. You’ll get killer views of the end-of-season foliage, of course, but more to the point: the kids will have a freaking blast. They can walk through the Snag, a replica white pine four times larger than life; climb around a super-sized spider web and Bald Eagle’s Nest 24 feet above the ground; and explore the Twig Tree House, a two-story Adirondak-style tree house. There’s also fantastic bird watching (thanks to 32 feeders) and swinging bridges to get the sillies out. Open through October 12.

STAY: The Whiteface Lodge has limited weekend availability (at the time of publishing), with suites for a family of four starting at $1,036 plus tax. Or check out Airbnb for available home rentals.

DETAILS: Wild Walk, located at The Wild Center (45 Museum Drive, Tupper Lake, NY; 518.359.7800), is open from 10am to 5pm daily until October 12, when it closes for the season. Adults are $20, kids 5-17 are $13 ,and kids 4 and under are free; tickets are good for two consecutive days. Approximately 5 hours by car from NYC.

Steering Clear of Pumpkintown in the Hamptons

Hank’s Pumpkintown in Water Mill has become a touristy madhouse. Try an autumn weekend like locals instead. Ride ponies at Rita’s Stable in Montauk or teach the kids to catch some gentle waves with Montauk Boardriders; drop in the Parrish Art Museum’s 30-minute Open Studio family workshops (Saturdays from 10am to 11:30am); tool around on an easy half-mile bike ride in Hither Hills State Park in Montauk; or wander through the Quogue Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Garden. Enjoy the restaurant vacancies (except, maybe, during Columbus Day Weekend), and save a little appetite for cider donuts from the Milk Pail and a fresh-baked apple crumb pie from Babinksi Farm Stand (60 Newlight Lane, Water Mill), open through October 12.

STAY: The newly renovated Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor (31 W. Water St.; 844.227. 6672) has weekend vacancies in October and November (and awesome harbor views). The best (and fastest-selling) rooms for a family of four are the Harbor Queens—they’re a little bigger, have two queen beds, and face the marina. Rates are date-specific; 10/16-10/17, for example, costs $779.14 including tax. Approximately 2 hours by car from NYC.