November in New England

A Guide to Weather, Events, and the Best Things to Do

November in New England
Newport, © Ted Kerwin @tedkerwin, Creative Commons License

In November, the leaves may have faded and fallen in all but the southern and coastal parts of New England, but there are still a number of great activities, tourist attractions, and special holiday events that visitors can enjoy during their vacation to the Northeastern United States.

It's typically cold in November across the region, reaching temperatures of as low as 28 degrees in New Hampshire; however, it's not always cold enough to ski until the end of the month, and more often than not New England is a damp and dreary place to be this time of year.

Still, November does have some redeeming qualities; after all, it's the month when Americans feast and give thanks. Thanksgiving traditions originated in New England with the Pilgrims in 1621, and throughout the region, the harvest is celebrated by loading restaurant menus with comfort foods. Newport, Rhode Island—one of New England's best cities for dining—even hosts Restaurant Week in November, and the deals make meals even more pleasurable.

As with any in-between season, November is also a time for lodging bargains in New England. Give yourselves the early holiday gift of a romantic getaway at one of these 10 New England B&Bs that have fireplaces in every room, and you won't mind the November's chill at all.

November 2017 Events Schedule for New England

New England consists of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and all of these unique states hold special events each year to commemorate the season or celebrate local artists and craftspeople.

Starting off the November calendar, the Boston Christmas Festival and Gingerbread House Competition in Boston, Massachusetts, kicks off on Friday, November 3 and hosts a slew of events over the weekend. On November 4, Providence, Rhode Island plays host to a free event called the WaterFire Salute to Veterans, a tribute to soldiers with over 80 fire installations that light up at sunset.

On that same Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4 and 5, the entire state of New Hampshire hosts a shopping and touring event, NH Open Doors. Visitors can shop tax-free for local food and art, stop by artists' and craftspeople's studios, taste regional dishes, and get a closer look at the heritage of the far northern part of New England.

The weekend of November 17 through 19 is also slam-packed with events. This year, America's Hometown Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts hosts a parade, historic village, food festival, concerts, concerts, and a special pavilion dedicated to the Wampanoag tribe.

Marlborough, MA also throws an annual event that weekend, the Paradise City Arts Festival, which features local and international artists, as does the  Old Deerfield Craft Fair Holiday Sampler in West Springfield, MA and Craft Vermont in Burlington, VT.

You can also check out the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular, which is just about as spectacular as it sounds, in Stamford, Connecticut on Sunday, November 19, or the  Annual Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine, on November 25.

Best Destinations for November in New England:

Plymouth, MA is New England's number one place to visit in November because there was no "New England" until the Pilgrims arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and established the first permanent English settlement on the northern Atlantic coast. Attractions like Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock, and Mayflower II (returning to Plymouth in 2021) tell the story of the founding of New England and of the American traditions it produced that have endured for centuries. If you make reservations in advance, you can even dine with Pilgrim reenactors on Thanksgiving.

 Remember to support local businesses in New England, from gift shops to restaurants; if you're near Northampton, MA it's one of New England's top holiday shopping destinations.

By mid-November, Newport, Rhode Island, becomes an ideal place in the region for a getaway. Summer's crowds have vanished, so it's easy to get a table at Newport's hottest restaurants (check out Revolving Door, where a new chef takes over the kitchen ever two to four weeks!). Newport has the densest concentration of B&Bs in all of New England, so you're sure to find a cozy room where you can hide from the elements if November days turn gray. The ocean helps to moderate temperatures, so you may actually find the weather surprisingly tolerable, and a brisk stroll along the Cliff Walk may be a highlight of your stay.

Best of all, starting November 18, Newport's famed mansions show off their over-the-top holiday decorations.

If holiday shopping is on your mind, another ideal November destination is the compact coastal city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Here, the shops, galleries, and boutiques are all unique, and your holiday budget goes farther because there's no sales tax in New Hampshire. Visit a state-run New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet, too, to stock up and save on liquid supplies for all of your holiday festivities.

Official Holidays and Average Temperatures

The only three official National holidays in November are Election Day (7th), Veterans Day (11th), and, of course, Thanksgiving, but there are also a few "holidays" that are celebrated in New England. The complete schedule for 2017 is:

  • Election Day: November 7
  • Veterans Day: November 11
  • National Indian Pudding Day: November 13 
  • Thanksgiving: November 23
  • Eat a Cranberry Day: November 23
  • Black Friday:  November 24
  • Small Business Saturday: November 25

Average temperatures in the Northeast range from highs of the mid-50s to lows in the high-20s, with New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont getting considerably colder than Massachusettes, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. If you're traveling to New England in November, pack a warm coat for nights out and a light-to-warm jacket for the daytime—it does get quite crisp this time of year!