Ah, November in New England... you want an honest opinion, right? It's not the best month.
Leaves have faded and fallen in all but the southern and coastal parts of the region, leaving a stark landscape of skeletal trees. It's cold but usually not cold enough to ski until maybe the end of the month. It can be damp and horribly dreary. New Englanders head into November thankful to gain an hour when they turn the clocks back to Eastern Standard Time at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of the month... but they lament how early darkness falls for the remainder of the year.
But wait! 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, although some, like making mincemeat, traveled here from across the Atlantic. Throughout the region, the harvest is celebrated, and restaurant menus are loaded 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 November's chill at all.
New England Weather in November
Average November Temperatures (Low / High):
Hartford, CT: 35º / 52º Fahrenheit (2º / 11º Celsius)
Providence, RI: 36º / 53º Fahrenheit (2º / 12º Celsius)
Boston, MA: 38º / 52º Fahrenheit (3º / 11º Celsius)
Hyannis, MA: 37º / 53º Fahrenheit (3º / 12º Celsius)
Burlington, VT: 31º / 46º Fahrenheit (-1º / 8º Celsius)
Concord, NH: 28º / 48º Fahrenheit (-2º / 9º Celsius)
Portland, ME: 31º / 48º Fahrenheit (-1º / 9º Celsius)
New England is known for its tough-to-predict weather, but November holds fewer surprises than most months. Typically, as the days march on, they grow gradually more frigid and somber. The season's first dusting of snow is often in November, and it's actually a lovely sight. But it's also a harbinger of heftier storms to come. On average, Boston sees 4 inches of rain and 1 inch of snow in November. The farther north you travel in the region, the better your chances of seeing white stuff at some point in the month.
What to Pack
Warm layers are necessary in November, and a winter jacket is likely a must by the end of the month. The farther north you venture, the colder temperatures will be particularly after dark. Pack an umbrella, too, because freezing cold rain is actually the worst. Snow boots might be worth packing, especially if you plan to spend time outdoors.
Top 8 November 2018 Events in New England
New England's best November events have a touch of holiday magic. Here are 10 fun festivities you won't want to miss:
November 2-4: Boston Christmas Festival and Gingerbread House Competition in Boston, Massachusetts
November 3-4: NH Open Doors throughout New Hampshire
November 10: WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island
November 16-17: America's Hometown Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts
November 16-18: Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlborough, Massachusetts
November 18: Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular in Stamford, Connecticut
November 17-18: Old Deerfield Holiday Sampler Craft Fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts
November 24: Annual Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine
November Holidays in New England
Election Day: November 6
Veterans Day: November 11
Thanksgiving: November 22
Less "Official" November Holidays Worth Celebrating in New England
November 13: National Indian Pudding Day
Try this Native American dessert at the Union Oyster House in Boston.
November 23: Eat a Cranberry Day
Try one of these cranberry recipes from New England.
November 23: Black Friday
Start your holiday shopping off with a bang at New England outlet stores.
November 24: Small Business Saturday
Support local businesses in New England, from gift shops to restaurants. Northampton, Massachusetts, is a perfect destination for a buy local shopping trip.
Best Destinations for November in New England
New England's number one place to visit in November is Plymouth, Massachusetts, of course! 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. You may not know this, but... the Pilgrims did not mean to land here! They were bound for Virginia but blew off course. Plymouth is a place you should intend to visit, though, at least once in your lifetime. Attractions like Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II (returning to Plymouth in 2020) tell the story of the founding of New England and of American traditions that have endured for centuries.
If you make reservations in advance, you can even dine with Pilgrim reenactors on Thanksgiving.
By mid-November, Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the best places in the region for a getaway. Summer's crowds have vanished, so it's easy to get a table at Newport's hottest restaurants. 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 17, 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.