October in New England

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

Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts
••• Make a point of driving the Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires this October. America's oldest scenic road turned 102 this year. Media photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

October is my favorite month in New England--by far! I've spent my entire life living in the Northeast, and the colors of autumn still amaze me. A single tree that has turned just the right shade of fall coral or a deep and lustrous red can literally cause me to gasp. I've been mailing free New England fall leaves to people all over the world for 17 years now (here's how to request yours) because I believe each leaf is a masterpiece meant to be saved and shared.

Fall foliage is far from the only reason to love October in New England. This is the month when the calendar is so filled with festivals, sporting events and fun things to do, you could never do them all in a lifetime of falls. Just seeing cheery orange and spooky white pumpkins at roadside stands is enchanting. We embrace Halloween in New England with unparalleled fervor. I had the wonderful chance to pick the 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England again this year for Yankee Magazine, which means I have done it all including watching giant pumpkins fall onto old cars, racing a moose pumpkin in a Pumpkin Derby and even setting a new Guinness World Record at the Keene Pumpkin Festival, which will be held for the second time in Laconia, as New Hampshire makes another World Record attempt.

This is harvest season here in New England, a time when everything tastes scrumptious... especially cider donuts.

A time to pick your own apples and pumpkins at New England farms. A time to make fall comfort foods at home. A time to be prepared for any weather, from summerlike days to early coatings of snow. We know in New England that winter follows fall, so we make the most of every moment, as our world turns golden all around us.

I hope you'll have the chance to experience October in New England, too!

So, what is the weather typically like during October in New England?

Average October Temperatures (Low / High):

Hartford, CT: 42º / 63º Fahrenheit (6º / 17º Celsius)
Providence, RI: 44º / 63º Fahrenheit (7º / 17º Celsius)
Boston, MA: 47º / 61º Fahrenheit (8º / 16º Celsius)
Stockbridge, MA: 37º / 60º Fahrenheit (3º / 16º Celsius)
Killington, VT: 35º / 55º Fahrenheit (2º / 13º Celsius)
North Conway, NH: 34º / 57º Fahrenheit (1º / 14º Celsius)
Portland, ME: 39º / 59º Fahrenheit (4º / 15º Celsius)

What's the Best New Thing To Do in October?

New England's haunted Halloween attractions compete to outdo each other, and this year, Witch's Woods at Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, Massachusetts, is more terrifying than ever with a new Vampire Passage starring a legendary female vampiress and her fanged minions.

Top 12 October 2016 Events in New England

There's non-stop fun on tap at October events in New England. Here are some top events to attend this month:

October 1-31: Haunted Happenings in Salem, Massachusetts

October 1: WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island

October 6-November 6: Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island

September 30-October 10: Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts

October 6-10: Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta in Damariscotta, Maine

October 8: North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Newry, Maine

October 9: Harpoon Octoberfest in Windsor, Vermont

October 24-25: International Oktoberfest in Providence, Rhode Island

October 22-23: The 52nd Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts

October 22: 26th Annual Pumpkin Festival in Laconia, New Hampshire

October 15-16: Wellfleet OysterFest in Wellfleet, Massachusetts

October 20-23: Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine

October Holidays in New England

Columbus Day: October 10

Halloween: October 31

Less "Official" October Holidays Worth Celebrating in New England

October 1: International Frugal Fun Day
Visit one of New England's 10 Best Free Attractions.

October 16: Dictionary Day
Tour the Connecticut home of dictionary inventor Noah Webster.

October 15: Sweetest Day
Take your sweetie to one of these New England Inns with a Fireplace in Every Room.

October 26: National Mincemeat Day
Make mincemeat the old-fashioned way (or a modern way) with these recipes from Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

Best Destinations for October in New England

October is truly a glorious month to be on the road anywhere in New England. Chasing peak fall foliage is a favorite pastime. You can check fall foliage reports online to locate places to see the region's best leaves. The three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend is typically THE busiest weekend of the year in New England. Avoid it if you hate crowds; get here if you want to join in the fun at annual events like the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta in Maine.

One of my family's most memorable October vacations began in Providence, Rhode Island, where we marveled at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Our Fall-a-Palooza's next stop was Killington, Vermont. Be sure to take a scenic Gondola Ride while you're in Killington. We continued on to East Charlotte for the Tractor Parade, which takes place on October 9 in 2016.

October is also the month to visit Salem, Massachusetts, which capitalizes on its not-so-pretty past as the scene of America's most famous witch hunt.

If you're looking for kid-friendly Halloween happenings, head to Pumpkintown USA in Connecticut, or visit the Pumpkin People in Jackson, New Hampshire. Medieval fun awaits this month, as well, at both King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts, and the Connecticut Renaissance Faire in North Haven, Connecticut.

October is also a wonderful month for art lovers. The Paradise City Arts Festival is Columbus Day weekend, or enjoy meeting artists on a scenic drive during the Granby Artists Association's Open Studio Tour in Connecticut or the Cape Ann Artisans October Open Studios Tour in Massachusetts.

More October in New England Travel Advice

  • Autumn is pumpkin season in New England! Pick your own pumpkin at one of the region's many pumpkin patches, then use these pumpkin carving patterns to make cool jack-o-lanterns, or try these pumpkin recipes from New England.
  • Take advantage of October dining deals during Cape Cod Restaurant Week, October 10-16.
  • If you'll be spending time in the car, be sure to download some of these fall songs to create a New England Leaf Peeping Playlist. And print these fall leaf coloring pages to entertain the kids.