Foliage & Flavors in Central MA

Posted: September 23, 2021

Fall in Central Mass. is unlike anywhere else, with New England charm permeating every corner of this special season. Reds and oranges light up the trees, and it feels like Halloween’s magic was made just for us. The best things in life rarely last, and autumn often feels like it’s over just as quickly as it began—so when crisp air meets warm fall flavors, you’ll want to take advantage of every last drop.  

Bites at Brookfield Orchards 

Brookfield Orchards

Apple Picking at Brookfield Orchards is a quintessential fall classic. You might visit for the apple picking, but you’ll stay for the cider donuts, warm and freshly baked for every voracious visitor. Their pumpkin selection is nothing to scoff at, either, with pies to enjoy and patches to explore.

Monuments with Character 

Left: Bancroft Tower by Tommy; Right: Old Stone Church by Roberto Calixto

If you’ve yet to experience it (or are simply craving it from year’s past) you’ll find yourself in awe of the foliage that graces the region. Every monument becomes a backdrop, and visits to spots like Bancroft Tower and Old Stone Church become an immersive experience not to be missed. Stroll through, snap some photos or simply soak in the history among beauty.  

The Wachusett Collection  

Left: Wachusett Reservoir by David Long; Right: Josti's Vista at Wachusett Mountian by Monika Salvan 

Wachusett Mountain stands steadily as a Central Mass. staple during every season, and fall is no exception. There’s no shortage of seasonal festivals at the Mountain—from Oktoberfest to Apple Fest—take in the stunning by simply hiking the trails. Josti’s Vista sits notably on the Mountain, offering a rare rainbow view of the season’s foliage. Wachusett Reservoir is another gem to explore, comprised of trails that weave through sections of Boylston and West Boylston, with beautiful bursts of color found throughout October and November.  

Sipping the Season 

Left: Agronomy Vineyard by Josh Carr; Right: Hardwick Vineyard

All that foliage and festivities may leave you craving a moment of pause (and potentially, a glass of wine). The beautiful Agronomy Farm Vineyard is open weekends (Friday through Sunday) during the 2021 season, and Hardwick Vineyard offers seasonal selections—like their award-winning Pioneer Pumpkin wine—seven days a week. With live music and featured food trucks, you’ll find yourself making a day of it. Sit, sip, enjoy.  

Boo at the Zoo 

Southwick's Zoo

It’s never a dull moment in Mendon, where fall favorites at Southwick’s Zoo are back in action this year. On Oct. 24, Harvest Fest brings farmers market vendors together with live entertainment. The following weekend, Zoo Boo features haunted happenings and animal fun for Halloween goers. Evening visits are also highly reccomended to enhance your experience of Festival of Illumination 'World of Light' a truly magical installation (see for youself).

Spooky but Sweet 

Left: Bean Counter Bakery; Right: Table Talk Pie

For the dessert fiends out there (if Halloween candy just feels too far away!) try Bean Counter Bakery or a classic Table Talk Pie for seasonally inspired goods. Stop in for a warming beverage, pick up a treat made with care and enjoy outside among your adventures.  

Family-Focused Festivities  

Left: Old Sturbridge Village by Karen Brockney; Right: Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Phantoms & Fire over at Old Sturbridge Village runs through Oct. 31, an opportunity for families and kiddos to enjoy “spooky delights”—from bats and bonfires to candy and cauldrons. Another annual must-attend is Autumn Illuminated at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, an immersive lighting experience during which fall colors illuminate a half-mile, after-dark stroll.  

Scenic Towns & Parks 

In addition to the hubbub and happenings in seasonal Central Mass., there’s a copious selection of natural wonders in the area, which you can enjoy at your own speed. Some notable spots are listed below for those who just can't get enough of the crisp air and crunchy grounds.  

Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester 

Crow Hill, Worcester 

Green Hill Park, Worcester 

Institute Park, Worcester 

Lake Park at Quinsigamond State Park, Worcester 

Moore State Park, Paxton 

Spencer State Forest, Spencer 

Quabbin Reservoir, Hardwick 

For the ultimate Autumn adventure, navigate your way through these local gems all season long.