Robert Frost’s ‘nothing golden can remain’ maxim rings especially true this season as the fleeting golden, orange and red foliage of autumn peaks in the poet’s home states of Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire. .
But that brief and gloriously Instagrammable fall color can still be captured on a weekend getaway to Brattleboro, Vermont and Keene, New Hampshire, located 20 minutes apart and a about a three and a half hour drive from Long Island.
A tale of two towns, Brattleboro and Keene were founded in 1753 and named after English noblemen, but these days are a study in contrast to thriving city centers.
Here’s a guide to turning a new leaf in your fall foliage travels, commuting between walkable, pet-friendly and family-friendly Twin Cities known for nostalgic downtown shopping, dining, and dining. with water views, leaf viewing while hiking, biking or kayaking and quaint breweries. .
COVID restrictions vary by location; be sure to check what is in effect before visiting.
Brattleboro, a 19th-century mill town and spa resort, was famous for its 1960s and 1970s townships, some of whose residents stayed and continue to influence the zeitgeist, according to local histories.
THINGS TO DO
The counterculture thrives in Brattleboro Food Cooperative, a community-owned health food market and delicatessen founded in the 1970s, where fare includes a vegetarian, vegan, meat-based, and gluten-free buffet. (2 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-257-0236, brattleborofoodcoop.coop) Brattleboro is also a coffee town, with half a dozen shops including Mocha Joe’s, where drinks are made with solar-roasted beans. (82 Main St., 802-257-7794, mochajoes.com) Across Main Street at Terrace cafe, enjoy your latte and pastry on a porch with stunning mountain views. (139 Main Street, Brattleboro)
The busiest restaurant in the city center is the Whetstone Beer Company, named after the adjacent Whetstone Creek. Tables inside and on the sunny terrace both overlook the Connecticut River. (36 Bridge St. Brattleboro, 802-490-2354, whetstonebeer.com) Upstream at West Brattleboro, the creek flows under the Red Rooster Creamery Covered Bridge, built in 1879, and today reserved for pedestrian traffic. On Saturdays through October, head to Brattleboro Area Farmers Market for natural soap, bread and even ice cream. (570 Western Ave./Rte. 9, Brattleboro, 802-254-8885, brattleboroareafarmersmarket.com)
Downtown shoppers can rummage through the aisles of second-hand shops and family-run retailers. At Twice Upon a Time consignment store, a tartan throw, a Frida Kahlo embroidered pillow and four gold-rimmed glasses cost less than $100. (63 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-254-2261, twice.com) TO Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, a 90-year-old family business, friendly salespeople found the comfortable walking shoes this writer had been looking for for years. (74 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-254-2933, samsoutfitters.com)
Rent a kayak or canoe at Vermont Canoe Touring Center and launch into serenity and enjoy the foliage. Open through Columbus Day, rentals are $20-$30 per hour. (451 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT, 802-257-5008, vermontcanoetouringcenter.com)
Explore the outdoors (three hiking trails; easy to moderate difficulty) at Fort Dummer State Park (Open until mid-October; 10 a.m. to sunset). The park includes 50 pitches for tents/caravans and 10 lean-to pitches allowing you to bathe in a hot shower or a swimming hole. Overnight camping costs between $28 and $50. Admission to the park is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 4-13, free for ages 3 and under. (517 Old Guilford Road, Guilford, vtstateparks.com)
Don’t miss the 15th Annual Domino Toppling Extravaganza on October 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Admission is $5. (10 Vernon St., Brattleboro, 802-257-0124, brattleboromuseum.org)
The sweet smell of hot buttery popcorn from the on-site movie theater permeates the Hotel Latchis, where rooms are pet-friendly ($20 one-time fee), outfitted with vintage record players and vinyl records, and views of the main street or mountain. Room rates start at $140 a night. (50 Main St., Brattleboro, 802-254-6300, latchishotel.com)
KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Keene was once considered to have the widest cobbled main street in the world – and it’s still the pride and joy of a central New England downtown cast that replaced the fictional Brantford of the ‘Jumanji’ movies. “.
THINGS TO DO
Main Street is buzzing with Mexican restaurants in Mi Jalisco (463 West St., Keene, 603-354-3123, mijalisco1nh.com) and brick oven pizza at the newly reopened restaurant Fireworks. (22 Main St., 603-338-0081, fireworkskeene.com) For dessert, wander around for mini ambrosial cupcakes at Life is Sweet. (32 Central Square, Keene, 603-352-0900, lifeissweetcandystore.com)
Craft beers, from stout to juicy, are also Main Street mainstays. Can outings keep the scene bouncy (and hoppy) at Modest brewing (100 Main St., Keene, 603-352-7695, modestmanbrewing.com) Or take a beer flight in the garden at Elm City Brewery brasserie and restaurant. (222 West St., Keene, 603-355-3335, elmcitybrewing.com)
Throughout the fall, Keene’s brick crosswalks and chic storefronts invite a meander of Main Street leading inevitably to the gazebo, fountain and Civil War Soldiers’ Monument in Central Square. . Stop at Cheshire Children’s Museum for interactive exhibits (149 Emerald St., Keene, 603-903-1800, cheshirechildrensmuseum.org), and The colonial theater, a palace adorned with 1924 paintings reimagined as a center for the performing arts. (95 Main St., Keene, 603-357-1233, thecolonial.org)
Alas, nothing leafy, orange, red, or gold can remain, but in the weeks to come, fall hues will be ubiquitous from Monadnock State Park (169 Poole Rd, Jaffrey; $15 parking fee) at Cheshire Rail Trail (free), which runs through downtown Keene.
Get into the Halloween spirit at “The Gathering of Gourds” in downtown Keene with trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving from 2-7 p.m. on October 22. (facebook.com)
Other events to check out when visiting the area are Oktoberfest, with German-style food, music and games on October 8 in Stonewall Farma nonprofit agricultural education center (242 Chesterfield Rd., Keene, 603-357-7278, stonewallfarm.org) and Keene Pride celebrate National Coming Out Day with staged readings and personal stories at 7 p.m. on October 11 at Keene Public Library. (60 Winter St., Keene, 603-352-0157, Keenh.gov)
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Keene Downtown welcomes pets ($40 fee) and recently changed its free breakfast buffet to include burritos, quiches and soufflés. Room rates start at $174 a night. (30 Main St., Keene, 603-357-7070, marriott.com)