Experience Fall in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Picture perfect foliage. Quintessential New England charm. Annual fall festivals. Tasty local bites & brews.

It’s hard to describe fall in the NEK – it’s more about looking around and soaking it all in. Vibrant hues of red, orange, yellow, and gold. Local folks selling pumpkins and apples on countryside roads. Breweries crafting up a taste of the season. And communities reveling in the opportunity to host a celebration under a cascade of color.

Peak foliage viewing is typically the first week of October. Follow Vermont’s Foliage Forecaster for weekly updates throughout the season or sign up for their Fall Foliage Report e-newsletter to get updates sent to your inbox.

We’ll be posting stunning shots on our Facebook and Instagram, and if you find yourself sharing photos from your adventure through the Kingdom, don’t forget to tag #getNEKedVT.

Explore Season-Long Autumn Activities

Head to the Eastern Trek to meander a side of the Kingdom where recreation, arts, food, and history are thriving. While in this area, don’t forget to check out the Kingdom Corn Maze & PYO Pumpkin Patch in Sutton or one of the many live performances presented by Catamount Arts.  Looking for the ultimate fall excursion along the Eastern Trek? Take a scenic drive:

St. Johnsbury – Spaulding Road Afternoon Trip, 5.6 miles
Start at the First Congregation Church in St. Johnsbury on Breezy Road, turn left on Lackey Hill Road and take a slight right onto Spaulding Road. Continue on Spaulding Rd to Sweet Seasons Farm & Artisans Confections in St. Johnsbury for apple picking and treats. Then head southeast on Spaulding Rd for a visit to Dog Mountain (hiking trails, Dog Chapel, scenic views) before stopping for lunch at Papa Tirozzi’s new location (2165 Portland Street).  Stop at Maple Grove Farms of VT on your way back into town for a maple creemee and to learn the history of the industry that made St. Johnsbury the Maple Center of the World.

Upcoming Eastern Trek Events

Burke Fall Festival
Saturday, September 24, Beginning at 10am


Celebrate the season at the Burke Fall Festival, voted a Top 10 Vermont Event in Fall 2020! This annual festival takes place in the East Burke Village and features fun for the whole family including a parade and craft show, children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, a rubber duck race, food & drink, live music, and more.

Bears and Brews at Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium St. Johnsbury
Saturday, October 1, 3– 7 PM

BrewFest at Fairbanks MuseumA festival like no other! Sample small-batch craft beer from multiple area breweries while you get the low-down about foraging, fermenting, and tasting from the brewers who know it best. Enjoy local food and live music as you explore the museum grounds and galleries.

COVID vaccination or negative test required. See website for other important event details. 

Fall Dog Party, St. Johnsbury
Saturday, October 1, Noon – 4pm

The perfect fall festival for your four-legged friends! Head to Dog Mountain for their annual Fall Dog Party on Saturday, October 1. Enjoy live music, delicious eats and sweet treats, special events, and contests for the pups including the Doggie Walk of Fame with Pup-arazzi. The event also includes a scavenger hunt, bounce house, raffle, lawn games, doggie agility course, a magic show and more. This event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. 

Halloween Weekend at Kingdom Corn Maze, Sutton
Saturday & Sunday, October 15 & 16, 10am – 5pm

Things are getting spooky at Kingdom Corn Maze on October 15 & 16 for a Halloween Weekend celebration. This year’s festivities feature trick-or-treating in Charlotte’s Web Animal Maze, a Candy Cannon Blast, PYO pumpkins, a Halloween tattoo station, and plenty of games, prizes and activities.

Kingdom Corn Maze is open regular hours throughout the season. Visit their website for details.

Farm & Field Autumn Activities

Riddled with rolling hills and curving valleys, you’ll encounter quiet back roads with stunning views, farm stands stocked with fresh VT produce, and plenty of State Parks perfect for walking, biking, bird watching and sightseeing.This area is also home to the largest maze in New England thanks to the Great Vermont Corn Maze, which is now open six days a week. Plan out your own itinerary or spend a day soaking up the scenery on a ride from Hardwick to Craftsbury.

Hardwick to Craftsbury Scenic Route, 18 miles
Before starting your drive, stop in Connie’s Kitchen for a breakfast sandwich or pastry. Then head east on VT-15 East, take Center Rd to E Craftsbury Rd/Town Highway 1 continue straight through Greensboro where you can take in the views of Caspian Lake. Continue heading north and turn right onto S Craftsbury Rd. Continue straight onto Wylie Hill Rd and finish your route at Mill Village Pottery to check out some beautiful handcrafted pottery.

Upcoming Farm & Field Events

19th Annual Autumn on the Green, Danville
Sunday, October 1, 10am – 4pm

autumn_on_the_green_logoOver 200 vendors will be set up on the Danville Green offering a large array of specialty items during this award-winning showcase. Shop original artwork, pottery, antiques, knitwear, quilts, baskets, and much more or get a taste of the season with Vermont-made maple, cheese, pumpkin, cider, jams, jellies, and more. Food vendors, live music and stunning fall foliage round out this free event. 

Festival Day, Groton
Saturday, October 1, 9am – 4pm

Find something that suits your interests during Festival Day in Groton, Saturday, October 1. Visit Peter Paul Historical House to view artifacts and collections of Groton’s rich history. Visit the Library to check out the Book Sale, or stroll down Main Street and shop the Art & Craft vendors.

At 10:30am, the Great Pumpkin Weigh-In will take place, followed by the Annual Parade led by the Blue Mountain School Band at 1:30pm. The celebration will end with the 66th Annual Chicken Pie Supper, with multiple serving times available.

Mountain & Lake Autumn Activities

Considered one of the most authentic and pristine areas of New England, the Mountain & Lake Getaway is the northernmost region of the NEK, offering vast open land, towering mountain peaks, and pristine waters that somehow turn even more gorgeous this time of year.

Take in the views during a fall cruise on the Northern Star or PYO apples at Rooty’s Apple Orchard.  The Old Stone House Museum & Historic Site, which is well-known for its stunning autumn vistas, will remain open through mid-October; the route to get there is something in itself! 

Old Stone House Scenic Drive to Newport, 9 miles
After visiting the Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village, take a scenic drive up to Newport for a late lunch or dinner in Newport. Head northwest on Old Stone House Rd and take a right onto Hinman Settler Rd. Turn left onto Schuler Rd and continue onto VT-191 N/Access Rd. Turn left onto Western Ave, then right onto Railroad Square crossing over Lake Memphremagog heading into downtown Newport.

Upcoming Mountain & Lake Getaway Events

Newport Fall Festival
Saturday, September 24

Newport Fall Festival_ChilifestCelebrate the turning of the leaves at the Newport Fall Festival! Taking place in downtown and throughout Main Street, this year’s festivities include a photo contest, scarecrow contest, Farmers’ Market, Quilt Show, and of course, the Chilifest Contest.

Alexander Twilight Day, Brownington
Sunday, September 25, 1 – 8pm

Celebrate the birthday of Alexander Lucius Twilight and his life of accomplishments at Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village. 

This year’s celebration features a Twilight Cake Bake-Off, ice cream singing and birthday songs, and plenty of seasonal festivities ranging from apple tastings in their Heritage Apple Orchard to making cider with an old apple press.  This event is free to attend, donations are appreciated.

Fly to Pie Kingdom Marathon, Various Locations
Saturday, October 1

Lace up and head out on a fall foliage run, walk, or bike through “the gut” of the Northeast Kingdom. There’s a route for every type of athlete (26.2-mile, 17-mile, 13.5-mile, 10 km races), making this a great race for both individuals and families. Each route leads to Parker Pie in West Glover, with all you can eat pizza and a cash bar with Hill Farmstead and other local brews on tap. Prizes and trophy awarded for top placement. 

Grateful 2022, Newport
Saturday, October 8, 8am – 9pm

One of the most unique events happening in the NEK this fall is Grateful 2022, a single-day, 3-course event hosted by Memphremagog Trails. This event combines the excitement and pace of cyclocross with the grueling slog of singletrack mountain bike racing. This community event features a free children’s race for ages 3 – 6 as well as food and drink vendors. There will also be a Farmer’s Market taking place with local vendors and artisans.

9th Annual Fall Festival at Vermont Reindeer Farm, Orleans
Saturday & Sunday, October 8 & 9, 10am – 3pm

Bring the family to Vermont Reindeer Farm for their 9th Annual Fall Festival, featuring a variety of activities for all ages and interests. Take a Candy Cane Walk through the forest to collect a treat. Visit with the farm animals. Go on a tractor drawn hayride. Support a local artisan at the Craft and Vendor Fair in the Pavilion. Enjoy tasty fall treats. 

Admission is $10 (ages 2 and under free) and proceeds from the event help care for the animals. Courtesy Photo. 

13th Annual Bean & Brew Festival, Jay Peak
Saturday, October 15, Noon – 6pm

Head to Stateside Base Lodge on Saturday, October 15 for Jay Peak’s 13th Annual Bean & Brew Festival. This event features locally-roasted coffees and some of New England’s finest beers, ciders, and more – it’s the perfect place to quench your thirst and savor the flavors of fall! Live music and lawn games will round out this afternoon of sampling. Tickets are $30 and you must be 21+.

Enjoy More Scenic Drives

Craft the perfect playlist, gas up the car, charge your camera batteries, and head out on a scenic drive to experience the glorious colors. Take a ride along one of our suggested routes – or head out on a journey of your own.

About the Author

Share this post