Summer is sadly coming to an end, but luckily for us, the Fall Equinox is upon us. The days of blistering heat, swimming and sipping on cold drinks poolside may be a thing of the past, but that just means cool fall days are in order. Just picture it, a crisp autumn day, the leaves are changing all around you and the smell of apple cider donuts lingers in the air. You’re spending your days at the farm with the family, picking pumpkins that will later be carved into funny faces. Maybe you’re picking apples and preparing your famous apple pie recipe. Or, perhaps you’re attending a fun festival with a delicious craft beverage in hand.
No matter what your autumn itinerary entails, all of fall’s fun activities are easily accessible via Amtrak. Whether you’re traveling to the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, Central or Western New York, fall enjoyment is at your fingertips. Take a look at some of New York by Rail’s favorite fall activities.
Distance from Pier 15 to Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station (NYP): 3.6 miles
If you live in New York City, you won’t necessarily have to travel far to experience some fall festivities. Oktoberfest NYC at Pier 15 runs from Sept. 10 to Oct. 24. If you’re a beer enthusiast, this is the place for you. Enjoy authentic German beer while partaking in the traditional Oktoberfest experience. Try classic German food like giant pretzels and brats. The festival is free, but make sure to reserve a free RSVP before attending. Why travel to Munich, Germany when all of the fun is right within your reach?
Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Distance to Cortlandt Manor from Croton-Harmon Station (CRT): 0.7 miles
We still have some time before Halloween, but the holiday surely makes the fall season extra special. Westchester is home to plenty of fun fall activities, but one of its greatest is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Cortlandt Manor, which is accessible via Croton-Harmon Station. This spectacular event runs from Sept. 17 through Nov. 21 and has both indoor and outdoor activities. Peruse a fantastic, decorative array of jack o’lanterns throughout the property. Some popular themes are repeated at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, so keep an eye out for some unique pumpkin displays. Some favorites include Undersea Aquarium, Skeleton Experience, Buzzing Beehive and Flesh-Eating Plants.
Headless Horseman Haunted Hayrides
Distance from Ulster Park to Poughkeepsie Station (POU): 13.6 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at POU and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Poughkeepsie office: 845-485-2222.
Can’t get enough of Halloween? If you’re looking to get a head start on your favorite spooky season festivities, you’ll want to head to Poughkeepsie Station. Nearby is Ulster Park, which hosts the annual Headless Horseman Haunted Hayrides. Starting Sept. 25 and ending Oct. 31, you can enjoy an experience that’s hauntingly fun. New this year is The Haunting of Pumpkin Jack, a haunted walking trail experience. Whether you’re taking the hayride or embarking on the haunted walking trail, you’ll be sure to have some spooky fun.
New York State Sheep and Wool Festival
Distance from Dutchess County Fairgrounds to Rhinecliff-Kingston Station (RHI): 3.5 miles
It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley is home to some fall magic. The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival is a Hudson Valley fall staple that anyone and everyone can enjoy. Held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, this festival highlights Rhinebeck’s great country charm. For only $12 per person from Oct. 16-17, you can get a first-hand look into the sheep industry of the Northeast. Watch sheep herding demonstrations and check out a petting zoo, a surplus of artists and crafts, competitions, sheep sales and a plethora of vendors.
Hudson Valley Garlic Festival
Distance from Small World Avenue to Rhinecliff-Kingston Station (RHI): 15.5 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at RHI and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Kingston office: 845-336-4700.
Garlic lovers, come one, come all! The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties is back this year in 2021 from Oct. 2 – 3. This year, the fall favorite will be hosted with a little extra space to ensure safety against Covid-19. In consideration of Covid-19, attractions and activities in enclosed spaces won’t be involved in the festival this year. However, there’s still plenty of fall enjoyment in store. As usual, the Garlic Festival will host garlic farmers, food vendors, craft vendors, live music on three stages and the Arm of the Sea Theater.
Distance to Engelke Farms from Albany-Rensselaer Station (ALB): 12.6 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at ALB and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Albany office: 518-427-3893.
One of the greatest aspects of the fall season is visiting farms. New York is filled with great farms all over, but if you’re looking for one in the Capital Region, you’ll want to check out Engelke Farms near Albany. Engelke Farms is a prime location for pumpkin picking with family and friends. The fall season at the farm offers an exciting array of activities like hayrides, zip lines, a corn maze and pumpkin patches. Also at the farm are mums and cold weather crop produce. While you’re there, be sure to grab a delicious fall treat like an apple cider donut.
Fall Foliage Art in the Park
Distance to Chaffee Art Center from Rutland Station (RUD): 0.7 miles
New York may be filled to the brim with great fall activities, but it’s not the only state boasting fall fun that’s reachable by Amtrak. The Fall Foliage Art in the Park festival at the Chaffee Art Center is easily accessible when taking the Ethan Allen Express to Rutland Station. Art in the Park is a prime Vermont event in both summer and fall. From Oct. 9-10, you can witness fine arts and crafts. Aside from the fantastic art, the festival will be serving products from some of Vermont’s greatest vineyards, breweries and distilleries.
Heritage Hill Brewhouse
Distance to Heritage Hill Brewery from Syracuse Station (SYR): 16 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at SYR and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Syracuse office: 315-423-0022.
More interested in craft beverages than pumpkin picking? There is an abundance of breweries, wineries and distilleries in Syracuse, but Heritage Hill Brewhouse certainly shines bright, especially during the fall. Not only does the brewery serve seasonal brews like the Oh My, Pumpkin Pie beer, but it’s also hosting its own Oktoberfest Anniversary party from Oct. 1-3. Enjoy the 175th anniversary of the farm with family-oriented activities like hot air balloon rides and a children’s bouncy house. Experience classic Oktoberfest experiences with German fare, live music and a Biergarten.
Distance to Wickham Farms from Rochester Station (ROC): 10.4 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at ROC and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Rochester office: 585-423-2220.
I think we can all agree that one of fall’s greatest highlights is apple picking. Apple pie, apple strudel, apple crisp or just plain apples, apple picking is always a tasty way to enjoy your fall. Many might think of the Hudson Valley and Long Island when they think of apple picking, but the rest of New York has plenty of locations. Out in Western New York, Wickham Farms has Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Gala and soon, McIntosh. Wickham Farms also hosts its own Fall Harvest Festival that runs from Sept. 7 to Oct. 31., so be sure to take in all of Rochester’s fall amusement while you’re there.
Great Pumpkin Farm
Distance from Great Pumpkin Farm to Buffalo Depew Station (BUF): 12.3 miles
Rent a car from Enterprise! Enterprise picks you up at BUF and takes you to your rental car. Use the code, NYTRAIN, for a discount when making your reservation. Click here to reserve your car or call Enterprise’s Buffalo-Depew office: 716-565-5400.
If you’re looking to venture further West than Rochester, Buffalo is home to its own fall attractions. The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence is another farm hosting a fall festival. From Sept. 18 through Oct. 31, each weekend at the Great Pumpkin Farm has its own unique event. Although the World Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest has passed, you can look forward to live music, the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off, Pumpkin Olympics, zombie corn maze and so much more. If you’re not visiting on a weekend, you can still engage in some autumnal excitement. Pick pumpkins, ride the cow train, embark on the zombie paintball train, watch magic shows, juggling and plenty more. It’s fair to say it’s probably impossible to be bored at this Buffalo farm.