Western Maryland

Fall foliage in Garrett County, where the annual Autumn Glory Festival begins in October. (Courtesy Garrett County Chamber of, Baltimore Sun / September 16, 2011)

As summer's fleeting charms begin to fade, fall swirls into view in a burst of kaleidoscopic color. Relish autumn's arrival with 50 nifty travel ideas for the Mid-Atlantic region: from leaf peeping and leisurely drives, to museum-hopping, fall-inspired menus, Halloween delights and more, to usher in this glowing season of change.


1. Nestled amid the abundant trees of Maryland's largest forest, Savage River Lodge is an ideal starting place for leaf peeping. The handsome three-story lodge boasts a grand stone fireplace and the onsite cabins have oversized soaking tubs, plus porches with rocking chairs. The lodge offers several packages to add to your stay. The Art & Nature package is $118 and includes tours of Fallingwater, the iconic home by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, plus a gourmet picnic lunch. Rates for cabins start at $185 per night. Go to savageriverlodge.com.

2. Escape to Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor for the "Fantastic Fall Getaway." The resort offers comfy rooms, entertainment, fountain shows, dining and a spa, all in a waterfront setting. Enjoy National Harbor special fall events, including Das Best Oktoberfest (Sept 24-25) and Restaurant Week (Oct. 3-16).The package, available through Nov. 17, includes $50 in dining credits and room rates start at $189 per night. Call 301-965-4000.

3. Now that the kids are back to school, why not check into the Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington for a grown-up slumber party? The hotel's fall package for two adults includes one night's accommodations, a $100 dining credit for celebrity chef Art Smith's onsite restaurant, Art and Soul — plus a copy of his cookbook. Rates start at $249 per night, available Sept. 23-Feb. 29. Call 202-638-1616.

4. Located two blocks from the White House, The St. Regis in Washington fetes autumn with a tie-in to The National Museum of American History's "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" exhibit. Guests stay in the luxurious Caroline Astor Suite and receive a private tour of the museum. Rates start at $509 per night, available Thursday-Saturday. Go to starwoodhotels.com/stregis.

5. Keswick Hall in Charlottesville, Va., offers brilliant eye candy for fall travelers. Reds and yellows paint the Blue Ridge Mountains, the background for the historic hotel that sits on a 600-acre estate brimming with history. Seasonal resort activities include pumpkin carving and apple picking. Keswick's Autumn Gourmet Package includes accommodations, breakfast, dinner, and a wine tasting for two. Rates start at $380 per night through Nov. 30. Go to http://www.keswick.com/autumn.

6. With crisp weather and beautiful foliage, Colonial Williamsburg is tailor made for fall. Beyond the history here, there's fine dining, spa treatments, and golfing. The Autumn Stories Package, available through Nov. 27, offers a chance to hit the links and view art exhibits. At night, ghost stories add an extra thrill. Rates start at $109 per person. Go to history.org.

7. Peep fall foliage along the scenic Potomac River with the "Bike and Cruise" package at Kimpton's Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Va. The two-night offer includes a bike tour along the Mount Vernon Trail and a boat cruise return aboard the Miss Christin. Rates start at $249 per night. Call 800-368-5047 or go to monaco-alexandria.com.

8. The Inn at Lambertville Station, nestled in charming Lambertville, N.J., has just unveiled 45 Ethan Allen redesigned rooms, with waterfront views. Perfect for leaf peeping, Lambertville is a quaint town, lined with art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. In the fall, the historic Delaware-Raritan Canal tow path offers scenic vistas and the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad features "Fall Foliage Trains" – a nearly three-hour journey to take in fall colors. Go to lambertvillestation.com

9. The lovely inn known as the E.B. Morgan House is situated right on the shores of The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway in Aurora, N.Y. It offers picturesque views of the water and great old trees surrounding the property. The byway runs 87 miles around the lake offering beautiful scenery in addition to four state parks, a National Wildlife Refuge, and a number of wineries, shops and restaurants. Go to ebmorganhouse.com.

10. Celebrate autumn New England-style at Forty 1 North in Newport, R.I. The marina-side hotel boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, eco-friendly features, two restaurants, plus fireplaces and iPads in every room/suite. Seasonal deals include the Fall Harvest package, offering a two-night stay, a "Harvest Supper" showcasing farm-to-table fall vegetables and the "Anona, Goddess of the Harvest" cocktail. Rates start at $930 for two through Nov. 30. Wednesday overnight required. Go to 41north.com.

Food and wine

11. Celebrate Harvest and Crush weekend Sept. 24-25 along Maryland's Piedmont Wine Trail. At Boordy Vineyards, the event includes food, live music, wine pairings and sampling of ripe grapes followed by the wine they will become. Go to piedmontwinetrail.com.

12. For Marylanders who love seafood in season, fall means oysters. Whether you like to eat 'em raw, fried, broiled, or grilled, chances are you'll find them at the annual St. Mary's County Oyster Festival, held on the local fairgrounds. From cook-offs to a national oyster shucking contest, music and more, the bi-valves will take center stage on Oct. 16-17. Go to usoysterfest.com.

13. Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va., is a casual coffee bar and eatery where gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, beignets and other Nawlins' delicacies are proudly served by Louisiana-born chef owner David Guas. During the fall pecan harvest, the award-winning pastry chef also whips up pecan pie and sweet potato tarts. Go to bayoubakeryva.com.

14. What better time than fall to embark on an exotic gastronomic adventure? For one night only in Washington, Behroush Sharifi, aka "The Saffron King," will join forces with Rodney Scruggs, executive chef of Occidental Grill & Seafood, to host a "Global Feast for the Senses." The five-course, spice-themed dinner promises eclectic dishes infused with nutmeg, cinnamon, black cumin, and long pepper, to name a few. The Oct. 20 event is $110 per person. Call 202-783-1475 or go to occidentaldc.com.

15. Throughout October, celebrate Virginia Wine Month, a series of festivals, hotel packages and great deals on wine. The Richmond International Wine Excursion kicks off Oct. 28 and 29, and features tastings, a "locavore" luncheon and other global cuisine. Several hotels are offering packages, including the posh Jefferson Hotel and the cozy Linden Row Inn. Go to visitrichmondva.com/wine.

16. The Thomas Jefferson Wine Festival has quickly become one of Virginia's premier wine events each fall. The third annual festival, set for Nov. 19 on the grounds of Poplar Forest, the president's historic retreat, will bring together area wineries, artisans, local food purveyors, music and more. Tickets are $20 in advance. Go to thomasjeffersonwinefestival.eventbrite.com or call 434-534-8120.