Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA

If you grew up in New England, you most likely took an elementary school field trip to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. When I was publicizing my upcoming trip to Sturbridge Village, dozens of friends, followers, and readers exclaimed “oh I loved going there as a kid!” It is definitely a must visit, but not just when you’re in elementary school. As an adult, I have been able to recall some parts of the village from past visits, yet I still learned a lot of new things when we visited this past weekend.

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Enjoying a New England Fall With Kids Without Looking at Leaves

I love that I grew up in New England, and recent travels have confirmed I will always be a New Englander. One of my favorite things about living in New England is the change in seasons, and there is (arguably) nothing more beautiful than fall in New England. However, I would argue that it takes a more “mature” desire to spend significant time looking at foliage. I don’t know too many toddlers, children, or teenagers who enjoy going for long drives in the country just to look at leaves. If your children are anything like mine, they like to do things, especially when the weather is still warm enough to be outside for extended periods of time.

Here is a list of some of my family’s favorite things to do in the Northeast during the fall and links to full, detailed blog post. Yes, you’ll still see plenty of beautiful foliage while traveling to these spots, but your children will be happily engaged, entertained, and energized:

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Dutchess County, New York

Dutchess County, located in southeastern New York, spans from Fishkill and Beacon to Rhinebeck and Red Hook covering (in total) thirty cities, towns, and villages. There are literally hundreds of ways to explore the area, but I thought I would share twelve ways families can enjoy all that Dutchess County has to offer together. The county borders western Connecticut and is about 90 minutes from Manhattan. Driving from the north end of Red Hook south to Beacon takes less than an hour, so you won't spend days in the car exploring the area.

Start your planning by checking out DutchessTourism.com, which is a well organized, well informed network of suggestions for eating, staying, and exploring the county.  They have a section dedicated to family fun and even have itineraries broken up in one, three, and five day stays (in additional to organizing suggestions for shopping, craft beer, spa, LGBT and other themed trips).

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Grant's Farm, St. Louis, Missouri

One of my favorite roads trip our family has taken was a three week trip from Connecticut to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We spent a few days in St Louis, Missouri and one of our highlights was a visit to Grant’s Farm.         Note: this post has been fact checked as of March 2018.

Grant’s Farm was originally owned Julia Grant's family. After the Civil War, it was purchased by Julia's husband, Ulysses S. Grant, and then by the Busch family, makers of Anheuser-Busch beers,  in the early 1900s. Located about twenty minutes southwest of of downtown St Louis, it’s open from April through October, with full time hours during the summer months, and limited hours in April, September, and October.  The farm is home to dozens of animals, including elephants, deer, kangaroos, donkeys, goats, buffalo, and the famous Clydesdale horses.

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Bristol, Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, size wise, in the country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in inviting beaches, interactive history, and plenty of family friendly activities.

Bristol, a town of about 23,000 people, is located between Newport (look for upcoming posts!) and the state capitol, Providence. A few years ago, my husband and I taught academic courses for Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth summer program on the campus of Roger Williams University. We were able to spend time getting to know this beautiful town that separates Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay. Here are some of our favorite spots: (and I did fact check to make sure information is up to date as of June 2017)

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