CONWAY — It’s Labor Day Weekend, and although the true start of autumn doesn’t begin until Sept. 23, thoughts turn to fall and the coming season.
Applauded by media with accolades like “most spectacular places for fall foliage” by Buzzfeed and “Best fall destination” by TripAdvisor and USA Today/10 Best, Mount Washington Valley and the White Mountains are a popular fall destination choice.
“Mother Nature simply never disappoints with her harvest hues painting a patina across the mountains,” says Marti Mayne, public relations director for the MWV Chamber of Commerce. “There are so many ways to peep a leaf in Mount Washington Valley, and that’s reason enough to come.”
“Add in special fall festivals, family fun, foliage and fairs throughout the valley and it’s no wonder this is such a popular vacation destination,” said Mayne.
Mayne advises that with more than 150 lodging properties in the valley, there’s always room for fall visitors, but it gets harder and harder to find availability the closer you get to peak foliage (which usually coincides with Columbus Day but varies by weather each year).
Pull out the calendar and start planning your fall getaway around these exciting fall festivals, fairs, fundraisers, foliage and family fun this fall — and be sure to visit local attractions.
• Aug. 31 and Sept 1 — Railfans’ Weekend: Join friends at Conway Scenic RR as they celebrate railfans with special demos, freight cars, cabooses and other trains on Saturday. There will be a special Notch Train on Sunday to Whitefield. Info: conwayccenic.com.
• Aug. 30-Sept. 2: Labor Day Tent Sales at Settlers Green: Finish off the back to school shopping and get in on some great deals at the annual tent sale at Settlers Green outlets. Info: settlersgreen.com.
• Aug. 31: Entrain at Theater in the Wood: The Believe in Books Literacy Foundation’s Saturday evening sunset music series continues in Intervale Saturday evenings through Sept. 28. The lineup includes: Aug. 31: Entrain; Sept. 7: The Blues Project; Sept. 14: Studio II: The Beatles Before America; Sept. 21: Rustic Overtones; and Sept. 28: The Rogues. Info: believeinbooks.org/sunset-concert-series.
• Aug. 31: Knots and Crosses at SMAC: Join host/owner Carol Noonan and her band for a night of folk rock at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. Other shows every week, including: Sept. 6: comedienne Paula Poundstone; Oct. 1: Rhiannon Giddens; Oct. 3: Iris DeMent; Oct. 10: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Oct. 18: An evening with the Maine Cabin Masters. Info: tinyurl.com/y5pgs5wm.
• Aug. 31-Sept. 1 and Oct. 12-13: Artisan Craft Fair, Gibson Center for Senior Services lawn: New England Crafters at their best. Info: gibsoncenter.org.
• Sept 2: Kids Fun Run at Story Land: Kids can race their way around Story Land and earn their admission for the day. Funds raised from the Fun Run go toward Believe in Books Literacy Foundation’s Bookbag Program. Info: storylandnh.com.
• Sept. 2: Ninth annual Harvey Baldwin-Bob Bramble Memorial Concert at Wildcat Tavern: A benefit for Mountain Music Center Scholarships. Buffet dinner 6-8 p.m.; music and dancing with musicians Jonathan Sarty, Don Walden, Ray Ryan, and Craig Bryan. No reservations needed. Recommended donation is $20 per person which includes the buffet. Info: mountaintopmusic.org.
• Sept. 3, 18 and 24: Lectures on 1944 Bretton Woods Economic Monetary Conference at Omni Mount Washington Hotel: Join lecturer Carl Lindblade as he speaks on the history of the 1944 Bretton Woods Economic Monetary Conference. Lectures are presented at 7 p.m. Info: tinyurl.com/y5aah56g.
• Sept 6-8: Mud Bowl 2019: World Championships of Mud Football: “Mudeo Games (as in Mud Video Games)” is the theme for this year’s Championship of Mud Football played each year at Hog Coliseum adjacent to Schouler Park. It’s touch football played in knee-deep mud with veteran teams. Add in the Tournament of Mud Parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on Main Street in North Conway with its whimsical floats and displays. Info: northconwaycommunitycenter.org/mud-bowl.
• Sept 6-8: Muster in the Mountains: A weekend of colonial reenactment at the Mt. Washington Auto Road: This event features a colonial encampment of reenactors representing the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War and Mountain Man periods from 1750 through 1840. Free and open to the public Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Info: mt-washington.com/events.
• Sept 7: Paul LeTarte Memorial Cross Country Race at Great Glen Trails: Join other cross country racers for a memorial race at Great Glen Trails. Info: GreatGlenTrails.com.
• Weekends, Sept. 7-Oct. 14: Johnny Appleseed Express on the Conway Scenic RR: New for 2019: On the Conway Scenic RR’s Valley Train stops at Densmore Orchards for a visit to the orchard and farm stand. Info: ConwayScenic.com.
• Sept. 13: Bradley Backstage: The Leaura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center at Fryeburg Academy presents an evening of Latin jazz with the Mike Levine Quintet on at 7:30 p.m. Info: fryeburgacademy.org/arts.
• Sept. 8: Vance Gilbert at the Farmstand Music Series: The Farmstand Bed and Breakfast in Chocorua features the Feel the Barn Concert Series Sunday evenings. Other performances throughout September. Info: thefarmstand.net.
• Sept. 14: Jen’s Friends Climb Against Cancer: The Climb Against Cancer at Cranmore Mountain Resort has become symbolic of the hurdles that cancer patients, survivors and their families must overcome to win the battle against cancer. People of all ages participate in the 3-mile hike up and down the slopes of Cranmore Mountain and enjoy live performances by local singers and dancers. Info: jensfriends.org.
• Sept. 14: Heritage Days: The U.S. Forest Service’s Saco District Ranger Station presents its annual celebration about the history of the once-teeming Passaconaway Valley from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with activities centered at the Russell-Colbath House and barn 7 miles west of Conway on the scenic Kancamagus Highway (Route 112). Info: (603) 447-5448 or wmiamh.org.
• Sept. 14-15: 2nd annual Sensory Sensitive Weekend at Story Land: The sights and sounds at the amusement park will be adjusted to better cater to the autistic community. Info: storylandnh.com/sensoryfriendlyinfo.
• Sept. 15: Red Parka Pub World Tricycle Downhill Grand Prix at Attitash: Starting at noon, don’t miss a day of thrills and spills on the country’s most challenging downhill tricycle course at Attitash Mountain Resort. Info: attitash.com/event/trike-race.
• Sept. 15: Mountain Top Music’s fourth annual gala: Featuring pianist Michael Arnowitt and his ImproVisions Jazz Quintet. Hosted by Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield, Maine. Info: mountaintopmusic.org/gala-2019.
• Sept. 21: Walk for the Animals at Whitaker Woods: A fun day filled with events and activities for the whole family — both two- and four-legged takes place at Whitaker Woods in North Conway, with vendors, food and contests. Info: conwayshelter.org/event/walk-for-the-animals-2019.
• Sept. 21-Oct. 27, weekends: Sherman Farm Corn Maize: Rated one of the best corn mazes in New England by Yankee Magazine, the Corn Maize at Sherman Farm, particpants can explore an intricate labyrinth of corn designed to confound even those with the best sense of direction. There are three phases in the maize, one for every ability. Info: shermanfarmnh.com/corn-maize.
• Sept. 28: 30th annual Cornish Apple Festival, Cornish, Maine: Each year, this free festival is held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the center of Cornish village in historic Thompson Park and features this season’s apples, freshly pressed cider and other apple products from local vendors. Nearby,the Cornish Historical Society offers tours that show highlights of Cornish’s history. Info: cornish-maine.org/apple-festival.
• Sept. 28: 100-Acre Challenge 5K Obstacle Adventure: Competitors run, swim, crawl and climb as this 5K challenge takes them into the mud, water, over walls, rock piles and through the wood to raise money for the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation’s Outreach Reading Program. Info: believeinbooks.org/100-acre-challenge.html.
• Fridays through Sundays, Sept. 28-Nov. 2: Ghoullog at Cranmore: Now in its 12th year of fear, this approximately 50-minute haunt features over 15,000 square feet of indoor space. Meander if you dare through dark rooms, scary mazes and unknown places, plus an outdoor element which leads the unsuspecting through the dark woods with all of the scares and screams you’ve come to expect. The Ghoullog is recommended for ages 10 and up. Info, schedule and tickets: theghoullog.com.
• Sept. 29: Fall Festival at Settlers Green: From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., shoppers enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving demonstrations and more to celebrate the start of fall in North Conway. Info: Settlersgreen.com.
• Sept. 29: MacKenzie, White and Lewis Memorial Concert: In memory of late British entertainers Rod MacKenzie, Peter White and Peter Lewis, Mountain Top Music will bring back this once annual concert at the Shannon Door Pub in Jackson, starting at 6 p.m. It will feature top local talent. mountaintopmusic.org/concert-series.
• Sept. 29-Oct. 6: Fryeburg Fair: Considered Maine’s Blue Ribbon Classic, the Fryeburg Fair has been a local tradition since 1851 when a few farmers and merchants got together to show off their harvest and animals. Now the fair takes place on 185 acres in more than 100 buildings. The eight-day fair hosts more than 3,000 animals including prize-winning draft horses, ponies, racing horses, oxen, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and rabbits. Look forward to fair food of all flavors, carnival rides, live entertainment nightly, harness racing, daily livestock showings, and a wide range of events from the sheep dog trials to skillet and anvil throw, and live concerts nightly. Info: fryeburgfair.org.
• Oct. 1-31: Return of the Pumpkin People to Jackson: The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Return of the Pumpkin People for its 35th season, Oct. 1-31. Take a self-guided tour of more than 80 different locations hosting Pumpkin People displays. Maps and People Choice Award Ballots will be available by Sept. 1. Request them by calling (603) 383-9356, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or pick one up at participating businesses throughout the Conway and Jackson Area. The event also features an “All Things Pumpkin” Festival,” Oct. 18-31. The communities of Intervale, Glen, Bartlett, Hart’s Location and Jackson offer sleigh rides with pumpkin flavored goodies, a pumpkin carving competition, pumpkin carving lessons, pumpkin tastings including, pies, cupcakes, drinks and more, open houses, contests, shopping and lodging specials.
• Oct. 12: Brew Ha Ha Fest at Purity Spring Resort, East Madison: Games and craft beers and food. Info: purityspring.com.
• Oct 12-13: 22nd annual Attitash Oktoberfest: This two-day event will feature traditional Bavarian music from the world renowned King Ludwigs Band, authentic German fare as well as a Biergarten featuring 20 different local and regional breweries serving a host of seasonal beers and ciders. Kids can enjoy games offered by the MWV Children’s Museum in the Kinderplatz while parents compete or watch the annual Keg Toss and Stein Lift competitions. It’s fun for the whole family. Info: attitash.com/event/oktoberfest.
• Oct. 12-14: Sandwich Fair: The picturesque town of Center Sandwich hosts this annual three-day country extravaganza, with live music, craft exhibits, rides, livestock exhibits and competitions and more. Gates open at 8 a.m. all three days and close when all the animals have finished competing and there are not enough people on the grounds for the rides to run. Grand Street Parade Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Info: thesandwichfair.org
• Oct. 12-13: Busker Festival at Settlers Green: Discover music around every corner on Columbus Day Weekend as street musicians play from 12-3 p.m. at Settlers Green and Settlers Crossing. Info: SettlersGreen.com.
• Oct. 18: Jackson White Mountain School of Art Exhibit and Sale: Display Oct. 19-20. Oct. 18 reception at 5 p.m. for unveiling of Jackson artist Erik Koeppel’s epic painting, “Northern Presidentials from the Glen.” Info: jacksonhistory.org.
• Oct. 18-20 and 25-27: Pumpkin Patch Express on the Conway Scenic RR: Enjoy a ride on this vintage train as it travels to the “Pumpkin Patch” in Conway, where passengers are invited to get off the train and participate in activities there. Two departures on Friday: 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., plus 3 p.m. trains on Saturdays and Sundays. Under 4 rides free in coach. Info: conwayscenic.com.
• Oct. 19: Riverfire in Berlin: See the Androscoggin River in spectacular fall bonfire glory. Info: androscogginvalleychamber.com.
• Oct. 20: Autumn Express: Join the Kiwanis Club of Mount Washington Valley and MWV Habitat for Humanity for a scenic foliage ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Notch Train. The train departs from the CSRR’s North Conway station at 11 a.m. and returns at approximately 4 p.m. Included is an hour’s layover at Crawford Station, across from Saco Lake (a small pond from which the the mighty Saco River originates) and adjacent to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center. Info: conwayscenic.com/blog/autumn-express.
• Oct. 25-26; Nov. 1-2: Murder Mystery Train, Conway Scenic Railroad, “Rock, Roll and Rigor Mortis.” Info: conwayscenic.com.
• Oct. 27: Haunted Happenings at Settlers Green: From 12-4 p.m. kids ages 12 and under trick-or-treat at Settlers Green stores. Info: SettlersGreen.com.