Autumn and winter fun in New England

Winter fun in New England 2015

New England is turning up the heat this autumn and winter with exciting tours, trips and some of the biggest and quirkiest events in the United States.

Visit any of the region’s six states  - Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut or Rhode Island -  to take part in one of these exciting events. Witness hundreds of Santas simultaneously skiing downhill, get spooked in historic Salem, enjoy cool winter carnivals, overnight tours to extreme mountain summits, or even a chowder festival or wildlife steam train tour.

Salem’s ‘Haunted Happenings’, Massachusetts - 1 to 31 October 2015
Famed for the Witch Trails of 1692, historic Salem will host ‘Haunted Happenings’ over the Halloween season. Join approximately 250,000 visitors for spooky events from séances and terrifying candlelit tours to masquerade balls and Halloween festivities. Highlights include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights on Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations. www.hauntedhappenings.org

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Rhode Island – 1 October to 1 November 2015
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island will see over 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns and 100 artistically carved pumpkins light up the zoo’s Wetland’s Trail every evening (Monday to Saturday) throughout October. www.rwpzoo.org

Wellfleet Oysterfest, Massachusetts - 17 to 18 October 2015
Combine oyster shucking and delicious clams and shellfish with stunning coastal views Wellfleet’s annual Oysterfest - a two day festival celebrating Cape Cod’s bountiful seafood. Sample the local cuisine and take part in arts and crafts fairs, educational programmes, cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, walking tours, live music, a 5k road race and an annual ‘Oyster Shuck-Off’ competition. www.wellfleetoysterfest.org

Brewfest, Acadia National Park, Maine - 10 to 11 October 2015
As the rest of the US gears up to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, Maine’s Acadia National Park is already offering the chance to get the first round in at Beerfest, a celebration of the State’s delicious beers at Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. Enjoy tastings, live bands, wine and cheese tasting and a programme of sports events and games. www.acadiaoktoberfest.com

Chowdafest, Connecticut - 11 October 2015
A celebration of New England’s famous chowder in the stunning Sherwood State Park in Westwood, Connecticut. The event will see 40 of the region’s top restaurants come together for a chowder cook-off, offering visitors the chance to sample some of the best creamy New England Chowder, the tomato based Rhode Island Chowder, a “Creative chowder”,  ‘farm to fork’ culinary offerings and a range of local brews. www.chowdafest.org

Pumpkin Festival, New Hampshire – 24 October 2015
Downtown Laconia will be filled to the brim with pumpkins for the 25th Annual Pumpkin Festival. Special attractions include a Pumpkin Express train, a special ‘Pumpkin Alley’, a 10k and 5k run, pumpkin bowling, a haunted textile mill, food and crafts stalls and a competitive Pumpkin Dump Derby to clear the streets at the end of the day. www.pumpkinfestival2015.org

Blackstone Valley Polar Express, Rhode Island - select dates from 20 November to 20 December 2015
Great for families, take a magical 90-minute train ride on the Providence & Worcester Railroad from the charming town of Woonsocket in America’s smallest state Rhode Island. Enjoy story reading of the famous children’s book “Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg (a Rhode Island classic), hot chocolate and cookies, a special Christmas gift and a holiday sing-a-long. www.blackstonevalleypolarexpress.com

President Coolidge Open House, Vermont – 6 December 2015
A rare opportunity to explore the birthplace and family home of President Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vermont. The village, virtually unchanged since the early 20th century is home to a local community church, cheese factory, one-room schoolhouse and a general store. Discover old-time music, craft demonstrations, sleigh rides and children’s holiday activities. www.nps.gov/nr/travel/presidents/calvin_coolidge_homestead.html

Santa Ski Run at Sunday River, Maine – December 2015
Celebrate the festive season by watching around 250 Santas ski down the slopes at Sunday River in Newbury, Maine - one of the region’s best ski resorts. Now in its 16th year, the event provides an entertaining spectacle as the ski lifts fill with Santas ready to schuss down the lower slopes of the South Ridge. www.sundayriver.com/events-and-activities/events-calendar/santa-sunday

Stowe Carnival, Vermont – 17 to 25 January 2015
The 41st Annual Stowe Carnival will be an exciting celebration of all things winter; featuring 20 major events from zany sports tournaments (such as Snow golf, Snow volleyball and Broomball)  to carnivals, ski movies and NICA sanctioned ice carving competitions and demonstrations. Take advantage of the great winter shopping, award-winning dining and world-class skiing and snowboarding. www.stowewintercarnival.com

Overnight at the Summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire - select weekends between January and March 2015
A rare opportunity to spend a night at the summit of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, the highest peak in North Eastern America (known for its weather extremes). The Mount Washington Observatory is offering overnight EduTrips, which include a night at the top at the Weather Station at 6,288 feet above sea level, a full day of sightseeing, an alpine adventure and a hearty dinner. www.mountwashington.org/experience-the-weather/summit-adventures/overnights.aspx

Eagle Flyer Vintage Train Rides, Connecticut - 14 to 16 February 2015
A vintage train ride through Connecticut’s wintry landscapes in search of wildlife and Bald Eagles. This 2.5 hour eco-tour on the Essex Steam Train provides a unique view of the Connecticut River Valley from the cosy confines of charming vintage rail cars. Stopping at Deep River, Chester and Haddam, learn more about the wildlife from an on-board conservationist. www.essexsteamtrain.com/special-events/eagle-flyer