Special Report

40 Charming Small Towns to Visit This Fall

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21. Saranac Lake, New York

In the late 19th century, urbanites looking for a “fresh air cure” for tuberculosis began flocking to this area in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. Today, people still come to Saranac Lake for its fresh air and to experience outdoor activities, such as hiking or climbing Saranac Lake 6ers — six mountain peaks near the town. In the village, there are opportunities for dining and shopping. Visitors can browse the art-related shops and galleries, or check out The Community Store — the state’s only community-owned department store. The cuisine is abundant with local seasonal ingredients, including maple syrup.

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22. Lake Placid, New York

Known as one of the oldest vacation destinations in America, Lake Placid is home to year-round outdoor activities and Olympic history. The Adirondack Mountains and their lakes offer hiking, fishing, boating, and golfing. The Adirondack Park spans six million acres, or one-fifth of the state, and is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. The region is also full of history, with historic military sites like Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga. But Lake Placid is probably most famous for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, and is still a training destination for top athletes. Visitors can explore its sports history and check out several Olympic venues.

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23. Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Blowing Rock is called the “Crown of the Blue Ridge” for its outdoor beauty, with hiking, biking, climbing, and more activities. The quaint town also offers great shopping, food and three wineries within a quick drive. Attractions include the family friendly Tweetsie Railroad and The Blowing Rock, “North Carolina’s Oldest Travel Attraction,” with its many myths and legends. Visitors can also check out the former country estate of Moses Cone, a textile entrepreneur. Located on 3,500-acres, the estate features carriage trails and a mansion, now home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, featuring 900 artisans selected for their “high quality craftsmanship and design.”

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24. Weaverville, North Carolina

Conveniently located ten minutes from both downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Weaverville features a main street full of restaurants, galleries, and artiss’ studios. In the fall, visitors can explore the art scene with the Weaverville Art Safari – Studio Tour, with over 50 artists in their studios and galleries. For beautiful scenery, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway or check out Alexander Mountain Bike Park and its seven miles of trails. To see what 19th-century life was like in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance, the 37th and 43rd governor of North Carolina, and a U.S. senator in the mid 1800s.

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25. Defiance, Ohio

This historic area is situated in the heart of the Maumee River Valley, with three rivers to take in, along with scenic views and surrounding farmland. There are also three major trails to explore in the region — North Country Trail, Buckeye Trail, and Maumee Water Trail. Check out the history of the area at the Andrew L. Tuttle Memorial Museum or the site of the old French Apple Tree in Pontiac Park, which honors Johnny Appleseed’s influence. The revitalized downtown promises 40 locally owned retail merchants and uniquely local cuisine. Food lovers can also check out the Defiance Rib Fest in late September, with BBQ ribs, beer, music, and football games.