Why is it that New England embraces Halloween celebrations with more gusto than any other regions of the country? Perhaps it’s our early roots and tumultuous history filled with ghoulish tales like the Salem witch trials, headless horseman, and ancient burial grounds. No matter the reason, the end of October finds communities all across New England constructing large displays of carved pumpkins, cutting corn mazes and decorating haunted houses.
Here’s a look at some of the best getaways in New England to celebrate the Halloween season and to escape for some ghoulish fun:
Camden Maine – Lord Camden Inn
A delight at any time of the year, you will probably recognize the Lord Camden Inn as the center piece of Main Street. This inn started its life as a Masonic Temple and is said to be quite haunted. Their Ghostly Encounters Package includes accommodation on the 3rd floor (which is said to be most haunted), a list of ghostly sightings and even the loan of a K-3 EMF detector to help you find the friendly ghosts at the inn.
Boothbay Harbor Maine – Harbour Towne Inn
For one of the most imaginative and hysterical pumpkin celebrations, head to Damariscotta in mid-coast Maine for their Pumpkinfest and Regatta on Columbus Day Weekend, October 10-13, 2014. The main event is the Pumpkin Regatta where grown adults climb into giant gourds that have been carved out into mini-boats and race to the finish. As you can imagine, there’s lots of splashing and dunking involved. This is where you’ll see giant decorated pumpkins like no other – taking the shape of animals as well as scary faces. There’s also pumpkin hurling contests, pumpkin catapulting and a pumpkin derby. Lots of fun for everyone!
Bethel Maine – Bethel Inn Resort
Spend Halloween weekend at the scenic Bethel Inn where you’ll be introduced to the ghosts, goblins and characters of this beautiful historic property. Guests will gather around the grand fireplace for an evening of ghost stories and desserts to start the weekend off. Saturday will be spent exploring historic homesteads and the Woodland Cemetery, circa 1850. I’ve been on this tour and can attest to the fact that local ghosts love to play tricks on the tour leader! An added bonus is that the golf course is usually open for one last round, weather permitting.
North Conway New Hampshire – White Mountain Hotel and Resort
This area is chock full of the Halloween spirit. Celebrate the 8th season of Ghoullog at Cranmore where you ride the chairlift after dark if you dare, go on a spooky dark woods walk, roam through mazes and frightening rooms, and even ride the Soaring Eagle Zipline at night for some real scares and screams. Nearby you’ll also find the famous Sherman Farm corn maze and the Pumpkin People Tour in Jackson.
East Madison New Hampshire – Purity Spring Resort
This community goes all out by creating Halloween Town, a free Halloween experience for the whole family. Put on your costume and walk up the hill to Camp Tahkomeupog that has been converted to a giant haunted village. Walk the half mile long Trick or Treat Trail visiting 25 cabins that have all been decorated in Halloween themes. Be prepared however, they get progressively scary as you go. A mini-trail of four cabins is appropriate for young children.
Mendon Vermont – Red Clover Inn
Spend Halloween night (10/31/14) at the Red Clover Inn for a spooky Murder Mystery Dinner. There will be lots of chilling intrigue as guests participate in Murder At The Juice Joint during a special three course dinner. The setting is the Roaring Twenties and there will be murder, mayhem and The Mob!
Plymouth Massachusetts – John Carver Inn & Spa
The site where English settlers first stepped foot in the new world is a great place to find lots of ghost stories. The John Carver Inn has a package that includes wandering through the corn maze, taking a ride on the Grain Train to the Pumpkin Patch where you’ll find lots of festivities including a corn cannon. Take a 90 minute walk along the Ghosts and Legends trail to find the most haunted places in Plymouth.
Hancock Massachusetts – Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
Every year gets more elaborate at the 13 Nights at Jiminy celebration – instead of back to school, it’s back to Ghoul. The 40 minute experience is filled with lots of terrifying surprises.
Providence Rhode Island – Historic Jacob Hill Inn
Providence goes all out with a Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the zoo with thousands of illuminated carved pumpkins. 5,000 jack-o-lanterns are carved, illuminated and placed along the wetland trail in Roger Williams Park. “Over 100,000 people have come in each of the past four years to enjoy the night time show, and last year’s Spectacular set an all-time record of over 135,000 visitors”. Bring the whole family and top it off with a stay at an historic inn.
Old Saybrook Connecticut – Saybrook Point Inn & Spa
Starting on October 31st, the Saybrook Point Inn welcomes their first annual Pumpkins On The Point celebration which will feature 350 hand-carved pumpkin creations. Celebrants can go on the tricks and treats trail, take hayrides, and tour the haunted cemetery dating back to 1635. The inns’ getaway package also includes tickets to nearby Chamard Vineyards for the haunted-themed masquerade party.