With the onset of November comes beautiful weather, plentiful sightseeing opportunities, and family- (and food-) filled holidays. If you are lucky enough to have some time off during this autumnal month, take your loved ones on a road trip to any one of these noteworthy places, all of which offer special Thanksgiving festivities, seasonal events, or noteworthy scenic sightseeing. Without further ado, let’s explore the 10 best small towns to visit in November.
10. Stowe, Vermont
The north-central town of Stowe is well-known for its stunning fall foliage, skiing opportunities, and breathtaking scenic trails. Located at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, there are many places to reconnect with nature. Stay in the historic Trapp Family Ski Lodge or opt for more natural lodging by camping in Smugglers Notch State Park. If you are in the area, it also hosts the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival in October and a variety of Thanksgiving celebrations throughout November. Two of the most popular activities to take part in are the horse-drawn wagon rides through town and the turkey trot.
9. Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock is located in central Vermont, making it the perfect hub for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. While it is a great destination to visit at any time of year, the peak season is in the fall — when the autumnal colors are at their peak. Billings Farm and Museum offers interactive exhibits and scientific explanations for any and all of your farm-related questions. When in Vermont, you cannot pass on the maple syrup either, so make sure to stop by Sugarbush Farm to get a taste of farm-fresh, homemade cheese and pure maple syrup! In November, this rural farm is also the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll through the autumnal woods, but make sure to stop by the trees they tap to see maple syrup straight from the source!
If your special interest leans more toward ancient architecture and historic buildings, visit the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Museum for its Victorian mansion tours, museum, and nearby hiking trails. Nevertheless, if you come during August, you might miss the peak viewing time for the state’s vibrant-colored leaves, but you will still be able to experience the Vermont Film Festival. This event is one of the most highly acclaimed regional film festivals in the world! It typically takes place at the end of August each year. The festival includes film screenings, private musical concerts, expert conversation panels, and celebrity appearances. The annual Wassail Weekend occurs each December and transforms the town into a winter wonderland! During this festive weekend, Woodstock features twinkling lights, decorated Christmas trees, caroling, horse parades, and lots of holiday shopping opportunities.
8. Taos, New Mexico
Known for its historic adobe buildings, extensive museums and art galleries, and historic sites, Taos is one of the best small towns to visit in November. For some fun and educational activities for people of all ages, stop by Taos Pueblo — the ancient building of Pueblo Native Americans. The Hacienda de Los Martinez Museum focused on exploring the Spanish colonial era. For a more up-close interaction with history, stay at the Historic Taos Inn, which offers its guests the opportunity to stay in historic adobo houses from the 1800s. This small town is also known for its prevalent art scene, which can be seen at the Taos Art Museum, the Harwood Museum of Art, and the Millicent Rogers Museum.
Temperatures in Taos average in the mid-50s during the day, making it the best time of the year to explore nearby trails and other outdoor attractions. Located nearby is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which is perfect for thrill seekers as it is one of the highest bridges in the United States. More relaxed vacationers might opt to visit the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This public protected land area features beautiful scenic valleys, volcanic cones, hiking trails, and campgrounds. There are also water sports activities available, like white-water rafting and kayaking, though they might not be the best option for November visitors.
7. Williamsburg, Virginia
Next up is Williamsburg, which is another one of the best small towns to visit in November! Known for its colonial history, this Virginia town transports visitors back in time to celebrate the season with historically accurate reenactments and a multitude of festive activities throughout the week of Thanksgiving. Witness the lighting of the Cressets, an event that lights up Duke of Gloucester Street and features streetside musicians and lots of festive fun for all to enjoy. Alternatively, you can enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving meal or fire live rounds from a reproduction of two different 18th-century flintlock firearms, which were the weapons used during the Revolutionary War. Also held during this week is the town’s annual Christmastide. This unique event is hosted by an 18th-century resident who guides you through Williamsburg, allowing all guests to experience Christmastide through their eyes.
Experience it all by visiting other year-round exhibits during your November stay in Williamsburg. Experience history come to life before your eyes at Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, the largest outdoor living museum in the United States, where guests are immersed in the authentic lives of 18th-century residents. Equally important is the Jamestown Settlement, another living history museum that tells the story of America’s first (permanent) English colony. Visitors to Williamsburg can also go to Yorktown for an immersive experience on the site of the final Revolutionary War battle. For a lighter exhibit with less historic impact, stop by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum to enjoy their current rotation of American folk art.
6. Leavenworth, Washington
Leavenworth transports visitors all the way to the European country of Germany, with its unique Bavarian-style architecture and German cuisine. Stop by Muchen Haus or Andreas Keller Restaurant for their authentic hearty dishes of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and schnitzel. If you are not feeling too hungry, wash down your beer with a giant soft pretzel slathered with Bavarian mustard. Plus, local produce stands at this time are often overflowing with a variety of freshly picked fall produce, such as apples, persimmons, pomegranates, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and a variety of nuts as well!
Furthermore, Leavenworth is home to some of the best outdoor recreation activities in all of the Pacific Northwest. Visit Lake Wenatchee, a 489-acre lake that offers breathtaking views of over 12,000 feet of waterfront. Onlookers are treated to a truly unique experience as the trees encircling this lake are dotted with shades of yellow, orange, and red, which perfectly reflect off the lake’s surface. Alternatively, vacationers looking for incredible scenic sights can take a drive along Icicle Road or visit Tumwater Canyon for panoramic views of the fall foliage.
5. Lake Placid, New York
Located amid the Adirondack Mountains is the famous town of Lake Placid. This is one of the best small towns to visit in November due to its breathtaking fall foliage and the plethora of outdoor activities available for people of all different experience levels. The ski season in Lake Placid usually begins towards the end of November, with Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort being one of the most popular destinations. Additionally, the weather is ideal for both locals and visitors to enjoy the most picturesque gondala rides, which allows them to take in the beautiful fall foliage and snow-capped mountains.
Furthermore, the Cliffside Coaster is one of the most thrilling activities in the area. Located at Mount Van Hoevenberg, this elevated rail ride is North America’s longest coaster and takes guests on a high-speed ride alongside the 1932 and 980 bobsled tracks. If you stick around through early December, you can also experience Lake Placid’s annual Holiday Village Stroll!
4. Breckenridge, Colorado
One of the best small towns to visit in November is Breckenridge. Situated in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, autumn is a wonderful time to visit thanks to its prevalence of skiing, hiking, and wildlife sighting opportunities. You can see animals like moose, mountain goats, foxes, and even bears all across the town. There are many other activities available, but the outdoors is what unites them all. Stop by the Breckenridge Nordic Center for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and a fantastic lodge restaurant. Cucumber Ranch Wildlife Preserve and Goldhill Trailhead also offer fantastic views of the colorful trees that blanket the area. Additionally, the Lighting of Breckenridge occurs every year. This is when Santa emerges to illuminate nearly 250,000 LED lights throughout Blue River Plaza.
3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
November is National Native American Heritage Month. In Santa Fe, you can appreciate their culture to the highest extent by taking part in the unique Santa Fe Winter Indian Market, which is held annually in November. The market is held on the weekend following Thanksgiving and is the largest and most significant Native American art market in the country. The 2023 market will be the 101st anniversary. There, people can browse a wide range of traditional and contemporary art, including jewelry, pottery, textiles, paintings, silver and beadwork, and much more! After the market, check out the Meow Wolf Art Exhibit, which is a truly unique, immersive installation unlike anything else in the world!
2. Highlands, North Carolina
November is one of the best times to visit North Carolina. During the fall in Highlands, people enjoy hiking, waterfall tours, and the annual Highlands Food and Wine Festival that occurs every November. During this four-day event, guests have their pick of an array of Southern comfort food as well as wines, spirits, craft beers, and non-alcoholic beverages! There are also musical performances from world-renowned artists like Southern Avenue, Matt Koziol, and Chuck Leavell. Besides the festival, tourists should not miss seeing the Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, and the Highlands Biological Station — places that offer beautiful natural sightseeing opportunities. The Bascom Center for Visual Arts is another popular stop for those visiting Highlands, North Carolina in the fall.
1. Plymouth, Massachusetts
Plymouth is located in the Greater Boston area, making it one of the best small towns to visit in November. With a variety of things to do, let us start by exploring the history of this small town. First, it was founded in 1620 by English Separatists, otherwise known as Pilgrims. Plymouth is one of the oldest towns in the United States and was the first permanent colony in Massachusetts. This small town of just over 60,000 citizens is known as “America’s Hometown” and was the site of the first Thanksgiving in the country. As a result, this town celebrates Thanksgiving with fun activities and unique festivities all through the month of November.
If you visit during this season, make sure to attend one of the many world-famous events hosted in the town — like America’s only historically accurate parade. The America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration and Parade represents each century from the 17th through the 21st century. Another popular event in November is the delicious, and informative, Thanksgiving Dinner at Plimoth Patuxet Museum. Other festivities include the Plymouth Philharmonic Concert at Memorial Hall, the Harvest Market, and the Craft Beer and Wine Festival.
Besides Thanksgiving celebrations, there are loads of other activities for visitors to enjoy during the fall. Plymouth Rock — the site where the Mayflower landed over 400 years ago — is a popular historic attraction. With the weather cooling, it is also a perfect time to go on outdoor adventures, visiting Plimoth Patuxet Museum, Brewster Gardens, and Pilgrim Memorial State Park. No matter where you go in Plymouth, there are loads of fun things to do and lots of learning opportunities as well!
Each of these places offers their own unique charm, seasonal events, and scenic beauty, making them some of the best small towns to visit in November. Having said that, if you do visit during the autumnal season, make sure to respect each town’s traditions, holidays, and events. With the continuation of these classic traditions, people from all over the world can fully immerse themselves in the local culture and obtain a deeper understanding of the places they visit as well as their unique histories. So, when exploring these wonderful destinations throughout the month of November, remember to embrace local traditions and festivities with the utmost respect and appreciation!
Overview of the Top 10 Best Small Towns to Visit in November
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