Four New England leaf-peeping deals you won’t want to miss

Fall is right around the corner, and in New England, this means the leaves are getting ready to change. If you’re planning to be part of the influx of leaf-peepers to the northeast corner of the United States, New England Inns & Resorts has put together some great deals to help you make the most of your experience – without draining your pockets.

Whether this is your first trip to New England for this annual ritual or you’re already there and just want to get away for the weekend, there are some absolute bargains on the market right now. In addition to fantastic room rates, you can take advantage of discounts at plenty of local attractions.

After the jump, check out four great packages that will give you some good reasons to go to New England this fall.

1. Wander the corn maze
At Nordic Village Resort in Jackson, New Hampshire, you can get two weekend nights and two adult passes to the Maze at Sherman’s Farm (I went a few years ago and got horribly lost) for $220 a night. You’ll also get a coupon for $10 off at Yesterday’s restaurant.

2. Attend a scarecrow wedding
At the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine, you can spend two nights in a water view room at the Carriage House Inn and pick up a $25 dining credit (per person) at 95 Ocean, the resort’s restaurant. For $359 a night mid-week ($519 a night on weekends), you’ll also receive bike rentals, one-day tickets for the InTown Trolley and breakfast every day. The most interesting perk, however, is the build your own scarecrow kit. All scarecrows constructed will be present at the “scarecrow wedding” at Nonantum Resort on October 11, 2009, the kickoff for Kennebunkport’s Gathering of the Scarecrows Festival.

3. Soak in waterfalls, lakes and covered bridges
At Centennial Inn in Farmington, Connecticut, the “Get Up and GO for Fall” package includes a night in a Studio Suite and a map of the most interesting local attractions. Use the complementary $10 gas card to fuel the travels guided by that map, and be sure to check out the cider mill, gourmet cheese shop and vineyard. The first night starts at $165, and you can get another for only $99.

4. Do you need a reason to go to Newport?
Well, if you do, the “Tranquil Autumn Getaway” package offered by Castle Hill Inn & Resort has one. In addition to two tickets to tour one of Newport’s Historic Preservation Society’s mansions, you’ll receive a romantic three-course dinner, afternoon tea every day and breakfast each morning. The package starts at $1,520 in September and $1,112 in October – a bit pricey … but c’mon, it’s Newport.

Joe the Plumber’s Lucas County Ohio: There are decent things to do there. How about a corn maze and Toledo?

When I heard Joe the Plumber, the guy McCain made his personal friend in Wednesday night’s presidential debate, was from Holland, Ohio, my first thought was maybe there’s something to do in Holland–a weekend getaway perhaps?

Not exactly. Not Holland, per se, but, it’s close to Sarah Palin’s corn maze for some fall fun. Whitehouse is also in Lucas County.

Corn, Palin and Joe Plumber aside, this is a part of Ohio has been on my list of places to go for sometime–Toledo, specifically.

Just this month, Toledo won first place in the America in Bloom Awards for cities of 100,001 or more people. The award is given to a city for its beautification efforts. Toledo must be lush with flower gardens. The Toledo Botanical Gardens would be a place to start to see the floral bounty.

For art lovers, the Toledo Museum of Art recently expanded its weekend hours because visitors had requested more access to this gem of a museum.

Two aspects of this art museum I’ve always been drawn to are the extensive events and art classes offered each month. Some are one day experiences.

A weekend trip to Toledo could include one of these. Make sure you arrive in time for It’s Friday. Each Friday the museum is open until 10 PM. Tours, music and glass blowing demonstrations are part of the fare.

Also, not to be missed is the museum’s Glass Pavilion where the museum’s collection of more than 5,000 pieces of glass art pieces are housed. The pavilion won an award in 2007 for being the best designed museum.

Another Toledo high point that achieved fame with the television series M*A*S*H is the eatery Tony Packo’s Café. Jamie Farr who played Corporal Max Klinger is from Toledo.

His first mention of Tony Packo’s during an episode came with the line “If you’re ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo’s got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents…”

Known for its chili dogs and Sweet Hot Pickles, Tony Packo’s has been serving up Hungarian style food since 1932.

So, one of these days I’ll head to Toledo, but probably not before Palin’s maze is browner than brown. Maybe next year when the spring flowers have bloomed. First stop, Tony Packo’s. I’ve wanted one of those chili dogs for years.

American Idol, David Archuleta is in a corn maze too

Like Sarah Palin, David Archuleta’s mug is etched in a corn field tribute. It took 14 acres to give Archuleta his due.

Some people get all the luck. You can see Archuleta’s version of corn maze fun at Cornbelly’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Fest in Lehi, Utah.

At first, a corn maze of Obama and McCain was considered, but Archuleta won out because he’s one of Utah’s own. Plus, with the campaigning going on and on and on and on, Archuleta seemed more fun.

According to this article in the Desert Deseret News, if you visit the maze you can get a chance to win an autographed copy of Archuleta’s album when it come out in November.

Just like Corn Maze at the Butterfly House where Sarah’s face is located, Cornbelly’s is geared for family-style entertainment. Wandering through the head of a person who has captured the public ‘s attention this year is not the only calling card.

Cornbelly’s also has a pumpkin patch, a Halloween themed Fright Night and kid’s activities. There are still a few weeks of fall left for Archuleta and Palin viewing, although by now, I assume they’re turning a yellowish brown.

Both places are open until the beginning of November.

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Bored this weekend? Check out a pumpkin patch!

It is going to be surprisingly nice weather in parts of the country this weekend, so why not take advantage of it by heading out into the burbs to visit a pumpkin patch, corn maze or harvest festival?

Many of these events are held at local farms that started by selling pumpkins, and most of them have grown into mini theme parks. Some of the local farms around me have added carnival rides, ghost houses and even a small zoo with tigers and camels!

A handy way to find a local pumpkin event, is on this site where you’ll find all the locations sorted by state. If you are looking for a corn maze, then check out “The Maize” where they cover everything maze related.

One thing I did notice, is that most of these farms are not always cheap; some charge as much as $15 per person to get in, with even more for individual rides. But once you are sitting under the sun with an apple cider doughnut and fresh roasted corn, you’ll quickly forget that. Before heading to a farm, be sure to check their web site for discounts as many of them offer a couple of dollars off the admission if you print a coupon or sign up for their mailing list.

Got a favorite farm or corn maze? Tell everyone about it in the comments!

Sarah Palin in a Corn Maze

Sarah Palin is in a corn maze. This does not mean that Sarah Palin is actually in a corn maze, but that there is a corn maze made to look like Sarah Palin. You have to be looking down on the maze and not in it in order to see the likeness. And it does look like her–and also Tina Fey.

I heard about this maze on News Update on Saturday Night Live and promptly checked out the story’s validitity. Yep, the maze is in Whitehouse, Ohio not too far from Toledo. Although the maze of Palin is new this year, The Corn Maze at the Butterfly House where it is located is not new.

Each year the Whitehouse Farm turns acres of corn fields into pictures. There is also an amazing intricate butterfly for wandering among the corn stalks. Corn mazes are one way farmers have upped their revenue in an unsure market. Elaborate pictures are not as common. Palin’s took eight hours to make after an artist made a sketch and figured out how to mow it using a GPS system.

Check out the farm’s Web site for a video of Palin’s maze. You can walk through Palin’s head (sort of a borrowed line from Saturday Night Live) Palin’s addition certainly adds something new to the fall line up of Ohio’s corn mazes.

Here is a YouTube video of a news clip of the Palin corn maze. The owner of the Butterfly House, Duke Wheeler explains how the maze was made and what other fun things his farm has planned.

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