Favorite Things to do in Rhode Island in the Fall

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons in Rhode Island. The leaves are beautiful and there are plenty of scenic byways and wide open spaces to enjoy the outdoors. The air is crisp, the scent of woodsmoke is in the air, the red, yellow and orange leaves flutter by your face and crackle under your feet. The apples are crisp and juicy, picked right off the tree. Insidem I’m finding a myriad of ways to utilize those apples from applesauce to apple cake (see recipe at the bottom of this post), making the kitchen cozy and filling the house with the mouth-watering scents of cinnamon, pumpkin, and apples. Outside, we are raking leaves (or jumping in them!) and in the evening we are bundling up in sweatshirts and taking advantage of one last fire pit.

Fall is a time when we take a break from travel and enjoy our home state and time together as a family. And when we do, these are our favorite things to do in Rhode Island in the fall.

Things to do in RI in fall
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Our 5 Favorite Things to do in Rhode Island in the Fall

1. Apple picking — apple picking season comes early in RI so get out there before the orchards are all picked out. Since I’m usually defiantly clinging to the last remnants of summer and starting to embrace fall just after our local orchard, Phantom Farms in Cumberland, is picked out of their limited supply, we usually head down to Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield where we can pick from half a dozen varieties and fill our bags faster and fuller than we need. Plus, I can load up on my favorite cider (Jaswell’s) and treat ourselves to a caramel apple at their farm stand. (See my favorite apple orchards in Rhode Island.)

Favorite things to do in Rhode Island in the fall
Apple picking at Jaswell’s Farm

2. Visit a pumpkin patch — I have three go-to places for picking out a pumpkin and other fall decor like mums, hay, gourds and cornstalks. My favorite is Phantom Farm because each weekend they host a different activity like antique car shows, pet pictures, and local author readings. We enjoy the farm stand, outdoor sugar shack, burlap maze or taking hayride through the orchard. I also like the nearby Adam’s Farm in Cumberland. It is a very basic pumpkin field but the scenic ride past the reservoir and along the narrow, bumpy road is beautiful when the leaves are in full bloom — plus they have some farm animals to gawk at, as well as a simple corn and hay maze to blunder through. The larger, more bustling favorite is Confreda Farms in Hope. Here you will find hay rides, a corn maze, kiddie rides, a food court and even a haunted hayride. (See my favorite pumpkin patches in Rhode Island.)

Pumpkin Patch at Phantom Farms in Cumberland, Rhode Island

3. Scituate Art Festival — Taking place each year on Columbus Day weekend, the Scituate Art Festival brings together over 200 artists and crafters in a scenic, rural setting with musical entertainment and local and festival foods. After spending the afternoon or morning browsing, it is nice to take a ride through this part of RI, down narrow country roads, and past lakes and rivers to enjoy the foliage.

Scituate Art Festival
The Scituate Art Festival takes place on Columbus Day Weekend

4. Jack-o-lantern Spectacular — each year the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence plays host to one of the largest jack-o-lantern displays in the Northeast with over 5,000 artistically carved pumpkins, including at least 125 carved to match the theme of the year. The only downside is the long lines so you either need to go during the week or find a suitable substitute. Phantom Farms in Cumberland offers a smaller, local version, usually accompanied with some live music, hot chocolate and warm apple cider.

Jack o lantern spectacular
Roger William’s Zoo Jack-o-lantern Spectacular

5. Enjoying the Blackstone Valley — the Blackstone Valley River and bike path is gorgeous in the fall. As you run or bike along, giant leaves the size of plates are under your feet and the sun dapples through the trees above and breathing in the crisp air invigorates you. One of these days we’ll get out on the water for a fall kayak under the trees or take the Blackstone Valley Explorer river cruise.

Bonus: Technically not in RI, but just across the border in Wrentham, MA is the Big Apple, a farm stand that is the only place I’ve been able to find freshly made apple cider donuts (plus delicious caramel apples!)

Double Bonus — My Grandmom’s Apple Cake Recipe — I’m not saying it is healthy but it is moist and delicious!

My mom always said this was such an easy recipe to remember because it is 2 of everything but I still need to consult the recipe.

Apple cake
How about them apples?


2 sticks of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
4 tsp lemon juice
4 cups apples, peeled and finely chopped


Blend butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the rest. Pour into a pre-greased 13×9″ pan. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven.

If you try it out, please leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it!

 What are your favorite things to do in the fall in Rhode Island or your neck of the woods?


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Publish Date: September 17, 2014

1 thought on “Favorite Things to do in Rhode Island in the Fall”

  1. Quite a few things to do in Rhode Island … As for the apple cake recipe, I’d like somebody to bake that for me, as I am not good at that. (I see we have the same theme… I like that)

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