Fall brings changing tree leaves and (presumably) an end to the heat waves. Before snow falls and winter hits in earnest, October is a great time to visit a summer destination like The Hamptons or Tuscany or maybe hit up D.C. or London for a more urban getaway. Here's why those four destinations are perfect right now.
October is a great time to visit DC to avoid the summer's heat and crowds. The changing leaves make for a colorful backdrop to the capital’s many outdoor monuments. The Kennedy Center, a memorial dedicated to the John F. Kennedy is celebrating its 50th anniversary and this fall will launch its Archives. Designed as a living memorial, oral histories and rarely seen materials from the Center’s Archives will serve as the source and inspiration for a series of overlapping installations throughout the campus. These various installations will include archival artifacts in immersive, dynamic, and accessible ways, in person and online. Amtrak, which was incorporated in DC, is also celebrating its 50th birthday in 2021 and recently introduced its new Acela trains between Boston and Washington, D.C. that reduce carbon consumption by almost half. If it's not "too soon" The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is hosting an exhibition called Outbreak, an examination of disease in the modern world prompted by the Ebola outbreak, heightened by the Zika epidemic, and coinciding with the centennial of the Spanish influenza pandemic.
The luxury Dupont Circle Hotel is fresh off of a tiered renovation including a new bar and restaurant designed by Martin Brudnizki and a new penthouse suite designed by Clodagh. (The Irish-born Clodagh is a nod to the Doyle Collection brand’s Irish heritage.) The hotel’s sprawling outdoor terrace is open year-round and its prime Dupont Circle location makes it the best place to stay to catch the famous annual High Heel Drag Queen Race which takes place annually on the Tuesday before Halloween (October 26).
There’s a reason Hamptonites prefer their corner of paradise in the off-season. The throng of vacationers are gone and everything is more tranquil. The traffic drops dramatically (no more 4-hour drives back to Manhattan) and no line at Goldberg’s Famous Bagels. You might not be able to sunbathe or play in the surf, but there’s still plenty to do in autumn, like visiting the Montauk lighthouse, shucking oysters at Widow’s Hole Oyster Farm, and taking in the world-class collection at the Parrish Art Museum. Don’t miss the latest exhibition, Tomashi Jackson: The Land Claim, on display through November 11, which is centered on the historic and contemporary lived experiences of Indigenous, Black and Latinx families on the East End.
Located next to the Parrish Art Museum is Shou Sugi Ban House, a wabi-sabi inspired wellness retreat and destination spa that opened in Water Mill in May 2019 and open year round. Each of the 13 individual guest studio comes with its own Kobe-style bed, fireplace, private terrace, and soaking tub (half of which are hinoki ofuro). Just two years after its opening, the property has expanded its footprint to include Shou Sugi Ban Inn, an intimate bed and breakfast for overnight stays; and two standalone luxury residences for short-term rentals.
Visitors to the United Kingdom's capital can take advantage of London Craft Week (October 4-11), which brings together over 250 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries from around the world, and London Cocktail Week, which despite its name, lasts all month long. Celebrate Halloween at Queer Off's night of comedy, and performance at the Fox & Firkin or the LGBTQI Night With Drag Queen Lola Lasagne at The William Morris Bar & Kitchen.
Check out The Beaumont in Mayfair, which reopened on August 20, fresh off a renovation by Thierry Despont including a new suite, outdoor terrace, and library as well as a refurbished lobby, spa, restaurant, and bar celebrating all-American bad boys (from Hemingway to Sinatra). Meanwhile, The Kensington, a collection of four adjoining Victorian townhouses in the heart of South Kensington, reopened on May 17 after a refurbishment including new suites serving the increased demand for longer-stays in London. Employing original elements of the townhouse to inform the redesign, these suites were reconfigured to enhance the feeling of a carefully curated luxurious home. In Chelsea, The Cadogan, A Belmond Hotel, London has announced a partnership with Harley Street hypnotherapist and sleep expert Malminder Gill to offer a Sleep Concierge service exclusive to Belmond guests. The menu includes a meditative recording by Malminder available on the Belmond app, a variety of pillows to fit every type of sleeper, the option of a weighted blanket, a scented pillow mist, and a new bedtime tea service. Guests can even book a private one-on-one session with Malminder.
Stretching from the Tyrrhenian Sea across acres of olive groves and vineyards to the Apennine Mountains, Tuscany’s diverse landscape is the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, one of the foremost wine-producing regions in Italy and home to precious truffles. October is a prime month for foraging the tubers with plenty of sunny days and cooler temperatures. Don’t miss the series of truffle-inspired festivals in the Tuscan towns of San Miniato, Volterra and Palaia.
Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel’s vast estate is also home to a treasure trove of truffles. Guests of the hotel can join expert hunter Mauro Nesi, who grew up watching his grandfather in the foraging art, and his Lagotto Romagnolo dogs to sniff out the delicacy. Once unearthed, Belmond’s chef uses the delicacy to infuse a tasting menu of Taglierini, Tosca fillet, and Black truffle tarts.
Arrive a little before October (September 21-26) and attend the Florence Queer Festival an International LGBTQ+ film and arts festival that has become one of the most celebrated Italian exhibitions.