Plan now, there's still some good boating left in October

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Nights are cooler, geese are heading south, but don’t be too quick to pull out your boat. There are still some great weekends to have fun being on the water. You put so much into your boat and you should squeeze every bit of enjoyment from it.

Leaf peepers who jump into their cars and head north are in for bumper-to-bumper, frustrating traveling. In a few weeks you can do some leaf peeping from your boat at your own speed, with no looking for a bathroom stop, and you can have a nice cup of hot chocolate while you cruise along seeing the sights. Tie up somewhere and enjoy a cool evening with no need for AC, no bugs and no overpriced foliage-season motel lodging prices. Plan now. October will have the trees turning color and you may find some waterside fall festivals.

If you have a few days for a cruise, Mystic Seaport has several great fall events. The Oct. 1 Oyster Festival features growers, a look at the heritage and certainly cooking and sampling, all with live music. If you want to learn more about celestial navigation, the same weekend has a hands-on class on celestial navigation, using a sextant along with a calculator and some apps. Chowder Days, from Oct. 8-10 on Columbus Day Weekend, has bisque, chowder, clam cakes, mulled cider and berry pie while you listen to live music. The food tent overlooks the river and antique boats. The next weekends, with even better foliage to view along the river, between Oct. 14-29, is when Mystic Seaport puts on its spooky, after-dark Nautical Nightmares. New every year, you will be led by lantern light as you join the investigation of the Vampire Vessel, climbing aboard a ship, entering deserted shops and meeting costumed scary characters and suspects, as you experience the mystery enfolding. It runs from 6-10 p.m. with tours leaving every 15 minutes. You can tie up for the night right in the seaport, or anchor out a little farther up the river and dinghy in.

A little closer is Watch Hill, celebrating the British villain Guy Fawkes with a bonfire, fife and drum, dancers, music and the Misquamicut Players. It all starts Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Details are at www.guyfawkesusa.com. Heading east, instead, brings you to Newport and the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival the weekend of Oct. 15-16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is free admission, with lobster rolls, calamari, beer and more available for purchase. A wide range of live music from folk to reggae, Beatles tunes to jazz and Celtic offerings entertain you.

Alternatively, you could skip the festivals and go for a few quiet nights in Allen’s Harbor or Potters Cove. Ladle the hot cider, set out some great chili and enjoy fall boating.

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