When the sky is a brilliant blue, the air is crystal clear and the foliage is starting to turn, there are, happily, many great local places to enjoy autumn in New England (even if we have few suburban choices for great streetscapes in the built environment).
Some of my favorite places to enjoy the season outdoors:
Garden in the Woods, Framingham - although best known for the botanical garden, the Garden site also has acres of natural forest and well-marked trails through them.
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, Natick - nice grounds and lots of trails. Although right on Route 16, it doesn't take much walking before you lose the sound of passing traffic.
Old North Bridge, Concord - not a ton of walking trails, but an absolutely lovely spot by the Concord River to enjoy nature and contemplate history.
Heard Pond, Pelham Island Road, Sudbury/Wayland - not exactly a nature walk, since lots of cars are driving by, but it's still a pleasant stroll or bicycle ride by the pond. The trail at this entrance to the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is pretty short and unremarkable, but it can add a few minutes and some relaxation to your walk away from vehicular traffic.
Wayside Inn, Sudbury and the nearby grist mill - not exactly for hiking, but a lovely regional seasonal setting and great spot for taking photos.
And, of course, what New England autumn would be complete without an afternoon of apple picking. Two of my favorite spots: Bolton Spring Farm in Bolton and Tougas Farm in Northborough (the latter good if you've got kids, although it is kind of annoying they limit the number of people allowed on the grounds per bag of apples to be picked).
Spots like these definitely enhance local quality of life!