Sussex County - As the days shorten and the air becomes crisp, one of the most beautiful times of the year arrives in the scenic Skylands of N.J. It’s a perfect time to take advantage of the comfortable temperatures, incredible scenic vistas and multitude of offerings in the Vernon area. Purists may say that it’s cheating to take a gondola to a mountaintop, but others maintain that Mountain Creek’s cabriolet gondola is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the season. The eight-person, open-air gondola whisks passengers to the top of Vernon Peak in minutes, providing a breathtaking, bird’s-eye view of the entire region, alive with the reds, oranges and yellows of fall colors. On a clear day you can see for miles, across rolling farmland, to the Appalachian Mountains, High Point Monument and New York State. Tickets are $8 and available at the Diablo Freeride Park office weekends through Oct. 31. Upon arriving at the summit, visitors are free to hike the extensive Hamburg mountain trail system, or enjoy a picnic lunch near one of the lakes, before hopping back on the gondola for the return trip to the base area. Guests may bring their mountain bikes and ride the cross-country mountain-bike trails at no additional charge. In addition, Diablo Freeride Park is open through the end of October, with miles of downhill trails. Full day lift tickets are $28. For information, go online to mountaincreek.com. Mountain Creek is also offering weekend “Autumn Harvest Getaway” packages for as little as $42 per person, per night. Visit mountaincreek.com for details.