This time of year in the Northeast you can’t go far without coming across farms and orchards running a host of Fall activities. It can be a high pressure time of year – there’s only so many nice weather weekends to fit everything in and feel like you’ve got your Autumnal-fill. Here is my handy guide, ranked worst to best, of the season’s main activities:
6. Corn Mazes
I go to corn mazes every couple of years. In the intervening time I seem to forget that while they are fun for a few minutes, you are then TRAPPED for hours. Yes hours, as corn maze-time runs differently to regular time, with 30 minutes = what seems like all day. My rule of thumb is that if you can fit between the cornstalks you are allowed to cheat your way out. Also the kids corn mazes where the stalks only come up waist high, and you can step your way out, are okay too.
5. Pumpkin Picking
Classic, peak-Fall activity, but I have a slight pet peeve. Can you call it pumpkin picking if the pumpkins were already pre-picked and just placed on the grass? It makes me laugh when the ‘patch’ is set up to look like how real pumpkins grow on the vine out in the field, but you aren’t actually doing any of the picking. Acceptable if you are trucked out to the real patch where you need to pull the pumpkin off the vine yourself. I’m a pumpkin picking snob and I readily admit it.
4. Hay Rides
I’m pretty neutral on this one – I’ve been on some enjoyable hay rides with great views of the countryside, while others are just an overpacked way to get to the field or orchard. Embrace the fact you will be finding bits of hay in your clothes and car for a while.
3. Haunted Houses
I love them but I also hate them so much. Similar to the adrenalin rush of rollercoasters, but with the added dread of awaiting someone dressed like an evil clown popping out and grabbing you.
2. All The Food
As in, I plan to eat All The Food. There is a time and place for pumpkin spice (that time is NOT in August, thanks retailers), but I wouldn’t say no to a Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice waffle right now. See also: Apple cider donuts, pumpkin pie, any flavor pie really, butternut squash soup, mashed potatoes & gravy, apple butter, hot chocolate…you get the idea.
1. Apple Picking
Apple picking > pumpkin picking. There I said it. Getting to wander around the orchards, picking straight from the trees yourself, trying lots of different apple varieties, and ending up with delicious produce to take home (and some Instagram worthy snaps). Key is to have a plan for what you want to make with the apples, otherwise you may end up with a counter full of them and a stomachache. I’ve found apple sauce the best way to use up of vast quantities.
Honorable Mention: Hideous Gourds
Similar to haunted houses, I both love and hate them. They add to overall ambiance of the season from a distance but up close those things are so bumpy and gross!