The cooler weather has arrived and with it, all the fall festivals and activities are here too. My daughter has started her list and is planning out our fall activities with her favorites. She’s my lover of all things fall. She wants to wear leggings and warm sweaters and to drink hot apple cider. She can’t wait to pick apples and carve pumpkins. Of course, she wants Halloween to come. However, don’t ask about a costume just yet. Fall is definitely her favorite time of year.
Visit a Farm for Fall Picking
Apple picking, pumpkin picking, and a corn maze. Is there anything more that screams fall than that? Yes, of course, don’t forget the cider donuts! These are a must-visit on our fall schedule. My family loves it when we pick apples because they know what comes next – apple pie, baked apples, apple cranberry crisp, and apple bread! Yes, the baking will commence soon. Now that we live north of Boston we’ve been going to Smolak Farms for our apple picking. The farm has a great variety of apples to pick. We always end up with so many bags full. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without getting our pumpkins, trying our hand at the corn maze and getting cider donuts! Ok, and ice cream for our daughter with celiac disease.
King Richards Faire
Have you ever attended a Renaissance Festival? King Richards Faire is in Carver, Massachusetts and is open weekends and Columbus Day until October 20, 2019. Well, if you are into jousting, fairy circles, mud fights, and eating turkey legs, this is the place for you. My brother and his friends dress in costume to really get into the whole experience. But even if you go in street clothes you will get caught up in the atmosphere. When you visit be sure to try your hand at knife or axe throwing. Test your skill at the dragon joust or crusader’s crossbows. However, don’t miss seeing the King’s tournament and having your kids participate in knight school. This faire is fun for the whole family.
Light a Pumpkin on Frog Pond
Who doesn’t love jack-o-lanterns? This festival takes place on October 19, 2019, from 5-8:00 pm at the Frog Pond in Boston Common. You bring an 8″ or smaller carved pumpkin to Frog Pond. Then the organizers light the pumpkin and float it on the pond. Even if I didn’t have children I’d go to think event. I think seeing all the jack-o-lanterns floating around the pond will be magical. They will also have fall activities, treats, and crafts for the kids.
Take a Cranberry Tour or Attend the Nantucket Cranberry Festival
Where would Thanksgiving Dinner be without cranberry sauce? Lost in our house. We make 2 different kinds of cranberry sauce. One with oranges and one without. I’m a purest but my husband’s family loves the orange one. If you don’t already know, to harvest the cranberries the farmers flood the fields. They get to wade through in galoshes to work the bogs. Don’t worry, on this tour you won’t get wet but you will see a working cranberry farm. Cranberry Bog Tours fill quickly so it is best to call prior to heading down to the cape. They also have a farm stand and have cranberry honey. I wonder how wonderful that is?
Nantucket has its very own Cranberry Festival. Here you will see a demonstration of harvesting, or you can try your hand at harvesting the cranberries. There will also be sack races, face painting, tug of war and music. Of course, don’t forget to try some tasty treats and get all the cranberries you need here.
Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village is the largest 19th-century living museum in New England. We’ve been there for a reenactment festival which was spectacular. They reenacted a civil war battle with the bugle call, cannons, bayonets, gunfire, horses charging you name it they had it. It was marvelous. The whole village is so enjoyable to see whether during an event or not the village comes alive. The craftspeople and characters in the village make the experience. This fall once again they are presenting “The Sleepy Hollow Experience”. This is a musical experience like no other for you are guided through the village as the play unfolds. It sounds like an absolutely thrilling time.
Harvard Square Oktoberfest & HONK! Parade
Think Oktoberfest with a fun, loud, musical band parading through the streets and you have this festival. Harvard Square will be taken over this fall by HONK festival. There will be 6 beer gardens along with fabulous food from all over the world. As well as sidewalk sales, arts, crafts, and samples. Don’t miss the numerous stages around the square with different musicians on each. The HONK parade should make it to the square around 1 pm. Participating by dancing, honking, bike riding, and stomping of your feet are all encouraged during this parade. Come out on Oct 13th from noon to 6 pm and be a part of this fun festival.
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Going to the parade in costume is always fun, but having a horn to make noise is a MUST! Don’t go empty handed!
Hiking in the Berkshire Mountains in Fall
The Berkshire Mountains are beautiful any time of year but especially in fall. The Appalachian Mountain Club has some amazing hikes outlined for you to enjoy. There are 3 listed that will give you some stunning vistas and lovely scenes. The Bash Bish Falls hike is on the border of New York State. From Massachusetts, there’s an easy stroll to see this impressive waterfall or from New York a strenuous loop hike. The second hike is the Jug End Trail which is great for young families. Make sure to bring your binoculars as this is a great hike to view birds. In the winter months, you can even snowshoe and go cross-country skiing on this trail. The third hike is the Pine Cobble trail to East Mountain. This hikes popularity is due to the stunning summit views from the overlooks into Hoosic Valley and the Greylock Range.
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While you are in the region look up a geocache to find. Who knows it might even be on your hike? And as always stay hydrated while hiking. Our family all have their own ‘water’ backpack to encourage drinking while hiking.
Wellfleet Oyster Fest
This is a celebration of Wellfleet’s famous oysters, clams and shellfish. Come with an empty stomach because you will want to sample all the delicious food. There will be everything from a raw bar to chowders and stuffed clams to other New England favorites. I’m sure you will want to try it all. For the kids, there will be arts and crafts, a fun run and obstacle course. For the adults, there will be New England brews and wine along with many local artists to peruse. And you can not leave the festival without seeing at least one round of the Oyster Shucking Contest. Feel like you can give a local a run for their money? Well, enter the contest and put your stake in the game!
A visit to Plimoth Plantation is a great way to celebrate the fall season. They have a salute to fall weekend in October with demonstrations of cooking, gardening, and crafts. As well as a recreation of a 17th-century military muster which I’m sure will be impressive. Area’s of the plantation to see include the English Village to the Wampanoag Homesite to the Plimoth Grist Mill. You can also attend the Thanksgiving Day Homestyle Buffet at the plantation.
You can’t talk about fall and not think of Salem and the famous witch trials. Whether you like witches, and goblins and ghouls or just the lighter side of Halloween Salem is the place to be. For the whole month of October, there are festivals, street fairs, walks, sightings and encounters. The Grand Parade is on October 3rd and events continue from there. For kids, I would recommend the Salem Kids Tours. You will learn some interesting facts about Salem, the witch trials as well as some trivia. However, there are so many to choose from you should look over the website to select what’s best for your family.
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What fall festivals and activities are you and your family going to enjoy this year? I can’t wait to go apple picking and I’m up for a weekend on the cape for Oyster fest.