With every change of season comes mixed emotions; a goodbye to the season that is ending and a big HELLO to the new season and a chance to embrace change and the wonderful new activities and Holidays it holds in store for us. Fall is a super time to get recharged and get OUT with the family with the cooler crisp days and nights. Or to stay INSIDE and welcome the comforting foods and activities the new season brings. With that said, here’s 10 must-do things for this Fall, whether in NY or ANY state:
1- Go apple picking– Nothing says Fall like driving to the farm and coming home with baskets overflowing with the crisp scent of freshly picked apples. On Long Island, we have several great farms to choose from both on the North Fork and South Fork, from Lewins in Wading River, to Harbes in Riverhead or Woodside Orchards in Jamesport to Hanks or the Milkpail in Watermill.(plus a few others along the route, and of course upstate NY too!)
2- Go Pumpkin Picking– For this, a ride anywhere along 25 east or Sound Avenue will yield dozens of results (and most of the apple picking ones above also offer pumpkin picking). Of course, many other farms in Nassau and Suffolk have pumpkin picking too. Try Schmitt’s family farm in Melville, Dee’s nursery in Oceanside, Elwood farm in Northport, Borella’s farmstand in St. James . Kids love to find the perfect pumpkin for carving! It’s just such a great family activity so don’t miss out by buying one in the grocery store.My kids did these 2 a few years ago. They get better each year!
3- Make homemade soups and chili’s. Aren’t these the BEST meals on a crisp Fall day? This is something I am getting more into recently and we are loving it! You can experiment with so many different types of soups. Once you find recipes you love, make large pots and freeze in portion size containers for easy grab and heat meals or snacks. I have quite a few great looking soups and chili’s on my Pinterest board
4- Make raking fun. I have a pet peeve. It is the blower. I can’t stand the sound and the way it ruins an otherwise quiet perfect Fall day in the neighborhood. I’m all about old-fashioned raking, and yes, I get the kids out to help me. Of course, their reward is to jump in the huge piles for a while before we bag them or haul them to the woods. A promised cup of Hot Cocoa makes great bribery for them to get out and help.
5- Take a walk in the woods. There’s something special about walking in the Fall when the crunch of leaves underfoot makes it such a delightful sensory experience. Find the nearest hiking trail, grab the sneakers or boots and some snacks and take what promises to be a fun family hike, sans cell phones.
6- Light a fire-inside or out. I’m lucky we have a fireplace so family movie night or game night has that added bonus of ambience. But even outside, invest in a chiminea or a safe place to have a fire and let the kids toast marshmallows. I know someone who uses an old wheelbarrow for a fire. As long as you do it safely, sitting by the fire on a chilly night, toasting marshmallows and singing, talking or telling jokes is one of the most memorable experiences I can think of for all ages.
7-Decorate Decorate Decorate! Who loves Fall decor? Yeah, that’s right-everyone :-). The scarecrows on the lawn, the hay bales, pumpkins, mums, orange and red indoor decorations…it all is so warm, inviting and cozy. You can get some fabulous ideas online like these. And then there’s all the Halloween specific stuff- jack-o-lanterns, witches, bats, spooky stuff and awesome looking crafts to try!
8-Hit up the Fall Festivals. The ultimate way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Corn mazes, roasted corn, good food, live music, kids activities, hay rides, bounce houses, oh, does it get any more fun that this??
There are so many new ones cropping up each year and of course, the ones that have been popular family destinations for years. Harbes, Cooperage, Hank’s Pumpkin Town ( see #2 -pumpkin picking for many of the links) plus Woodside Nursery in Patchogue, Fink’s family farm in Wading River, Stakey’s in Aquabogue, Windy Acre’s in Calverton, White Post Farms in Melville or Gabrielson’s in Jamesport to name a few more.
9- Make pumpkin bread (or pie, dessert, ravioli,cake… the options are plenty!) Head over to Pinterest to find delectable recipes. Here’s one we love and there are tons more here that will make you DROOL if you’re a pumpkin lover like I am! There are many health benefits of pumpkins too- they are loaded with vitamins, beta carotene, fiber and potassium to name a few.
10-Collect and connect. If you have younger children, you know how the Fall crafts come home from school. But you can also make quite a few at home or even just display your finds in bowls , baskets and jars around the house. Kids love to take part in the decorating with things they collect on walks, whether in your yard or on a walk around the lake or around town. Acorns, leaves, twigs,dried flowers and pinecones to name a few. You can make them part of a craft, spray paint or pain them, add glitter or just display them as is.