The leaves are changing and the crisp smell of fall is in the air. It’s the season for apple cider, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin everything. Why not take a break from the rush of city life and visit one of these farms, cider mills, or orchards for some outdoor autumnal fun.
Discover Fall Fun in New York State
These attractions are within three hours of NYC by car and many are close to Metro-North stations.
The Morgenthau Family has been tending the land at Fishkill Farms for more than 100 years. As environmentally conscientious growers, their fruits and vegetables are organic and eco-certified. This year, reservations are required for pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, but the farm store is open to the general public. Reservations can be made up to a week in advance for groups of 5 (children under two do not count towards the total number). Each reservation includes 1 hour of picking time in the field and additional time to visit the farm store and onsite vendors. Pick-your-own guests can also reserve a private picnic table at the Treasury Cidery for a cider tasting, which includes a flight of five ciders as well as a cheese and charcuterie board. Sip a variety of styles of cider while gazing out over the trees that grew those apples. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!
For three generations, Greig Farm has been an agricultural staple in the Red Hook (Hudson Valley, not Brooklyn) region. They focus on regenerative agriculture and plant cover crops as harvest seasons change to nurture the healthiest soil decades to come. The farm is open from 9 am-7 pm. every day of the week for pick-your-own adventures. Apples can be picked through the end of October and pumpkins through mid-November. The onsite SoHu Craft Market is home to 30 local artisans and housed in the renovated 1850s dairy barn. The Farm Salon Art Gallery is currently displaying a collection of collages and paintings by Christopher Wayne Brown. The community garden and farm trails are beautiful places for a stroll. Be sure to stop and feed the pygmy goats and watch them romp on their jungle gym. If an afternoon at Greig Farms isn’t enough, you can even book an overnight stay at the farmhouse, which includes a complimentary, farm-fresh breakfast and an afternoon of pick-your-own fruit.
Hank’s Pumpkintown is the perfect place for autumnal family fun. They’re open every day from 9:30 am-6 pm, but some activities, such as apple picking, are only available on the weekends. Pumpkin picking is available every day. Enjoy fall treats like caramel apples, apple pie, and warm apple cider donuts. On the weekends, there are three interactive corn mazes to solve, wagon and barrel rides, as well as educational hayrides for the whole family. Other wholesome activities include duck or pig races, a 70-foot bounce pad, a 50-foot tube slide, and a pedal-car race track.
Pennings Farm Cidery
Usually only open to those 21+, Pennings Cidery is available to the entire family during apple picking season (after Labor Day until mid-November). Check their website each week to see which apple varieties are ripe and ready for picking. Using their homegrown apples and other fruits, Pennings makes dry, semisweet, hopped, and many other cider varieties that are available in their beer garden or for purchase in the farmers market. The farm has been in the family for three generations, but the cidery has only been open since 2014. Be sure to make your reservations in advance to enjoy the freshest cider and brick oven pizzas in the Warwick Valley.
Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses
Due to COVID-19, Headless Horseman is adapting their Halloween experiences. Instead of a haunted hayride this year, the Ulster Park “spooktacular” has created a drive-thru experience complete with a bone-chilling soundtrack that is sure to scare. The corn maze and the haunted house experience are still available, but capacity will be limited to ensure strict social distancing. Even the eerie specters within the haunted house have donned masks for everyone’s safety. Timed tickets are available on their website. Children’s days (a toned-down experience) are scheduled for October 10 and 24 with rain dates on October 11 and 25. The children’s experience includes a drive-thru “I Spy” Halloween game, a magic moon maze, and haunted gardens.