Family Fun: Fall Bucket List
FALL IS HERE! And I don't know about you, but I'm so ready to do all the fall activities!
For me, that means getting fresh apple cider, going to as many fall fests as possible, watching the leaves turn into gorgeous shades of reds, yellows, and oranges, and spending time with my family cheering on our favorite football teams (we have a few in our family!)
Maryland in the fall is the most beautiful time of year, because we get the full-blown season - cooler temperatures, rich colors, crunchy leaves on the ground, and lots of local orchards.
So what fun things are there to add to your bucket list? Let's take a look!
Local Fall Festivals
I grew up going to fall fests in my hometown, and I still enjoy them! Usually they're filled with local vendors, local artists, and small business owners with tents and booths. My mom and I would always walk through all the booths and loved seeing all the stuff people had brought out that year. Fall fests are also a great time for the kids - there are always family activities like fun contests and Build-Your-Own Scarecrow areas. Fall fests are a really good way to spend an afternoon outside with your family, especially if you aren't a super outdoorsy type of person (me!).
Pick-Your-Own Pumpkin Patches
Instead of buying a perfectly round or specialty pumpkin at Trader Joe's, go to a local pumpkin patch and pick your own! Not only will it be a perfect backdrop for cute family photos, but it'll build memories and traditions for years to come. Pro Tip: Wear shoes that can dirty and muddy! It might be the perfect time to break out your Hunter or Sperry duck boots.
Make Fall Recipes
Not only does it look like fall exploded in my house, but it smells like it half the time. I love fall recipes and cooking with seasonal ingredients. There's something about using fresh fruit and late summer vegetables in cozy, warm, comfort-food dishes. Even if you aren't a good cook, there are some really simple, easy recipes. Some of my favorites are Crock-Pot Apple butter, New England-Inspired Apple Galette, and Pumpkin Spice Cookies. If you're feeling kind of ambitious, check out this cheese-cake stuffed cake I made last year... it was decadent.
Maryland has no shortage of local orchards, thanks to the variety of climate we get year round. Orchards have pick-you-own apples, pumpkin fields, and lots of local goodies (helloooo Apple Cider and apple cider donuts!). I grew up going to Baugher's Farm & Orchard in Westminster, MD, and it still holds a special place in my heart. The amount of things to do there is unbelievable, plus right down the road from the orchard is their own family restaurant that has amazing home-style food and features a lot of the fruits from the orchard (the apple pie is a MUST!).
Bonfires and S'Mores
This is one of the easiest things to do - you don't even have to leave your house! Fall is the perfect time to sit around a bonfire with friends and roast s'mores and enjoy the cool evening air. A bonfire doesn't have to be a huge ordeal, but a fire-pit in the backyard with some chairs and blankets around it is a great way to get cozy and roast marshmallows. Get creative this year and try using flavored marshmallows for s'mores this year!
An absolute timeless favorite, carving pumpkins can be a traditional jack o' lantern or get more creative! If my creative ability were grander, I would try to carve words or intricate details. But I stick with what I know... a simple, traditional pumpkin carving. And honestly, my favorite part is scooping out the pumpkin seeds and roasting them with some salt or the real Maryland way, and using Old Bay! They're the best fall snack.
Host a Potluck Dinner
Sometimes, this can be combined with a Friendsgiving, but hosting a potluck dinner with friends is such a fun way to spend time together, eat some great food, and celebrate fall! My husband kind of jokes around with me because I LOVE a good potluck (but I blame that on being raised in a Baptist church!). Have all your friends bring a dish to share and whip up a batch of mulled cider or sangria, watch football, and eat yourself into a food coma! It's a great way to try new dishes, swap recipes, or break out some old favorites.
Go To a Football Game
Football and Fall go together like PB&J, so it only makes sense that you go to a game during the season! If you have little ones, opt out of going to a NFL game and check out a game at the local college or even your Alma Mater. These games tend to be a lot more family friendly and laid-back, so if your kids aren't really into watching the game, there will be plenty of other things for them to do.
Conquer a Corn Maze
When I was growing up, going to a Corn Maze was the BEST way to spend a fall evening or afternoon. I grew up right down the road from one of the biggest corn mazes on the east coast. But there are loads of other corn mazes in the area that are a fun way to be outside and spend the day. Make sure you wear shoes that can get dirty and bring a camera - you're sure to have fun and some picture-worthy moments! If you plan to go in the evening, take lots of flashlights (and maybe some extra batteries!).