“Autumn in New York: Why does it seem so inviting?” The answers to the question in that old song are pretty obvious to me. I absolutely love fall, from the slight chill in the air to the flavors of cider and doughnuts (and yes, sometimes a pumpkin latte or two). New York City is a great place to live year-round, but this is definitely my favorite season. Here are some fun reasons why “it’s good to live it again.”
Pick a Perfect Pumpkin
A highlight of October for my family is always picking out the perfect pumpkin to make into a jack-o’-lantern, and there are plenty of places to go, many of them offering more than just pumpkins. Check out The Great American Harvest Fest on Staten Island to learn about 19th century crafts, then enjoy a hayride and choose your pumpkin. There’s also plenty of fun to be had at the Joe Holzka Community Garden. And over in Queens, there’s a Harvest Fest complete with a pumpkin patch at the Queens Botanical Garden. For a variety of produce-related fun, head to the Queens County Farm Museum: They’ve got apples and cider, a pumpkin patch, and the Amazing Maize Maze. Work together as a family to get through the maze, or do what we do and split into teams to see who can reach the end first! Also, for a pumpkin-related spectacle of epic proportions, don’t miss The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, with attractions including a walk-through display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack-o’-lanterns.
Enjoy Big Apple Flavors
It’s still prime apple season, so head to an orchard and pick your own: There are plenty of orchards just a little ways upstate, as well as over in New Jersey. Try out a few varieties you might not have had before, and make sure to pick enough apples to make plenty of pies and other delicious things when you get home. While you’re there, pick up some cider and some fresh cider doughnuts. And mark your calendar for another apple-related event, this one for adults only: Cider Week is coming up next month.
It sounds like a New England thing to do, but admiring the foliage doesn’t have to call for a long road trip. There are plenty of places to admire the colorful leaves right here, including Central Park (shown in the photo above) and Fort Tryon Park, which overlooks the Hudson River. But if you are in the mood for a beautiful drive, head upstate: The farther you go north, the prettier the scenery seems to get! For a unique way to spend an afternoon, pack a picnic and visit the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, which is northeast of Hudson and around 30 miles south of Albany. There, you’ll find all sorts of interesting art installations strewn across the grounds. Of course, if you’re up for a longer trip, nothing can beat the views in the Adirondack Park. Be sure to check the state foliage map before you go, though: The farther north you go, the farther ahead of us they are foliage-wise, so when the leaves look pretty at home, they might be past their peak farther north.
Get Scared Silly
There’s plenty of creepy Halloween fun to be had not far from home. Headless Horseman up in Ulster Park has a haunted house, as well as a haunted hayride that’s sure to make you jump out of your skin. You could take an evening lantern tour of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (but leave the kids at home if you decide to try the “Murder and Mayhem” tour, as it’ll surely give them nightmares). Or for something more silly than scary, join in the fun at the annual Village Halloween Parade. You don’t have to stand on the sidelines for this one: If you wear a costume, you can be part of the parade!
As you can see, there’s a ton of fun to be had in New York City at this time of year. You’re sure to find something your family will enjoy. So get out there and soak up all that autumn in New York has to offer. Perhaps you’ll even start a new family tradition.