It’s finally, officially fall! So, if you’ve been holding out on those boots, pumpkin coffees, scarves and light jackets, it’s time. (I hope you’ve been drinking your Oktoberfest beers!)
I think it’s the coziness of this season that gets so many of us so excited. It’s no longer uncomfortably sticky and warm, but not yet core-chilling cold. Plus, football, good TV, darker beers and comfort food yet again reign.
From apple-picking to sight-seeing road trips, it’s the best time of year to brag you live in this east coast climate.
Here are some of the best ways to celebrate fall in Pennsylvania:
1. Go sight-seeing – While we’ve been snubbed by some national lists, Pennsylvania is home to beautiful landscapes and fall foliage – and you don’t have to go far. I have not-so-fond memories of my mother and grandmother stopping along the Pennsylvania Turnpike to take pictures of the scenic changing leaves. Also, The Patriot-News last year compiled these local driving routes and hiking trails to check out the changing leaves. Or, explore Pennsylvania’s countryside with any of these train tours and you’ll take in more than just a ride.
2. Drink it in – Pennsylvania ranks 2nd in the country in overall craft beer production. Fall is a great time to visit microbreweries to sample their Oktoberfest or pumpkin/harvest beers and learn more about the brewing process. Follow the Susquehanna Ale Trail or road trip to Yuengling Brewing Co., Weyerbacher Brewing, Church Brew Works or many more. Selin’s Grove Brewing Co. is on my personal bucket list.
In case you haven’t noticed, you can’t celebrate a weekend around here without a semi-major wine event. The fun continues later this season with the Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country Fall Festival (Oct. 27-28) and the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s annual Wine Just Off the Vine (Nov. 10-11, 17-18).
3. Pamper yourself – The Spa at The Hotel Hershey offers special Fall Pumpkin and Spiced Apple Treatments from Oct. 1-Nov. 29 only. Upgrade your spa experience with the aromas of the season. Try the Spiced Apple package or get your pumpkin fix with The Great Pumpkin Facial.
4. Check-in to the PA Wilds – Pennsylvania is home to the largest natural elk herd east of the Mississippi. And these majestic animals are just one of the amazing sights you’ll find when you visit the PA Wilds. Take an elk-spotting scenic drive, canoe or bi-plane through the Allegheny National Forest, or “glamp” it up in luxury accommodations at the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park.
5. Get scared – One of my the items on my list every year is a haunted hayride or other benign yet fun fall entertainment. However, I am, admittedly, a huge scaredy cat, so it somehow always gets bumped off the agenda. If you love a good supernatural experience, Pennsylvania offers plenty of creepy attractions. There’s the Farnsworth House in nearby Gettysburg; The Accomac Inn offers special ghost dinners; The Fulton Theater in Lancaster is known to host some ghosts; and of course, there’s the old abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, sure to scare the pants off of you – and many more.
6. Enjoy seasonal fruits – There are some items I will only purchase if made in Pennsylvania – two of those are pretzels and apples! Even if I’m buying apple sauce in the grocery store, I make sure it’s Musselman’s or another Pennsylvania brand. I urge you to do the same. If you need a primer, learn about Pennsylvania’s many apple varieties or download the brochure and keep it handy.
Pick your own apples (and other fruits and vegetables) at many local farms and orchards.
Plus, don’t miss the 48th annual National Apple Harvest Festival held in Arendtville, Adams County (just outside Gettysburg) going on Oct. 6-7 and 13-14.
How are you celebrating the seaon?