Fall into the festivities of the seasonDuring only one season of the year, corn stalks decorate lamp posts throughout town, pumpkins and gourds fill window displays of small shops and the aroma of warm apple cider soothes your senses.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
During only one season of the year, corn stalks decorate lamp posts throughout town, pumpkins and gourds fill window displays of small shops and the aroma of warm apple cider soothes your senses.
With the middle of October upon us, we’re fully immersed in autumn, and now is the perfect time to take full advantage of all the season has to offer. As brisk temperatures contribute to crisp fall air and auburn leaves drift to the ground with every light breeze, the atmosphere is ideal for making memories outdoors.
So throw on a big cozy sweatshirt, worn-in pair of jeans and warm knit hat, and gather up friends or family to celebrate the season with an abundance of timely activities. You won’t have to travel far to find them.
Afton Apple Orchard
What: Enjoy a hayride into the orchard before making the most of pumpkin-picking season by selecting a variety of mini, medium and large pumpkins, pie pumpkins and small jack-o’-lanterns.
Afterward, get lost in a corn maze that twists and turns across 15 acres. Kids will find extra entertainment on the unique playground and straw mountain.
Where: 14421 S. 90th St., Hastings
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Cost: $3 for ages 5 and older, and $2 for ages 4 and younger
More info: Call 651-436-8385 or visit www.aftonapple.com
Apple Ridge Orchard
What: Take a tractor-pulled wagon ride out to the orchards where you can choose to pick your own apples or pumpkins. Trek through two corn mazes — one for the young and a more challenging one for the young at heart. Get the true feel of the farm when you walk over to the barnyard animals and get greeted by goats, alpacas and sheep.
Where: 47418 240th Ave., Mazeppa
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Cost: $5 for adults, $2 for children or $20 for a family season pass
More info: Call 507-843-3033 or visit www.appleridgeorchard.com
Circle K Orchard
What: While a pumpkin field is available, the pride and joy of Circle K’s is the apple orchard. Stop by to pick MacIntosh, Cortland, Jonagold, Fireside or Regent varieties. Hop aboard a wagon and take a free ride between noon and 5 p.m. Sundays to tour the orchard and learn about the cider making process. The Orchard Food Coach will serve apple brats and fresh baked apple pastries on Sunday as well.
Where: N7653 650th St., Beldenville
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Cost: Free to visit; apple crisp, apple pies, apple brats and more available for purchase
More info: Call 715-273-7799 or visit www.circle-k-orchard.com
Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard
What: Golden Russet, Fireside and Keepsake apples are just a few of the varieties to be picked at Fischer’s for eating, baking or turning into sauce — it’s your choice. Visit the sales room for pre-picked apples, honey, maple syrup and pies, among other treats. Stop by on a weekend to take a ride on the Apple Express train, and be sure to give some attention to the chickens and rabbits during your visit.
Where: 12971 St. Croix Trail S., Hastings.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
More info: Call 651-437-7126 or visit www.fischerscroixfarmorchard.com
Fox Farm Market
What: Get treated to hot apple cider while you browse a large selection of decorative items in the main shop. Step outside and grab an old-fashioned wagon to fill with pumpkins, gourds and squash of your choice. Also for sale are jams, jellies, cookies and breads.
Where: 6063 160th St. E., Rosemount, Minn.
When: 9 a.m. to dusk daily
Cost: Free to visit; crafts, pumpkins, treats and more available for purchase
More info: Call 651-437-9073 or visit www.foxfarmmarket.com
Happ-E-Hill at Nesbitt’s Nursery
What: Returning for its fifth year in a row, Happ-E-Hill is “happ-e” to have visitors come by and enjoy a train ride, pumpkin patch and play area. Rather than traveling through a corn maze, get lost in Happ-E-Hill’s spruce tree maze. See baby animals, sample seasonal treats and watch cider being pressed at scheduled times.
Where: N4380 State Road 35, Prescott, Wis.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; open by appointment Tuesday through Friday
Cost: $5 general admission, free for children younger than 2 and free for children of military personnel on active duty; additional $3 for train rides, pony rides and spruce tree maze
More info: Call 715-792-2676 or visit www.nesbittsnursery.com
Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery
What: Bring the kids through a small straw maze, let them climb up a hay pile or guide them through a corn maze. Hay rides and picnics are among the other options for outdoor activities. Multiply the fun by gathering friends, calling ahead and organizing a group tour.
Where: W12266 King Lane, Stockholm, Wis.
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday
Cost: Hay ride is $2 for adults and $1 for children younger than 12; corn maze is $2 for adults and $1 for children younger than 12; group tours are given for $5 per person
More info: Call 715-448-3502 or visit www.maidenrockapples.com
Maple Leaf Orchard
What: Fall festivities at the orchard include pick-your-own apples, grapes, raspberries and pumpkins on weekends. Check out the farm shop for homemade maple syrup, apple butter and honey. Also part of the orchard’s selection is squash, gourds and Indian corn.
Where: W3901 750th Ave., Spring Valley, Wis.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
More info: Call 715-778-5881
Whistling Well Farm
What: Come on a breezy day and you might just get a chance to hear howling northeast winds make the farm’s well whistle. In addition to picking apples or finding the perfect pumpkin outside the classic red barn, you can stroll through the farm’s mum garden and dig your own potted mums. Shop the market for country crafts, ornamental corn, straw and other seasonal décor.
Where: 8973 St. Croix Trail S., Hastings
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Cost: Free to visit; apples, flowers, crafts and more available for purchase
More info: Call 651-998-0301 or visit www.whistlingwellfarm.com