Fall Festivals for a Perfect Weekend Getaway
Little article we wrote for the local paper, the River Cities Gazette in Miami Springs! Enjoy fall!
Fall is just around the corner and though it may not mean much to us South Floridians (other than Pumpkin Spice Lattes), there’s a whole lot going on in other parts of the country. One of my favorite things about fall is visiting some of the great festivals that take place every year in towns across the US. For most, fall is a magical time of year with colorful landscapes and cooler temperatures. It’s also harvest time when many delicious fruits and veggies are at their peak, many of which become the main attraction at fall festivals throughout. But the months of September through November are also perfect travel months as the weather tends to be cooler and more enjoyable for outdoor activities, airfares usually drop, and hotels also offer shoulder season discounts.
My recommendation for this fall is to plan a weekend getaway where you can experience a local festival, visit some beautiful parts of the country, enjoy the dramatic fall foliage, and even take advantage of those shoulder season discounts all in one!
Here’s my list of some fun festivals to consider as part of a weekend getaway:
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival: October 12-13, Laconia, NH. Includes a 34’ tower of jack-o-lanterns, a zombie walk, horse-drawn hay rides, and pumpkin bowling. Combine this with Boston for some history and great food and Salem, MA for a witch tour at night. www.nhpumpkinfestival.com.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair: October 5-7, Sonoma, CA. Sample over 100 wines, locally-crafted beers and ciders and some of the county’s best specialty foods. Arrive to San Francisco, visit the city and hit some local wineries in between. www.harvestfair.org
National Apple Harvest Festival: October 6-7 and 13-14, Arendtsville, PA. Great place to sample all things apple, and enjoy the demonstrations, contests, arts and crafts and much more. Held in the middle of “apple country” but close to Harrisburg and Gettysburg, which are two great places to also visit while here. www.appleharvest.com
Harvest on the Harbor: October 16-21, Portland, ME. The area’s best foods and drinks are brought together with a series of food events, such as demonstrations, tastings, competitions, etc. Portland is a destination all on its own, but also visit the coastline which makes for amazing picture stops. www.harvestontheharbor.com
Trailing of the Sheep Festival: October 10-14, Ketchum/Hailey, ID. The main attraction here is herding of the sheep as they work their way towards their winter pastures, but there is also music, a folklife fair, a wool fest and cooking and art demonstrations and classes. Nearby is Sun Valley and its mountains where you can also participate in plenty of outdoor activities. www.trailingofthesheep.org
By the way, I didn’t mention Oktoberfests in the list as there are too many around the US to name. If you’re traveling somewhere else in October, do a google search as you may find one near you throughout the month. But if you want to head out of the country instead this fall, there are also some neat festivals and events taking place just about anywhere. In Paris, you have the White Night (or Nuit Blanche) on October 6th which allows free admission to many museums and free transportation all night long. In Italy you have the Alba White Truffle Festival going on between October 6th and November 25th, and in parts of Latin America (such as Mexico and Bolivia) you have All Saints Day or the Day of the Dead celebrations between October 31st and November 2nd. The list goes on!
Whether you’re curious about one of these festivals for a quick getaway or prefer to take an international vacation, get traveling this fall and take advantage of the marvels (and discounts) of this fabulous season!
by Annette Morejon, August 2018
(that’s my nephew up there in the picture, Matthew Morejon)