By Henry Higgins
Despite the warm summer days coming to an end, there is still plenty of fun in store for your family here in Western Massachusetts. There are many exciting and interesting events this fall, besides the obligatory apple-picking, football games, and hayrides. For starters, head to Mike's Maze in South Deerfield. Mike's Maze is famous for their elaborate corn field designs, and this year they are sporting a groovy display of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, a nod to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. According to their website you can "take part in our many Attractions; ride on a horse drawn wagon, fire the mighty potato cannons, pick out your own Halloween pumpkin, and stay for lunch at the Corn Cafe, serving farm fresh food all day." Additionally, this years "Cornstock" features far out trivia for adults as well as instruments for kids to play in Mike's Music Garden. Mike's Maze is an impressive exhibition that will be sure to impress.
When people think of Fall, they often picture apple-picking. There is no shortage of orchards to choose from here in Western Massachusetts. In Franklin County, you can choose from Apex Orchards in Shelburne Falls, Clarkdale Orchards in Deerfield, or Pine Hill Orchard in Colrain. In Hampshire county, pickers can choose from Sunset Farm in Amherst, Park Hill Orchards in Easthampton, and the University of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard in Belchertown. Apple picking is a great way to get the whole family outdoors, support local business, and you get to take home locally grown apples at the end!
As I mentioned above, Hayrides and Haunted houses are integral to the fall experience. For residents of Franklin County, check out the Hicks Family Farm in Charlemont. This year they feature a haunted corn maze as well as a pumpkin patch. For Hampshire County residents, check out McCrays Farm in South Hadley. McCrays features haunted a few different hay rides, ranked by level of frightfulness, as well as a haunted house that is regarded as one of the best (or worst) in the area. For more information, visit http://www.fearonthefarm.com/. Another hayride attraction in Hampshire county is DementedFX in Holyoke. Ranked as the #1 haunted attraction in Massachusetts, this place is sure to knock your socks off. DementedFX has events from September 27th-November 2nd.
If you're looking for something a bit more laid back, check out the Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival in Stockbridge. The Harvest takes place on October 12th and encompasses the entire 20 acre garden campus. The Harvest has activities for children, hay rides, live entertainment, over 100 regional artisans and vendors, as well as a farmers market and plant sales. This event is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoy the bucolic atmosphere of the Berkshires. Check out https://www.berkshirebotanical.org/about for more information.
Fall is a pleasant time to get out and enjoy what we have here in Western Massachusetts. Don't wait; before you know it you will be looking out your window at the snow falling wishing you did more!