Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jack-o'-Lanterns, Pumpkins on the Pier, Apple Fests and Food Trucks: Top New England Events for Oct 1-7, 2014

Welcome October! Nothing says fall like looking at the calendar and seeing that we have landed in the loveliest month of the year. It seems like everywhere you look the leaves are working their way into brighter hues and even a drive to the store is made more scenic with the arrival of fall colors. In short, it's time for a road-trip!

Even if you want to hit the road for a day-long drive don't know where to end up, New England Fall Events provides you with quick and easy guides for every New England state. 
Pumpkins on the Pier CT - New England Fall Events
Walk out on the Walnut Beach Pier
to enjoy the jack-o-lantern display

One of our very favorite annual festivals is coming up this Sunday October 5th--The Pumpkins on the Pier Festival in Milford, CT. When a MA-based friend of mine asked me for a worthwhile road-trip (under 2 hour drive) for her family with children ages 3 and 6, this was my top choice. For one, even though their travel time will be just shy of 2 hours the festival provides a full-day of varied activities starting at 11am and running through 7pm ending with a laser light show so they'll be there for hours and the kids will be tuckered out for the drive home. 

With pie-eating contest (for adults and kids), magicians, plentiful activities like pumpkins golf, carving, play areas, pumpkin painting and a pumpkin patch you'll happily spend hours here. Best of all is the lovely display of jack-o'-lanterns lined up along the pier stretching into Long Island Sound--it's just a beautiful event. We have festival tips and will give you the low-down on Pumpkins on the Pier on our blog feature.


Apple Days - Old Sturbridge Village - New England Fall Events
Gorgeous foliage at last year's Apple Days
Another favorite event of ours this weekend is Apple Days at Old Sturbridge Village.  Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, this charming celebration of the apple offers tastings of antique apples, make your own sachets, DIY orange and clove pomanders, cider boil down demonstrations, cider making demos, and ox-powered cider mill, lovely foliage, hiking trails, old-fashioned games and much more.
We love this 1830 New England living history museum and it's a lovely place to spend a fall day.


It's Pumpkin Season! With endless ways to admire, eat, and carve up those cheerful orange globes, remember that New England Fall Events has a list of Pumpkin Patches and PYO Pumpkins for every New England state. Please support your local farms and swing by to enjoy their pumpkin bounty.
Quick and Easy Guide to Pumpkin Patches in New England.

Where is New England Fall Events Headed this Weekend?
Fright Fest Six Flags New ENgland - Halloween New England
Six Flags transforms into Fright Fest
With October underway, we're heading off to Connecticut for a few days to cover some events for our companion website Halloween New England but we'll pop by the Southington Apple Festival and Pumpkins on the Pier on our way back.

We may even swing through Six Flags New England to take in their special fall Fright Fest activities for a second time and we'll carve out a few hours for more apple picking!

New England Foliage Report from Jeff-Foliage:
Jeff Foliage Errol NH
Leaving Errol, NH ~ Jeff Foliage
This week Jeff Foliage gives us a Fall Foliage report from Maine:

"Maybe you missed it? The peak fall colors have arrived!
Frosty temps earlier in September have created favorable conditions for turning colors. We drove from Rangeley Lake Maine on Sunday the 28th and all along Route 16 into NH, we saw high color straining towards peak fall color. We got a flat and this caused us to …" Click here to read Jeff's full report.

New England Fall Events' Top Recommendations for this Weekend's Fall Fun
Here's a sample of some wonderful events to keep on your radar heading into the weekend! Find even more terrific events listed on every New England state’s Fall & Activities guide and Food & Harvest Festival Guide.

Here are our recommended activities for Oct 1-6:

Jack-o’-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park and Zoo
Providence, RI  Click for event details.
Opens Thursday, Oct 2nd and runs nightly through November 2nd, 2014

Penguin Book of Witches Party at the Salem Witch Museum – FREE
Salem, MA   Click for event details.
Thursday, Oct 2nd, 2014

Pumpkins on the Pier Festival – FREE
Milford, CT  Click for details.
Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Read about why Pumpkins on the Pier is one of our favorite annual events!

Apple Days at Old Sturbridge Village 
Sturbridge, MA  Click for event details.
Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th, 2014

Southington CT Apple Festival and Fireworks – FREE
Southington, CT   Click for event details.
Friday through Sunday, October 3rd - 5th, 2014

Champlain Mini-Maker Faire at Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT   Click for event details.
Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th, 2014

Pumpkin Festival at DeMeritt Hill Farm – FREE
Lee, NH   Click for event details.
Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th 2014

Adam Fears and Adam Craig headline Country Music Concert for a Cause
Easthampton, MA   Click for event details.
Saturday, October 4, 2014

NH Lakes Region Barrel Tasting Weekend at Hermit Woods Winery
Meredith, NH   Click for event details.
Saturday and Sunday, October 4th & 5th 2014

Bike Applecycle Maine 
Lymnan, ME  Click for event details.
Sunday, Oct 5th, 2014

NH Food Truck Festival at Redhook Brewery
Portsmouth, NH  Click for event details.
Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Heading out apple picking this weekend? New England Fall Events has complete guides, features, maps, and contact info for New England PYO apple orchards. Here are your quick links to the apple picking guides:

Need help mapping out where to go? New England Fall Events’ state page maps are handy for scrolling and spotting farms near home or near your road-trip destination. Orchard and fall attraction maps for ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode Island, and Vermont.

Remember, always call ahead before heading out to PYO as some farms will adjust their hours for weather or they close to allow more time for fruit to ripen.

Our Tasty Carb-venture at the Vermont Mac and Cheese Challenge

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Harpoon Brewery was a perfect host
On Sunday we took a drive up to central Vermont to check out the Vermont Farmstead Cheese VT Mac and Cheese Challenges. In its 3rd year, this event is held at Artisans’ Park at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT.

The 2016 Vermont Farmstead Cheese VT Mac and Cheese Challenge will take place Sunday, September 11th, 11:00am - 3:00pm. Click for full details.

As we never seem to get enough of lovely Vermont, we also swung through nearby Norwich to experience the King Arthur Flour Bakery, Café, Store, and Campus. After loading up on a bagful of goodies for fall baking, we resisted the gorgeous delights in the café knowing we had a full day of food waiting for us in nearby Windsor.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
The fire pit was up and running too!
By the time we arrived at Artisans’ Park, it was about 25 minutes after the start of the event. Our car was directed down a long driveway and across the property to park near a loading dock—the parking areas were full as far as the eye could see.  We’re not sure if we snagged one of the last parking spaces available but it certainly looked like it.

We happily enjoyed the walk towards the festivities on a truly stunning, blue-skied day. The beautifully landscaped property was buzzing with people of every age--many outside playing games or sitting by the fire pit, others lounging on the outdoor deck at the Harpoon café. There was a bandstand set up near the brewery with a window through which beer could be bought. We passed a small petting zoo propped near a badminton type area and small wooden playground. 

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Picnic tables, tall tables, wide lawn
Tall tables were set up across the lawn for people to stand and enjoy their beer, food and meet up with company. The magnetic pull of the event, of course, was toward the two large white tents where the action clearly was taking place.

The two tents each had a ticket purchase area ($20 at the door) and check-in station (for folks who purchase in advance -- $15). The line moved swiftly as the event was very well staffed and the staff came out to the line to quickly process the advance tickets—exchanging the ticket for a wrist band. There were plentiful staff-- easy to spot in their bright blue shirts—milling around to answer questions or lend a hand.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
The tent was elbow-to-elbow with
happy, hungry mac and cheese lovers
The tents each held station after station of tables manned by local VT and NH restaurateurs, small  inns, taverns, stores, and resorts. Twenty-one contestants in all competed for the title of the day—the winning dish to be voted on by the ticket-holders.

We were handed a voting sheet listing the name of each participant and a small area next to each name set aside for note taking. Armed with a mini pencil and a wooden fork, we embarked on our gooey carb-venture.    

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
The first thing we noticed is that there was no organized queue for the tastings. The contestants were arranged along the perimeter of each the tent and the tent center had a few tall tables for propping your beverage and leaning your elbows. Thoughtfully, there were also tables in the center with a fruit plate of watermelon and grapes and two platters of cheese cubes—the fruit was an extremely welcome option for cleansing the palate between tastings and we noticed that the fruit platter was remarkably popular.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Even though there was no particular order to going through the tastings, it was just short of a free for all. The hundreds of tasters were very polite and patient as we worked our way through each quasi line. 
We could see a few strategies starting to emerge. There were some that to the approach to divide and conquer—a trio of friends would each wait in line at a station, stock up on 3 samples and then convene in the center of the tent to taste and compare notes. Others would conga-line our way to each station trying a sample and writing notes along the way, stepping out of the line towards the tent center for a digestive break or to grab a handful of grapes.

There were signs reminding people to only take one sample to make sure there was enough for everyone and although you’d see people take a few samples, there was the honor system whereby it was understood the extra samples were for friends waiting outside the line. No one seemed to have an issue with this and as there really was plenty to eat—again, 20 different samples—we highly doubt people were taking seconds for themselves. 
VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Samples of Vermont Farmstead Cheese

Vermont Farmstead Cheese was the host of this incredible event and not only were there cheeses available to sample “neatly” but their cheese also figured prominently in every competitor’s recipe.
If we had to guess, the Vermont FarmsteadWindsor Dale” was the cheese most frequently employed in the recipes that day but their alehouse cheddar was certainly another popular ingredient. With so many samples to taste we worried we could never properly judge a front runner but as the wheat separates from the chaff (though there was no “chaff” here, everything was yummy) there certainly were a few memorable standouts.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
We took notes on the samples we really loved best—the ones that made our eyes roll up and flutter from the depth of flavor and creaminess working across our tongues. Remarkably, there were really no “misses” in the challenge—anything we didn’t care for was usually just a matter of preference, not cooking ability. We noticed that a few ingredients were featured prominently: ale and bacon (often maple-smoked because, well, its Vermont people!) were definitely common additions and welcome ones too yet after a bit it felt like everyone was working off the same delicious recipe…. Great for eating but harder to make yourself standout in a competition. 

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
A few folks took a different angle—one colorful recipe included sautéed kale which was delicious, another incorporated currants (!) for a sweeter taste and there was the requisite lobster-mac too which never disappoints.
In the end, we were impressed by the quality of everyone’s submissions to the challenge—each competitor brought their A game. Standouts for us were the Jackson House Inn samples (who took 3rd place with the Judges Award) and Big Fatty’s BBQ pulled pork recipe (who took 1st in the People’s Choice Award and tied for 2nd in the Judges Award).

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
This was a very memorable event and if you don’t live near Windsor VT, you should consider it a road trip worthy of your time. We were stuffed to the gills with mac-and-cheese by about sample number ten (with eleven samples left to go) so you should really plan to arrive with an empty stomach. 

Though the mac and cheese is clearly the star of this event, the atmosphere at the festival is certainly noteworthy. 


Not only was it a picture-perfect day in Vermont but the 2400 people who also attended were spread out across the lovely park.
The tall tables set outside on the lawn drew dozens of folks to stand around, sample the food and sip a beer. Vermont Farmstead did a terrific job anticipating how to use the lawn and property to their best advantage and created plentiful opportunities for people to enjoy themselves outside of the tent/food area. With such cooperative weather, it was easy for people to mingle and lounge outside or take a walk around the grounds and despite the crowds, there was a very relaxed feel—a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
It was a very social event and plenty of kids were in attendance. The kids had a playground area and other games set up to interest them. Kids were certainly welcome at this event but the large crowds (particularly in the tent) appeared to make the event challenging for parents—too many people to navigate. Please read our family tips below for some suggestions on how to get the most from the experience if you’re making this a family outing.

We were very happy to have been able to see the Vermont Mac and Cheese Challenge first-hand. Windsor Vermont is very easy to reach from MA, NH, and CT and Harpoon Brewery is just off the highway. With the growing popularity of this event (attendance more than doubled between year 1 and this year—year two) please read our tips for getting the most from your visit there. A little planning can go a long way!

Tips for Attending the Vermont Mac and Cheese Challenge

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Arrive early: Plan to arrive right as the event opens or, even better, a little before. This will help you get a parking space easily which was nearly full by the time we’d arrived (1/2 hour after the start).

Arrive hungry: If you think 20 samples of mac and cheese sounds like heaven to you, you should plan to be VERY hungry for this event.  Seriously, don’t even think about breakfast. In fact, don’t even think about dinner. This event has your hunger covered for a solid 36 hours.

Share: If you intend to sample everything, pace yourself because you will start to feel full by about the tenth sample. Consider taking one sample and splitting it with the person you came with. Trust us, you’ll thank us for this tip.

Divide and Conquer: We saw some groups who would split up to gather samples from two or three different tables and then reconnect at the tent center to taste the collection together at once. This is a good strategy for navigating the crowds and to be able to really talk through each tasting with your friend/partner. The alternative is standing in line for one sample while eating the sample from the previous table while you wait. This was what we did and it was probably a more chaotic, less relaxed strategy. (It’s hard to write notes while you are standing and eating.)

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Take it outside: Consider gathering 3 or 4 samples from different tables and then exiting the crowded tent to enjoy your sample in the sunshine. This is a more relaxed approach to the event and a good way to sip your beer and eat. You can bring your beer into the food tent but you’ll find yourself needing an extra hand to coordinate and hold everything.

Cleanse your palate: If you see the grape/fruit platter in the center of the tent, don’t pass it by. Those grapes will be your best friend and the key to helping you endure all the cheese gooey goodness.

Buy tickets in advance. Judging from the popularity of the event and the fact that attendance double from year one to year two, I could see this selling out. Plus you’ll save a few bucks for buying ahead.
Can’t emphasize this enough—come hungry.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery

Meetup Point. It’s a little easy to get caught up in the crowds once you’re in the tent—it’s handy if everyone you come with has their own cell on them to track each other down. Our cell coverage is notoriously spotty in Vermont so come up with a meet-up spot.

Grab two forks when you check in at the ticket booth. It’s easy to lose your fork juggling the voting paper, pencil, samples, etc. You will certainly drop your fork at some point and it’s a crowded trek to get back through the crowd to the entrance which is the only place to score an extra fork.

Be patient and don’t sweat the lack of organized lines. Nobody’s cutting in front of you—it’s just a carb-loving free-for-all. Nobody really knows the front/back/side of the line so just roll with it.
Be a friend--when you get to the front of a line, hand a few samples to the people behind you—it actually makes the crowd disperse faster and makes the job of the servers easier.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
Be kind. The servers are moving at breakneck speed so a few words of encouragement and compliment go a long way. Remember to inquire about what they are serving—they’re in a competition and they’re excited to share what makes their mac and cheese recipe special.

Take notes. Remember to jot down a few words about your favorite. It’s impossible to take notes on all of the samples (but we dare you to try). Definitely make a note of it when there is one that really stands out—it’ll be hard to remember the name or why 10 samples later but it will help guide your vote at the end.

Tips for Attending the Vermont Mac and Cheese Challenge with Kids

We’re going to be frank here--one of the best parts of the event is the total free-for-all mac-and-cheese loving aspect. The words free-for-all are not always going to inspire confidence when you’re looking at bringing your kids to an event. It CAN be done and with some planning, you can make it a really fun time but  don’t even think about showing up with the kids without a good strategy.

The mac and cheese is gourmet—this is a food competition and the chefs are going all out for your attention.  Kids do generally love mac and cheese but their palate may very likely not be attuned to the things that make a gourmet mac and cheese great and memorable. Suffice it to say that if your child loves Annies or Kraft, the samples at this challenge may be too robust in flavor for them. You should have a back-up plan for lunch for your kids in the very possible scenario that they don’t care for the tasty, high-flavor samples.

VT Mac and Cheese Challenge_New England Fall Events_Harpoon Brewery
We can’t emphasize enough that you should really come up with a strategy that involves two adults—one adult outside the tent with the kids, one inside in the tent gathering samples to bring outside. Yes, it will extend your day with the back and forth from the tent but the food tents are really too crowded with taller bodies to make most parents with kids feel comfortable keeping track of where your little guys are at all times. Most parents I saw had a barely masked face of panic trying to navigate the tent crowds, keep track of the kids, wait in line, gather samples, etc.

Picture this—Inside the tent: crowds, joyous festive noise, lines, aromas, no organization, everybody standing elbow to elbow. Outside the tent: spacious lawns, sunshine, elbow room, play area, easy to see where everyone is.  As a parent, what brings you peace of mind? Let this guide how you plan your time.

There are other goodies like ice cream, cheese, and maples syrup are sold inside the farm store as a treat but there are lines in there too so this will require a little patience. Again, the divide and conquer strategy could work well here too. 

No strollers are permitted in the food tent (baby-wearing is permitted). There just isn’t enough elbow room to fit strollers and you will find it tricky to maneuver the crowds. We really recommend our two-adult divide and conquer strategy (above). 

Although this is held at a brewery, kids are invited to the park and there are designated play areas and activities—petting zoo, playground. Maybe bring a picnic blanket for a family “home base”.

Depending on when you arrive, you may have to walk 5-10 minutes from where you park your car to the festivities. Arrive 20 minutes before the event opens for a closer spot and find an area to lay down your picnic blanket.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quick and Easy Guide to Finding Pumpkin Patches across New England

Depending on the weather (and if you carve them) it's true that some may not make it all the way to Halloween. That's okay though, because  now you just have an excuse to go pick more pumpkins! Count us in!
It's pumpkin time! 

We put pumpkins everywhere--one on every doorstep, a centerpiece on the coffee table, next to the computer monitor, a sweet gourd on the kitchen sink windowsill to remind us to savor the moment...and the season. 

Nothing puts a smile on our face like a fat orange pumpkin so we are very happy to start picking out our pumpkins as soon as we can!


Remember, when you use this guide and purchase your pumpkins from the farms on our lists, you are supporting local food producers, small farms, contributing to the local economy, and reducing the carbon footprint--one pumpkin at a time. 


New England Fall Events has created guides for Pumpkin Patches
and PYO Pumpkins for every New England state. 

Click on your state for a quick link to your guide:






New England Costume Store Guide 2014

It's hard to believe that October will arrive in just two days!

We know how popular Halloween is and there are no shortage of opportunities for kids and adults to dress up in costume and celebrate the season!

Our companion website Halloween New England has you covered with year-round local costume shops as well as seasonal pop-up costume stores.

Here's a quick guide to find costume stores your New England state!

Connecticut Costume and Halloween Stores

Maine Costume and Halloween Stores

Massachsuetts Costume and Halloween Stores

New Hampshire Costume and Halloween Stores

Rhode Island Costume and Halloween Stores

Vermont Costume and Halloween Stores



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fluff, Fall Fests, Funghi, Pumpkin Chuckin', PTown Theater, and Game of Thrones: Top Events for Sept 24-30, 2014

Holy cow is this a white-hot weekend for fall festivities! You will either love us for tuning you in to some quirky, offbeat picks or you will hate us for making you choose between so many deserving activities—ignorance is bliss after all. (Of course, we hope you love us.)

Where is New England Fall Events Headed this Weekend?

In_the_SummerHouse_TW_Fest_2013_photo_Josh_Andrus_Tennessee Williams Theater Fest_New England Fall Events
Poolside theater venue at the renowned
Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
We’ve had the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival circled on our calendar for nearly a year now. We are thrilled to experience this acclaimed 4-day festival featuring many of the lesser-known, rarely-produced, or newly interpreted Williams’ plays often in unconventional settings (inside a home, at a boat slip). New England is incredibly fortunate to host a festival of this stature right here in our own backyard (or peninsula as it were). Tickets are limited for the performances running Thursday through Sunday and we hope you will have a chance to go. If you do make it, let us know and we’d love to meet up with you!

Autumn-Fest Bridgewater Business_New England Fall Events
A full day of fun at Autumn-Fest
Saturday will be a whirlwind of fun with our day starting off with the Autum-Fest in Bridgewater, MA--their 26th year of bringing fall fun to the residents of Bridgewater and beyond. Autumn-Fest will be jam-packed with kids’ activities, performances, crafts, vendors, train rides, live music, bouncy houses, petting zoo, and more all on the expansive, grassy quad at Bridgewater State University. We're super excited to check out this free community festival first-hand and we hope you'll join us.

What the Fluff? Festival in Somerville (MA) celebrates Fluff inventor Archibald Query who developed MarshmallowFluff right in Somerville’s Union Square in 97 years ago. This year is being called “SteamFluff” as it takes on a steampunk theme.
Archiald Query was born in the nineteenth century and shares the steampunk desire to make something new.  An immigrant to Somerville, he knew a thing about perilous journeys.
Marshmallow Fluff itself, made the same way today as when Archie first whipped it up, is a magical substance that allows everyone who eats it to return to the time of their own childhoods.  We therefore declare SteamFluff as our vehicle for this year’s state of play.
New England Sandwich
Well, Steampunk theme or not, all we know is that eating FlufferNutters is a New England childhood rite of passage and we plan to pay our respects to the man who gave us sticky fingers. Plus, we're a sucker for the fabulous Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band who will be adding their oopmah to the day. We'll see you there Saturday afternoon.
Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival _ New England Fall Events
How far can YOU chuck a pumpkin?

The 6th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' has you covered in the wacky and clever categories this week. Set in a wide open field, competitors engineer DIY trebuchets to see how far their catapult can launch a pumpkin!
Last year nineteen teams from the northeast competed and nearly 2000 spectators came out to cheer them on.

With three rounds of launching in four different "weight" categories, this fun fall event also features a chili cook-off, live bands, children's activities and more. 
Pumpkin Chuckin' Event details.

New England Fall Events' Top Recommendations for this Weekend's Fall Fun
With plenty of fantastic festivities going on this weekend we don't envy you having to narrow down your fun. As always, there are even more terrific events listed on every New England state’s Fall & Activities guide and Food & Harvest Festival Guide.

Here are our recommended activities for Sept 24-30:

Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
Provincetown, MA   Click for event details.
Thursday through Sunday, Sept 25th & 28th, 2014

Autumn-Fest– FREE
Bridgewater, MA  Click for details.
Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival
Stowe, VT  Click for event details.
Sunday, September 28th, 2014 


Pumpkin Festival at Escobar’s Highland Farm 
Portsmouth, RI   Click for event details. 
Saturday, September 27th, 2014   Coupon

Game of Thrones Day at King Richard’s Renaissance Faire
Carver, MA   Click for event details. 
Saturday, September 27th, 2014 

What the Fluff? Festival (Steampunk Edition) – FREE
Somerville, MA  Click for event details.

Wild Mushroom Festival 
Mystic, CT   Click for event details.
Sunday, Sept 28th, 2014
Read why we recommend and love this festival - festival tips included!


Acadia Night Sky Festival
Bar Harbor, ME  Click for event details.
Thursday through Monday, Sept 25th & 29th, 2014

Peru Fair
Peru, VT   Click for event details.
Saturday, September 27th, 2014.


White Mountain Storytelling Festival
Waterville Valley, NH  Click for event details.
Friday through Sunday September 26th – 28th, 2014 

Moon over Drumlin Fundraiser
Lincoln, MA  Click for event details.
Saturday, September 27th, 2014

North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival
Orange, MA  Click for event details.
Saturday and Sunday, September 27th-28th, 2014


Heading out apple picking this weekend? New England Fall Events has complete guides, features, maps, and contact info for New England PYO apple orchards. Here are your quick links to the apple picking guides:

Need help mapping out where to go? New England Fall Events’ state page maps are handy for scrolling and spotting farms near home or near your road-trip destination. Orchard and fall attraction maps for ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode Island, and Vermont.

Remember, always call ahead before heading out to PYO as some farms will adjust their hours for weather or they close to allow more time for fruit to ripen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Expert Tip # 5 Successful Apple Picking is All in the Timing

      Expert Tip #5: It’s All in the Timing

On a weekday morning you may very well be sharing the rows with hundreds of schoolchildren on a field trip. If you visit on a sunny October weekend, steel yourself for longer lines, particularly if you need to be transported by tractor to the orchard. 

If your orchard of choice is in “apple country” in your state, don’t be shocked if the traffic is crawling all the way to your destination. An orchard is a fall weekend destination (think Cape Cod in July) so if you go on a weekend, be flexible and patient

On Mondays, the trees may be picked bare from the busy weekend—and what is left is out of reach for your kiddos to twist and pull off themselves. If you can, make your visit during “off peak” days and times, you’ll be happy you did!

Tip for Planning Your Orchard Visit - Check with your orchard to know which apple varieties are being picked at the moment. Don’t even think of heading out unless you know a) they’re not temporarily closed to allow time for fruit to ripen and b) the variety you have your heart set on is in still season and still open for picking. 


New England Fall Events Pumpkins and Apples Logo

Looking for a guide to help you plan your apple picking this fall?
New England Fall Events offers easy to follow guides, features, maps, and contact info for your local or vacation-area New England PYO apple orchards. 

Here are your quick links to the apple picking guides:
Find orchard markers and fall attraction maps for ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode Island, and Vermont.

We've got your guides to HayridesCorn MazesFood Festivals, and Fall Events guides for every New England State! Visit New England Fall Events for a full list of events and family activities happening this fall.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Expert Tip # 4 Seek Out a Peaceful Apple Orchard in New England

Highland Farm Holliston MA - New England Fall EventsExpert Tip #4: Seeking Peace and Quiet at the Apple Orchard

Few things are lovelier than meandering through a row of fat, juicy honey crisps on a perfect late-September day. 

For a peaceful apple picking experience, stick to the low-profile orchards—the ones that advertise apples and only apples. Often these farms are so low key they don’t even have a website and you might only hear about them through word of mouth.

One of our favorite apples-only orchards is Highland Farm in Holliston, MA. We always find the apples are plentiful with lots of fruit still on low branches. We have great fondness for the extended-day apple picking adventure but there are times when you simply want to stock up on fresh apples or don't have an afternoon to give.  

Tips for Avoiding Over-Stimulation while Apple Picking with Young Children and Toddlers

Apple Picking with small children and toddlers - tips and tricks
Apples-only orchards may have plenty
of fruit at child-height for easy picking 
Low key orchards may fit the bill for your little ones. Apple picking is a great excuse to carry your toddler in your Ergo or Boba carrier and, when everyone has had their fill, it’s easy to wrap up and head to the car. A low-key orchard will offer a swifter picking experience which might be ideal for a young child's first time or when they're still at an age with a shorter attention span. 

Another benefit we've noticed is that the straightforward apple orchards also tend to have more apples left on the lower branches--an important feature if your child wants to pick their own fruit. 
The busier, activity-filled orchards can get a bit picked over, especially on the weekends. There may be still be fruit for picking but what is available may be far above the heads of your tykes. Save your back and the heavy-lifting by finding an orchard with plenty of low-hanging fruit.

Though a tractor hayride to an outer orchard certainly is memorable (as the larger operations often have) it is not convenient at all if your own little pumpkin is starting to tucker out quickly and you need to hit the road but you're too far to walk back to your car on your own.

New England Fall Events Pumpkins and Apples Logo

Looking for a guide to help you plan your apple picking this fall?
New England Fall Events offers easy to follow guides, features, maps, and contact info for your local or vacation-area New England PYO apple orchards. 

Here are your quick links to the apple picking guides:
Find interactive orchard and fall attraction maps for ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode Island, and Vermont.

We've got the scoop on HayridesCorn MazesFood Festivals, and Fall Events guides for every New England State! Visit New England Fall Events for a complete list of wonderful events and family activities happening this fall.

Quick-and-Easy Guide to PYO Apple Orchards across New England

An abundance of apples - More varieties ripen every week!
Are you headed apple picking this weekend? 

Looking to break out of your stand-by and try a new place? 

Need an excuse for a road trip? 

Can't wait to get started now that apple picking season is in full swing?

New England Fall Events has you covered with our state-by-state guides, our individual farm pages, lists of farm features, maps, directions and more!

Your Quick and Easy Guide to Apple Picking in New England:
(click on the link below for your state's guide)









Remember, we have state guides for Hayrides, Corn Mazes, and Pumpkin Patches too if you’re looking to expand your farm visit beyond apples!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Your Guide to Pet-Friendly Apple Orchards and Corn Mazes in New England

Calling all pet lovers! Are you looking to share your favorite fall traditions with your furry pal?
It isn't always easy to find New England Farms that are pet-friendly in their orchards and mazes so New England Fall Events has done the work to create a guide for the farms where your dog will be welcomed.

A few things to know—most orchards and corn mazes are not able to accommodate dogs so you should start with the assumption that most will not (which is why our pet-friendly guide will be precious to you!).

Dog friendly orchard apple picking Drew Farm New England Fall Events
Dogs are welcome in the orchard at Drew Farm, Westford, MA
Some places are dedicated to the dogs...well, at least one is. If you can, swing through Vermont this Columbus Day weekend for the annual special Fall Dog Party at Dog Mountain on October 8th you and your pup will be treated to a truly one-of-a-kind place.
For even more fall fun with your dog, check out our Guide to Dog-Friendly Fall Events in New England.

There are a variety of reasons why a farm may not allow dogs. Most farmers and farm staff are pet lovers themselves but certain towns may actually have laws prohibiting dogs on an orchard and this can vary from town to town. Don't hold it against the farm--many are required to comply.

Some pick-your-own orchards may have permitted this in the past but sadly the privilege was abused by a few, er, bad apples.   As orchards are frequented by hundreds of families in any given fall weekend, some farms opt out of being dog-friendly in case young children are fearful, even of your friendly Fifi.

As pet-friendly orchards and mazes are VERY rare, if you do plan to bring your furry friend along with you, please exercise great consideration, awareness, and etiquette so that these handful of orchards will be able to continue their open door policy towards dogs. 

Pet Friendly Orchard Etiquette
  • Leashed - Your dog must be on leash at all times. As tempting as it is to allow your dog some freedom in the orchard, this is a non-negotiable point for every orchard we spoke to.
  • Behavior – All farms were quick to mention that dogs must be well-behaved around adults, other dogs, and especially children.
  • Vaccinated – Your dog must be fully vaccinated.
  • Clean up – The fastest way to ruin this oh-so-delicate pet-friendly arrangement is not cleaning up after your dog after he does his business. Don’t even think about it. If someone sees dog poop they will surely complain and you will earn the fury of your fellow dog-owners for putting the open-pet policy in jeopardy with your irresponsible care--yikes! Be prepared and bring what you need to clean up after your dog.
  • Be respectful or you will be asked to leave – All farms were very clear that there are times where a dog may be asked to leave (perhaps just to the car if the weather is cool enough). They are dog lovers too but they also have the responsibility to make sure the orchard is safe and comfortable for everyone. Please cooperate and do your part to be a mindful dog owner so that farms can continue to offer this option.
The following farms were personally verified as being pet-friendly at the time of publishing. Some are always pet friendly; others have designated days only. Please note the difference and don’t be afraid to call ahead if you’re unsure.

Pet-Friendly New Hampshire
Dog friendly orchard pumpkin patch New England Fall EventsDeMeritt Hill Farm          
66 Lee Rd.  Lee NH
(Click for farm info)

Pet-Friendly Massachusetts
Clearview Farm
4 Kendall Hill Rd. Sterling, MA
(Click for farm info)

Drew Farm                        
31 Tadmuck Rd. Westford MA  
(Click for farm info)

Fairmount Fruit Farm 
   
887 Lincoln St. Franklin MA      
(Click for farm info)

Long Hill Orchard
           
520 Main St./Rte 113 West Newbury MA
(Click for farm info)  

Wojcik's Farm
                   
65 Milk St. Blackstone MA        
(Click for farm info)

Nashoba Valley Winery & Orchard
 
100 Wattaquadoc Hill Rd. Bolton MA
(Click for farm info)
Your leashed pooch can even chill on the porch while you are inside enjoying a glass of wine!

Monthly Twilight Hikes at Sholan Farms
1125 Pleasant St. Leominster, MA
(Click for Twilight Hike info)
Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome to tag along on these monthly Friday night hikes.

Pet-Friendly Rhode Island
Escobar Farm and Corn Maze
255 Middle Rd. Portsmouth RI
(Click for farm info)

Pet-Friendly Connecticut
Treat Farm                    
361 Old Tavern Rd. Orange, CT
(Click for farm info)

Pet-Friendly Vermont
Percy Farm Corn Maze  
Route 108 Stowe VT                         
(Click for maze info)

Mad Tom Orchard
2615 Mad Tom Rd.
East Dorset, VT
(Click for farm info)

Offering Designated Pet-Friendly Corn Maze Events

Marini Farm Corn Maze
 
259 Linebrook Rd. Ipswich MA      
Hosts a pet-friendly corn maze weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Sept 10th and 11th, 2016.
(Click for event info)


Find even more fall fun with your dog at our 2016 Guide to Dog-Friendly Fall Events in New England.