Even though we are experiencing 80 degree weather, Chester and Delaware counties are in full swing when it comes to fall fun. If you don't have time to drive to Lancaster, there is plenty of fun to be had right here at home! From quiet walks to scary haunted houses, if you like outdoor activities and old-fashioned fun, put the electronic devices away and drive in any direction on routes 926 or 352 between West Chester and Media and you will hit one of my tried and true favorites:
Pete's Produce (Westtown, Pa.) - this is a great place to shop in an open-air store for locally grown produce. Year end corn is the sweetest and lots of apples to choose from--and yes, pumpkins, cornstalks and mums too!
West Chester Hayride (Westtown, Pa.) This event is in its second year. It is mainly targeted to the much younger crowd (under 10). Hop on board for a ride through Wiggins Christmas Tree Farm to the haunted mansion on top of the hill for cider, snacks and silliness. There is one tractor at a time, so you can enjoy the ride and the house without feeling crowded.
Stratton's Wynoor Farm (Glen Mills, Pa.) This is also another lower-key farm market, featuring locally grown produce. On fall weekends they open their fields for a fun corn maze, pedal gocarts and our son's favorite, the apple slingshot! This theme of this year's maze is the United States. There are puzzle stations throughout the maze for you to test your knowledge of our country. There are also golf and tennis balls hidden in the maze. If you find one you will get a special prize! You can also take a hayride around the farm and enjoy the views. $20 per person gives you access to all activities or you can pay a la carte if you want to do just one or two activities.
Haunted Hayride & Bates Motel (Glen Mills, Pa.) This has become a very poppular destination over the years. There are activities such as pumpkin picking and pillow jumping for the younger children and the very scary Bates Motel for the older kids and adults. It was a little scary, even during the day! While nighttime is the best time for haunted house tours, Route 352 does tend to get backed up during this time of year due to increased traffic from this attraction. So, if you are taking younger kids, you may want to go on the earlier side and avoid the traffic. If you are communiting between West Chester and Media you may want to find an alternate route altogether duing the last few weeks of October!
Tyler Arboretum Pumpkin Days (Media, Pa.) Tyler Arboretum is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, but during Pumpkin Days (Oct 19 & 20)you can exercise your creative side. You are supplied with materials to make a scarecrow, can go through the haunted house and the kids can do nature-related crafts outside. It is amazing how fun a bale of hay can be! Take a hike through one of the many trails and check out the amazing tree houses, pond, vegetable garden or butterfly house. There is so much to see here!
The Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park (Edgmont). This is a working farm, replicated from colonial times. The farm is open from April through December and there are activities going on here all the time and special events at the holidays. Be sure to check out their website for hours of operation! The plantation is within the park, which includes miles and miles of hiking trails, a mulit-use trail and beautifully restored gardens.
Linvilla Orchards (Media, Pa.) Linvilla offers everyting from shopping to eating to apple-picking to petting all kinds of animals. Linvilla is a popular year-round destination and I would say if you can go during the week or are lucky enough to tag along with your child's class trip, do it! Because it is bigger, it attracts more people and can get a little crowded on the weekends. While I was there today, I overheard the driver of the hayride explaining to the kids about local farming and how it helps the land--I love that this form of "agritainment" is educating the next generation on why farming is good for the land.
West Chester Railroad (West Chester and Glen Mills) - featuring the Great Pumpkin Express! Ride on an original train from "the olden days," using the original train line from center city Philadelphia to West Chester. However, this line goes back and forth from Glen Mills, passes through Westtown and ends in West Chester, depending on where you board. The tracks pass through beautiful country and can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. If you can't make this tour, there are tours throughout the year and the cars can even be reserved for birthday parties and other celebrations.
Annual Holiday Halloween Parade & Fall Festival (Glen Mills, Thornbury Township)- On Sunday, October 20th, the annual community event for Thornbury residents includes pie baking contest, scarecrow making and pumpkin carving. Parade starts 1pm. Check out www.thornbury.org for details.
The only problem with these events is that many fall on the same weekend--it may be hard to choose because may want to do them all!
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