Make the Most of the Season with these Fall Excursions
Now that the chagim are over and fall is here, it’s the perfect time for local weekend getaways and fun family activities.
Here in the NY metro area the air is crisp and clean, and the sun peeks out to warm up midmorning and afternoon. It’s a perfect time to be outdoors with your family, exploring all the beauty nature has to offer.
Apple picking and veggie picking are two of our favorite autumn activities here in the NY/NJ/CT area. I love showing our kids where the apples they usually buy in the supermarket produce aisle come from and showing them the miracle of nature growing in its natural environment. Lots of local farms have hay rides, petting zoos, and other fall attractions that allow you to make a day out of it.
As kosher keepers we always bring food and snacks when we travel. They are a must if you have kids and adults alike; hangry isn’t fun for anyone. Two of my kids’ favorite easy on-the-go snacks are Haddar Fruit Bars and Gefen Hazelnut Cracker Sandwiches. I can toss a few in my purse and dole them out as needed throughout the day, as all four of us need to be snacking between meals.
There are far too many farms for us to list them all, but here are a few of the best.
- Alstede Farms: Pick your own fruits and vegetables, get lost in a giant corn maze, and spend some time with adorable farm animals. Centrally located in NJ, this a great option to check out.
- Kelder’s Farm: Milk a cow, pick some veggies, take a hayride, and even play a round of mini golf at this fun farm located in upstate NY.
- Seven Ponds Orchards: Located not far from the Hamptons on Long Island, Seven Ponds offers a multitude of apple varieties, as well as berries and some vegetables. Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage in the area and a picnic lunch.
- Hank’s Pumpkintown: Located in Watermill, NY, Hank’s Pumpkintown offers 30 acres of family fun. Pumpkin and apple picking, gem mining, face painting, and a wooden playground are just some of the fun activities they offer.
With the glorious colors and crisp brisk weather, fall is a wonderful time to get some hiking in. Whether you are a beginning hiker or seasoned expert, these are a few of our family favorites.
- Harriman-Bear Mountain: Growing up, this was my family’s go-to for fall foliage, sledding, and ice skating. With over 235 acres there is literally a trail for everyone, and the views are spectacular.
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve: Located in Ulster County, the Minnewaska State Park preserve is the former site of two mountaintop hotels. The trails wind their way around two “sky lakes” – Lake Minnewaska and Lake Awosting. Spectacular vistas and easy-to-moderate trails make this a great option for beginners.
- Devil’s Den Preserve: Set on 1,700 acres, the Devil’s Den preserve located in Weston, Connecticut offers scenic and historic trails where you can see the ruins of a historic sawmill and get views of a scenic pond and reservoir.
After working up a sweat during a long hike, we’ve been enjoying the new Tuscanini Lemon and Blood Orange Sparkling Beverages. They’re a tasty treat in addition to all the water you’ll need to drink to stay hydrated. During the hike, we’ll stock Absolutely Gluten Free Tahini Bars, the perfect combo of sweet and tasty to keep you fortified.
When a Sunday isn’t enough family time, a weekend getaway is in order. Don’t forget to pack easy snack and meal options like the Gefen Noodle Soup cups (great for picky eaters), Heaven & Earth Veggie Chips for a healthy potato chip alternative, using Gefen Cookie Butter for an extra delicious sandwich or snack, and Absolutely Gluten Free Coconut Chews, which are a treat you’ll want to hide for yourself.
When planning a weekend getaway, check out some of our favorite destinations:
Close to NY, NJ, and Baltimore, Philadelphia has a tremendous amount to offer. From the Liberty Bell to the fabulous Please Touch Museum, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly options. There are lots of great food options too, from Mama’s Falafel, Blackbird Pizza, and C&R Tavern a short drive away in Bala Cynwyd. You’ll also get some beautiful foliage in on the drive down. Read more on Kosher in Center City Philly here.
Another beautiful and easily driveable location from NY & Boston, Mystic, Connecticut offers lots of small town charm and fun family activities. Old Mistick Village, Mystic Knotwork, Mystic Aquarium, and the historic Mystic Seaport are just a few of the fun options available. Make a detour pit stop at Claire’s Corner Copia in New Haven to have some of the best kosher vegan and vegetarian fare.
Our nation’s capital makes for a great weekend family destination. Centrally located Georgetown Suites even offers a special rate for those davening at local Kesher Israel for weekends. From the Capitol to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, there is a tremendous amount of our country’s history to learn and explore. Check out Char Bar for a family friendly dinner, as well as the city’s growing number of kosher vegan restaurants.
Although this list is by no means definitive, we hope it gives you some great ideas and recommendations to keep your autumn Sundays busy.
For more fall weekend day trips in the NY metro area, read here.