Falling for Fall

As much as high schoolers do not want to admit it, summer is over. A new season has started, and that means the weather is cooler, the leaves are turning orange, red, and yellow, and the activities available in the Triangle are limitless. Take the scenic route on a nearby hike, spend the day working your way through a corn maze, pick a pumpkin for Halloween, bake a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, visit a local coffee shop, cheer for your team at a football game, or curl up while watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The options truly go on and one, but it’s very easy to overlook everything the area has to offer. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to have the best autumn of your life.

The Piedmont and surrounding areas offer more than one-hundred trails, hikes, and state parks. Hemlock Bluffs, the Apex Nature Park, and Lake Pine are easy walking trails and provide visitors the chance to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and color-changing trees while also getting some exercise. William B. Umstead Park, a local favorite in Raleigh, offers great opportunities to hikers, bikers, trail runners, and equestrians. Another North Carolina favorite is Eno River State Park; hikes and trails range from .4 miles to four miles. Raven Rock, a forty-five-minute drive from Apex, offers a more uphill, intense hiking workout. Trails range from .2 miles to three miles. Wherever you chose to walk, whether it’s in your neighborhood or an hour from your house, you definitely will not regret it.

For others, perhaps the more adventurous or ambitious of people, the Triangle provides a variety of corn mazes offering hayrides, pumpkins, petting farms, miniature golf, concessions, and, obviously, corn mazes. Ken’s Korny Corn Maze, a six acre corn maze in Garner, provides visitors with an endless amount of activities. The $12-per-person cost includes the main 2 ½ mile corn maze and two other puzzling pathways, a rope maze, and a kid-friendly maze. The average time to navigate the walk through the six-foot-tall corn stalks is sixty to seventy-five minutes. Hayrides are offered at an additional cost of $3. Towards the end of October, Ken’s Korny Corn Maze transforms into the Haunted Attraction, “the scariest haunt in Wake County.” It will be open on the last three Fridays and Saturdays of October from 7-11pm. Cost is $17 per person. Both the Haunted Attraction and Ken’s Korny Corn Maze are a fabulous option for those that are willing to put their heads together to get through the twists and turns.

Perhaps you’re maybe more of a stay-at-home-and-bake-kind-of-person. Fall flavors are, without a doubt, some of the best: pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, apple, pecan, maple, sweet potato, caramel, butterscotch. Optimistic bakers could try making colorful leaf-shaped shortbread cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, or pecan pie. Others may be more interested in devouring a bowl of chili or plate of cheddar biscuits. Nothing compares to a serving or two of fruit cobbler with a cup of apple cider on a cool autumn night.

The North Carolina State Fair, a favorite, is another fantastic option! Aspiring competitors have the chance to enter in food, produce, or livestock competitions for the chance to win money, prizes, medals, and trophies. With the $10 ticket price comes the opportunity to partake in hundreds of rides and games, such as the Ring of Fire or the Starship 4000. While letting your stomach settle down, you could visit the Village of Yesteryear, an attraction that features more than seventy-five artists and crafters selling time-honored, handmade crafts or the Got To Be NC Agriculture event where the agricultural diversity of North Carolina’s agriculture is featured. The list goes on and on with music festivals, free entertainment, teaching gardens, blacksmithing, fresh produce, machinery, and last but certainly not least, the food. Classics, such as hushpuppies from the Old Grist Mill or homemade ice cream from NC State’s Howling Cow, are always a fan favorite. Other items such as fried Jello and Kool-Aid pickles are new and take time to get used to. North Carolina was truly blessed with such an incredible attraction that offers a little bit of everything for visitors, whether young, old, adventurous, hungry, or curious.

For those that would enjoy a more low-key day, the options will not allow you to be bored. Lay down in your hammock to read that book you need to finish for English (and catch some rays while you’re at it). Watch a football game! Whether it be high school, college, or professional, it’s always a great day to cheer on your team. Decorate your house with fall colors. Carve a unique-looking pumpkin for Halloween. Throw yourself into a massive pile of leaves. Stuff yourself with a variety of Thanksgiving food. Of course, the list goes on and on with hundreds of festivals, free events, and places to visit for your maximum fall experience, but whatever you’re doing, you’ll definitely have more ideas to add to your fall bucket list.

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