11 activities in western Mass. for this autumn

Haunted hayrides, pumpkin patches and hard apple cider, oh my!

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Alec Zabrecky / Daily Collegian

By Astghik Dion, Head Arts Editor

It can be easy to become lethargic mid semester, speaking from a senior I have fallen victim to the midterm season curse one too many times. Yet, autumn is the best time to spring awake from your academic daze and explore all that your local area has to offer. I have compiled a list of 11 activities in Amherst and surrounding areas to check out this year.

1.Apple Picking

Apple picking season is among us, and lucky for UMass students we are surrounded by many orchards boasting bountiful fruit. Hillcrest Orchards, Apex Orchards, Kielbasa Orchards, Park Hill Orchards and many more are now open for the season for you to pick your own apples. Varieties of apples including Pixie Crunch, Granny Smith, Red & Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp are available to pick at these locations and bring home for scrumptious autumn recipes. Homemade apple tarts, apple mimosas, apple crisps, candied apples or just plain, fresh apple slices are only one orchard trip away.

 

2. Cider crawl

Apple byproducts from hard apple cider, hot apple cider, apple cider vinegar and apple cider syrup are all in full swing this fall. Whether you are looking for a mug of warm cider to bring to a spooky movie night, or fresh apple cider vinegar for your autumn dishes, now is the time to visit local cideries and stock up. Visit Carr’s Ciderhouse, Stoneybrook Cider, or use this cidery locator to find one near you. You can also follow Franklin County’s CiderDays, which highlights the best local cideries and orchards, celebrating everything apple.

 

3. Corn maze

Relish in the sweetness of being a child once again by getting lost in a corn maze and crying for your mom – or roommates. Austin Brothers Valley Farm, Hicks Family Farm and Mike’s Maze are all home to creatively designed mazes with attractions such as haunted hayrides, farm fresh food maze-side and various activities for kids – or youthful college students- like slides and bouncy houses. Mike’s Maze specifically has won many awards for being the best corn maze in the nation, with praise from YahooNews, Wired and MassLive.

 

4. Fear on the Farm at McCray’s

Open only for the weekends of October, Fear on the Farm boasts three large spooky attractions; The Monster Mash Haunted Hayride, Massacre Manor and the D.O.N.G.R.F. At just $25 dollars per person, you can pee your pants from fear and feel the cool night breeze carry you back home on a wagon.

 

5. Carve pumpkins

If your roommate has been annoying you lately or you’re just feeling like a dubious little creature, what better way is to seek reprisal than picking a fat pumpkin with your own hands, carving a horrifyingly ugly face on it, presenting it to said roommate and saying, ‘this you?’ Luckily, almost all farms in Hampshire County house pumpkin patches. Some local favorites are Fletcher Farm and McCray’s Farm, yet if you drive around for more than five minutes you are sure to spot a small stand on the side of the road with pumpkins regardless.

 

6. Scary movie party

In classic, college fashion, October is the best month for mating season because it is also the best month for horror movies. Too scared to hold the hand of the girl in your Math 127 class? Not to worry, invite her over to watch a horror movie and you can have an excuse to jump in her warm embrace instead. Sorted.

7. Apple cider donuts

I have never seen so many people come together on a topic the way I have seen mutual agreement that Atkins Farms has the best apple cider donuts – for good reason. Warm, baked with farm fresh apple byproducts and dusted with cinnamon sugar, if there is one baked good to cross off your list this autumn, it must be the apple cider donuts.

 

8. Visit Yankee Candle

I’m more of a Lakefront Lodge girl myself, but purchasing an autumn scented candle is one easy way to get into the fall spirit without having to put in too much effort. It’s incredible how transcendental a Spiced Pumpkin, orApple Pickingscent can be after a long day of musty mask smell. If you live in a dorm – you did not read this from me.

 

9. Stargazing

Be a manic pixie dream girl, stare at the stars a lil this autumn. Feel the cool, October wind nip at your nose and turn your cheeks a hue pinker. As you lay on your childhood blanket and listen to “Velvet Leaves” by Puma Blue. You are cold, but you are full…anyway.

 

10. Halloween

-Dress up.

11. Oktoberfest

This Oct. 16, Oktoberfest is coming back to Hadley with headliner Sammy Adams and additional performances by Zach Deputy, Ranger Trucco and SuperSmashBroz. If you’re 21+, come on down for a night of sausages, beer, contests and much more.

Astghik Dion can be reached at [email protected]