Thursday, September 25, 2014

With Autumn Leaves, Come #FallTrips and Harvest Festivals

Now that our kids are safely ensconced in their school seats, it's time to plan fun weekends that will keep the joys of summer alive... at least till midterms. That's why we think September is the best time to go apple picking, enjoy the fresh air, scuff some knees on tree limbs, and bring home a few bushels. It's one of the easiest staycation #falltrips we know, and a favorite from our annual Fabulous Fall Getaways roundup.

Leaf peeping is the favorite among all #falltrips

You can hop on a hayride to search for just the right pumpkin in mid-October. It's easy to find a u-pick farm with our directory of orchards and pumpkin patches near you and make it an overnight adventure.
We love the tradition of free fall festivals around the country and, because they boost local tourism, they are growing in number and scope.  For example, everyone of any age can enjoy Oktoberfest, that German ritual that dates to the 1810 wedding of Bavarian King Ludwig whose five-day party was such a hit that it was repeated for years afterward. In Germany, a whole month showcases local beers with Oktoberfest family events and community dinners where kids are always welcome.

Some Favorite Family Friendly Festivals

Start celebrating the golden aspen trees of the Rockies at the Breckenridge, Colorado Oktoberfest in mid-September, where Paulaner and local Breckenridge Brewery ales are served late into the nights. (Local families like to drop in Friday and Sunday afternoon.)

The Rockies are perfect for autumn hiking among golden aspen trees.

 Several towns with German heritage celebrate in the US, tops among them being Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (September 19-21) which draws 500,000 Samuel Adams fans to Cincinnati for the Running of the Weiners dachshund races.

For two weekends (September 20-21, October 4-5), the foothills of the Berkshires in Massachusetts and Litchfield County, Connecticut offer 50+ free, guided Housatonic Heritage tours that cover historic gardens and estates, canoeing on the Housatonic River, bike trails, behind the scenes at local farms and more.
From short to long and rough to posh, there's a festival for for everyone. Go to the Cranberry Festival September 26-28 on the island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts.

The 33rd annual New Ulm Oktoberfest Minnesota, which takes place in several venues over the first two weekends in October, features both local brews and wines.

In early October, festival-happy Breckenridge has a day devoted to the pre-Halloween Family Fun Fest (think caramel apples and pumpkin carving) in the Riverwalk Center. Put the kids to bed and join the very popular Craft Spirits Festival (October 24-26) held in many of the town's historic pubs; more Breck Festival info here.

Tybee Island, a quirky beach town off the coast of Savannah, Georgia that's considered one of the best beaches for kids on the east coast, goes full Pirate October 9-12 with a costumed Pirate Victory Parade, Little Matey's Cove, Thieves Market, and kids' activities such as a petting zoo and Ferris wheel; under 12s welcome free.

Tybee Island's Pirate Festival has a really fun parade.

That same weekend, Oceanside, California marks the annual Harbor Days with arts'n'craft exhibits, live music, a sand castle competition, beauty pageant, Tiki Swim and more.
The 15th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship (October 11) pits couples against each other on a 278-yard obstacle filled track at Sunday River, Maine's Fall Festival.

The tranquil Mission San Luis Rey is the center of action on Dia de los Muertos celebrated October 26, 2014 in the Mexican tradition.

Lots of Germans in Texas will join residents at the 33rd annual Galveston Island Oktoberfest, which is three packed days of family events, rodeo and 4H activities, beer sampling, ooompah bands and high steppin'.

And before you know it, it will be time to shop for turkeys for Thanksgiving!

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