My attic started calling to me in my sleep last month. It grew in intensity since then until I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled out my fall decorations. Once I dedicate a full day to shuffling through the long line of boxes arranged in the spare room, my house will explode with oranges and yellows and the scent of apple pie.
This marks the beginning of fall madness for my family. It also kicks off the annual pull out the calendar and pack in every activity possible phase of the year. We live in an area rich with endless activity options. If you’re looking for some inspiration on where to start, here are a few things my family packs in every autumn:
- Pumpkin patches: This serves as a staple for most of us, especially those with young kiddos. We make a circuit visiting Trax Farms, Triple B Farms and Simmons Farm. Each offers a unique experience but all offer the traditional pumpkins, corn mazes, tasty food and hayrides. I am up to picture No. 13 of my daughter standing in front of the “growing up at Trax Farms” sign. We’ve done this for so long that my child now measures higher on the cornstalk measurement stick than me.
- Haunted houses: Put on your brave face and prepare yourself to be scared for terror. South Park’s Hundred Acres Manor is nationally known and draws in crowds from all over. If you think you’ve got the guts, you can try an add-on experience such as enduring a simulator of being buried alive. If you’re like me and a little too skittish for such intensity (or have little ones), take advantage of Kids Day, a daytime open house where the scares are removed.
- Leaf peeping: If you haven’t heard of this term, yes, it’s really a thing. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. Strap on your hikers and run over to Bird Park (or any of our local tree-filled spots) to take in the colorful atmosphere. Or, hop in the car for a ride to McConnell’s Mills or the Laurel Highlands so you can take pics of the brilliant colors that southwestern PA offers.
- Leaf raking in your yard: Bear with me on this one. It’s free, it’s local and it can be a ton of fun. Gather up the kiddos and family dog to romp around in leaf piles stacked as high as the kids’ heads. There is no age limit for this. Even fellow parents can forget your age for a moment and jump in on the fun.
- Fire pit and s’mores: Any homebody will appreciate this option. If you have a fire pit, keep it from early retirement and start up a cozy fire on a crispy fall night. Make sure to stock up on s’more making for a quick nighttime snack.
- High school football game: Find a Friday night to join the crowds to cheer on the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils for a varsity football game. Snack on some classic concessions offered and soak in the Friday Night Lights.
- Mt. Lebanon Pumpkin Patch Parade: Mark your calendar for October 29 at 11 am to run over to Washington Road in Uptown. You’ll see all of the local kiddos marching in this annual parade. The route starts at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery and travels down to Washington Elementary School. If you look closely at all of the children marching, it’s possible you’ll spot a familiar face. At the end of the line, children sporting their finest costumes can jump in with an adult to walk the parade route with the others.
These options only touch the tippy top of the ice burg on local fall activities. If you need more inspiration, switch on the local news and they’ll rattle off all of the weekend’s happenings in and around Pittsburgh. With an overflowing list of ways to savor this fall, it’ll be a snowy holiday season before you know it!