By Emily Sobel and Brooke Gronich
As summer winds down and fall begins, many exciting, new festivities await. A change in scenery from green leaves to a variety of orange, red, and yellow ones influences people to go out and explore the many things autumn has to offer. From apple and pumpkin picking to preparing for Halloween and Thanksgiving, there are endless activities to participate in here on Long Island.
As the return of apple-picking season approaches, the farms on Long Island will give you and your family a tasty experience. Most farms on Long Island provide a large supply of apples to choose from. Fort Salonga Farm is one of the many options; they offer more than just apples as“these growers are well-known not only for their apple varieties, but also for their delicious raspberries” (www.longislandpress.com). If you are up to take a drive out east to the Hamptons, Milk-Pail Farm and Orchard is a great destination to participate in autumn hobbies. At this farm, you can find apple picking, pumpkin picking, a corn maze, and delicious apple cider. This farm allows for even the shortest apple pickers to participate at ease. As said by The Long Island Press, “The farm’s variety of “dwarf” apple trees allows kids of all ages to pick apples without difficulty.” If you’re on the quest for the perfect pumpkin, Schmitt Farms is a local hotspot. There is a huge pumpkin patch with diverse pumpkin types and sizes. These pumpkins will be perfect for your Halloween jack-o-lanterns. While pumpkin picking is very popular in this location, the corn maze also entertains children of all ages. “The theme of this year’s corn maze is “Bewitched”. Enjoy hours of family fun in this 7-acre corn maze, open on weekends and Columbus Day” (schmittfarms.com). If you’re looking for old-fashioned, fall fun, you don’t have to go too far to find some!
The beginning of autumn also signifies that the spooky holiday everyone looks forward to is approaching. It means that Halloween is finally here! Kids from all over America find great interest in dressing up, getting a good scare, canvassing for candy, and creating memories with their friends during this time. Luckily, Long Island is the cradle of many Halloween themed events and festivals. Bayville Scream Park has the height of the Halloween action, and fortunately, it is just a short drive away. October is the right time to make your venture here when “Bayville Adventure Park transforms into a spooky world of frights and surprises to become Bayville Scream Park” (www.longisland.com Bayville Scream Park). Popular attractions at the Bayville Scream Park include the Bloodworth Haunted Mansion, Uncle Needle’s Funhouse of Fear, Temple of Terror, Zombie Pirates, Evil in the Woods, and The Cage. The Haunted Castle in Sands Point also opens it doors to guests for the return of Halloween season. Many strange and interesting sightings can be had here, where “Wealthy tycoons, a stormy actress, servants from a bygone era, and even refugee children from World War II all once dwelled in this historic house, but for some reason their souls have not been able to depart” (www.longisland.com Haunted Castle). Come visit the Haunted Castle on October 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30 from 6 p.m-10 p.m.
Once Halloween is over, the hype begins for everyone’s favorite face-stuffing holiday, Thanksgiving. This holiday is all about giving thanks and appreciating your friends and family. If you’re looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate, participating in one of the many Long Island food drives is a great way to do so. Two foundations that you can do this through are Long Island Cares and Island Harvest. These two foundations help to provide food to families who are not able to provide for themselves. “Our goals are to improve food security for families, sponsor programs that help families achieve self-sufficiency, and educate the general public about the causes and consequences of hunger on Long Island” (www.licares.org). For those really looking to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan is a fantastic and exhilarating idea. Although it is a slightly outside our Long Island bubble, it is definitely worth driving the few extra miles. Even before the parade begins, you can get a sneak peek of what goes on behind the scenes. For example, you can watch the balloons being inflated on Thanksgiving Eve at the staging area at 77th Street and Central Park West, near the American Museum of Natural History. This experience allows many children to feel as if they are part of the parade and really get into the holiday spirit. This is one, very unique way, to be a part of the festivities that you are usually just watching on television!
It is clear that Autumn brings many families together to create memories and enjoy the aspects of the season. Whether you’re outside participating in farm activities or at Halloween festivals, or inside carving pumpkins or at Thanksgiving dinner, the season of Fall has something for everyone.
Photo by Rachel Rosenstein