Hayrides and Harvests

hayrideAs parents of three lovely and spirited young ladies, my wife and I have about 6000 photos and home videos of family fall outings when the girls were in various stages of pumpkinhood. Essentially, I have enough goofy looking photos of them dressed as Indian corn, Brittany Scarecrows and Real House Witches of New Jersey to blackmail them for the rest of their lives. So stop asking me for money! But I digress…

Yes there is definitely something in the air as October rolls around. After a summer at the shore there is a different feel in the air; the sights, the smells, the sweaters. It feels good to be outdoors without sunblock on a bright Autumn day. And BTW, they don’t call us the Garden State for nothing. We grow things here. Pumpkins, berries, corn, apples… From the Skylands to Cape May, fall festivals, harvest celebrations, scarecrow contests and pumpkin picking will be happening again for all those young and not-so-young families. We’ve all been lost in a corn maze. We’ve all taken those slow-moving hayrides through the fields and forests. We’ve all dressed up like Frodo and stolen squash. What, no? Never? Just me then… So here are our editor’s choices for the best ways to spend your days in October… All of the following feature hayrides, pumpkin picking and corn mazes. Some have a few extras.

Peaceful Valley Orchards, Pittstown
(908) 730-7748
Feed animals, get your face painted and jump in a straw pit.

Horse Sleigh Farms Fall Festival, Washington
(908) 283-0721
A bounce house, corn cannon and hay mountain.

Von Thun Farms Fall Festival, Monmouth Junction
(732) 329-8656
Live country music, tatoos and rubber duck racing.

Ninth Annual Garden State Garlic Gathering, Lafayette
(973) 209-4903
I’m guessing this has something to do with warding off vampires and ex-girlfriends.

Tenth Annual Fall Festival, Salem
(856) 935-3469
Scarecrow Hollow Corn Maze. In Salem. Yup, Salem.

And my number one pick…

Last Fling Pumpkin Sling, Harmony Township
(908) 283-0721
A competition where students in junior high, high school and in civic groups build catapults that can sling a pumpkin. Like Braveheart. With jack-o-lanterns. “Tell them they may take our candy and our ghosts, but they will never take away our PUMPKINS!”

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