Pumpkins, Hay Rides and Fall Fun in Fairfield County
We've barely gotten through the back-to-school rush (August seems like a 1000 years ago), but just today I saw it -- my maples turning orange and yellow. Fall is upon us, friends, and that means I need a pumpkin on my porch VERY soon. Even if you aren't into Halloween, picking a pumpkin is an autumnal ritual for many, and the perfect excuse to get outside on a crisp afternoon. Fairfield County has several spots to seek out your jack-o-lantern-to-be, and some pile on the fun with hayrides and seasonal goodies, too.
Jones Family Farm in Shelton calls their patch Pumpkinseed Hill, and it delivers on its name. Every year, Jones creates a theme for their farm-based, fall amusement scene -- handmade playsets little kids can scale, photo stands, farm animals, hayrides, and a corn maze on weekends (both the maze and hayrides are a couple dollars/person). They've even got a little stage set up for performances featuring...your children. A zillion types of decorative gourds (and ones you can eat, too) almost blend into the beautiful vista with the pumpkins ... oh yeah! The pumpkins! Purchases are by the pound...but there's also a flat rate deal for whatever one person can carry (be sure to train the camera on Dad during that circus act). The only thing missing here is the HOT cider. (Baffling, I know). Here's the solution: stop off at Beardsley's Cider Mill on your way (it's right on 110) and pour yourself a piping hot, freshly pressed cup. Be prepared to spring for a half dozen of the apple cider donuts they're cranking out, too -- I dare you to pass them up. Pumpkin season starts with a preview weekend September 28-29 and runs through October 31.
120 Beardsley Road, Shelton, CT 06484
Farmer Jones Crop Line (203-929-8425)
What Silverman's Farm perhaps lacks in layout over Jones, they make up for in convenience. Right on Sport Hill Rd. in Easton, they've got pumpkins/cider/donuts/decorative everything within feet of your vehicle. NEW this year is what they're calling the cereal bowl. It's a giant vat filled with 10 TONS of large kernel popcorn for the kids to wade through. (I'd station Daddy there, while I search for the perfect front porch gourds). Even if you go on the weekend and have to park across the street, that puts you closer to the animal farm that will amuse the kids before or after you've picked pumpkins. If you want to linger, but aren't feeling the petting zoo, go late in the season when they run scenic hayrides through the orchards on weekends (after apple picking is completed). After the hayride, you can grab lunch at a couple food trucks on site for the crowds. Silverman's also GIVES AWAY a gazillion pumpkins each year -- if you can guess your pick's weight within 2 ounces. Patch open now through October.
451 Sport Hill Rd., Easton, CT
I've heard good things about little Warrup's Farm in Redding -- and they wouldn't be offended by the 'little' comment either. They pride themselves on being a great, small family-run farm that celebrates the season sans hoopla. Here you can actually pick your pumpkin OFF THE VINE and go for a hayride, as well as snag some cider, seasonal squash, and Warrup's brand of maple syrup. Open weekends only in October, plus Columbus Day.
11 John Read Rd., Redding, CT 06896
We took a year off from booking the Essex Steam Train for Christmas, but I think we might make up for it by hopping aboard the Danbury Railroad Museum's Pumpkin Patch Train. For a $9 ticket, you take a train to the patch, where each child is given a FREE pumpkin and everyone enjoys cider and cookies. Costumes are encouraged and they've also got activities at their turn-of-the-(20th) century station, including a Thomas the Train table, for the kids to enjoy. Those under 2 are free. The dates are Oct 12/13, 19/20, 26/27. Saturday trains are hourly, 10am - 4pm, and Sunday 12 - 4pm. No reservations required.
120 White Street (corner of White Street and Patriot Drive)
old Danbury Train Station
Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel offers pumpkin picking and wagon rides through the orchards on weekends ($2/ride). Alternatively, you can get yourself into all sorts of trouble in Blue Jay's busy, busy bakery. They've got the Pyramid Pipes and Drums planned for October 20.
125 Plumtrees Road, Bethel, CT 06801
Castle Hill Farm in Newtown has you-pick off the vine pumpkins, and close encounters with oxen and cows from Sept. 28 - Nov. 3. This third generation, former dairy farm is open 10-6 on weekends and Columbus Day, and on weekdays from 1-5pm. If you can make on a weekend, you'll find $3 hayrides and PONY rides and a cornmaze (entry $8.50/person). Pumpkins are 0.50/lb.
40 Sugar Lane, Newtown, CT 06470
Plasko's Farm has a small location off Daniels Farm Rd. in Trumbull, but they pack a lot of pumpkin-y punch into that plot. You'll find the (pre-picked) pumpkins you need, plus a corn maze, mums, farm animals, antique tractors, and arguably the BEST apple cider donuts in the county.
670 Daniels Farm Rd., Trumbull, CT 06611
Fairview Tree Farm in Shelton has been around since the mid-1800s, and they celebrate fall the same way the big farms do, just on a more intimate scale. Pick your own pumpkins, feed the goats and rabbits running around, and maybe even hitch a hayride. Fairview also has mums, gourds and decorative corn for sale -- and a year-round Christmas shop if you're ready for it!
484 Walnut Tree Hill Rd., Shelton, CT
St. John's Lutheran Church in Stamford starts up its popular patch October 16-18 from 3-7pm. Then, on Saturday hours will extend to 10am-8pm and Sunday from 11:30am-8pm. They'll repeat that pattern of hours (weekdays/Sat/Sun) through October 31st.
884 Newfield Ave., Stamford, CT
Originally published on 9/21/12.