Pumpkins, Hay Rides and Fall Fun in Fairfield County
We've barely gotten through the back-to-school rush (doesn't August seems like a 1000 years ago?) but the air is getting crisp, the sun is setting a little earlier and the leaves are just starting to change from green to 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 more than a few great spots to seek out your jack-o-lantern-to-be, and most places offer activities like corn mazes and hayrides as well as cider donuts and other seasonal goodies. Check it out!
Jones Family Farm in Shelton calls their patch Pumpkinseed Hill and it really delivers on it's 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! Endless varieties of decorative gourds (and ones you can eat, too) as well as the pumpkins. 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). They also have something called the Pumpkin Experience Tour, where for an extra fee, you can take a hay wagon ride to a private pumpkin patch and pick your own straight off the vine. On the weekend before Halloween, there's a UNICEF Family Festival to raise money for the charity. Pumpkin season starts at the end of September.
Jones Family Farm, 120 Beardsley Road, Shelton, CT 06484, 203-929-8425
Silverman's Farm is located right on Sport Hill Rd. in Easton. They've got pumpkins, cider, donuts and decorative everything within just a few steps of the parking lot. Among the many cute activities, they offer something called the Cereal Bowl, which is a giant vat filled with 10 TONS of large kernel popcorn for the kids to wade through. They also offer live music and fresh kettle corn on most weekends. Silverman's animal farm 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 one of the food trucks which arrive on site to feed the crowds. Silverman's also GIVES AWAY thousands of pumpkins each year -- if you can guess your pick's weight within 2 ounces. The patch is open in September through the end of October.
Silverman's Farm, 451 Sport Hill Rd., Easton, CT, 203-261-3306
Warrup's Farm is a great, small family-run farm in Redding that celebrates the season without all the hoopla of the bigger farms. Here you can actually pick your pumpkin OFF THE VINE and go for a hayride, as well as enjoy some cider, seasonal squash, and Warrup's brand of maple syrup. Open weekends only in October, plus Columbus Day.
Warrup's Farm,11 John Read Rd., Redding, CT 06896, 203-938-9403
Danbury Railroad Museum's Pumpkin Patch Train is a fun experience for the whole family. For $10 ticket, you get to ride a vintage train to the pumpkin patch, where each child is given a FREE pumpkin and everyone enjoys FREE cider and cookies. Costumes are encouraged and they've also got a coloring station and temporary tattoos plus you can check out all of the other fun activities at the railroad museum. Kids under 2 are free. No reservations required.
Danbury Railroad Museum,120 White Street, Danbury, CT, 203-778-8337
Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel offers a big pumpkin patch and wagon rides through their orchards on weekends ($2/ride). You can push your pumpkins around the patch in big, orange wheelbarrows. Afterwards, you can get yourself into all sorts of trouble in Blue Jay's busy bakery filled with homemade pies, cookies, loaf cakes and of course, cider donuts and fresh apple cider from their orchards. Check their website for the start date on the pumpkin patch.
Blue Jay Orchards, 125 Plumtrees Road, Bethel, CT 06801 203-748-0119
Castle Hill Farm in Newtown has a pumpkin patch, an impressive 7 acre corn maze and close encounters with goats and cows late September through October. This third generation, former dairy farm is open for pumpkin picking from 10-5pm on weekends and on weekdays from 1-5pm. They also offer hayrides, pony rides and, occasionally, live music. They have a farm stand selling fresh eggs and produce and you can even plan a birthday party at the farm. On weekend evenings, from 6:30-9:00pm, you can venture out into the corn maze using nothing but the moon and a flashlight to guide your way out (the night time hike is not haunted, but it is an adventure).
Castle Hill Farm, 40 Sugar Lane, Newtown, CT 06470, 203-426-5487
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.
Plasko's Farm, 670 Daniels Farm Rd., Trumbull, CT 06611, 203-268-2716
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. Everyday in October from 9-5, you can pick your own pumpkins, feed the goats and rabbits running around and hop on for a 1-1/2 mile hayride. You can even plan a party at the farm with your own private picnic spot. On the weekends, you can check out their popular, night time Haunted Hayride and Haunted Trail, just be sure to check the schedule for exact days and hours. Fairview also has mums, gourds and decorative corn for sale -- and a year-round Christmas shop if you're ready for it!
Fairview Tree Farm, 484 Walnut Tree Hill Rd., Shelton, CT, 203-944-9090
St. John's Lutheran Church in Stamford starts up its popular patch in October. The pumpkin patch will be open through October 31st.
St. John's Lutheran Church, 884 Newfield Ave., Stamford, CT, 203-322-0066
Originally published on 9/21/12.