Five must-do autumn activities

By Carolyn Dean

Vermonters know that fall is a very special time of year. Not only does it capture the threshold before the winter season, but it also creates a momentary landscape whose beauty is fleeting. Here are five must-do activities to fully participate in this fall season.

Apples are ripe for the picking

Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp and many more—Vermont apple season pairs flavor with our foliage, along with cider and cheese. Champlain Farms in Shoreham is known for its large variety of apples and apple pies as well as its farmers’ market that is open daily. Mendon Mountain Orchards is also a great place for apple picking, with 28 acres of apple trees, that also doubles as a motel for people looking to spend the night in the relaxing environment of a working apple orchard.

‘Tis the season for beer!

Many beer connoisseurs have been waiting all year for the foliage to start changing and for the hops to finish fermenting. Beer festivals are in abundance and many cater to the season with the long awaited return of pumpkin and harvest flavors. On Oct. 3-4, Killington held its annual Brewfest, and this weekend is the Harpoon Octoberfest in Windsor Vt., Oct. 11-12.

Pumpkin picking plus

Picking pumpkins may seem an obvious outdoor activity for the fall season but there are many ways to spice up this old favorite. Bertrand Farms in Pittsford offers hayrides and its must-see “Fields of Terror” haunted corn maze event with select dates until November. Hathaway Farms in Rutland Town north of the city offers the state’s largest corn maze with 12 acres of corn and miles of trails as well as a mini maze for families with toddlers.

Forecasting peak foliage

This is an annual ritual that tourists as well as Vermonters engage in when planning their foliage season activities. Dependent upon light level, temperature, soil, and elevation, foliage peak times will vary. Fortunately foresters have studied this science and have estimated the peak for us. For the central Vermont region, Oct. 1 -10 will be our window of peak foliage peak before the leaves start to lose their rich colors. Higher elevations lose leaves first. Activities that will get you viewing the foliage range from hiking Deer Leap at the top of Sherburne Pass in Killington to picnicking at Branbury State Park in Forestdale. For more foliage forecasting visit

Rutland’s 55th Annual Halloween Parade will spook you

Known as the oldest Halloween parade in the United States, it introduced themed parades in 1960 with a comic book theme, with a different one every year. The Rutland parade embodies the essence of this spooky holiday and is a must-attend for all residents as well as visitors throughout the region. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in downtown Rutland, followed by the Center Street Block Party.

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