As we enter month seven of a strange, new normal, many of us are finding comfort in the crisp, colorful foliage overhead and crackling leaves underfoot.While large-scale parties, festivals, potlucks, and tailgates are high on the list of things we’ll miss this year, there’s still apples and pumpkins to be picked, cider to be sipped, and countless ways to safely enjoy the season’s bounty. Whether in search of fresh air at one of Maryland’s charming farms, or just looking to fill your calendar with virtual fun, these fall activities and festive destinations are sure to fit the bill.
Weber’s Cider Mill Farm: At Maryland’s oldest cider mill, the spiced apple drink is the reason for the season. But those who visit from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fall Harvest Days can enjoy everything from food trucks and tractor rides to live music and a Pumpkinland walking tour. Don’t forget to try the famous apple doughnuts and cider slushies before you head home.
Larriland Farm: You know what they say about an apple a day, and this precarious cold and flu season, it’s safe to bet that Larriland has us covered. At the Western Howard County Farm, take your pick from a variety of the crispy, tart crops set to ripen this month—from Ida Red to Magnolia Gold. On your way out, stop by The Red Barn to stock up on free range eggs, local jams, and, of course, apple cider.
The Maryland Corn Maze: Throw on your masks and take a drive to Anne Arundel County to explore tight ropes, pedal cars, sling shots, and tire mountains—plus eight acres of corn-filled fun—at this Gambrills go-to, which is open at 75 percent capacity this year.
Clark’s Elioak Farm: After opening doors to guests last spring at 30 percent capacity and implementing a series of safety measures, including timed ticketing and mandatory masks for guests six and older, folks at Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City are gearing up for their biggest month yet. Purchase tickets online in advance of your visit to enjoy the farm’s petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and famous Enchanted Forest.
Winterbrook Farms: Just north of Frederick, this fourth-generation farming operation is home to some of Maryland’s largest corn mazes. This fall, visitors to the Thurmont farm—open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.—can enjoy more than 20 activities including pedal karts, mountain slides, and the “U-Pick” pumpkin patch.
Gaver Farm: Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, this Mount Airy mainstay offers fun for all ages. Purchase tickets online in advance to visit the Frederick farm through November 3 and choose from more than 50 attractions, including jumping pillows, duck races, giant slides and mini mazes.
Baugher’s Orchards and Farm: Equipped with mask protocols and social distancing markers on the ground, this Westminster farm is hosting pick-your-own pumpkin and apple hours on weekends from 9-5 p.m. On the way out, be sure to pick up some apple cider, local honey, and made-from-scratch pies to complete your seasonal haul.
The Gundalow Gourmet Pumpkin Patch: If you can’t pencil in a pumpkin-picking adventure at one of the farms surrounding the city, browse the array of decorative gourds at this fan-favorite food stall inside Hampden’s Whitehall Market. The indoor pumpkin patch includes an array of picks from Misty Valley Farms in Cockeysville that will be sure to brighten up your front porch or window this fall.
10/17: The Wine Bin: All About Fall Virtual Cooking and Cocktail Class
Join owner Dave Carney and chef Maria Bell from The Wine Bin in Ellicott City to learn all about sous vide in this interactive, virtual class. Purchase tickets in advance and tune in from 6-8 p.m. as the chef and wine connoisseur team up to craft dishes such as espresso brined duck breast, apple pie tarts, and a fall harvest salad topped with maple vinaigrette.
10/19-26: Harbor Harvest Fall Children’s Festival
This virtual spin on an Inner Harbor tradition is set to offer families a full week of fall festivities. On Waterfront Partnership’s website, find everything needed to craft a Falloween DIY pumpkin using recycled materials, visit furry friends at Mary’s Go Round Petting Zoo, and compete for a chance to win this year’s costume contest.
10/20: Don’t Know Tavern’s Ninth-Annual Pumpkin Fest
Call ahead to reserve your spot for this time-honored tradition at Don’t Know Tavern in Federal Hill. Throughout the evening, attendees will carve pumpkins while sipping fall beers, ciders, pumpkin meade, and more.
10/24: Fall Harvest Market at The Family Room
For one day only, this Montgomery County stop known for small bites and specialty finds will open its doors to Maryland makers. Social distancing guidelines will be enforced at the rain-or- shine event, and you’ll need to grab a mask before visiting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to score mouth-watering pastries, local produce, and hand-crafted goods from more than 22 local vendors.
10/29-31: Dia De Los Muertos
The Walters’ annual Day of the Dead celebration will take place online this year, featuring conversations with Baltimore’s Latinx community, exhibitions of works by local artisans and dancers, children’s art-making activities, and a digital community altar.
10/31: The Great Lantern Parade
The Creative Alliance’s beloved annual light festival will have a different look this Halloween, with a car parade through Southeast Baltimore, at-home lantern kits available at the arts venue, and Sidewalk Serenades concerts throughout local neighborhoods to celebrate Día de Los Muertos.
Autumnal Flavor Lineup at The Charmery
Those in search of the perfect fall treat need look no further than this Hampden-born sweets staple. Ring in the season with festive flavors like Apple Butter, Speculoos, Spiced Pumpkin, and Vegan Apple Cider, available by the scoop or pint for dine-in and curbside pickup at one of the Charmery’s three locations.
City Parks: There’s no need to travel far to experience the golden hues, with Baltimore City’s own park system offering plenty of fantastic foliage. Among the destinations are Druid Hill Park, which offers acres of dense forest and old tree groves, and Cylburn Arboretum, an oasis for planted trees and natural woodlands, as well as beautiful gardens. Patterson Park, much more known for its grassy knolls, also features hundreds of mature shade trees, with maples and oaks turning red and orange.
Irvine Nature Center: Trails are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at this Stevenson reserve, with an entrance fee of $5 for nonmembers. Explore more than 200 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows, with their virtual “Pumpkins On The Screen” fundraiser also viewable from your own home on October 23. With a generous donation, you can even name a tree in your or a loved one’s honor.
Oregon Ridge Park: This Baltimore County green space is accessible Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with six miles of trail networks across 1,043 acres, including nearly 900 acres of forest with many native tree species. The park also offers a nature center featuring fall-themed programs for kids with pre-registration and required COVID-19 waivers. Dogs are also welcome on leash.
Gunpowder Falls State Park: This regional favorite features more than 120 miles of multi-use trails across its 18,000 acres in both Harford and Baltimore counties, making it one of Maryland’s largest state parks. Whether you’re in the Hereford Area or along the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, take in wildlife and old trees, from hickories and birches to beeches and black walnuts. Just beware: The Route 1 parking lot at the Big Gunpowder Falls is currently closed.