We’ve all heard about the infamous JMU bubble that separates students from the quintessential Harrisonburg experience. In our minds we know the bubble is bad and that we’d love to break from it but we can never seem to find the time or the means to do so. Well, one of the perks of the valley is that when the seasons change you feel it 1000% more than you would anywhere else. It’s officially Fall and the leaves are changing colors, it’s gotten a little breezier, and everything feels fresh. You might have noticed it on your walk from E-Hall back to your dorm, at some point. So, to give you a little nudge off campus and further into the area, here is a list of five things to do in Harrisonburg before fall ends.
1. The Farmers’ Market
We’ve all heard about the Farmers’ market, but it’s one of those things that is easily pushed off with reasoning like “it’s only a short walk off campus and it happens every week, I can go whenever”. But start walking now because there are two sides to this market, the Summer Market and the Winter Market, and the Summer Market ends on Thanksgiving. In with the old out with the new, different items are showcased at each market and during the Winter less vendors make an appearance. Open Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 8 -1pm every week, although I highly recommend Saturday because more vendors are out doing their thing. Don’t miss out on the hot chocolate, crepes, handmade jewelry, seasonal vegetables, hand picked flowers, and of course tie-dye Dan’s shirts.
2. Fear Forest
This one is less of a Fall specific activity than it is a Halloween must. Open until October 31st, fear forest ups the ante of a regular haunted house by lacking the confines of walls, anywhere along the path is fair game to be scared by dressed up demons. But It’s not just for horror movie freaks or adrenaline junkies, Fear Forest offers Hay Wagon rides and laser tag during the fall.
3. Go Hiking…Anywhere…Just Go
Hiking this time of year is something you will not regret. Unlike in the Summer, a casual hike won’t leave you drenched in sweat, but you’ll get to the top and have the most incredible view of the changing season. There’ll be that distinct scent that only Fall seems to bring and the chillness of the air that makes everything seem calm and undisturbed. We live right next to the George Washington National forest and the border of West Virginia. Whether it’s Reddish Knob, High Knob, there are also tons of trails in the Shenandoah National Forest, and if you’re interested in a more difficult climb check out the Hidden Rock Cliff. Make a point of going hiking one weekend, because as soon as the last leaf drops the magic of the Fall air will be gone.
4. Apple Picking
There’s no point in arguing, this is the best time to go apple picking, but it won’t be for long. There’s something about knowing exactly where your food comes from that makes it that much more appetizing keeping in mind that they’re apples so they’re already delicious. Showalters Orchard has a schedule set for the best time to pick different kinds of apples. You can pick for Fuji apples starting October 20th and Pink Ladies come into perfection on November 1st.
5. Last But Not Least: Ghost Tours
It’s spooky season, ladies and gents. People always say that Harrisonburg has a lot of history, let’s take a moment to watch that history come alive. Walk the streets of Downtown Harrisonburg, after 8pm any weekend until Halloween. You’ll make friends that you’ll take to the grave (ha) and learn about Harrisonburg’s mysterious little quirks. The tour takes places at the Hardesty-Higgins Visitor Center.