Top 15 Fall Activities in the Pioneer Valley

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. The colors, the fashion, the food, the crisp air – I love it all. With its arrival came my annual “fall fun” list, filled with all of the must-do activities in the Pioneer Valley!

1. Go for a fall hike. There are so many awesome hiking spots in the area, take advantage of them! The already breathtaking views will only be more beautiful with the leaves changing color.

2. Go apple picking and make some yummy apple treats! My favorites are always apple pie and apple crisp. If you don’t have time to go picking or have a kitchen to bake in, swing by Atkins Farms to buy some ready-made treats instead. They just opened a second location in North Amherst, in addition to their original location in Amherst, and both are on a bus route for easy access!  Their cider donuts are amazing.

3. Take a trip to the Big E. This is something that I’m hoping to finally get to this year.  It runs from September 18th through October 4th, so get down to Springfield fast! The Big E is put on by all six states in New England, which gives you a unique opportunity to view different aspects of each state all in one place. From agriculture to shopping to fresh, local food, the Big E covers it all--making it one of the top events to check out!

4. Go to Yankee Candle. If you’ve never been to the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in South Deerfield, you’re missing out. No, it is not just candles (but there are a lot of those) and it’s something that everyone should experience at least once. It’s always impeccably decorated for the holidays--currently Halloween and soon enough, Christmas! If that doesn’t put you in a good mood, grab some of the Ben and Jerry’s or other goodies they sell in the Bavarian Village.

5. Mike’s MazeMike’s Maze is one of the best corn mazes in the country, covering over 8 acres… and it’s right in our backyard. If you don’t have a car, hop on a bus down 116 to Sunderland--you won’t be sorry . This year’s theme is “Alice in Sunderland” and the maze is open every weekend from September 12th through November 8th. The regular maze is open from 10am – 5pm but for those looking for more of a thrill, Mike’s at Night offers a haunted version of the maze from 7pm – 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

6. Go to a football game . Nothing says fall like football, so go support your Minutemen at McGuirk October 3rd & 17th, and November 21st or at Gillette Stadium October 24th or November 7th. Also show some of the other athletes some love and check out their schedules here!

7. Have a picnic lunch. Find a nice field and enjoy the cool air and beautiful colors before it gets too chilly! Alternative: tailgate for the football games.

8. Play in the leaves. Let your inner child out and jump in some leaves (you know you want to). Pro Tip: Orchard Hill is a perfect place to find all the leaves your heart desires.

9. Take cute fall photos. Grab some of your fellow Collegiettes and have some fun! The colors of the leaves will add that extra pop to your pictures to rake in the likes on Facebook and Instagram.

10. Pumpkin picking. There are so many great farms around, so just like with apple picking, take advantage and go pick a pumpkin! Pumpkin picking is the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit.

11. Pumpkin carving/painting. After you pick your pumpkin, carve it! I bet you haven’t carved a pumpkin in years…it’s still fun. In fact, it might be even more fun now that you’re older and can create more complex designs.

12. Go on a haunted hayride. I’m a total wimp, but this is something I can’t wait to do. It’s not Halloween if you aren’t scared a few times! My pick is McCray’s Farm. They go all-out with a hay ride and haunted house. They’ve been prepping for months and it’s their 25th anniversary, so if you pick one scary thing to do this fall, make it this one.

13. Watch a scary movie. This is perfect for a date night or even just a night in with friends. Also throw some of the classics in there; what’s the point of Halloween without Hocus Pocus or Halloweentown?!

14. Stargazing. Okay, I know you can do this (almost) any time of the year, but in the fall you can curl up in some blankets with hot chocolate or apple cider to make it even better.  Make the hike up to the observation tower in Orchard Hill or find an open field with minimal light pollution – you won’t regret it.

15. Fright Fest at Six Flags. This one is for the Collegiettes who are okay with spending a little more and driving a little bit further…but it’s worth it. Fright Fest is the best because you get all of the fun of Six Flags with the added excitement of Halloween spirit. It runs every weekend through the end of October, so there’s plenty of time to make the trek down!


Winter, spring, summer and now fall, the Pioneer Valley has it all! 


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