sweaters

Fall necessities for sweater weather: hayrides, apple orchards and picking grapes.

Hay may be for horses, but hayrides, apple orchards, and picking grapes are for those of us who love to sneak into a cozy sweater, jeans and duck boots and make the most of the fall season.

Check around to see which nearby farms offer hayrides. Others let you walk through their orchards, picking fruit and vegetables. And if you're up at a local winery you might be able to pick grapes too. Some have it all! Farms are not only food suppliers but can also be a primary source of entertainment for those of us who are searching for an ideal autumn day.

Now, what should you bring for these fall-time festivities?

What to bring on a hayride?

Support your local farms! They do an extraordinary job year-round and now you have a chance to relay to those farmers how great your recipes have been this season.

"That fresh sweet corn this summer I froze and turned into scalloped corn this fall? Couldn't have been better."

The kids are going to love the hayride too. Learning about a farm is a perfect teaching moment for people no matter what their age. It's great to give kids a first-hand look at the process and to remind them that the refrigerator is not a magical portal.

A good old-fashioned hayride is an educational experience that's oftentimes just as fun as it is refreshing.

Here's what to bring:

  • - Sunblock. It may be overcast but UV rays don't take days off. If it's warm, wear your UPF 50 swim tee.
  • - Reusable water bottle. Some hayrides are longer than others and it's important to bring water (especially with the young ones in tow.)
  • - A backpack. To hold any snacks or extra layers, a solid water-resistant backpack will do the trick.
  • - Fleece. In case there's a light drizzle or a brisk breeze, you'll be ready with a fleece jacket or a fleece vest.
  • - A comfortable hat to keep your ears warm in case the wind is brisk.

What to bring on a haunted hayride?

Rather than staying at home without a worry in the world, you decided to go to a creepy cornfield where a bunch of zombie actors ("is that Fred from the PTA?") are threatening to eat your arm. While at times it won't feel much different than the worst parts of motherhood, for whatever reason you're subjecting yourself to a few weeks of nightmares. Awesome.

What to bring:

  • - Jacket or coat. It's likely to get chilly once the sun goes down.
  • - A knit hat and a trusty pair of gloves.
  • - Warm pants. If you baselayer under a pair of jeans that's one way to solve this problem. You can also wear fleece lined pants too.
  • - Your wits. These are going to be taken away from you at some point, so just make sure you bring a few healthy servings of them.

What to bring to an apple orchard?

Apple orchard excursions are the best. After a humid and hot summer we always look forward to the relaxing chill of fall, but an underrated experience is going to an apple orchard. Some years we forget to go and it's like we go into winter without checking all the fall boxes. Well, no excuses this time around.

What to bring:

  • - Tote. Those apples need a place to go and a tote will be way better than trying to manage one of those plastic bags that rip right as you're opening up the car trunk.
  • - A warm sweater. You'll be moving around a bit so you want to bring along a sweater that can do both the apple picking and afterward, keep you warm.
  • - A backup jacket.
  • - A durable pair of gloves. Gardening gloves are perfect, but your go-to grip gloves will do the trick.
  • - Water bottle.
  • - Boots.
  • - Jeans.

For the next month you'll have to figure out how to get all those apples into recipes and by the time it's winter, you might have reached your apple limit for the year. But you've done great work.

As for grape picking?

Perhaps the grapes are harvested for wine or they're a part of a pick-your-own farm. Whatever it may be, you'll want to bring the same items you'd bring to the apple orchard.

Since you're in a bit of wine country you're likely to be in cider country too, so bring along a growler.

Happy fall!

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