Updated: Oct 19
As the leaves begin to change color and halloween decorations adorn neighborhoods, it is clear that the autumn spirit has been ignited. Many are booking trips to Salem, Massachusetts, looking for tours of the Hudson Valley and Burlington, Vermont to see the fall foliage and enjoy the crisp October air. However, it should not be forgotten that right here, in the Garden State, there are a number of fall activities and sights to see. From apple picking, hiking trails and autumn activities to get you in the fall and Halloween spirit, there is no shortage of ways to spend these October days in New Jersey.
1. Visit New Jersey Apple Orchards
Apple picking is the best way to start off any fall season and there is no lack of apple orchards to choose from in New Jersey. Located in Freehold, Battleview Orchards is the perfect place to begin your apple picking adventures. Currently, Battleview Orchards has Golden Delicious, Empire, Braeburn, Granny Smith and Staymen Winesap apples to be picked. There is also a patch where you can pick a variety of pumpkins, weather permitted. In addition, Battleview Orchards has a hot donut window and a cider shack open daily.
Another popular apple picking spot is Eastmont Orchard in Colts Neck, New Jersey. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastmont Orchards supplies a number of apples to be picked such as Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathan, Ida Red, Stayman, Winesap, Fuji, Rome and McCoun. Along with the apples, Eastmont also has a pumpkin patch. It is important to note that on weekends, Eastmont has a $2 per person entry fee.
Last but most certainly not least, Riamede Farm located in Chester, New Jersey, is an old-fashioned apple farm that is dedicated to preserving traditional harvest values and growing vintage apple trees. Riamede Farm is the oldest pick-your-own apple orchard, with their first harvest dating back to 1974. To visit the picturesque farm for apple and pumpkin picking, a ticket for admission is required. Along with apple and pumpkin picking, admission on weekends at the farm includes a farm wagon ride and a visit to the farm store. The farm sells a number of fall sweet treats such as apple cider donuts, scone mixes, apple fritter mixes and more. Riamede Farm also hosts a number of artisan events such as their second annual Christmas at the Farm community market which will feature a number of craftsmen and vendors so customers can shop for unique holiday gifts. Make sure to save the date for November 12th!
2. Grab Some Seasonal Ice Cream at Jersey Freeze
Are you craving ice cream but tired of summertime flavors like s'mores and orange creamsicle? Well, make the trip to Jersey Freeze where they strive to keep up with the seasonal festivities by including a number of special ice cream flavors to their menu. The New Jersey creamery is serving a number of holiday flavors from their homemade pumpkin pie ice cream as well as their pumpkin churro milkshake–a milkshake containing pumpkin ice cream, cinnamon crumb topping, homemade whipped cream and a fresh churro. Jersey Freeze also partnered with Battleview Orchards for their October shake of the month: The Apple Cider Donut Shake. This milkshake consists of vanilla ice cream, fresh Battleview Orchards apple cider donut chips, homemade whipped cream, cinnamon sugar, caramel drizzle and of course an apple cider donut. Jersey Freeze truly created the fall season in a cup!
3. Attend a local Fall Festival
During the fall season, there are a number of artisan and craft fall festivals around New Jersey–the perfect way to spend your weekends. Taking place in Vernon, New Jersey, Heaven Hill Farm hosts A Great Pumpkin Festival, which is open every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and every weekend of October. Specifically on weekends, there are a number of events that the festival puts on for all ages to enjoy. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., visitors can participate in a hayride, a corn maze, pedal cars, duck races, boat racing and even watch the Canine Stars Stunt Dog Show that competed on America’s Got Talent. Participation in these events are included with an admission ticket. There are a number of additional activities such as pumpkin picking, gem mining, homemade kettle corn, carnival rides, wine testing and more for an additional fee.
Look for something for a fruit other than apples? Head over to Chatsworth for their Cranberry Festival which will be held on Oct. 15th and 16th. This festival will feature 150 craft vendors, 15 food vendors and live music. There will also be a number of handmade items to get a head start on your holiday shopping, wine tastings and of course fresh, New Jersey cranberries.
Nothing is better than a festival solely dedicated to food. This Nov. 12th and 13th, the Meadowlands has you covered, especially for the vegan community. This New Jersey Vegan Food Festival will feature a number of local cooks, bakers and even live music. Some of the local vendors include Butter Me UP, a small business that specializes in gourmet butters such as vegan blueberry butter, vegan brown sugar butter and vegan espresso butter. Some other vendors include House of Cork, Cake Jars and Bare Life.
4. Spend Time at a New Jersey Winery
While wineries are popular for day trips during the summer, the fall is actually the perfect time to visit a winery in New Jersey. Nothing is better than sitting outside and enjoying the autumn foliage with a nice glass of wine, minus all the crowds the comes with the summer. In addition to the weather, it is also harvest season, meaning the grapes at the vineyards are at their ripest on the vine. Some wineries that are definitely worth the visit this fall are the Working Dog Winery in Hightstown, Valenzano Family Winery in Shamong, Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes and Willow Creek Winery & Farm in West Cape May.
At Valenzano Family Winery Specifically, they will be hosting “Witchy Weekends” every Saturday and Sunday in October. If you dress up in your Halloween attire, you will get a 15% off discount on all your wine purchases. No matter if it is a witches hat or a full costume, you still get a discount that can be applied to wine bottles, flights and glasses. The winery also hosts football Sunday events every Sunday throughout the 2022 football season. Show up to the winery in your team jersey, t-shirt or even just a hat to receive a 10% discount on any purchase.
Let us know if you try out any of these fall events/activities!