Lately, it seems the air is a little crisper, the leaves more colorful, and the urge to pick pumpkins increasingly overwhelming. I love the outdoors, but I am not outdoorsy and I am not a gardener. My attempts at planting herb gardens failed after I made one caprese salad and a round of mojitos – but every year I like to get a little dirty and pick pumpkins. It’s one of those things I’ve carried into adulthood and there are plenty of “pick your own” pumpkin places AND scenic wineries around Virginia. If kids are part of your pumpkin picking entourage then there’s activities for them to do as well so you both win. If you’re looking for a wine and pumpkin experience, then check out these spots around the Commonwealth:
If you live near DC:
Cox Farms Fall Festival (Centreville, VA): In addition to pumpkin picking, Cox Farms has slides, their “Cornundrum” maze, a market, farm animals, music, and more. Come back for Pumpkin Madness Weekend November 2nd-3rd and they will “recycle” your pumpkin. Older kids might enjoy their evening Fields of Fear which includes the Corn Nightmare, Zombie Zoo, hayrides, and a bonfire. Pair a visit to Cox Farms with a trip to the Winery at Bull Run which is open daily until 7p with extended hours on Thursday (8p) and Friday (9p). The Festival runs through November 5th.
If you live near Leesburg/Ashburn:
Great Country Farms Fall Harvest Festival (Bluemont, VA): Now through the end of October, visit their pumpkin patch, get lost in their corn maze, watch pig races, play putt putt, or run around their 5 acre play area. They even have pink “porcelain doll” pumpkins for sale with proceeds going to breast cancer research. Score discounted tickets to the Festival here. Bluemont Vineyard is just across the road and is currently offering free tastings of three of their wines. The vineyard offers a great aerial view of the surrounding area so it’s especially pretty this time of year.
If you live near Richmond:
The Pumpkin Patch at Gallmeyer Farms (Richmond, VA): Besides pumpkin picking, there are hayrides, spooky house tours, straw bale maze, play area, a market, and live music. You pay for the pumpkins, but the activities are free. The Pumpkin Patch is open until the end of this month. A twenty-minute drive will lead you to James River Cellars which offers a cozy tasting room, a front porch for sipping, and room for running outdoors.