By Michela “Songbird” Miller
Fall is just around the corner! While we mourn the passing of another summer, we must remember all the awesome things we can look forward to with the coming of autumn. While Ohio winter is always the harbinger of “the white death”, spring feels like a great flood, and summer resembles the surface of Mercury, fall is when Ohio really nails it in terms of weather. My favorite aspect of autumn in Ohio is that the air feels clean and crispy instead of swampy and sticky. It makes me want to be outside ALL THE TIME. Plus I look great in fall colors.
Fortunately, there are a ton of amazing outdoor activities to do in the fall.
Here is a list of some of the fun and family friendly adventures I love most:
Apple Picking– You can’t go wrong with a family apple picking adventure. You can pick as many apples as you want and pay by the pound at prices and qualities that are way, way better than anything you’ll find at a grocery store. Then, you get to go home and make every delicious apple concoction that Pinterest has to offer: apple dumplings, apple strudel, apple pie, caramel apples, apple sauce, apple cider….. Also, take the opportunity to put on some coordinating flannel shirts and take adorable family photos while you’re there. What’s cuter than a little kid sitting on a pumpkin with a barrel full of apples on their lap? Nothing, unless you include a puppy. One of my favorite local apple picking locations is A&M Farm and Orchard in Midland, Ohio.
Hiking– Fall is my favorite time to hike because the temperature is pleasant and because I love the colors of fall leaves. If you are willing to make a drive, the Buzzard’s Roost Hike in Adam’s County, Ohio will offer excellent panoramic fall foliage views from the lookout at the top. The trail is 4.4 miles total and offers a mix of easy hiking and steeper climbs. Older children should have no problem making the trek and the viewpoint is truly one of Ohio’s hidden gems. The trail is technically called The Buzzard’s Roost Rock Trail. Trailhead information can be found at www.nature.org.
The Cincinnati Zoo- Fall is one of my favorite times to visit the zoo because the crowds have thinned a little, the blacktop is less scorching, and the animals tend to be a little more active in the cooler weather. The Zoo has a lot of special activities in the fall for families. One of the most fun is Hallzooween, where kids can come dressed up and trick or treat in special spots around the zoo. Hallzooween starts on October 4th this year and takes place each weekend in October. If you’re looking for a fun event at the zoo that does not involve children, maybe ZooBrew is for you. It takes place on the evening of October 8th and tickets go on sale September 1.
Camping- Fall is a great time to camp in Ohio because you actually have an opportunity to sleep INSIDE your sleeping bag. In summer camping, I rarely ever unpack mine. It sits lonely in the corner of my tent in its little compression sack, while I lay on my sleeping pad, sweating and trying not to touch anything. Fall camping is cozy. There is nothing better than huddling around a campfire when there is a chill in the air. My favorite fall camping spot is the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. It is only about a two hour drive from Cincinnati and there are a lot of great campsites to choose from. Once you’re there, take a family friendly hike up to the Natural Bridge for some amazing scenery. Hocking Hills State Park is another amazing and scenic place for fall camping
Geocaching- I am late to the game in geocaching but I’ve recently discovered how much fun it can be, regardless of your age. There are caches EVERYWHERE if you know where and how to look. Odds are, a cache will lead you to a new and interesting place that you’d never have stumbled upon otherwise. Be warned, caching seems to be addictive. To learn more about caching and to create you own account, visit www.geocaching.com . Happy hunting.