October is officially over, and though that doesn’t necessarily mean fall is over too, working in retail makes for a busy November, so Darren and I decided to take a few more days off this month because we know we’ll be tired all of next month and the one after too, not to mention we’ve been loving every warm apple cider, every fresh sugary donut, and all the fall feels that the Hudson Valley has to offer; we just wanted one more weekend of fall adventures through the place we call home.
We decided to do a corn maze last weekend, visit Minnewaska state park, and for Halloween we decided to go to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, a little while South of here and I, of course, wanted to share all the details with you guys.
First, we went to Hurd’s Family Farm, which is just on the outskirts of New Paltz. There was warm cider to be sipped, corn mazes to be navigated, and dogs in vests everywhere, which means me walking around like a total fool telling each and every one what a good boy he or she is. Darren and I slipped and slid in the mud from parking lot to corn maze and to car again, as it didn’t cross my mind that all the rain would make the ground near impossible to navigate in over the knee boots with a four-inch heel, but we had fun regardless!I don’t know what exactly I was picturing when I told Darren repeatedly that this fall I wanted to do a corn maze, but we both, sadly, found it a bit childish, we of course, laughed at ourselves most of the way and took pictures. Honestly, by the end, I realized that I could get lost in this corn maze, I made the counterargument when we first arrived, but Darren navigated start to finish with ease. LIFE TIP: find someone who can read a map; I always, especially, appreciate this when we go into the city! I always check out places on Instagram before we go and had seen so many cute pictures on this staircase. We couldn’t find it at first, Darren couldn’t hold back his laughter as I asked an employee there where I could find it and shamelessly showed him my saved photos on Instagram, he asked me, “uh that’s supposed to be somewhere around here?” And then as I turned to say something funny to Darren walking through rows of apples and nearing Christmas trees, I spotted it! Mid-sentence I stopped talking and said, “there it is!” I asked him for his empty cider cup, made a makeshift tripod, using that, and my backpack and we got these pictures on a staircase leading to nowhere somewhere between countless rows of apples and Christmas trees. We got to the car with wet feet and happy hearts and headed to our favorite spot for food, Schatzi’s, when in New Paltz, am I right?!Next up, we went to Minnewaska State Park and marveled at the beauty of the trees changing color, walking down hiking trails that were literally a red, orange, yellow rainbow of fall colors, and picking up the odd leaf I declared a favorite along the way. We stood in awe at the bottom of a waterfall and besides a few stops for pictures, we really enjoyed all the peace and quiet of an autumn walk.I asked Darren to get a picture of me throwing leaves up and we didn’t quite manage that, but I love these shots of me twirling in the leaves that hadn’t fallen from the air yet. Minnewaska is one of the most breathtaking places in the Hudson Valley and a place Darren and I have visited quite a few times in our four years, but every time we go it feels special and magical all over again, even when we leave with cold, runny noses, and frozen hands. Special thanks to Darren for always being my photographer, but also for always offering to keep my hands warm in his sweatshirt pocket, cue the cheesy smile. Hoping we go here again one more time before all the leaves are gone!I can’t count the number of times I’ve told people that The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze has 7,000 hand carved pumpkins. I mean they had me at that. If it were 5,000 hand carved pumpkins it might not have been worth the drive, but anything greater than 6,500 and I’m in, not to mention they had donuts and hot cider too. I’ve been wanting to go to this for literally years, but it always sells out fast on weekends and is about an hour drive for me and Darren. Luckily for me, we didn’t just get tickets this year, but we got them for Halloween night – spooky! The entrance was, if anything, aesthetically pleasing, they had twinkle lights, mums, and pumpkins everywhere. We bought tickets for the earliest show and arrived right after sunset, which was perfect as it got properly dark right as we walked in, ciders in hand.
Basically, if you hadn’t been, it all goes down in a park, where they have real and fake pumpkins lining pathways and assembled into things like a pumpkin carousel, a pumpkin bridge, a circus train with pumpkin animals, and even a “pumpkin planetarium.” A spooky walkway lined with pumpkins that seems to go on for miles is your cue to turn around and walk back along the other side; Darren and I walked the whole thing in about half an hour, and our only complaint was that we wished there was more!The pumpkins were incredible and honestly I was just in awe that something like this exists, it made me feel the way I felt the first time Darren ever took me to the Christmas house in Union Vale that does the spectacular light show every year. The pumpkins were beautiful, the weather perfect, the company couldn’t have been better and this was my absolute favorite bit. The pumpkin planetarium was out of this world!If you haven’t been I would definitely recommend checking it out, but make a night of it! It took less time than Darren and I thought, so we grabbed dinner at a restaurant we wanted to try in Wappingers – Heritage; the food was so good! I can’t believe fall is almost over, honestly, I wish it was fall all year long!