This is the time of year for finding the perfect apple, getting lost in corn mazes, jumping aboard hayrides and running through pumpkin patches. The Capital District is exploding with fun places to explore at this time of year. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Attend a festival
Festivals are in abundance in the Capital District this time of year. The annual Goold Orchards Apple Festival and Craft Show in Castleton will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 13, offering horse-drawn wagon rides along with apple and pumpkin picking, performances by The Hill Country Cloggers, wine tastings, a climbing wall and a haunted house. For more information, visit goold.com.
Warm up with some chowder at the Troy Chowderfest on Sunday, Oct. 13, along River Street in Downtown Troy (www.downtowntroy.org) where you can taste concoctions from more than 30 area restaurants.
The Saratoga Fall Festival returns for its 13th year on Saturday, Oct. 26, with kids activities including Radio Disney, magic shows, trick or treating, arts and crafts, trolley rides, games, pumpkin rolling races, a petting zoo, pony rides, live music and more. The day ends with a kid’s costume parade down Broadway in Downtown Saratoga Springs. For more information, visit www.saratoga.com/fall/fall-festival.cfm.
Gore Mountain will hold its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13. The free event will feature live entertainment all weekend, gondola sky rides, scenic helicopter rides, a barbecue buffet and children’s activities. For more information, visit www.goremountain.com/mountain/moreinfo.cfm?id=86.
It’s Fallapalooza in Mechanicville on Saturday, Oct. 26, when Main Street opens up for trick or treating, food and craft vendors, entertainers and children’s workshops.
Maple Ski Ridge will hold its fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 12, with more than 40 crafters, food vendors, and all makes and models of cars, trucks and tractors.
Peep at the leaves
The changing colors of the trees in the Capital District and Adirondacks is a sight to see. Why not explore it up close on foot by way of one of the area’s hiking trails? Find family-friendly hiking trails at www.capital-saratoga.com/things-to-do/hiking or www.adirondack.net/hiking. If you’d rather see the sites from far above, try out a plane or a balloon (helmsaeroservice.com, www.adkballoonflights.com). If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the ride, how about a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad (www.adirondackrr.com) or the Saratoga and North Creek Railway (www.sncrr.com)?
For something different, hop on a horse. The website www.visitlakegeorge.com/outdoor-recreation/horseback-riding has a variety of places where leaf peepers of all ages can travel the terrain on horseback. The Lake George Steamboat Company also runs sightseeing cruises through the month of October (lakegeorgesteamboat.com).
Visit a farm
Area farms feature a wide range of activities in the fall. Pick your own apples at Altamont Orchards (www.altamontorchards.com) or Indian Ladder Farms (www.indianladderfarms.com) in Altamont, Goold Orchards (www.goold.com) in Schodack or Saratoga Apple (saratogaapple.com) in Schuylerville.
Play a game of trivia that provides hints to help navigate the twists and turns of the 11-acre maze at Liberty Ridge Farm (libertyridgefarmny.com) in Schaghticoke or get lost in the 22-acre corn maze at Kettle Farms in Hoosick Falls (www.mazeplay.com/the-corn-maze-at-kettle-farms), one of the largest corn mazes on the East Coast. Find the golden chip in the Motherboard Maize at Ellms Family Farm (www.ellmsfarms.com) in Ballston Spa or explore a maze designed in the shape of Fort Ticonderoga while searching for history clues among towering stalks of corn (www.fortticonderoga.org/visit/detail/id/345).
Pedal a kart around the Honeycrisp 500 track, shoot rotten apples out of an apple cannon and feed sheep, goats and alpacas at Bowman Orchards in Rexford (www.bowmanorchards.com).
Or, simply sit back and enjoy your own private campfire at Liberty Ridge Farm (libertyridgefarmny.com/camp-fire-sites) where you and your family can enjoy your own fireside gathering.
If spooky is what you are looking for, Liberty Ridge’s maze takes on a creepy twist after dark (libertyridgefarmny.com/harvest-haunt) with five haunted attractions each weekend in October starting at 7 p.m.
The Double M Haunted Hayrides in Malta will take you through the woods on a tractor-drawn wagon for a narrated and spooky ride full of surprises and terror (doublemhauntedhayrides.com).
The Saratoga Fairgrounds is transformed into a haunted playground Friday and Saturday nights from Oct. 11 through Oct. 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. For more information, call 796-5190.
Learn about the creepy goings on in the City of Albany on a ghost tour through Downtown Albany. Each tour is 90 minutes long. Learn about Albany’s most famous stories from Ten Broeck Mansion to Graceland Cemetery. Tours cost $25 per person. For more information, visit ghostsofalbany.com.
Saratoga Springs has its own share of haunted tales. Tours meet at The Arts Center on Broadway every Friday and Saturday in October. For more information, visit www.hauntedhistoryghostwalks.com/ghostwalkssaratogasprings.
Throughout October, join Capital tour guides as they visit the “hot spots” of the New York State Capital on their Capital Hauntings Tour. Visit the spots where the Capital’s night watchman died in the fire of 1911 and explore the legend of the Secret Demon near the Great Western Staircase. Tours take place Monday through Friday in October. Register at ogs.ny.gov.
Explore the Albany Pine Bush for its annual Halloween Howl Prowl on Thursday, Oct. 31. Learn about bats, skulls, spiders and nighttime sounds and take a _ mile hike through the Pine Bush at night. For more information, visit www.albanypinebush.org.
So grab grab a bag of cider donuts and a hot cup of cider at your closest farm, and get out and enjoy fall in the Capital District.