FALLING INTO AUTUMN ON LONG ISLAND…
Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter, and also marks one of the most beautiful times of the year for Long Island—the New England region of North America is most famous for autumnal foliage (thanks to changing seasons and an incredible amount of deciduous trees in the area) and attracts billions of dollars in tourism each year. Naturally, it’s also one of the most exciting times of the year for outings on Long Island. With a slew of activities from apple and pumpkin picking to fall festivals, Halloween haunts and art exhibits, it’s hard to pick which to do first.
Pumpkin Picking on Long Island
Autumn is the season of the primary harvest, and as poet, John Keats said in his famous poem, “To Autumn” It’s the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” making picking everything from pumpkins to apples, a great adventure. Though Long Islanders may not be apt to go pumpkin picking this year, after news broke of a pumpkin shortage due to the overload of rain (You can thank Tropical Storm Irene) there are still a ton of places to go where you won’t be left waiting for a great pumpkin like Linus.
Hank’s Pumpkintown in Watermill is one place you will find plenty of pumpkins. Lucky for visitors, it doesn’t stop at the patch and there are a ton of fun activities to pick from, making for an all day outing. Hank’s provides corn mazes, wagon rides, tractor train rides, calf roping, cow milking, duck races and education stations. Hank’s also provides a plethora of tasty treats from fresh roasted popcorn and fresh apple cider donuts to apple dumplings dipped in cinnamon.
Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm in Aquebogue is another great place to find your fall pumpkin. If the u-pick pumpkin patch with 18 varieties isn’t good enough, the place also offers a u-pick gourd patch, allowing folks to pick up a piece of ancient history—gourds are a species considered to be the oldest plant domesticated by humans on Earth, they were once native to Africa and spread throughout the world by human migrations being used as containers, pottery and even as resonating chambers in musical instruments including the drums.
The Milk Pail Farm & Orchard in Water Mill offers not only pumpkin picking but also great apple picking. Milk Pail is run by the 11th and 12th generation of Halseys, carrying on a farming tradition over 350-years-old. The place grows pumpkins from 150 pounds down to ½ pound and offers a ton of different varieties of apples. The family friendly place even boasts dwarf apple trees, for easy-reach apples for all ages. Additionally, Milk Pail Country Store provides guests with their special selection of fresh pressed cider, made right on the farm.
Fall Festivals on Long Island
Festivals are a real treat this season. During autumn, Long Island hosts an array of different festivals attracting thousands of people to the Island each year, and may we mention some of them are Hollywood stars.
One of the most popular fall festivals is the Oyster Fest that takes place in Oyster Bay each year. The annual festival is run by a non-profit Oyster Bay Charitable Fund, and is the East Coast’s largest waterfront festival. This year it will take place October 15 & 16 for its 28th year.
The festival originated as a hometown parade honoring Theodore Roosevelt before evolving into the largest outdoor festival on Long Island that attracts over 200,000 visitors each year. The fun family festival has something for everyone from a petting zoo to live music. One can also find delicious food at the festival, where volunteer chefs and culinary pros work side by side, cooking and serving dozens of unique oysters, clam and other seafood.
“The 28th Annual Oyster Festival has been painstakingly crafted over the past 12 months to make everything fun, exciting and… delicious. It’s definitely one of the Islands top 1 or 2 annual events!” Event Coordinator Len Rothberg of The EGC Group stated.
Another great fall festival hitting Long Island this fall is the Hamptons International Film Festival. The festival, which is in its 19th year, is taking place October 13 through October 17 at three different venues from Montauk to Southampton.
The event attracts almost 20,000 visitors annually and presents everything from short films, documentaries and narratives to specials like a breakthrough performers program, which showcases up-and-coming acting talent, an intimate Q&A session with a film luminary, and Films of Conflict & Resolution, which utilizes the power of cinema to increase understanding of the human realities of war and conflict.
Haunts on Long Island
The autumn also hosts one of the most exciting holidays of the year, Halloween. Leading up to the day of ghosts and goblins, are a ton of special and spooky events across Long Island.
One of the most exciting and “scariest haunted event on Long Island” is Fear Fest’s CarnEvil located in Old Bethpage. The haunt features The Monster Midway with rides designed to challenge one’s sanity including the Giant Slide of Death as well as the Chamber of Horrors Haunted House featuring a 25-minute tour of horror that features a family morgue and spider pit.
Additionally, CarnEvil will feature the Haunted Hayride, the largest hayride on Long Island that takes groups of fearless guests through an array of “out of this world” experiences; The Psycho-Path, an extra terror an outdoor walk-through encounter and The Monster Maze—brave souls who make it through the maze in the allotted time win a prize. The event will run through Monday October 31.
For those looking for a uniquely scary experience this October, head to Jamesport for Nyctophobia. It’s an adult recommended (Absolutely no one under the age of 14 will be admitted) haunted house unlike any other and provides a 20-minute terrifying experience. Guests must enter alone or in groups of two an the place is so terrifying, if one makes it through alone, they will be given back their money. This place is definitely not for the faint of heart, guests are required at times to walk, sit, and crawl and at one point, remove their shoes.
Arts on Long Island
This autumn it’s not only a great time to take in the beauty of nature, but also art. And you can find great art at many places throughout the Island this time of year.
One place to go is the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn. A new exhibit has opened featuring an early first edition of Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos. Los Caprichos features 80 etchings by Spanish artist, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes that was published in 1799 and is regarded as one of the most influential series of graphic images in the history of Western art.
In honor of a new exhibition, the museum will be celebrating Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos this month. The holiday, also known as Day of the Dead, remembers the dead and dates back to the time of the Aztecs. Saturday, October 29, the museum is inviting families to enjoy a day of interactive tours of the exhibition, traditional Dia de los Muertos arts and crafts, music and a parade.
Want to take in art by local artists? Take a stroll in Old Westbury Gardens, who’s hosting the annual Scarecrow Garden this month.
“It’s a very interesting contrast,” says Vince Kish, director of communications at Old Westbury Gardens. “People are strolling around the majestic mansion and beautiful grounds and then see a bunch of scarecrows.”
The creative scarecrows were created by local schools, scouts, civic groups and local residents during September and were set up and posed throughout the Garden for all to see. On October 29, guests are invited to celebrate the creations and gather in the Scarecrow Garden for an Eco Horror Tour, Scarecrow Celebration and Masked March as well as a chance to watch celebrity pumpkin carvers in action.
From pumpkin and apple picking to festivals and art exhibits, this autumn if you’re not out enjoying Long Island’s famous autumnal foliage, there sure are a ton of other options.