Having been equipped with a diverse geography, North Carolina houses differing opportunities for activities, exploration, and engagement (especially for kids!) From where Lively Therapy Services is located in Concord, we are just over two hours from Boone, under six hours from any given beach on our eastern border, under 3 hours from Raleigh, and anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes from Charlotte. Being natural explorers, we've all spent time in some of the best places to experience the most fulfilling fall landscapes, crafts, and excursions. Here is a list of some of our favorites!!
Almond Farm - Concord, NC
Almond Farm is a family owned farm and fresh produce market located on Highway 601 in Concord. During the year Almond Farm hosts parties, weddings, and special events in their beautiful covered barn, but their shining star is their itinerary for fall festivities. Venture to Almond Farm during late September and October and experience pumpkin picking, hay rides, mazes, toddler zones, and MORE! Not only do communal situations like this help with social skills, but also encourages your child to enjoy healthy energy exertion.
2. Spending Time In The Mountains
Ms. Olivia and Ms. Megan both went to Appalachian State University, so surely we can't be surprised that a mountainous feat made the list, right?! This is an activity all of us in the office can agree on being a truly endless adventure. Though it's dependent on the weather, some of the best color changing sightings can be done in the Mountains of North Carolina during the 2nd or 3rd weekend in October. Pair that with a trip to the Asheville Arboretum or a walk down main street in Boone and we'd consider that the perfect day trip! Other options are hiking, apple picking (more on that below!), or a beautiful staycation overlooking the mountain landscape. What is your favorite mountain town to visit?
3. Skytop Orchard - Zirconia, NC (Flat Rock/Hendersonville)
Skytop Orchard is a family owned and operated apple orchard that has been in business since 1982! Much like Almond Farm, Skytop has created an exciting scene for apple and fall lovers alike. What once started as a business distributing directly to supermarkets has now become a self-serve orchard. Pick from a collection of apples (or pumpkins!), take hayrides, and apple cider donuts while enjoying the cool weather. Enjoy Skytop Orchard weekly from 9am to 6pm daily until just after Thanksgiving.
4. Carolina Renaissance Festival - Huntersville, NC
Take a step back in time at the Carolina Renaissance Festival! On Saturdays and Sundays in October and November, Huntersville enlightens with the wit and excitement of the "RenFaire." Enjoy fun foods, jousting, theatrical performances, and deliberating with the public while you decide whether or not to eat another large turkey leg. While lots of these attractions can be overstimulating to little minds, there are plenty of kid-focused imaginative exhibitions for parents AND children to enjoy. The Renaissance Festival is fun for all ages!
5. Pumpkin Picking
"Fall" and "pumpkin" are synonymous in our book! You can't expect to experience one without the other. Because there are so many opportunities in the state for pumpkin picking, we decided to compile a small list below of farms and patches for you to visit on your next free weekend! Though best approached with an adult, these patches often have various shapes and sizes of everyone's favorite gourd, they are sure to have some for tiny hands to pick up and carry.
Patterson Farm Market and Tours - Mt. Ulla, NC
Hawks Pumpkin Patch - Winston-Salem, NC Phillips Farms - Cary, NC
Hodges Family Farm - Charlotte, NC
6. Carrigan Farms - Mooresville, NC
Nestled just along highway 150 in Mooresville, Carrigan Farms is a Piedmont NC staple. Though the farm has activities throughout the year, they truly shine during the fall months when endless requests for apple and pumpkin picking arise. Though there is a cost per person like most places, Carrigan Farms has hayrides, a small petting zoo, sunflowers, a market, apple cider slushies AND donuts, and during other months hosts events like "Scarrigan Farms" and strawberry picking. If Calissa's face enjoying the sunflowers is not enough to make you want to visit, I don't know what would be!
7. North Carolina State Fair
Every October, Raleigh hosts the North Carolina State Fair. This year, the state fair begins on Thursday, October 13th and will end after 10 days on Sunday, October 23rd. This year houses new rides, new exhibits, competitions, and fun new attractions like The Magic of Agriculture and Fire Arts! Because the weather is just beginning to cool at this time, this is the optimal time of year to take a walk through the annual event and enjoy your favorite fair activities. And food. Always enjoy fair food.
8. Apple Picking
Can you imagine fall without apple crisp, or apple cider, or apple tarts, or apple pie? Apple picking is where the extra ingredient of "love" comes from in these recipes. Much like our pumpkin picking section, there are too many options for us to not share! Find some of our favorite apple orchards below! In the meantime, do you prefer a crunchy apple or a soft apple?
Skytop Orchard (mentioned in section 3) - Flat Rock, NC Carrigan Farms - Mooresville, NC Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill - Morganton, NC
Millstone Creek Orchards - Ramseur, NC
Apple picking supports pertinent fine motor skills. By extending the fingers to pick up an apple or reaching the arm out to shake one from a branch, the muscles of the upper body are encouraged to extend in an unfamiliar manner. For a small hand grabbing a big apple, the hand may stretch in a way it is not used to, giving the body the awareness that it can, in fact, move that direction. Repeated practicing on these movements will develop fine motor skills over time.
What is your favorite fall activity? Let us know in the comments or on our social media platforms!
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