Five Things We Love About Fall in Virginia
Explore your surroundings and beat the midterm and finals slump.
Year after year I often find myself complaining at the first fall chill about how I miss my shorts and T-shirts. However, this fall has been fairly mild and the season itself in Central Virginia is one of the most beautiful times of the year. This fall I chose to explore outside and found opportunities to make the most of the season. Check out five seasonal activities that can become traditions or simply a great way to spend a Sunday!
1. Hiking opportunities
The presence of various hiking trails is, as expected, abundant in Virginia, especially as you travel further west. For a student at the University of Virginia or James Madison University, access to the Shenandoah National Park requires only transportation and a few hours to witness some of the most beautiful views that the state has to offer. Reddish Knob, Old Rag, and Humpback Rock are a few spots where students and families alike can enjoy an afternoon hiking.
2. Pumpkins, Apples, Treats…Oh My
Why buy apples from the grocery store when you can hand pick them and spend a day in the Virginia mountains all in one? Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse and Saunders Brothers Orchard in Central Virginia are two destinations that offer not only apple and pumpkin picking but an array of apple and pumpkin flavored treats (pumpkin donuts, anyone?) that the crisp air brings a craving for. Showalter’s offers Cider Week from November 14th – through November 23rd, and Saunders Brothers has a variety of culinary events including Apple Butter making on November 8th!
3. Sweater Season
Sometimes it’s the little things in life, right? When it comes to getting to throw on your favorite sweater and play in some leaves, the little things can become the best part of the day! While this isn’t particular to only Virginia, my favorite part of the weather in the central east coast is the drawn-out fall where the weather stays mild longer and the leaves stay colorful. If you’re a JMU student, be sure to check out The Yellow Button and Bluetique downtown for great fall styles including all the comfortable cardigans a girl could need.
4. Football Games
The first game of the season may start when it’s still sunny and 75 degrees out and the last a brisk 45, but just because the temperature drops doesn’t mean our spirit will. College football season is a time that brings collegiates together and, despite the incredible homecoming events put on for alumni, are the most fun during your four (or more) years repping your school and its colors. Tailgating, cheering on your team, or watching an incredible half time show put on by “Virginia’s finest” marching band (although that may only apply if you’re a JMU Duke) are time-honored traditions that only football season in all its glory can bring.
As much as I love Halloween itself, the best part about Halloween in Virginia is the multitude of places you can go to celebrate the holiday. Fear Forest is a locally owned Harrisonburg haunted house featuring the Haunted Woods Trail and the Fear Crops hay wagon ride. Both offer a season’s full of thrills and chills, but students looking for a day’s worth of Halloween scaring can check out the Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion (north of Richmond) or Busch Garden’s famous Howl-O-Scream.