Family travel five: Planting seeds for autumn adventure

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The brisk air, falling leaves and bright colors of autumn inspire families to harvest new plans. Here are five ideas to consider:

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1. Discover farm fresh

Fall is an ideal time to celebrate our nation’s bounty by visiting farmer’s markets to marvel at the colors, textures and wonder of fresh produce. Take a farm tour and learn how our food moves from plow to porch. Visit a community garden and become inspired to join in or plan for your own. For a more immersive experience, spend the night or a weekend on a family farm. Leave everyday expectations behind and get ready to pitch in for the morning chores. At farms across the country kids can collect eggs, pet pigs, corral critters, tend to a garden, fish in the creek or hang out in the shade of fruit trees.

Contact: www.FarmStayUS.com; www.communityrootsaz.com

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2. Turn back time at Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Ky.

All “adventurers, learners, makers and doers” are encouraged to visit this 3,000-acre site, home to the country's largest private collection of original 19th century buildings (including 34 original Shaker structures) and is the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky. The whole family will want to beeline to the farm to meet four-legged friends, and to walk the garden while collecting sustainability and organic gardening tips from the farmers. Be sure to access the 40 miles of family-friendly trails where bird observation blinds and Shaker mill sites provide added interest. Overnight lodging is available.

Contact: shakervillageky.org.

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3. Leaf Peeping on two wheels

Take in the fresh air and vibrant colors from the seat of your bike. Whether you and the family take to nearby roadways or trails, or seek more distant pathways the change of scenery will renew your spirits. Consider a self-guided trip in the Green Mountains with the Adventure Cycling Association, riding from Burlington, Vermont, into New Hampshire and along the Connecticut River, then back across to New York and the shores of Lake Champlain. Organized group tours will be available in 2021.

Contact: https://www.adventurecycling.org/

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4. Pick your own apples

Whether you fancy Granny Smiths, Fuji or Golden Delicious, the whole family will enjoy a day in a pick your own fruit orchard. Gather your crop, then return home to choose your favorite recipes for crafting your own apple juice, pie or cobbler. Stay close to the hearth or visit Washington, the state that harvests more than half of the country’s apples.

Contact: www.PickYourOwn.org; www.usapple.org.

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5. Corn mazes and more

Play hide and seek in the corn maze. Climb aboard the horse-drawn wagon for a hayride. Wander the scenic pathways. Scout for the best pumpkins in the patch. Relax in the fresh fall air with a glass of crisp apple cider. Find a fall fun spot near you and immerse yourselves in the season.

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(Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (www.LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com

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©2020 Lynn O'Rourke Hayes