By Olia Golovkina

Fall is arguably the most scenic, delicious, and colorful of the seasons, and there are as many ways to enjoy it as there are shades of leaves. Here’s how to get your fix of apples, pumpkins, foliage, and flavors in and around the city this season.

 

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Escape into apple country.

Stuart’s Fruit Farm, which has remained family-operated since 1828, has opened its apple-picking season, and invites New Yorkers to taste 14 additional apple varieties starting in October. It’s located one scenic hour away from the city, in beautiful Granite Springs, and makes for a relaxing day trip. Plus, try an apple-cider doughnut at the bakery and take home fresh produce from the farm stand.

Apple picking daily through November
stuartsfarm.com

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Pick a superb pumpkin.

And bring the whole family along. Because at Decker Farm on Staten Island—the historic Richmond estate that dates back to the early 1800s—the pasture becomes a playground almost every weekend this month. Tour the farmhouse, go on a hayride, wind your way through the corn maze, then get your face painted and make crafts. Finally, at the end of the day, take home a beautiful pumpkin—a tribute to the season and to the sunny day you spent outside.

Weekends October 3-November 1
historicrichmondtown.org/decker-farm

 


 

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Pick an apple—a caramel apple, that is—at Baked.

Crunchy yet creamy. Tart yet sweet. It’s hard to beat that perfect pairing of farmer’s market apple and homemade caramel, but Baked has you covered. Visit either the Brooklyn or the Manhattan location for a caramel apple in its purely divine, curt simplicity. But hurry—they’re sold in-store only while supplies last. (359 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn or 279 Church Street, NYC)

bakednyc.com

 

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Celebrate the harvest in the garden.

The Queens Botanical Garden isn’t just about flowers. On October 18th, you’ll find the summer blooms replaced by the colors of Harvest Fest, the usually-empty lawn filled with animal pens. There will be live music, games, garden walks, composting demos, craft and food vendors, a beer tent, even pony rides.

October 18
queensbotanical.org/programs/harvestfest

 

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Watch celebrity sculptors in action during the

Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend.

You’ve probably seen the triangular cut-out of a jack-o-lantern. You may have seen the more intricate profile of a moonlit vampire. But have you seen a three-dimensional zombie reaching out with its crooked limbs, its life-sized body carved from a 1,800-pound pumpkin? At the Giant Pumpkin Carving Weekend, you’ll find just that. Food Network’s Ray Villafane will lead the live performance, with Q&A to follow, while onlookers enjoy snacks from Whole Foods Market.

October 19-20
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
nybg.org

 

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Peer into the dark corners of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House.”

Since its construction in 1832, the Old Merchants House has seen almost two centuries’ worth of life walk its halls, open its windows, drag Duncan Phyfe side chairs across its floors. Today, visitors can still experience the energy of this place—the residence where eight Tredwell family members died—at the Candlelight Ghost Tours. During the 50-minute walk of the house, you’ll hear stories of strange occurrences told by the witnesses who experienced them.

October 23-24 and October 28-30
Merchant’s House Museum, NYC
merchantshouse.org

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Wear your spookiest to the Village Halloween Parade.

In 1974, Greenwich Village mask maker-puppeteer Ralph Lee started walking through his neighborhood, door to door, for the amusement of his children. As more people took notice, the event gained a following. Three years after the first walk, the Parade became its own organization, and the tradition continues to this day—tradition of “people,” in the words of New York University professor Greg Steinbrenner, “giving expression to the creative life-affirming parts of the soul.”

October 31
6th Avenue North of Spring Street to 16th Street, NYC
halloween-nyc.com

Hard Cider

Find your flavor at Cider Week.

People have been drinking cider since before the Common Era (historical evidence even suggests that Julius Caesar was a fan), but the 1920 Volstead Act put a stop to “intoxicating liquors,” and farmers ceased to cultivate the sour and bitter apple varieties—the kinds that make the best fermented juice. It was long after Prohibition’s end in 1933 that the niche practice recovered. Today, the brewing of hard cider is a sophisticated craft, and there is no better place to see the behind-the-scenes process than Cider Week. Learn what makes a great cider, sample the work of the finest makers, and attend dinner events with complementing food pairings.

November 6-15
Various NYC, Brooklyn, and Queens Locations
ciderweeknyc.com

Pumpkin Season


Unique products and entertaining ideas that embody this month’s most popular ingredient—and go well beyond the pumpkin spiced latte.

 

Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Body Lotion

As the temperatures lead us toward Thanksgiving and the first snowfall, prepare your skin with Bath And Body Works’ Marshmallow Pumpkin Body Lotion. Its aroma comforts with notes of creamy coffee and sweet marshmallow, while the formula, with ingredients like protective Vitamin E and conditioning Vitamin B5, delivers 16 hours of continuous moisture.

 


Pumpkin Spice Dark and Stormy

This seasonal recipe from Kitchen Confidante (kitchenconfidante.com) is a new take on the classic, one made from 100% Arabica coffee, sugarcane rum, and natural pumpkin. It’s a festive, simple “answer to the blustery days ahead,” and a great way to surprise your guests.

Ingredients:
ice cubes
3 oz ginger beer
1 oz Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice
1 lime sliced in wedges

Directions:
In a chilled glass, add ice cubes and ginger beer. Top with Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice and a wedge of lime. Serve immediately.


Roasted Pumpkin Fries

They’re a delicious, nutritious alternative to standard potato fries and can be prepared as both a savory and sweet addition to the meal. Try this recipe from 12 Tomatoes (12tomatoes.com) to mix up dinner any night of the week.

Ingredients:
1 pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional: crumbled blue cheese, maple balsamic, or other topping of your choice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. Slice pumpkin in half, then remove seeds. Peel off pumpkin skin using a potato peeler. Cut pumpkin into 1/4-1/2-inch strips. Mix together the olive oil and seasonings in a bowl. Dip pumpkin strips in the bowl so they’re coated in the mixture.

Place fries on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast fries for 15 minutes or until tender. Raise temperature to 400ᵒF and broil the fries for another 3 minutes until they’re nice and crispy. Top fries with crumbled blue cheese, drizzled balsamic, or another topping of your choice.

 – O.G.

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