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Leaves, pumpkin farms fall into place

Students take advantage of New England traditions like apple picking and haunted houses

As summer turns to fall and the temperature outside takes its yearly dip into sweater weather, many people’s first instinct may be to retreat to the warmth of their dorms and apartments. But autumn is also the season when New England comes alive with distinctive cultural attractions. From scenic drives to corn mazes to apple and pumpkin farms, there is always something to do. 

“The force is strong with the fall traditions around here,” said Patrick Lynch ’16, who comes from rural Connecticut. During autumn, agriculture becomes a major attraction in New England, with a special emphasis on pumpkins, gourds and corn, he added.

Lynch said he has also been apple picking in Rhode Island. “(It’s) pretty awesome,” he said. “You have to make sure there’s good weather outside, because it’s more of a nature walk than anything.”

“It’s a chance to get out and do something you remember doing as a little kid,” Lynch added.

“I think it’s a really good way to bond,” said Yee Jung Kim ’16, who has lived in Rhode Island for most of her life. Kim said her earliest memories of apple picking were with her parents as a fun weekend activity. “(Apple picking), being active and doing something meaningful with my family, it’s a great way of staying close to home and having fun,” she said. She added that many of the farms offer not only pick-your-own orchards, but also activities such as apple cider making and apple pie baking.

But many students on campus rarely take the time to go off campus to enjoy the autumn attractions.

“I feel like apple picking isn’t the ideal activity for most people on, say, a Saturday night,” Kim noted. “There are a lot of farms that offer cool attractions in Providence, but I know a lot of people who go here haven’t been out of downtown or to the other cities in Rhode Island.”

New England fall activities are not limited to tame, family-friendly apple farms and corn mazes. Ray Aubin is the general manager of Confreda Greenhouses and Farms, a local company that manages not only a fall festival, but also the Scary Acres Haunted Cornfield and Hayride.

“(The attraction) began about ten years ago,” Aubin said. “It started out as pretty much a walking tour through a haunted maze, and then it morphed into a haunted trail with several different sets.”

This attraction, which opens Sept. 27, takes place every weekend for a month and capitalizes on the popularity of Halloween.

Each year, Scary Acres is set up differently with different spooks and scares. “I can’t give away the promotion this year,” Aubin said. “But I can suggest that there’s a strong zombie theme.”

Kim, who has been to the haunted hayride and corn maze, conceded that it was frightening.

“At first it was kind of boring because we were just sitting on a tractor, and since I like horror movies I’m not easily scared,” she said. “But when things started chasing us in the dark, it started to get scary. It was really dark, and I feel like if you’re in the mood to be scared and anything, even a cat, (chasing) you in the dark like that, it would freak you out.”

Whether you enjoy Halloween or Thanksgiving or just autumn in general, this season promises many great attractions. Kim said that in the past, she has been to festivals, county fairs and even a jack-o-lantern festival. “I think autumn is so popular around here because the weather is the most pleasant,” she said. “It’s not too hot, but it’s not time for snow yet.”

“I think it’s the whole change of weather and all the attractions and welcoming guests to the farm (that I enjoy about fall),” Aubin said. “We really see how excited they get about the experience.”


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