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Pumpkins And More

Friday, September 24, 2004; Page WE33

Virginia's and Maryland's agritourism opportunities extend well beyond corn mazes, especially during autumn, when families flock to area farms in search of pumpkins and seasonal features such as hayrides, straw-scattered play areas, barnyard animals and live entertainment. You'll even find a few small -- one- to two-acre -- mazes constructed of corn stalks or hay bales, ideal for visits with young children or as practice before navigating a mega-maze.

Almost all locations sell seasonal produce, food and fall decorations. Many offer evening or weekday group tours, hayrides and campfires by advance reservation, often with discounted admission. On weekday mornings, most farms fill up with school groups on field trips.

Pumpkins in hand, students from area schools wait for a ride back to the farm at Butler's Orchard in Germantown. (Michael Williamson -- The Washington Post)

Always call ahead in the event of rain, which may close some or all activities. Allow 30 minutes to an hour per visit to a small produce market, but set aside several hours or all day if you're heading to a large farm with festive fall events. For safety's sake, supervise young children, leave pets at home and refrain from smoking around straw and other dry materials. Don't forget your camera, as all locations offer bountiful photo opportunities.


Anne Arundel County

HOMESTEAD GARDENS -- 743 W. Central Ave. (Routes 424 and 214), Davidsonville. 301-261-4550 or 410-798-5000. www.homesteadgardens.com (includes directions). Open year-round. Open Monday through Friday 9 to 7, Saturday 8 to 7 and Sunday 9 to 6 during September; October hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 8, Saturdays 8 to 8 and Sundays 9 to 6. The 21st annual Fall Festival, held Saturdays and Sundays 11 to 4 Oct. 2 through 31, features hayrides ($2, free for ages 2 and younger and anyone donating two nonperishable food items), as well as free and inexpensive kids' activities such as pumpkin painting, pumpkin bowling, storytelling and pony rides. Visit the Web site for a schedule of live entertainment and educational demonstrations on topics such as beekeeping, the Chesapeake Bay and vegetable carving. Daily, visit a straw maze from 9 to 7 and llama barn from 10 to 3.

PUMPHREY'S FARM -- 8220 Veterans Hwy., Millersville. Take Route 50 east to I-97 north to Exit 10, Veterans Highway. Go north for about 2 1/2 miles; the farm is on the left. 410-987-4290. No Web site. Open daily 9 to 6 during October; other hours vary seasonally. The farm closes from Thanksgiving until June. A guided walk along the Pumpkin Trail, $5 per person, includes a small corn maze of less than one acre, decorated with scarecrows; farm animals to pet; and a small to medium pumpkin from the pick-your-own patch. The farm also has a produce stand.

Baltimore County

SPRING MEADOW FARMS -- 15513 Hanover Pike (Route 30), Upperco, five miles north of Reisterstown. 410-239-8505. www.springmeadowfarms.com (includes directions). Produce market and garden center open Monday through Thursday 9 to 8, Friday through Sunday 9 to 9. Closes Oct. 31; reopens mid-March. The Fall Harvest Festival takes place weekends Oct. 2 through Oct. 31. Pumpkin Playland, open Saturdays and Sundays 10 to dusk, features a straw maze, straw piles for jumping, illustrated cut-out boards for photos and an inflatable giant caterpillar maze and slide. All-day admission to Pumpkin Playland is $5 for ages 2 through 12; adults get in free. Hayrides ($1) to the two- to three-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch run Saturdays and Sundays 10 to dusk through October. Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4, kids can ride ponies ($2), make scarecrows ($15, $10 if you bring the clothes) and pet farm animals. New this year, children can ride antique pedal tractors, $2. An inflatable Little Tykes Haunted House geared toward ages 5 to 12 is open during festival hours and also Friday and Saturday nights from dark till 10 (call for admission prices, undetermined at press time). The farm advises parental discretion for its haunted hayrides, recommended for ages 8 and older, $7 per person. The 20- to 30-minute rides feature live performers in scary scenes and take place Fridays and Saturdays, dark until 10, during October. Weekend food specialties include old-fashioned ice cream, apple cider and pit beef.

WEBER'S CIDER MILL FARM INC. -- 2526 Proctor Lane, Baltimore. 410-668-4488. www.webersfarm.com. Market hours daily 9 to 8 through Oct. 30, 9 to 6 starting Oct. 31; other hours vary seasonally. Saturdays and Sundays in October from 10 to 6 and weekdays Oct. 4 through 29 from 3 to 6, take a hayride, $1; navigate a giant hay maze, $2 all day; walk through a Boo Barn filled with friendly characters, $1; see pumpkin characters in Pumpkinland, $1; and look at farm animals., from 10 to 6 Saturdays and Sundays during October. Scarecrow workshops, with all materials provided, are $15 per scarecrow and take place weekends from 10 to 6 now through Oct. 31. Kids' Weekend this Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 features hayrides, the hay maze and free performances by the Singing Scarecrow from 1 to 2:30 each day. On weekdays from 9 to 3 Oct. 4 through 29 (except Oct. 15, when all activities are open from 10 to 6 and require separate admissions), kids can visit Pumpkinland, a mini maze, a straw crawl, farm animals and the Boo Barn for $3.50. In addition to a seasonal produce market, the farm also has a bakery, ice-cream parlor and gift shop. Treats for sale include such specialties as apple cider slushes, cider doughnuts and caramel apples.

Carroll County

BAUGHER'S FARM ORCHARD MARKET -- 1236 Baugher Rd., off Route 140 West, Westminster. 410-857-0111 (recording with directions) or 410-848-5541. www.baughers.com. The market is open daily 8 to 6, 8 to 5 when daylight saving time ends, through Dec. 24; it reopens in late May or early June. Pick-your-own hours are Thursday through Sunday 10 to 4 during September for apples, Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5 in October for apples and pumpkins. The orchard also is open Oct. 15 from 10 to 4, when county schools are closed. Hayrides to the pumpkin field at the 100-year-old family farm take place Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5, $1, free for ages 3 and younger. Kids' highlights include a free petting zoo and playground, scarecrow making with supplies provided for $10 and, for additional fees on weekends in October, pony rides from 10 to 5 and face painting from noon to 5. Picnic tables are available. Concessions include such specialties as homemade ice cream, baked goods and cider. The market also sells country crafts.

Frederick County

BROOKFIELD PUMPKINS -- 8302 Ramsburg Rd., Thurmont. 301-898-3527. www.brookfieldpumpkins.com (includes directions). Open Monday through Thursday 3 to 6, Friday through Sunday 10 to 6 Sept. 25 through Oct. 31. This dairy farm offers free hayrides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Daily highlights include a petting zoo, cutout boards for photos and an exhibit about the six-generation farm's history. On Saturdays and Sundays, face painting is available for $1. Free mule rides on Sunday afternoons, weather permitting. Visit the Web site for a schedule of special events, including book signings.

FAMILY FESTIVAL @ THE FARM -- Frederick County Office of Economic Development, 5340 Spectrum Dr., Suite A, Frederick. 301-694-1058 or 800-248-2296. www.discoverfrederickmd.com/funfarm/. The Frederick County Office of Economic Development sponsors this annual free, self-guided tour of 11 locations, including working farms, a vineyard, an orchard and a museum, Oct. 16 from 10 to 4 and Oct. 17 from noon to 4. Kid-pleasing highlights include animals, hayrides, pony rides, horse shows, ice-cream making, storytelling, scarecrow making and more. Visit the Web site for a map and details about each farm's activities.

GLADE-LINK FARMS -- 12270 Woodsboro Pike (Route 194), New Midway. 301-898-7131 (recording with directions). No Web site. Open daily 9 to 5 through early November. The farm has about three acres of pick-your-own pumpkins. Scarecrow making ($10 with all materials provided, $7 if you bring your own clothes) takes place during October weekends; call for dates and times. The farm offers free storytelling, wagon rides and pony rides, along with food concessions during the Family Festival @ the Farm, Oct. 16 and 17, described above.

SCENIC VIEW ORCHARDS -- 16239 Sabillasville Rd. (Route 550), Sabillasville. 301-271-2149. www.scenicvieworchards.com (includes directions). Open daily 10 to 6 through Nov. 24; reopens in June. Saturdays and Sundays noon to 5, Oct. 9 through 24, weather permitting, visitors can take Belgian horse-drawn wagon rides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch, $3 adults, $1 ages 12 and younger. Scenic View also offers free tractor-pulled wagon rides to the apple orchards Oct. 17 during Family Festival @ the Farm (see above). The site includes a produce stand with such goods as pear and apple ciders. Picnic tables are available. Purchase baked goods on weekends.

THANKSGIVING FARMS -- 1619 Buckeystown Pike, Adamstown. 301-662-1291. Take I-270 to Route 85 south (Buckeystown Pike) and go seven miles to the farm on the left. pages.frederickcounty.com/garden/thanksgiving.htm. Open daily 9 to 5 through Dec. 24; reopens around March 1. Educational activities take place on weekends at this pick-your-own apple orchard, which also offers a small pick-your-own pumpkin patch. The produce market/garden center also has limited supplies of pick-your-own fall vegetables like tomatoes, collards, kale, cabbage and unusual, ethnic varieties sold by the pound. Visitors also can sample different varieties of apples on the weekends. The site has picnic tables.

Howard County

CLARK'S ELIOAK FARM -- 10500 Clarksville Pike (Route 108), Ellicott City. 410-730-4049. www.clarklandfarm.com. Open daily 10 to 4 through Oct. 31. The 540-acre farm's petting farm, now in its third year, features a variety of farm animals, including babies. Admission is $3 ages 13 and older, $4 ages 1 to 12 and free for ages younger than 1. Other fall highlights include hayrides ($1.50, free for ages younger than 1), pumpkin patch visits ($2, including a pumpkin), pony rides ($2), a mini-farm play area and hay bale mazes. Scarecrow making and face painting take place for additional fees. A fall season pass is $15 per adult, $20 per child. New this year: The farm displays the Cinderella Pumpkin Coach from the old Enchanted Forest amusement park. Themed weekends with entertainment and demonstrations include Civil War Encampment Weekend, featuring the 2nd Maryland Infantry, Company A, C.S.A., this Saturday and Sunday; Teddy Bear Farm Visit Oct. 2 and 3, featuring a teddy bear contest at 1 and folk singer Tony McGuffin from noon to 4; Animals, Animals, Animals Oct. 9 and 10, with Scales and Tales from noon to 2 on Oct. 9 and choruses from Catonsville and Hillcrest elementary schools performing from 10 to 11 on Oct. 9; Fall Craft Mart Oct. 16 and 17, featuring local artisans ; Pumpkin Chucking Weekend Oct. 25 and 26; and Halloween Weekend Oct. 30 and 31, featuring costume contests at 11 and 2. Visit the Web site for event schedules, including information about the Enchanted Forest Memory Lane Photo Contest. The farm store specializes in locally produced products. Picnic tables are available.

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