MOUNT VERNON -- Southern end of George Washington Memorial Parkway. 703-780-2000. www.mountvernon.org. Every child age 11 and younger receives a free pumpkin as long as they're available during Fall Harvest Family Days Oct. 23 and 24, 9 to 5, at the "George Washington: Pioneer Farmer" site at George Washington's home. Admission of $27 for a family of four (two adults and two children ages 6 to 11) includes wagon rides from 10 to 3, an appearance by "George Washington," a straw bale maze, apple roasting, 18th-century games and Colonial demonstrations such as "sheep-to-shawl" wool gathering, blacksmithing and wheat treading. Eighteenth-century musicians and a slave-life interpreter perform. Visitors also can see farm animals and buy baked goods, sandwiches and drinks. Also, this weekend only, guests also receive free admission to the nearby George Washington's Gristmill.
NALLS PRODUCE -- 7310 Beulah St., Franconia. 703-971-4068. No Web site. In September and October, open Monday through Saturday 9 to 7, Sundays 9 to 6; hours change seasonally, closed January and February. Oct. 2 (tentative opening date) through 31, children can visit a free cornstalk tunnel and pumpkin tunnel at this fruit and vegetable stand, which sells seasonal produce and specialty products like hot roasted peanuts, apple butter and apple cider.
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)
HARTLAND ORCHARD -- 3064 Hartland Lane, Markham. 540-364-2316. www.hartlandorchard.com (includes directions). Open daily 8 to 6, possibly through the last week of October. Weather permitting, free hayrides at this apple orchard run Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5. Other highlights at this family-owned, working farm dating to the 1700s include select-your-own pumpkins, farm animals and honey made in on-site hives. The orchard boasts an on-site press for cider making. Picnic tables are available.
STRIBLING ORCHARD -- 11587 Poverty Hollow Lane, on Route 688 South in Markham. 540-364-3040. www.striblingorchard.com (includes directions). Open daily 9 to 6, with last entry at 5:30, through mid-November; reopens in June. Pick apples and choose pumpkins at this 200-year-old-plus, six-generation family farm. View a variety of farm animals and picnic at mountaintop tables. The Piedmont Artisan Shop at the Harvest House, open weekends and by appointment, features locally made crafts and artwork. The orchard's bakery specializes in fresh, hot bread, and a gift shop sells Virginia food items. This Saturday from 10 to 4, the orchard's 21st annual Leeds Applefest features live bluegrass by the Page County Ramblers, apple butter making, crafts, a reenacted Civil War encampment and sutler, food and many free children's activities. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.
VIRGINIA FARM MARKET -- 1881 N. Frederick Pike (Route 522 north), a half-mile north of the Route 37 bypass on the north side of Winchester. 540-665-8000. No Web site. In September and October, open Monday through Thursday 7:30 to 7:30, Fridays 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open April 1 to early December. Hours vary seasonally. Pumpkinland features a pumpkin-lined path with little red wagons and a large pumpkin-filled wagon designed as a photo backdrop. Other free kid-pleasing highlights include a small, decorated wire-mesh maze; a play area with a sandbox and a mini pumpkin checkers game; a wooden train for climbing; and decorations such as a little house crafted from pumpkins. New this year, kids can raise flaps on wooden displays to answer trivia questions about fall-related items like bees and pumpkins. The market specializes in local apples and other produce, cider and baked goods.
MARKER-MILLER ORCHARDS -- 3035 Cedar Creek Grade, Winchester. 540-662-1391. www.markermillerorchards.com (includes directions). Market hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 6, Saturdays 9 to 4 and Sundays noon to 4 during September and October; other hours vary seasonally. Wagon rides are available for $1 per person on weekends at this pick-your-own apple orchard. Other features include pick-your-own pumpkins, a picnic area and an on-premises bakery specializing in items like pies and apple cider doughnuts. The market, which recently doubled in size, offers Peaks of Otter wine tasting, $1, Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 3. The annual free Marker-Miller Orchards Apple Harvest Festival takes place Oct. 9 from 9 to 5 and Oct. 10 from 10 to 5. Highlights include the barrel-train ride for kids, a moon bounce ($1), apple butter making, antique tractors, concessions and, from 2 to 4, live music. A pumpkin festival, Oct. 23 from 9 to 5, includes similar activities, plus a pumpkin toss game and moon bounce, $1 each. Sample apple cider doughnuts and numerous varieties of cakes, pies and cookies at the free Bakery Festival, Nov. 13 from 9 to 5.
RICHARD'S FRUIT MARKET -- 6410 Middle Rd., Middletown. 540-869-1455. www.valleymarkets.com (includes directions). Open August through November, Monday through Saturday 8:30 to 6, Sundays until the Sunday after Thanksgiving 10 to 6; closed Thanksgiving Day. This 50-year-old family apple orchard also offers pumpkins, pick-your-own flowers (until the first frost), picnic facilities and specialty foods like fresh-baked pies and hand-dipped ice cream. The 11th annual Apple Festival takes place all day on Oct. 16 and 17, with live bluegrass music from 2 to 4, crafts, food, children's pioneer games, pony rides, a petting zoo and free hayrides. New this year, a Woodworkers Marketplace features products by woodworking artists. Admission is free, but some activities require fees. The orchard also holds its third annual gourd festival, featuring gourd artisans, Nov. 6 from 8:30 to 5:30 and Nov. 7 from 10 to 5:30. Admission is free.
RINKER ORCHARDS -- 1156 Marlboro Rd., Stephens City. 540-869-1499. No Web site. Take I-66 west to I-81 north to Exit 307 (Stephens City). Turn left, go 2 1/2 to 3 miles, and look for the farm on the right. Open daily 10 to 6 through Columbus Day; after that, hours vary with apple availability. This 105-year-old family apple orchard also features pick-your-own pumpkins. The orchard produces its own flash-pasteurized apple cider, available for sale. The Stephens City United Methodist Church Women sell homemade apple dumplings Oct. 2. The orchard has no picnic tables, but visitors may spread blankets on the expansive lawn.
SHAWNEE SPRINGS MARKET -- 6656 N. Frederick Pike, Cross Junction. 540-888-4164. www.shawneesprings.com. Open Monday through Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.. This five-generation family-owned market, which carries local produce and Shawnee Springs products such as preserves and jams, offers a pick-your-own pumpkin patch; the adjacent convenience store carries fresh baked goods. Check the Web site for possible fall activities, pending at press time.
CROOKED RUN ORCHARD -- 37883 E. Main St. (Business Route 7), Purcellville, 10 miles west of Leesburg. 540-338-6642. No Web site. This pick-your-own apple orchard, open Fridays and Saturdays 8 to 6 and Sundays 9 to 6, may have a few apples left, along with pick-your-own red raspberries, seven varieties of gourds and six acres of at least four varieties of pumpkins. The market sells such specialty items as apple butter, table grapes, local honey and apple pepper jelly made with the orchard's fruit. The farm also features pigs and picnic tables. During the Farm Color Tour of the Loudoun Valleys on Oct. 16 and 17, the farm offers free, interpretive hayrides at noon, 2 and 4. Free hayrides to the pumpkin patch take place on Sundays in October.
FARM COLOR TOUR OF THE LOUDOUN VALLEYS -- www.rural-loudoun.state.va.usor request a brochure by calling the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development/Agricultural Development Office at 703-777-0426 or 800-568-3686. Plenty of kid-pleasing attractions highlight this annual free, self-guided driving tour of 22 farms, vineyards and historic sites, some of which seldom open to the public. The event takes place Oct. 16 and 17, 10 to 4.
GREAT COUNTRY FARMS -- 18780 Foggy Bottom Rd., near Bluemont. 540-554-2073. www.greatcountryfarms.com (includes directions). Open daily 9 to 5 through Nov. 7. Weekday admission is $2.50per person or $10 per car. Weekend and Columbus Day admission is $5 per person or $20 per car. This 200-acre family farm at the base of the Blue Ridge offers hayrides to the 20-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a 60-foot slide, a two-acre play area, a 100-bale hay maze, new giant rope swings, more than 75 animals (including a tree house with goats) and a catch-and-release fishing pond. Weekend and Columbus Day admission also includes cornhusk-doll making and pumpkin painting (using a purchased pumpkin); hourly pig racing, 11 to 4; and all-you-can-eat apples. Weekend visitors also can see P-Rex, the "pumpkin-munchin' dinosaur." Pony rides ($3) and concessions such as kettle corn (also sold on weekdays) and sandwiches are available on weekends. New this year, the First Annual Cider Festival and Pumpkin Harvest this weekend features cider tastings and pumpkin picking before the vines die. Visit the Web site for details about Family Fun Days special events on Sundays, including a pumpkin-growing contest on Oct. 3, pet costume contest on Oct. 10, costume day on Oct. 17, a pumpkin-carving contest on Oct. 24. Bring leftover jack-o'-lanterns to the farm on Nov. 6 and 7 for Pumpkin Chunkin' Weekend; each paid admission includes one pumpkin to launch, drop, chop or feed to the animals. Great Country also is part of the Farm Color Tour (see above). The site has a country store and picnic tables.
PUMPKINVILLE -- Leesburg Gardens and Leesburg Animal Park, 19270 James Monroe Hwy. (Route 15 South), about 1 1/2 miles outside Leesburg. 703-779-2332. www.leesburganimalpark.com. Open daily 9 to 6 during September and October; other hours vary seasonally. Admission is $9 Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day; $6 weekdays (with fewer activities) and free (without a pumpkin) for children younger than 2. Admission to Pumpkinville, through Nov. 2, includes entry into Leesburg Animal Park, a small pumpkin, hayrides (along a path with cut-outs), a tot-size hay maze, lots of moon bounces and all-you-can-eat apples, cider and, on weekends, popcorn. A three-acre play area features giant slides, tunnels, a tepee, straw mountains, a rope swing and mini-tractor rides. A giant inflatable slide looks like a fire truck and features firefighter wood cut-out accents. New this year is a treehouse with a climbing wall and sandbox. Weekends also include strolling entertainment by Brian the Magnificent, the Nicolo Whimsey Show and Spider-Man; check Web site for dates and times. Saturdays and Sundays 9 to 6 and Columbus Day also feature pumpkin and face painting. The final weekend features pumpkin-smashing events. New in the animal park, Serval kittens Savannah and Kenya participate in Daily Encounter programs. Camel rides, $5, are available most weekends. Pony rides, $3, take place daily. Visitors also can buy animal food, 50 cents a cone or $5 per large cup. The site features a country store, picnic tables and, on weekends, additional food concessions, including funnel cakes.
TARARA -- 13648 Tarara Lane, off Route 15, eight miles north of Leesburg. Follow signs. 703-771-7100. www.tarara.com. Open daily 11 to 5. The grounds at this winery and 2 1/2-acre apple orchard include six miles of hiking trails, picnic tables and a 10-acre lake. Adult visitors can tour the winery -- including a 6,000-square-foot winemaking cave -- and taste wines, $5 including a glass. A World Music concert features MSP, the Michael Stephens Project, this Saturday. The event runs from 7 to 10 and costs $10 (free for ages 12 and younger), including wine tasting. The Apple Days Wine Festival, Oct. 2 and 3 from 11 to 5, features live entertainment, kids' activities, wine tastings, hayrides, food samplings and food and craft vendors. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for designated drivers and visitors younger than 21, free for ages younger than 6; tickets booked online up to three days before the event cost $10 and $7. October Wine Days, Oct. 16 and 17 from 11 to 5, during the Loudoun Fall Color Tour, feature live music, kids' activities, hayrides, pumpkins and wine tasting ($5). Admission is free. The winery also offers bed-and-breakfast accommodations.
DOUBLE "B" FARM -- 28200 Constitution Hwy. (Route 20), Rhoadesville, about 20 miles west of Fredericksburg. 540-854-4277. No Web site. Take I-95 south to Route 3 West (Culpeper exit) to Route 20 (Constitution Highway). Turn left and go nine miles to the farm on the left. Open Monday through Saturday 9 to 6, Sundays 10 to 5 through October; closes Christmas Eve and reopens Feb. 1. Hours change seasonally. Free highlights offered through Oct. 31 include hayrides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch Saturdays 10 to 5 and Sundays 11 to 5, a petting zoo, a barrel train ride and a play area featuring a straw fort, haunted school bus and half-acre sorghum maze, geared toward young children. Face painting takes place most of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Picnic tables are available. Specialty foods include apple cider and, on weekends, sandwiches and drinks.
Prince William County
OLD MINE RANCH -- 17504 Mine Rd., Dumfries, near Potomac Mills. 703-441-1382. www.oldmineranch.net. (includes directions). Open daily 10 to 5 through Nov. 1; hours change seasonally. Admission ($5, free for ages younger than 2) to the 40-acre pony ranch includes a little pumpkin, apple, hayride, moon bounce, petting farm, Western-themed play area, ghost town, guided riverside hikes, pumpkin and cookie decorating and terrier races, among other activities. Three tall mine tunnel slides are new this year. Concessions include moderately priced lunches. The ranch has a picnic area. Call for a schedule of evening haunted hayrides.
PLANTLAND -- 8548 Sudley Rd., Manassas. 703-369-1821. No Web site. Store open daily 8:30 to 8:15. Plantland Playground, a fall play area open daily 9:15 to 8:15 through Oct. 31 (closing at 7 on Halloween), features a 40-foot-long, 28-foot-high inflatable slide (two on weekends), as well as two moon bounces, a ball crawl, straw tunnels, a tepee, a wooden train, a castle with a small slide and swing and ride-on toys. Weekdays, $3 for adults, $6 for children ages 1 through 12; Saturdays and Sundays, $4 for adults, $8 for children. Popcorn and soft drinks are available for extra fees. The store has one picnic table.
MUSKRAT HAVEN FARM -- 20 Cedarbreak Lane, on Route 211, four miles west of Amissville, 15 miles west of Warrenton. 540-937-5892 or 540-937-5191. No Web site. Open daily 9 to 5 until the end of October. The nine-acre pick-your-own apple orchard also offers red raspberries for picking until the first frost, and about five acres of pick-your-own pumpkins. The farm has picnic tables. The farm also sells fresh quail, rabbit and pasture chicken meat.