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.
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 21/2 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LARRILAND FARM -- 2415 Woodbine Rd. (Route 94), Woodbine, south of Lisbon. 301-854-6110 (recording with directions), Washington area; 410-442-2605, Baltimore area; and 410-489-7034 (to schedule group hayrides). www.pickyourown.com. Open Saturdays and Sundays 9 to 5 and Monday through Friday 9 to 6 through October; also open Nov. 5, 6 and 7 from 9 to 5. Reopens in late May. Hayrides ($2.75, free for children younger than 2) through a field dotted with storybook characters run Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 4:30 through Oct. 31. Daily highlights include a straw maze ($1.75 all-day admission) and a Boo Barn (adults free, children $1.50 all day). The farm also has pick-your-own pumpkins, apples, broccoli, spinach and beets; call for availability. Picking continues through the first weekend in November. Weekend food concessions include such items as hamburgers and hot dogs. A market sells produce and seasonal items. The site has picnic tables.
TRIADELPHIA LAKE VIEW FARM -- 15155 Triadelphia Mill Rd., Glenelg. 410-489-4460. No Web site. Open Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5 in October; reopens after Thanksgiving for Christmas-tree cutting. Take a hayride, $1, to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch at this Christmas tree and vegetable farm, which is decorated with about 20 homemade scarecrows of different designs. Other barnyard activities, $2 total admission, include farm animals, eight pedal tractors to ride, a plywood "virtual" cow to milk, a small hay maze and a cornfield walk geared toward young children. Bring your own old clothes for scarecrow making. A country store sells decorative items. Picnic tables are available.
BUTLER'S ORCHARD -- 22200 Davis Mill Rd., Germantown. 301-972-3299 (recording with directions). www.butlersorchard.com. Farm market and pick-your-own hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5:30. The market closes Dec. 24 and reopens in May. Pick your own pumpkins from about 25 acres at this 54-year-old family farm, which holds its 24th annual Pumpkin Festival Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day 10 to 5 through Oct. 2 through 31. Highlights include an inflatable farm train play area, wooden play structures, cut-out boards for photos, farm trivia, a fall flag display, a two-acre corn maze, a hayloft for jumping, a pedal-tractor track, hayrides, Cinderella's Pumpkin Coach, farm animals, a straw maze and Pumpkinland, featuring 20 to 30 characters (such as a Pumpkinland Band) made from pumpkins, gourds and squash. New this year: Kids can crawl through a tunnel under a pyramid of straw. Ride ponies from 11 to 4, $3. Other activities requiring additional fees include face painting and kids' crafts. Live bands appear from noon to 4. Festival admission is $7, free for children younger than 2. Pumpkin Harvest Days, $5 per person, take place Tuesday through Friday 9:30 to 5, Oct. 5 through 29, and include a hayride, small pumpkin, two apples and most of the play activities. Specialty food items include hand-dipped caramel apples. The farm has a gift shop and picnic tables. Groups can book evening hayrides.
GAZEBO GARDEN CENTER AND NURSERY -- 13101 Clopper Rd., Germantown. 301-972-1010. No Web site. Through Oct. 20, open Monday through Saturday 9 to 7, Sundays 10 to 6; Oct. 21-31, open Monday through Saturday 9 to 9, Sundays 10 to 7. Highlights include a free pumpkin patch play area with stuffed cartoon characters, a pumpkin and straw mountain and a straw maze with characters and special effects.
PHILLIPS FARM -- 13710 Schaeffer Rd., Germantown. 301-540-2364. www.phillipsfarmproduce.com (includes directions). Open weekends 10 to dark, weekdays 3 to dark through October; reopens after Thanksgiving for Christmas trees, then closes before Christmas and reopens in May. Hayrides, $1, go around the farm and to the five- to six-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch (Anyone purchasing a pumpkin can ride back free of charge.) Other highlights include a three-level jungle gym for the resident goats, a 11/2-acre corn maze ($1, free for children younger than 5 accompanied by adult), haystacks to climb, farm animals to pet and feed, a giant hay bale spider and harvest themes rather than Halloween decorations. Trinity United Methodist Church and Montgomery County Senior 4-H sell lunch items, such as sandwiches and baked goods. Groups can arrange for flashlight maze visits, $2 per person.
ROCK HILL ORCHARD -- 28600 Ridge Rd. (Route 27), Mount Airy. 301-831-7427. No Web site. Take I-270 to Exit 16-A (Route 27) and go toward Damascus. Turn left at the SunTrust Bank and go 21/2 miles to the farm on the left. Open daily 9 to 5 until the apple supply is gone, probably in late October. Weather permitting, visitors can take free hayrides to the approximately four-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch or 600-tree apple orchard Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 in October. The orchard, situated on one of the county's highest points, displays harvest rather than Halloween-themed decorations.
ROCKVILLE FLOWER AND GARDEN SPOT -- Mid-Pike Shopping Center, behind Toys 'R' Us, 11800 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 301-984-3565. Through Oct. 20, open Monday through Saturday 9 to 7, Sundays 10 to 6; Oct. 21-31, open Monday through Saturday 9 to 9, Sundays 10 to 7. No Web site. The garden center's 12th annual fall activities take place Oct. 3-31. A 700-foot Trail of Terror features electronic sound and lighting special effects, geared toward ages 8 and older, $6.99. Kids of all ages can walk through a free Pumpkinville decorated with stuffed cartoon characters. Other highlights include cutout boards for photos and, Saturdays noon to 1, scarecrow making contests (bring your own old clothes). A free petting zoo will be set up Oct. 23 noon to 4. Specialty food items include apple cider and homemade baked goods.
Prince George's County
CHERRY HILL FARM & ORCHARD -- 12309 Gallahan Rd., Clinton, near Fort Washington. 301-292-1928 (recording with directions) or 301-292-4642. www.cherryhillfarm.net. Market hours are Monday through Saturday 8 to 7 in September and October, this Sunday 8 to 5 and Sundays 8 to 6:30 in October. The market closes the day before Thanksgiving and reopens the last week in April. Pick-your-own apple orchard hours are Saturdays and Sundays 8 to 6:30 through October. Owned and operated by the Gallahan family for six generations, this farm and apple orchard features a Fall Harvest Festival, $6, Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day 10 to 5:30 during October. (Admission Monday through Friday 10 to 5:30, featuring fewer activities, is $5.) Highlights include 500 scarecrow characters (such as Spider-Man, the Green Goblin and SpongeBob SquarePants), hayrides, a fun barn, farm animals and other children's activities. New this year: Visitors can walk a 300-foot cornstalk trail. Make a scarecrow ($5, all materials provided) Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Call or check the Web site for a schedule of weekend entertainment, including such acts as stilt walkers, clowns and magicians. Karaoke takes place on Sunday afternoons. Cherry Hill specializes in homemade ice cream and baked goods such as apple pie-flavored doughnuts.
QUEEN ANNE FARM -- 18102 Central Ave. (Route 214 East), Mitchellville. 301-249-2427. No Web site. Open daily 10 to 6 through Oct. 31. This produce market offers hayrides ($1) to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch on weekends from 10 to 6. Other highlights include a fiberglass pumpkin-shaped house through which children can walk, farm animals to pet and a field of about 50 scarecrows.
ROBIN HILL FARM NURSERY -- 15800 Croom Rd., Brandywine. 301-579-6844 (recording with directions after hours) or 301-888-1849 from the District and Northern Virginia. www.robinhillfarmnursery.com. Fall Pumpkin Harvest hours are daily 9 to 5 Oct. 9-31. Visitors to this working wholesale tree farm can take free hayrides after noon on Saturdays and Sundays, select pumpkins from a pick-your-own field and look at farm animals. A country store sells seasonal merchandise. Local charitable organizations sell refreshments on weekends. Picnic tables are available.
BURKE NURSERY & GARDEN CENTRE -- 9401 Burke Rd., Burke. 703-323-1188. www.pumpkinplayground.com (includes directions). Nursery open daily 9 to 9 year-round. The nursery's 10th annual Fall Festival and Pumpkin Playground take place daily 9 to 9, with additional weekend activities running Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 5, Oct. 1 through 31. Admission -- $10 on weekends, $7 on weekdays, free for ages younger than 2 -- includes a softball-size pumpkin and a hayride on a wheelchair-accessible wagon. Other daily highlights include a fort reached by tunnels, pirate- and Western-themed activities, a Native American tepee and storyteller, several slides, tumbling tubes, a rope swing, phone tubes, a Monster Truck, Iron Horse Railroad, an Enchanted Castle, mechanical rides, farm animals and a sand hill containing buried trinkets and coins. Weekends feature, in addition to the daily activities, additional activities and performers, such as a Native American dancer, inflatable playgrounds, a clown, magic act, musicians, face painting, a pumpkin balloon house and a caterpillar tunnel. Weekend activities available for additional fees include Wobble Wagon rides ($2), pony rides ($3), a moon bounce ($2) and balloon animals ($1). A food tent holds a variety of refreshments for sale. Check the Web site for more details about scheduled entertainers.
COX FARMS -- 15621 Braddock Rd., corner of Pleasant Valley and Braddock roads, midway between routes 29 and 50, about five miles west of Centreville. 703-830-4121. www.coxfarms.com (includes directions).Open daily 10 to 6 or dark (last entry at 5) through Nov. 7. Groups of 10 or more should call for reservations. The weekend and Columbus Day (Oct. 13) entry fee is $11, free for ages younger than 2. Weekday admission, which includes fewer activities, is $7, free for ages younger than 2. New this year for frequent visitors, a $28 Pumpkin Madness Value Card covers one weekend admission, three weekday admissions and a free pass to the Pumpkin Madness event. Fall Festival weekend highlights, set on about 50 acres of the 117-acre farm, include unlimited hayrides, several mountain slides in assorted sizes, a smoking Volcano Rumble Slide, rope swings over foam pits, farm animals (including babies), a village of goats to feed (small fee for food), entertainment, face painting, cut-out photo boards, cider, apples, hot "Apple Stuff" and a little pumpkin. An area especially for young children has Fairyland Castle and Panda Pagoda slides, smaller rope swings, Pooh's house and a walk-through Candyland. New this year, a "live-stalk" barn features the farm's biggest, most curvy slide. The popular hayride offers new surprises in the field, along with favorites like friendly aliens and a wacky drive-through barn. Lunch items, snacks such as doughnuts and kettle corn and lots of picnic tables are available. Check the Web site for further information about entertainment and weekend themes, such as the third annual Pumpkin Madness Festival on Nov. 6 and 7, when visitors can bring pumpkins to destroy in various ways. Cox Farms' roadside produce market at 2599 Chain Bridge Rd., Vienna, 703-281-0165, has a play area for young children. It's open daily 9 to 6:30 in September, 9 to 7 in October and 10 to 5 in November. During October, the roadside stand features entertainment on weekends.
HEATHER HILL GARDENS -- 8111 Ox Rd. (Route 123), Fairfax Station, a half-mile south of Lee Chapel Road. 703-690-6060. No Web site. Open Monday through Friday 10 to 6:30, Saturdays 10 to 5:30 and Sundays 11 to5:30 through October. Pony rides, $3, take place Saturdays 10 to 4 and Sundays 11 to 4 starting Oct. 9. Other highlights, free with purchase, include a pumpkin fort play area and farm animals.
KROP'S CROPS -- 11110 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls. 703-430-8955. No Web site. Open weekdays 11 to 7, Saturdays and Sundays 10 to 7 through October; closed in November, reopens in December for Christmas trees. Take a tractor-pulled hayride, $2, to the produce market's pick-your-own pumpkin patch, usually available from weekdays 1 to 7 and weekends 10 to 6 during October. Features geared toward young children include a Pumpkin Patch play area, farm animals and straw and corn play activities. Picnic tables are available.
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.
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 21/2 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.us or 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 11/2 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 21/2-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.