Champaign County, Ill. (WCIA)
Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Fall
Fall is one of the most spectacular seasons in the Midwest. The air has a chill to it, perfect for tailgating and football, but also enjoying a multitude of activities. We put together our top five fall ideas to help you live Outside of Ordinary.
- Pick Pumpkins & Apples—A family tradition for many, nothing says fall like visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Thankfully, we have a few of those in our area. No one loves cucurbits more than the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. With over 300 varieties of squash, including the traditional orange pumpkin, this farm focuses on educating the public while also providing that fun, agriculture experience. You can go out into the patch to pick your own, or grab from their pre-picked pumpkins and squash, conveniently labeled with how best to use it, such as in making a pie! Curtis Orchard also has a pumpkin patch to explore, but you can also pick up the season’s apples directly from the tree. I recommend picking up some apple donuts while there too!
- Check out fall foliage in our forest preserves—We often forget how lucky we are to enjoy the colors of fall through our foliage. With five forest preserves in our county, there’s ample opportunity to take it in. One of my favorite spots is the Bell Tower at Lake of the Woods. You can get above the canopy of trees and see the vibrant colors below. Hikes at Homer Lake and Middle Fork are also amazing this time of year.
- Illinois Homecoming—There is no bigger tradition in CU than the University of Illinois Homecoming. Since 1910, we’ve been celebrating the return of alumni to the community, but today, it’s become an entire community celebration. We’ve enjoyed a few events already this week but still to come, Jim Gaffigan at State Farm Center tonight, and of course the parade on Friday. We then need everyone out in their orange & blue as we take on Wisconsin on Saturday!
- Walk the Corn Maze—Not quite as scary, but certainly challenging to get through is the corn maze at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch. This is a ten-acre maze filled with checkpoints to complete. Each year, the owner Mark Hardy, designs the maze and this year they focused on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. The outline of the maze is a spaceship with an astronaut. You can go a little bold and do the maze at night, when they offer their flashlight maze!
- Eat fall flavors—During the summer months, the Farmer’s Markets are hopping, but fall offers just as many diverse options for flavors. Late summer fruits and vegetables are on hand to eat, and other options like jams and cheeses to munch on while staying warm inside. We have another month until Urbana’s market moves indoors at Lincoln Square, so keep getting those local flavors throughout the fall and early winter!