“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1842
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hawthorne, and I’m convinced he was specifically talking about autumn in the Hill Country. Fall here is its own unique kind of wonderful.
Maybe it’s the way the hills light up as the sun sets and gives way to cooler nights, or maybe it’s the fact that we feel like we’ve waited an eternity for some sort of relief from the sweltering heat, anything that would allow us to wear boots and scarves and flannel shirts. (You know dressing up is your favorite thing about fall, too.)
So, take a cue from our friend Nate and refuse to waste this precious season by staying in the house. Better yet, head out to Marble Falls, where the hills are a little more rolling and the breeze is a little cooler.
Autumnal Sunshine Just Outside Austin
One of the best places in all of Central Texas for embracing the season is Sweet Berry Farm, a pick-your-own-produce farm about an hour outside of Austin.
During the springtime, Central Texans flock to Sweet Berry to pick their own strawberries from the perfectly parallel rows of crops. Come fall, Sweet Berry transforms into the perfect place to celebrate cooler weather and harvest your own pumpkins.
This year, Sweet Berry Farm invites you to “harvest the fall fun” from September 27-November 2, 2014 on any day of the week except Wednesdays (even farmers have to rest). Wander around the sprawling pumpkin patch in search of your own perfect gourd, then lug it up to the scale and pay according to weight.
Fall Fun by the Tractor Load
If you visit on a weekend during October, be sure to try the grilled corn at the Pumpkin Grille. Afterward (and anytime during the fall), head over to grab a cup of their homemade pumpkin ice cream. I’ve had it, and it is by far one of my favorite fall treats in all of the Austin area.
Beyond the pumpkin patch, Sweet Berry offers up tons of fall fun for you and your tiny friends (err, kids). Face painting (Saturdays and Sundays only), scarecrow stuffing and the Sweet Berry Express train will keep your kids busy as you take in the fall breeze. And of course, there are hayrides!
Get Lost on the Farm
For the little kids, there’s a Candy Corn Hay Maze to make your way through. For the slightly older bunch (six and up), check out the Texas Hayfield Maze, a four-acre field in the shape of our great state. Tackle the scavenger hunt inside the maze, where you’re tasked with finding Texas towns using a map you’re given before you head in. Try it out earlier in the season, before all the footpaths become worn down – it makes the hunt much more of a challenge.
Before You Head Home
If you visit Sweet Berry Farm on a weekend, be sure to go on a horse ride before you head home. However, the horses and goats are available for visiting and petting throughout the week, so be sure to stop by and say hi no matter when you choose to visit.
Before you make the trek through the hills back to Austin, pick a bouquet of flowers to take home to remind you not to waste that autumnal sunshine, and to go out into our wonderful city and beyond to enjoy the most wonderful time of year.
What’s your favorite fall activity in the Austin area?
Cover photo by Emmanuelle Bourgue via Flickr CC.