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Pumpkin Picking in D.C.

October 6, 2008

I’m not talking about picking up a pumpkin from the Safeway!  Sometimes as city dwellers we forget how close we actually are to great destinations, like ski resorts, great hikes, local wineries, or in this case, farmlands. These great day time getaways can be just what you need on a beautiful fall afternoon.  Besides pumpkin picking, many of these farms offer other fun activities for all ages to enjoy.  So set a day aside, get in your car and get to the country!   

A.  Ticonderoga Farms – is located in Chantilly, Va.  Their Pumpkin Fesitval began September 27 and won’t close until November 4.   There is no admission fee, but it costs $10 to park your car.  The farm features the usual hayrides as well as slides, a small petting zoo featuring goats and peacocks (an unusual combination) as well as a pumpkin patch and marshmallow roasting. 

B.  Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch – in Middletown, Md.  They offer free admissions along with pony rides, a corn maze, pick your own pumpkins (weekends only), a petting zoo as well as fall and holiday decorations.  Their website includes a list of pumpkin fun facts, recipes, and carving tips. 

C.  Cox Farms – is located in Centerville, Va.  I’ve passed the farm many times and I have yet to attend their Fall Festival!  While there are plenty of options for families, including a corn maze, petting zoo, hayrides, slides, as well as apples, cider and pumpkins, you don’t get the fun of picking your own pumpkins and apples straight from the field.  The entry fee is $15 on the weekend, $9 on the weekday and they have a variety of deals and discounts you can print out and take.  The only downside is what used to be a (somewhat) remote area has turned into Virginia’s version of Pleasantville.

D.  Homestead Farms – located in Poolesville, Md., Homestead Farms is one of my personal favorites.  They have a petting zoo, pick your own apples as well as hayrides to the pick your own pumpkin patch.  While they have plenty of halloween and fall related goodies, the farm is open year round with different “pick your own events”, including Christmas trees in December.  They even keep a schedule of what is available for picking and a day trip any time of year is a great way incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies into your cooking and baking.

E.  Butler’s Orchard – in Germantown, Md., Butler’s Orchard is another farm with a variety of pick your own crops.  Their 28th Annual Pumpkin Festival has already begun every Saturday and Sunday, and will continue through October.  Admission is $10 a person, and includes a corn maze, slides, rubber ducky derby, a petting zoo and much more.  They also have a wide variety of activities for a little extra, including a pumpkin cannon for those of you who are feeling destructive.  Additionally, the farm features live music every from 12-4. 

F. Burke Nursery – in Burke, Va.  This isn’t exactly a farm, but they do have an annual Pumpkin Playground with a lot of activities you won’t find anywhere else.  Admission is $8 on the weekdays, $11 on the weekends and lets you partake in a variety of activities including a rope swing, an authentic Native American Teepee, pirate ship and pumpkin fort.  On the weekends there are story tellers, face painting and traditional Native American dance presentations and stories. 

G.  Great Country Farms – located in Bluemont, Va.  Their Pumpkin Fall Harvest is already in full swing and costs $6 on the weekdays, $8 on the weekends.  At the festival are pick your own pumpkins, mazes, slides, rope swings and more including pig races on the weekends at noon, 2 pm and 4 pm.  They also have a twilight hayride that includes pumpkin picking and a bonefire with marshmallow roasting, for $12.95 per person and by reservation only for parties of 15 or larger. 

I.  Leesburg Animal Park– in Leesburg, Va.  Another park, with a few options you can’t find anywhere else including a zip line, camel rides and make your own scarecrow.  They also have the usual mazes, rope swings and moonbounces, and pumpkins (although the website says while supplies last).  Admissions are $8 on the weekdays and $12 on the weekends.  Their website is extensive, and even features an entertainment schedule as well as the opportunity to buy tickets online.

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