The autumn season is now well underway, and if you aren't already aware the Ohio Valley offers a ton of fall-ish activities. I absolutely love fall, so I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite local attractions, foods, and simple traditions in order to help us gain the most from this time of year.
First off, an activity that is not only fun but also stimulates the mind is a corn maze! Randy's Raisings on Calcutta Smith Ferry Road and the Columbiana Corn Maze in Columbiana offer great mazes of maize! Oh boy, that was corny! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself ) Every year the area corn mazes offer a great inexpensive activity for family and friends. They are always uniquely crafted into a picture, which can only be seen from a bird's eye view. Randy's Raisings is open during the week and on the weekends and Columbiana is open on Wednesdays and weekends.
Second on the list, simply take a walk or hike in one of the many local parks. This is a great way to spend a perfect Autumn afternoon. The scenery is wonderful with leaves now in full radiance, and I'm positive the smell of crisp cool air does the body good. I recently hiked through Tomlinson Run, a local park that I hadn't really explored as much as the others, and it was beautiful. Most of the area parks also offer hay rides and kids' days on designated weekends. Another fun idea would be to plan a day of traveling to all of the local lookouts. This would be sure to provide truly picturesque sights.
My third suggestion for fall fun is to enjoy a batch of kettlecorn. In my opinion Christmas in the Woods/Shaker Woods, located in Columbiana, guarantees the best kettlecorn. I've never really had any other popcorn to compare, but I don't think I need to, because it's that good. For me, fall doesn't seem quite complete without a trip to the woods. It's full of crafty vendors, seasonal entertainment and yummy food. Unfortunately, this year's event has ended, so you must wait until next year. Hopefully you were able to experience it without my suggestion. If you didn't get to make it then keep a lookout for harvest days and other festivals that are bound to take place in the Tri-State area. I'm sure they will offer kettlecorn treats.
My next recommendation is to make a batch of acorn soup. All you have to do is fill an old pot with water and dump in a load of acorns. Voila! OK, that was a joke. That's what I use to call the slosh that I would make as a kid while I played outside during the fall months, but upon doing some research I have found that acorn soup is indeed an actual edible dish! Granted, it's made less primitively. But it includes actual bits of acorn, along with vegetables and a stock of your choice. I'm curious now and may have to try it out.
If the above doesn't get your autumn blood flowing, I have these simple yet timeless additions :
* Carve a pumpkin, save the seeds to roast of course
* Watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
* Enjoy a pumpkin pecan ice cream cone from Brusters
* Rake and jump into a pile of leaves, and then fill one of those plastic pumpkin bags to display in your yard
* Go to a football game
* Take a hay ride
* Make caramel apples
* Scare yourself with a trip to a haunted house
* Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte from your favorite coffee shop
* Go to Yankee Candle and smell every fall fragrance, as long as your sinuses allow it
* Plan a day trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio. This area offers breathtaking sights and lots of outdoor activities.
Lastly, I would like to end this autumnal list with a shout out to North Elementary and more of a sentimental remembrance than an actual fall activity. If I could, I would suggest that you all go sit in on a first grade class, not to help teach or watch over the children, but to take part in the lessons. This is the time of year when I miss the innocence of elementary school the most. It was my favorite time of the year. I remember learning about Johnny Appleseed, having schoolwide pumpkin decorating contests, going to the Scholastic book fairs, dressing up for Halloween, and enjoying field trips to Beaver Creek. I can only hope today's youngsters soak it up while they can, no matter what school.
Hopefully fellow lovers of fall can appreciate this list and hopefully I haven't left off anything too crucial. Feel free to share your traditions with me and we can discuss our love of the best season of the year.
(Laura Kelly is a desk editor at The Review. Reach her at email@example.com)