Happy Fall Y’all! Sorry, it’s the southerner in me saying that, but seriously happy Fall! Here in East Tennessee the weather went from 90 to 60 like it saw a state trooper! (Sorry to my non American friends, that joke just doesn’t translate lol) The leaves are changing colors, football is back on the TV, Starbucks has Pumpkin Spice in season, Halloween is right around the corner and all’s right with the world again. Okay, maybe not, but does anyone else feel like October is already shaping up to be the best month this year??
Maybe, it’s my wishful thinking, or the fact that I am OBSESSED with Fall that has me feeling more positive than usual. Whatever the case is it can’t overshadow the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic and Autumn celebrations around the country are looking a bit different. So here are 11 COVID-friendly ideas to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox.
Stay tuned for Wednesday when we will talk about COVID-friendly Halloween Activities!! Subscribe to the blog to be notified when it’s uploaded!
I am going to forewarn you, these are NOT the most creative Fall activities. Many “traditional” Fall fun is already COVID-friendly, but I will be listing them anyway as hopefully you can use this as inspiration!
I for one have never been apple picking, but this would be the best year to go as it is all done outside and in an area that is easy to social distance. A perfect way to get the kids out of the house without messing with masks and you can get some Instagram worthy shots with minimal effort! Then you can take your apples home and make some tasty hot apple cider, or maybe an apple pie! Here are links to some of my favorite recipes. 🙂 (Cider, Pie)
This is another fall staple, but I was astounded as an adult when I found out how many people have never been to pick their own pumpkin!! Especially where I grew up since Maple Lane Farms is right there! If you’re from the Knoxville/Maryville area you absolutely have to go, no excuses go ride the hayride, pick the perfect pumpkin right off the vine and maybe come back for the corn maze.
This is another one I couldn’t believe many of the people I grew up with had never done, especially since if you visit Maple Lane Farms to pick pumpkins then you have to ride the hayride to get to the pumpkins! There are many pumpkin patches, apple orchards and more that have hay rides available this year, be prepared to wear a mask and social distance yourself from other riders. Some are even providing private rides so you don’t have to worry about other patrons, and you can sit back and enjoy the view.
The haunted corn maze at Maple Lane is like a right of passage for every high school student in Blount county, one I am ashamed to say I never made. Maybe it’s because I watch too much true crime tv, and horror movies, but I could never shake the idea that someone could so easily infiltrate the maze actors and perform actual murders. (Am I paranoid? maybe. Safe at home? yes) But I have been through the regular maze before and after dark many times and it is always fun, trying to figure out the hints and riddles to find your way through the maze. If you’ve never done it then you definely should!
Again, this is a given BUT if you live in an area where you don’t get much fall foliage then maybe take a mini roadtrip to look at the leaves. Might I suggest the Blue Ridge Parkway? There are even train rides you can go on to get a full appreciation for the beautiful changing of the leaves. Click here to learn more about the perfect drives to make in the fall, and where you can find these amazing train rides!
Another beautiful way to appreciate the changing of the leaves, and see them up close and personal is to take a hike! The leaves have already begun to change in the higher elevations and in the coming weeks the mountains will be on fire with beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows! Now might be one of the best times of year to hike, with temperatures cool enough that you don’t get overheated, but not yet cold. Click here to get a list of the best places to hike to see the fall colors!
Fall is the BEST time to go climbing in my opinion. The weather is perfect and the views are better than you’ll get all year! If you’ve never been rock climbing before, it is unfortunately a more difficult sport to get into, it has its fair share of gatekeeping, but luckily the actual climbing part is super easy and so much fun! There are plenty of climbing groups around the country you can join depending on your skill level, and climbing gyms that you can start at before heading out into the mountains!
Am I going to use this as another excuse to suggest van life? Yes, yes I am, because this is the best time of year for van life camping!! Renting a camper van for the weekend to knock out a few of the above activities is the perfect way to get a taste of that sweet, sweet van life. But even tent camping is perfect this time of year, the weather is just nice enough to enjoy the outdoors with comfort, but cold enough at night that you don’t sweat out of your sleeping bag! Click here for more information on camping this fall!
Now that the obvious are out of the way, here are a couple ideas for indoor activities for those that aren’t as outdoor inclined. Please note I am suggesting these as ideas within one household, if you would like to invite friends or family from another household, try holding the activity outside and always be sure to social distance.
What says fall more than a pumpkin carving party! Whether its a few friends on the back porch or even over Zoom, you can have fun and get in the fall spirit by carving up a few pumpkins and getting creative! For the little ones, try some non-toxic paint in their favorite colors! Here is a link to my pinterest board for pumpkin carving ideas!
Remember those apples we got? Or the pumpkins? They’re just dying to be baked into a pie! Personally, I always look forward to roasted pumpkin seeds, and my dad’s famous chilli to mark the beginning of Fall! Pinterest is a great way to get creative when looking for fun fall recipes, but don’t count out your parents/grandparents! They might have some great recipes up their sleeves, always take the chance to peek into their cookbook when you get one!
This goes in more with our Wednesday theme, but I just had to mention it! October is here and we can officially start celebrating Halloween! A great way to do that is with haunted adventures, many of which are still operating this year with strict social distancing and mask requirements. Personally, I prefer the requirement to wear a mask, it means less embarrassment for me when I get scared for the 30th time in an hour.
Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you’ll be notified Wednesday when we talk more about Spooky Covid-friendly ideas.
Let me know, do you enjoy this type of content? As much as I love travel, Fall is one of my favorite times of year and I enjoy breaking out of the strict “travel” content every once and awhile. Let me know in the comments what you think, and we will be back on Friday with more van life content!