With the sunny days of September behind us and the ever-looming winter blues fast approaching, everyone is retreating indoors. The call of Netflix and naps seems louder than ever as we enter the second half of the Fall semester. Before the winter gets underway, and its hot chocolate and movie marathons all around, why not take a break from school stress to support local business and spend some time outdoors?
Syracuse is surrounded by countless orchards, and pick your farms. There are patches for pears, pumpkins, apples, and everything in between. Take a break this weekend and wander around one of these while also getting some delicious dinner ingredients!
Beak and Skiff is one of the most iconic apple orchards around, but if you’re looking for something a bit more under the radar, check out Navarino and Owen Orchards. Reeves and Kowbell farm also make great afternoon outings for some fresh produce and a break from studying.
Looking for something a bit more upscale? Consider a tasting or a visit to one of the Finger Lakes’ famous wineries. Being in Syracuse puts us in such a great central location for larger and more local ones. My personal favorite is Owera, where you can combine a wine tasting with apple picking and a stroll amidst their sprawling fields in Cazenovia. Greenwood and Lakeland are also popular and nearby.
If you’re anything like me, you are missing your pets from home dearly. Why not go out and see some animals this weekend? The Rosamund Gifford Zoo is a fun and socially distanced way to spend an afternoon or a whole day. Many of the farms nearby also have animals on site. Granger’s Christmas Tree Farm has an entire pen of baby goats beside its pumpkin patch! And although you can’t pick them up because of COVID, just being around them is a huge mood booster.
I know my plans for the weekend involve sneaking away to Ithaca to do some hiking, but if you don’t have the time to go that far, there are countless trails around. Pratt’s Falls Park, Beaver Lake Nature Center, and Highland Forest County Park are all great local options for hikes of varying difficulties.
Finally, if you’ve spent your whole day cooped up indoors, hunched over a paper, or trying not to fall asleep on Zoom, why not spend your evening outdoors? Many of the drive-in movie theatres nearby show scary movies for their last couple of weekends of the season. The Midway drive-in is even doing a quadruple feature (Scream, Friday the 13th, The Ring and Paranormal Activity).
With the amount of time we are all spending stuck in our rooms, getting outside and experiencing the beauty of fall in upstate New York feels like a no brainer. From farms to national parks to movie theatres, CNY does not lack for options. Beyond that, it’s always nice to support a local business, especially after a summer of reduced capacities and closures. Whatever your activity, make sure to get outside while it’s still nice enough to do so!