Fall Fun

Above: courtesy photo Sky Meadows State Park

Check out our assortment of things to do and places to go (safely) this season

September 22 marked the official start of fall this year. Pumpkins have begun sprouting life-like features in their quest to become emoji-filled jack-o-lanterns. Families are busy planning to top their Halloween costumes from last year with new, timely ideas. Tall, pleasant scarecrow figures in their raggedy clothes and soft straw bodies sit patiently in retail stores, waiting to be purchased and loved by revelers of the autumn season. 

The daylight hours are shorter and we’re all waiting with anticipation to see if our kids will be going trick-or-treating. It has been a year unlike any other in recent history. While it is true our fall traditions may look differently now, the celebration itself is not canceled! Happiness is never canceled!

We can’t stop living happy lives. Despite the current health crisis of the coronavirus, we must rise above the challenges and seek fun in alternative ways — fall fun, to be exact! Here are some family-friendly ways to relish autumnal celebrations, even with social distancing rules in place. Don’t harp on what you can’t do this year; be inspired by all you can do!

As per Laura Torpy, tourism coordinator for Fauquier County, “We’re two months out [from celebrating fall activities]; we are waiting to see where we are with the pandemic.” Though many annual fall festivals and activities have already been canceled and the status of some events is still not known, Lifestyle was able to confirm details about all the fun places listed below. Enjoy!

Food & Drink

Mt. Defiance Cider Barn and Distillery
Cider Barn (495 E. Washington, St., Middleburg)
Savor spirits and cider tasting flights in a beautiful rustic setting on a hillside. Several varieties of fermented hard cider (alcoholic) are handcrafted in small batches.
Distillery (207 W. Washington St., Middleburg)
Enjoy cider tastings while watching the distillery process.
Orlean Market & Pub
(6855 Leeds Manor Road, Marshall)

A convenience store, a casual sandwich eatery, and a nighttime burger venue all wrapped up into one. This unique establishment attracts diverse customers who foxhunt, farm, ride motorcycles, and walk the trails. Live music on Fridays and Saturdays with a variety of favorite local bands — come out and see “Big Steve” Hagedorn, the Steel Blue Band, Daron Tapscott, and more.
Maple Tree Farm
(8275 Maple Tree Lane, Warrenton)

Hotdogs, chips, drinks, and s’mores are essentially the appetizers. The real main course is the way these comfort foods are served — by a cozy campfire on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. A haunted trail is also planned!
Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery
(5535 Blue Valley Way, Delaplane)

Live music on Saturday nights; tastings on weekends by reservation only. Grassy, hilly area for children to play outside. 

Drive-By Attractions

Cox Farms
(5621 Braddock Rd., Centreville)

Enjoy the Self-Driven Hayride attraction from the safety of your own car. Tickets are required. Apple cider donuts and kettle corn available for purchase.

Hiking (Day Trips)

Warrenton Branch Greenway
th St., Warrenton)
Flat paved surface that runs for 1.5 miles is perfect for joggers, is ADA-accessible, and serves as the focal point of the Piedmont Railroaders.
Sky Meadows State Park
(11012 Edmonds Ln., Delaplane)

This 1,860-acre park features 22 miles of hiking trails, 9 miles of bike trails, and 10.5 miles of bridle trails for those who want to take their horses on pleasant walks!
Riverside Preserve
8150 Leeds Manor Rd, Marshall (on Route 688 near Warrenton)
Riverside Preserve is the county's first river access to the Rappahannock, offering canoe and kayak drop off access, as well as fishing opportunities. The quiet 196-acre park also has hiking trails and picnicking spots to enjoy.  

Water Activities

Ramrod Bowfishing (Potomac River) (703-209-9989)
It’s always a good time to go “dance knockin’” with owner Captain Travis Stauch, the most enthusiastic, passionate bowfishing guide in all of Virginia. His videos capture the drama and intensity of fishing for snakeheads and other predatory fish. Launches from Occoquan Harbour Marina in Woodbridge.
Front Royal Outdoors
(8567 Stonewall Jackson Hwy., Front Royal)

The Shenandoah River awaits with adventurous thrills for the whole family: kayaking, rafts, and canoeing, paddleboards.

Bed and Breakfasts

Mountain Home
(3471 Remount Road, Front Royal)
Close to the Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah National Park, this historic property has a whopping seven buildings, five which are being restored. The Main House and Cabin bunkhouse offer hiker-friendly amenities in a country setting. 
Lydia Mountain Lodge and Log Cabins
(426 Mountain Laurel Pass, Stanardsville)

Plentiful cabins offer secluded retreats for guests. Many tours offered including: wine tastings, Luray Caverns, and Monticello. Getaways featuring romance, comfort, birthday, yoga, and fun for kids means there’s something for everybody.

Indoor Fun

Gold Mining Camp Museum
(14421 Gold Dust Parkway, Goldvein)
The only museum in Virginia dedicated to the history of gold mining! Open Monday through Friday by appointment to small groups of people (maximum of 8). Planning to offer a trunk-or-treat program.
The Farm Brewery at Broad Run
(16015 John Marshall Highway, Broad Run)

Features a 6-acre landscaped beer garden. Patrons can enjoy beer, wine, handmade cider, and casual dining. Outdoor playground for kids, indoor space for axe-throwing for patrons 16 and older.

Travels-To-You Activities

Laser Tag 2 U
(located in Bristow, 703-297-7289)
Family-run business provides 90-minute laser tag parties to small groups (less than 10 players). Game coaches travel to you; they bring laser tag equipment and expertise for families to have fun!
My Pet Alpaca
(located in Vienna, 301-366-9965)

This unique alpaca-visit business came about after the owners saw how children were affected by being required to stay indoors from the pandemic. Request visits from two alpacas and a goat.

Picnic Areas

Rady Park
(725 Fauquier Rd, Warrenton)

Picnic shelter, commemorative gardens, and greenway paths set the pace for lovely meals outdoors.
Upperville Park
(8579 John S. Mosby Hwy., Upperville)

Picnic tables, a playground, and historical interpretation signs are available year-round.

Courtesy Photo
Sky Meadows State Park

Courtesy photo My Pet Alpaca

Courtesy Photo
Mt. Defiance Cider Barn and Distillery

Courtesy photo
Front Royal Outdoors

Courtesy Photo
Cox Farms

Courtesy photo
Goldvein Gold Mining Musem

Courtesy photo
Front Royal Outdoors

Courtesy photo
Farm Brewery at Broad Run

Courtesy photo
Sky Meadows State Park

Amanda M. Socci
About Amanda M. Socci 20 Articles
Amanda M. Socci is an Alexandria-based freelance writer who loves exploring different regions to interview people and write profiles about people, places, and things. Amanda splits her time between freelance writing and writing a manuscript for her first book, a faith-based memoir. Learn more about Amanda at her website: http://www.AmandaSocci.com. Contact Amanda by sending an email to SocciWriter@gmail.com.

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