Pumpkins, mazes, and cider… oh my!

Local farms host fall festivals for families

Kara Thorpe

Buckland Farm Market

The farm market has become a popular destination for families, especially during the fall season. In addition to the delicious array of as-local-as-possible products—organic fruits and vegetables, homemade breads and pies, jams and jellies, meats and eggs—the fall season also brings pumpkins, apples, and cider to the market. If you’re like me, your love of all things pumpkin seems to intensify when the first cool breeze of fall hits you and you break out the boots and sweaters. Be sure to enjoy hand-dipped pumpkin ice cream and pick up a pumpkin pie or two. And don’t forget the pumpkin coffee.

But the food is just one part of the fun Buckland Farm Market has to offer in October. Activities for kids include a playground, slides, swings, moonbounce, hayrides, and barrel train rides; all are sure to be enjoyed by all ages.

If this isn’t enough action, when the sun goes down, take the children under the age of 12 home and come back for a haunted adventure. The Route 29 Haunted Farm is running for the 5th year in a row and is located in the corn maze behind the farm market. This year is going to be better than ever before. Read more in our feature article, “Oh the Horror!”

4484 Lee Highway in New Baltimore


bucklandfarmmarket.com; route29hauntedfarm.com

Burnside Farms

Best known for their sprawling, beautiful fields of tulips in spring, Burnside Farms also found popularity this summer by adding a sunflower festival. This fall, the market at Burnside Farms will be back at the home farm off Route 15 north of the town of Haymarket. Fall favorites such as mums, gourds, apples, cider, pumpkins, and other farm-grown produce will be available for purchase. Families can enjoy a moon bounce, jump pad, double-run inflatable slide, playsets, cornhole games, and picnic areas. On top of all this fun, kids can meet some furry and feathered barnyard friends.

4905 James Madison Highway in Haymarket



Corn Maze in the Plains

Seventeen years ago, Kate and Hub Knott, owners of The Corn Maze in the Plains, began with a simple idea of creating a place where families could experience the beauty of fall in the Northern Virginia region. They believe the planting of the corn maze is a metaphor for the choices each of us makes that lead us down our paths in life. Throughout the years, their humble beginnings morphed into a fall festival that has become tradition to many local families.

Courtesy of Corn Maze in The Plains

The main attraction arms participants with a crayon, a flag, and a blank survival guide to help them navigate through the maze and complete the map. Not to worry–those who get lost or overwhelmed can simply wave their flag to be rescued by the “corn cops.” For an even more challenging—and spooky—adventure, consider trying it in the dark! Only available on select weekend nights, admission to the night maze includes campfires, concessions, and activities; smores can be purchased at the food booth.

Regular admission to The Corn Maze in the Plains includes the five-acre maze, hayrides, visits to the Country Store, farm animals to visit, and a farmers market on Sundays. Moms and dads can grab some sparkling apple cider while the kids tire themselves out in the barnyard of fun, which features pumpkin sling shots, mini mazes, hay bale mazes, giant slides, farm obstacle course, roll tubes, fidget ladders, a spider web, and corn tires. Some of these activities are only available on the weekends so be sure to check their website for details. And don’t forget to grab some famous pumpkin pie fudge from the country store… or apple butter… or some pumpkin butter… or maybe “the world’s best caramel apples.”

4501 Old Tavern Road in The Plains


Yankey Farms

Courtesy of Yankey Farms

If you’re the kind who loves to chop your own Christmas tree instead of choosing one from a pile, then you also probably like to pick your pumpkin from a field. Yankey Farms is the way to go this fall as it’s one of the only pick-your-own patches close to us. Although their location is in Nokesville, it’s a short drive through beautiful roads to get there.

Owned and operated by Jay Yankey and his wife, with help from family, the farm has been growing produce and pumpkins since the ‘90s on about 125 acres. In the spring, visitors can pick their own strawberries and sweet corn; melons, tomatoes, squash and other produce are sold at a roadside stand in the summer. But that’s not all—Yankey Farm offers black angus cattle, as half and whole steers, directly to customers for their freezer.

This year, they have grown over 30 different types of pumpkins for families to choose from when walking the fields in search of the perfect jack-o-lantern prospect. There is also a three-acre corn maze scavenger hunt, a cow train ride, a play area complete with pedal tractors, straw bale piles and slides, corn boxes (like a sand box but filled with shelled corn), and fun games for all ages.

If you’re looking for fall ornamentals like gourds, pumpkins, corn stalks, Indian corn, or straw bales then the farm stand will fulfill your decorative spirit. But you can also buy apples, winter squash, sweet potatoes, greens, and many other farm fresh fall produce.

14039 Owls Nest Road in Nokesville



Cows-N-Corn, owned by the Leonard family, is a unique experience to witness the inner workings of a dairy farm. Although they host groups and schools during the spring and summer, their fall festival offers so much to be enjoyed. The corn maze is the highlight of the event, with an intricate, unique design implemented each year. “Make it a Dairy Good Day” was the theme for the maze in 2015 where the aerial view shows an image of a cow. Make a trip to Midland to see this year’s design with the theme of #UNDENIABLYDAIRY.

5225 Catlett Road in Midland


Christine Craddock
About Christine Craddock 128 Articles
Christine Craddock is a writer, editor, photographer, wife, and mother of two adorable children. She is a faithful contributing writer for Haymarket Lifestyle magazine and has resided in Haymarket since 2006.

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