Four Fall Festivities for Families Near Vienna

The seasons seem to change more quickly than ever these days – no transition, just the new season. So good-bye summer and hello crisp, humidity-free Fall.

We kicked off the unofficial start to Fall over Labor Day Weekend with a visit to the Virginia Scottish Games and Festival. About 45 minutes away off Route 66 in The Plains, VA, this annual event features all facets of Scottish heritage, including music, Highland games, dogs, antique cars, whiskey and food. We went Saturday but got rained out (we actually tried waiting out the storm in the car with our friends for 1.5 hours – good times!). We returned on Sunday and it was worth it – highlights included Bug meeting dozens of dogs and men tossing a caber (20-foot-long log). Having Grammy T visiting from Long Island only made the festival – and the weekend – more fun. My mom’s friends visited from Charlottesville and Bug had such a truly fun time “showing off” for everyone around our house, as we all snacked and had drinks. Simple joys.

If you’re already seeking Fall fun in autumn, check out four of my favorites:

1. Hartland Farm and Orchard. In Markham, VA, it’s less than an hour away and a stone’s throw from 66. It has pick-your-own fruit, hay rides and a corn maze. Last year I went with Bug and had spectacular weather for apple picking and picture-taking.

2. Temple Hall Farm Regional Park. In Leesburg, this place has a very large corn maze (the “maize maze”), corn and pumpkin cannons, a kiddie train and other neat stuff. It’s actually a Northern Virginia Regional Park. If you have an Entertainment Coupon book, there’s a deal in there for up to six people. Invite some friends!

3. Fall Book Festivals in Fairfax and on the National Mall. For readers young and mature, there are two book festivals nearby that offer fun. One is the Fall for the Book Festival at locations in Fairfax, from September 18 – 23. Works written by authors from elementary school-aged on up will be featured. Stephen King will also be there! Scary! Another is the National Book Festival on the Mall on September 24 and 25. Chaired honorarily by the Obamas, this is a nice chance to browse books and hear authors reading excerpts. Both events are free. (Also, check out this list of Fairfax City festivals during the year.)

4. Cox Farms Fall Festival. In Centreville, this is a popular – if not crowded – festival each autumn. It runs from September 24 through October 31, and is then followed by “Pumpkin Madness” November 5 – 6. Take a short drive to enjoy hay rides, farm animals, apples and live entertainment.

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