The weather in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pa., may cool down each fall, but calendars definitely heat up. The following fall festivals and harvest happenings mean you won't be short on good times when the shadows turn long.
The Colonial chores associated with autumnal crops are demonstrated at the Fall Harvest (October 12) at Peter Wentz Farmstead. Visit the garden, spend time in the kitchen to experience food preservation and open-hearth cooking, and join the farmers in the barn as they shuck corn and press apples for cider.
Come have a brew with a bison and a pint with a parrot at the Elmwood Park Zoo's Oktoberfest Beer Tasting on October 12. This all-day celebration of hops, malt, yeast and water (so simple but so good!) includes unlimited tasting, a souvenir glass, food for purchase and the chance to wander amid the wildlife. Feel free to raise a toast to the turtle.
Two nights of Halloween-themed hiking await families at the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy's 23rd annual Halloween Night Hikes, October 18-19, in Schwenksville. These spooky outings - but not too spooky - consist of a pumpkin-lit walk and the chance to meet some after-dark animals. They conclude with a gather around a warm campfire for seasonal stories and refreshments.
Spend the day Sunday, October 20, exploring the Abington Art Center at the Fall Fest, where the grounds themselves become a stunning display of seasonal golds, yellows and browns. The afternoon includes live music, a wine and beer garden and plenty of food. Kids can enjoy a moon bounce, face painting and a special art project to take home with them. Shop the art market for unique treasures from featured local artists.
Scream Mountain puts the super in "supernatural." Open at Spring Mountain Adventures, near Schwenksville, on select days in October (increased hours until Halloween itself), this scare-fest in the forest releases you right in the middle of a legendary group of murdered miners. None too happy about their untimely demise, they seek revenge on all who dare to enter their realm. For the truly brave at heart, a zip-line ride through the haunted woods can be added to the nightly mayhem. For the younger set (and weak-at-the-knees adults), kid-friendly options such as hayrides, scarecrow-stuffing and a corn maze are also available.
Two fall-themed events - Cairnwood Estate Candy Apple Festival and Halloween at Glencairn Museum - make for a memorable October 27 in the Bryn Athyn Historic District: In the morning, youngsters can create their own candy apples, enjoy Victorian dress-up and take home an old-time photo. The afternoon contains a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt, as well as a demonstration of the harvest-time art of wheat weaving. Costumed visitors are encouraged.
And if all this activity has you wanting to gaze at fall foliage from the comfort of a snuggly hotel room with a fantastic view, our website lists a host of hoteliers ready to wrap you in comforters and fill you with comfort food.