Looking for a fall activity? Try a pumpkin patch or orchard

Pumpkin and Apple orchards within an hour of D.C. to celebrate the fall

Looking for a fall activity? Try a pumpkin patch or orchard
"Pumpkin Patch 100_9300" by Kam's World is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fall is finally here and as temperatures drop and leaves begin to flutter down from the trees, nostalgic memories of warm apple cider donuts and leering Jack O'Lanterns aren’t far from many of our minds. For those wishing to recreate those perfect autumn traditions on campus, this list compiles several farms where you can find the perfect pumpkins and apples for your fall fix.

Although there aren’t any traditional pumpkin patches that are an hour's travel by metro within D.C., a drive is around the same amount of time and a great opportunity to get apple cider to go with your pumpkins. This list compiles farms within an hour’s drive of DC with admission and purchase fees all under $20. 

Great Country Farm

If you’re looking for a truly fall themed experience, Great Country Farm, located an hour outside of D.C., is your destination. Not only do they have a traditional pumpkin patch ($0.69 per pound of pumpkin) but they also have wagon rides, swine racing, cider pressing demonstrations, riddle-based corn mazes, marshmallow roasting and cider donuts. The admission fee is $16 for weekends. The various and day-long fun makes the drive and cost well worth it. But if you’re there to get your pumpkin or apples and get out, there are plenty of options for that too. 

Queen Anne Farm

Queen Anne Farm in Mitchellville, Maryland — midway between D.C. and Annapolis — has a traditional pumpkin patch of over 10 varieties of pumpkin for you to choose from for your Jack O’Lantern. These pumpkins range from tiny two-ounce pumpkins to hefty 200 pounds. The adventure begins with a tractor ride to the patch location and leaves you plenty of time to pick out the gourd of your choice afterwards. Queen Anne Farm’s entrance fee is just $5 per car, and their country store has pumpkin carving and painting kits for all those who didn’t anticipate needing a carving kit on campus. They are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. 

Water’s Orchard

For those who just want to get a bushel of apples for a homemade pie or midday snack, Water’s Orchard is only 48 minutes away from American University by car. Upon arrival, visitors can purchase a bag and fill it with the apples of their choice. Make sure to call ahead to hear what varieties are still available as they are often picked quickly and the orchard needs time for the apples to ripen. Water’s Orchard stands as the most expensive entry on this list with a price of $17 for half a peck (five to six pounds) and as a flat rate, regardless of the variety of apples. 

Whether you’re hoping to continue the Halloween fun this fall or make some delicious fall snacks with your pumpkins and apples, this list is the perfect place to start. 


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