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The joys of fall: experiences happening right now

  • A stack of pumpkins at the Stone Mountain Farm along Route 106 in Belmont.GEOFF FORESTER

  • Rachael Taylor, of Florence, who teaches yoga for Indigo Holistic Healing Center, assumes a yoga position at Park Hill Orchard. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mother-daughter yoga, anyone? Charity Benjamin (here with her 3-year-old daughter, Juniper) is one of the Indigo Wholistic Healing Center yogis teaching outdoor classes for all ages and abilities this month. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Charity Benjamin, of Ashfield, who teaches yoga for Indigo Holistic Healing Center, assumes a yoga position at Park Hill Orchard, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • At left, Smith College students Lola Roberts, Noelle Goerlich and Ysatis Tagle visited the orchard of Outlook Farm in Westhampton on Mountain Day.

  • Jayne and Dan Bills enjoy a picnic at the DAR with their two kids — August, 20 months and Marigold, 2 months — and their dog, Prince. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Apples at Out Look Farm in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jayne and Dan Bills have a picnic at the DAR with their two kids, August, 20 months and Marigold,2 months and their dog Prince. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Briana Benz and Kyle Johnson fish at Ashfield Lake with the Ashfield Lake House behind them. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Deck at the Ashfield Lake House. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Briana Benz and Kyle Johnson fish at Ashfield Lake with the Ashfield Lake House behind them. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Rob and Kristin Livingston of Foxboro, in town for a wedding, ride the Norwottuck Rail Trail from the Northampton side of the bridge over the Connecticut River on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • David Keller of Danville, Virginia, visiting relatives in the area, rides the Norwottuck Rail Trail toward the Northampton side of the bridge over the Connecticut River on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • David Keller of Danville, Virginia, visiting relatives in the area, rides the Norwottuck Rail Trail toward the Northampton side of the bridge over the Connecticut River on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Cruises on the Heritage — running through next weekend — pass under The French King Bridge.

  • Page Katsoulis, 5, of Turners Falls, wades into Cranberry Pond in Sunderland trying to catch fish with his net with his grandfather George Dunham, of West Springfield Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • If this photo doesn’t inspire you to hike around Cranberry Pond, we don’t know what will. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • The view from Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo—



For the Gazette
Thursday, October 25, 2018

There are people — especially those of us without air-conditioning — who believe that fall is the reward for surviving summer. Or as the chalkboard outside Bistro Les Gras in Northampton noted recently, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. – F. Scott Fitzgerald” Either way, here are ten ideas to get you started. Tell us what we missed in the comments.

1. Al fresco yoga. Followed by cider slushies and hunks of cheese.

Yoga teachers from Indigo Wholistic Healing Center in Florence (indigomassage.com) are leading pay what you can yoga classes — for all ages and abilities — at Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton every Sunday at 10 a.m. all month, so long as it’s above 50 degrees and not raining (parkhillorchard.com). Namaste, Rubymac lovers!

2. Tag sales galore!3. A hike that’s really just a walk— plus some actual, you know, hikes

The grounds of the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett — which include a lily-pad filled pond and hundreds of fluttering prayer flags –  are open from sunrise to sunset every day, and are well worth the short walk uphill from the parking lot (newenglandpeacepagoda.org).

For something a bit steeper, check out the trails of Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in South Deerfield, where a viewing tower at the summit provides sweeping vistas of the Connecticut River Valley. (300 Sugarloaf St., South Deerfield)

Roaring Mountain Loop at Mount Toby State Forest in Sunderland offers 4 miles of moderate trails spanning over almost 1,000 feet of elevation. At Cranberry Pond, just at the foot of Mount Toby, canoes, kayaks and fishing equipment are also welcome (eco.umass.edu/facilities/our-forest-properties/mt-toby).

4. A date night activity for people who think date nights are cheesy

Why not zoom past all that Rt. 9 traffic by taking one of ValleyBike Share’s electric pedal assist bikes on the Norwottuck Rail Trail between Amherst and Northampton (valleybike.org)? In addition to offering knockout views, the route goes right by The Quarters (for bar food and Ms. Pac-Man; hadleyquarters.com) and Hampshire Mall (if you’re curious about the Kimchi tacos at the new Kkuljaem Korean Kitchen — plus bowling, go-carts, 3-D movies and acupressure massages; hampshiremall.com). And comes pretty darn close to Esselon, where a garden full of Adirondack chairs, bistro fare and wines by the glass await (esselon.com).

5. Pick your pumpkin-themed pleasure

If you’re interested in shooting potatoes out of a cannon...

The Potato Blasters at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland can launch spuds up to 100 feet away. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for children, and free for ages 4 and under (mikesmaze.com).

If you want to be terrorized, in a good way...

The nighttime haunted hayrides at McCray’s Farm run on weekends starting at 7 p.m. through Oct. 28. Expect to meet zombies, clowns and other characters on the 30 minute wagon ride. Afterwards, riders are invited to walk through Massacre Manor for another 15 minutes of fright. Tickets cost $15-25 per person (fearonthefarm.com).

6. All-day picnics

True, it may be a wee bit cold to swim at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) State Forest but it’s the perfect time to wiggle your toes in the sand and enjoy a long, leisurely lunch sans summertime crowds (mass.gov/locations/daughters-of-the-american-revolution-dar-state-forest).

7. Taking in the leaves while gliding down the Connecticut8. Biergartens. Or places that feel like biergartens.

Is there anything more atmospheric than having a pint on the porch of the Ashfield Lake House (ashfieldlakehouse.com) or at the tables overlooking the falls at The Lady Killigrew’s Cafe at the Montague Bookmill (theladykilligrew.com)? We also dig that Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton allows patrons to bring their leashed dogs (forthillbrewery.com)?

9. Soaring above the treetops

Sometimes you want to be cozy and sometimes you want a full-on adrenaline rush. We get it. As it happens, New England’s largest zip line destination — the Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont — is right in our backyard (berkshireeast.com).

10. You want festivals?We’ve got festivals.

Franklin County Cider Days: Come for countywide orchard tours, cider making workshops, and tasting events (Nov. 2 through 4; ciderdays.org).

Enjoy!