Fun Fall Weekend

This fall weekend was originally created when Josh and I bought tickets for a beer and food truck festival on October 9. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to COVID, but Josh had already taken the weekend off from work, and we wanted to take full advantage of the three day weekend. So we put together a Google doc with ideas for fun fall things to do, and we planned such a great weekend.

Saturday

In my 27 years, I’ve never been to a corn maze, but that changed on Saturday. After lunch, we headed up to Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, MA. Josh had been there before, so that’s why he suggested it. It was pretty packed by the time we got there; aside from the large corn maze, there are other attractions, like a potato canon, playground, a small petting zoo, and a cafe.

The design of the corn maze was “Imagine” after John Lennon. I told my mom that if she didn’t hear from me by Sunday that we were lost in the corn maze, but we made it out just fine.

In the maze itself, there were trivia and activity spots, which made it easier to figure out where we were in the maze. The stops were mostly made for kids but we did see some adults taking part in them.

We spent about 50 minutes in the maze and only got lost once at the very end; we hit a dead end because we went a bit too far past the opening that leads to the exit.

A big shout out to the random guy who I asked to take our photo with the “Imagine” sign. This is also our first official picture together that isn’t a selfie, so we’re making progress almost three months into our relationship.

We took a quick walk around the rest of the grounds to see the attractions before leaving for our next stop.

Initially, we were going to go to Amherst Winery but I checked their website early last week and it said they were already closed for the season. We still wanted to go to a winery that day, so luckily I found that Black Birch Vineyard in Hatfield, MA was less than 15 minutes from Mike’s Maze.

I didn’t get any pictures of the winery building itself, but if you go to their website, you can see what it looks like there. There was seating inside and outside, and a lot of people brought their own chairs to sit on the lawn next to the building. By the time we got there, all of the tables were taken so we ended up sitting on the edge of the patio/deck area until a table opened up.

Our first glasses in the picture on the left were the Pendleton Riesling and Rosé, and our second glasses in the picture on the right were the Epic Red and another Riesling (I can’t remember the exact name of the wine). Josh and I both liked the wines we got, and I ended up buying a bottle of the Pendleton Riesling to bring home.

We were there for almost two hours, watching the dogs that were there with their humans and enjoying the wine and our time together.

Our final stop was the Hangar Pub and Grill in Amherst, MA. It’s a few minutes from UMass, who had a home football game against UConn that night. We got to the restaurant around 5:30 p.m. and had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. We sat in the bar area at a high top table, and we were surrounded by TVs showing college football, so I was pretty happy.

My beer was the Pumpkin Ale from Amherst Brewing; we split some fried pickles, and for our meals, I got the patty melt and Josh got the mac daddy sandwich. The food was really good, and ultimately I suffered heart burn later. But there’s nothing some Tums, water, and comfy pants can’t fix.

Sunday

Our Sunday adventure was going to take us to one place. If there’s one thing we learned from our southern CT trip on Labor Day is that it’s exhausting to travel to multiple places in a day. So this time around, we spaced out our trips and made them afternoon trips so we could take our time in the morning.

After lunch, we headed to Echo Hill Orchards in Monson, MA. When I was looking up cute fall places online, I stumbled upon Echo Hill and once I saw the website I knew we had to go. Neither of us had been there before.

They have pick your own apples, pumpkins, peaches, pears, and sunflowers. Unfortunately, the peaches, pears, and sunflowers were done for the season, but we were still able to pick our own apples.

When we got there, it was packed. For some reason I wasn’t expecting it to be busy, but I think other people had the same idea as us. We luckily found a close parking spot and headed up to the orchard part.

As we started our trek out to the fields, we didn’t realize how far it went back; we must have looked lost because someone told us, “You just have to keep going, it’s up over the hill.” We followed her directions and found the apple trees.

I’m mostly keeping Josh around because he’s tall—don’t tell him (haha). We did a small bag of apples for the two of us to share, and we ended up with eight apples each.

After apple picking, we headed to the winery and distillery and got in line to get drinks. We were ID’d and wrist banded before going inside to place our order. You could get a flight of wines or moonshine—or both—or a fun drink. We opted for the fun drinks.

I got the Spooky Sangria, which was blue raspberries and apples wine, Monson apple vodka, pineapple juice, mango juice, white cran juice, and Sprite with a black sugar rim. Josh got Farmer’s Only, which was apple pie moonshine and apple cider.

I was going to get a bottle of wine to bring home, but the line inside the gift shop was really long and it was a bit too crowded in there for my liking. We only spent a few hours there before heading back to make dinner. I’d definitely want to go back again; it was really cute and I appreciate the fun and festive drinks.

Monday

Monday was planned as our super lazy day, which we both needed. We had nothing scheduled but to go for a walk at a local canal and visit my parents’ pups. We hadn’t gone to see the pups in a while, so it was time to go play with them.

This picture is from last week but Lucy has gotten so big already! She recently turned five months old. And is still collecting random things around the house to hoard on her bed.

We were at my parents’ house for about an hour to play with Lucy and Maggie, their other dog. Josh’s favorite is Maggie—don’t tell Lucy.

We walked about two miles on the canal path; it overlooks the Connecticut River. Some of the leaves were starting to change, but a lot of the trees were still green. I think we’re in the part of the season where things are slowly changing, then you blink and the leaves have changed and already fallen.

The weather all three days was overcast and in the high 60s/low 70s, so we lucked out there, and we did see some foliage but not as much as we would have liked. Our goal for this weekend was to make it the most basic fall weekend we could, and I think we definitely accomplished that.

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