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Adventure for a day: Making the most of fall field trips

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Rest is a fundamental human need. Sleep, sure. But sometimes that just looks like needing a break from our daily routine and an opportunity for relaxation and fun away from our normal schedule and surroundings.

The farming and homesteading crowd are no different. The demand of a busy schedule sometimes makes it difficult to get away, but they need some respite with their family just like anyone else. Or maybe you’re a homeschooling parent – you need some quick, affordable and educational destinations to get your crew out of the house and engaging with new experiences.

Coat and jacket weather have found us, but the icy cold of winter has yet to descend. The leaves are still on the trees. Midday is still bright and sunny. These days are numbered, but it’s the perfect time for some fall field trips and day-long adventures.

“But we’re rural – miles away from everything!” What is one to do?

There are some great options with something for the whole family.

Museums:

On an educational bent, the U.S. is blessed with riches in a fabulous museum system, both federally and on the state level. Many local museums provide a great experience but often fall through the cracks.

There is an extensive list of federal museums which can be located through pages like the National Archives and Wikipedia. On the state level, there are a few different resources: Museums4All (www.museums4all.org) is a “national, branded access program that encourages individuals of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits.” Museums4All has “has served more than four million visitors nationwide at more than 900 museums of all varieties” since its inception in 2014. Participating museums with their program seek to eliminate the accessibility factor for lower income families and offer a reduced rate admission. Their website offers a comprehensive search engine allowing you to pull a list of participating museums in your state.

Other great options can be your state tourism organization (in the case of New York State, www.iloveny.com) or your local county tourism page. My local county tourism group, Visit Montgomery County, has a great drop down list called “Historical Attractions” that contains a comprehensive list of historical sites and museums near our offices and across the Mohawk Valley.

(Additionally, some local libraries offer passes to museums for free admission. Be sure to check around to see if this option is available where you are.)

Parks:

Although there are resources at the state level, the National Park Service is your key destination when it comes to finding some cool parkland destinations – you can visit their website at www.nps.gov. Accessing the menu at the top of the page and then clicking on “Find A Park” brings up a map of the entire U.S. Selecting your state redirects to a page of all of the registered parkland destinations. These are all larger, day trip destinations that may require some travel – great for hiking with the family, a picnic and maybe some birdwatching. Smaller, local parks can be found through groups like your local Chamber of Commerce or local county tourism group.

Pumpkin Patches/Apple Orchards/Corn Mazes:

While there aren’t really any databases for these spots (besides articles like “The 5 Best Pumpkin Patches in PA”), local options are easily accessible through a quick internet search. Though a foregone conclusion for many in autumn, these farms and U-pick locations can still yield a fun afternoon for you and your family as you pick the perfect pumpkins for carving and load up on fresh apple cider and hot cocoa – and maybe even learn about the produce that’s been grown.

Whatever your field trip into the wide blue yonder looks like, there are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs, breathe deep into the crisp fall air and expand your mind – just beyond your doorstep.

Who needs the bright lights and commercialized bustle of the city to have fun? Adventure awaits!

by Andy Haman

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