#1 fall priority: stuff your face with as much apple/pumpkin deliciousness as possible. Preferably in an orchard setting (bc green footprints and rustling leaves).
When in Central Illinois, this #1 task can be easily accomplished by going to Curtis Orchard. Apple picking, pumpkin patches, petting zoo, photo op galore, and most importantly: bakery on the premises.
Cider donuts (glazed or rolled in sugar), apple fritters (take it home and heat it up!), apple pies (full, mini or by the slice….they think of everything), caramel apples, fruit cobblers, all the butters, all the kitsch. (also all the babies plopped atop 100lb pumpkins and all the college groups taking selfies….you’ve been warned – but the treats! they’re worth it! promise!!)
There is a vague “Wizard of Oz” theme here with the odd country bumpkin sprinkled in for good measure. (the welcoming gent above is named ‘Old Pumpkin Joe,’ and yes, he talks)
And just when you think it couldn’t get any better: you’ve picked your own pumpkin (bring a box cutter), you have a bag of fresh-off-the-tree-huge apples (use the free red wagons to haul everything around), you have a pie/donut/fritter/caramel apple/ALL OF THE ABOVE…… you can now order some cider. If it’s chilly, get hot cider. If you’re just thirsty bc you ate too many donuts, get reg cider. But if you’re overheated from all the pumpkin picking/pie hauling, get the cider slushie. Then cozy on up to Ol’ Pumpkin Joe and be so happy that it’s fall!!
*if in Southern California, might I recommend Snow-Line Orchard – the ONLY place for cider donuts (get your own bag, do not share!) – a healthy dose of falltimey in the middle of the mountains/desert
*if in Connecticut/NYC, suggested bakery/orchard: March Farm – please note: they also grow the best peaches you will ever taste – fact.
*if Central Illinois is a bit too central/you live in Chicago and can’t handle a 2.5hr drive but a 1.5 hr drive seems doable: go to Garwood Orchard in LaPorte, IN. Apple picking, cider sipping, venison beef-stick chomping (a nice pie palate cleanser)