Today, we’re back to sunshine. Yesterday’s continuous rain failed to wash away fall’s colors; it simply spread them around with an artistic flair. The weather is mild. It’s a perfect day to be outside, enjoying October.
It’s a day that makes me a bit nostalgic for my daughter’s younger years. If she were seven or eight, we might be heading to Cox Farms after school. This family-owned farm puts on a fall festival that really is fun for most ages. It’s one of our favorite local traditions. We discovered it with a group of friends we met through D’s preschool.
If you live in a suburban or semi-rural area, you probably have a place like this nearby. In Princeton, there was Terhune Orchards, which my husband and I enjoyed. If something similar existed in Atlanta when I was growing up in the 70s, we didn’t know about it. Lucky for me, I didn’t know what I was missing. Lucky for my daughter, she didn’t have to miss it.
Cox Farms is a low-tech, homespun, rough-around-the-edges place, just as a farm should be. As a preschooler, one of my daughter’s favorite “rides” involved rolling down a hill inside a big pipe. There are mischievous goats to feed, various baby farm animals to admire, a cow to milk, and lots of hand-painted folk-artsy plywood signs. Naturally, there are pumpkins, apples, cider and kettle corn. On weekends there might be a bluegrass band.
There’s lots of hay: hay mountains to climb, hay bale forts to explore and tunnel through. Of course there’s a hayride, during which aliens and assorted odd but non-threatening creatures appear. There are many slides, some of which are quite steep. When we first started going to Cox Farms, D was afraid to attempt any of the slides on her own, so we went down them together. That’s when I found out how much fun a fun slide can be. Apparently, I was slide-deprived (as well as fall-festival deprived) as a child.
Our daughter’s first-choice activity was the rope swing with a drop into a foam pit. One doesn’t often get a chance to brag on a child’s rope swing skills, but I must say she had excellent form and always managed to sail to a far corner of the pit. The two photos above are from consecutive years, the first in 2006, the second in 2007. Evidently D’s fall festival uniform consisted of a pink shirt and blue jeans.
For several years when our daughter was in elementary school, we had an annual fall festival meet-up with former preschool friends, a brother and sister, and their dad. It was one of the highlights of the season.
Our every visit to Cox Farms ended with the careful picking of a “free” patch pumpkin. D has always delighted in the perfect pumpkin.
It’s been several years since we’ve done the fall festival. But our daughter is now a regular attendee at “Fields of Fear,” held at Cox Farms on weekend nights for older kids and adults. It includes the Cornightmare, the Dark Side Hayride and the Forest: Back 40. As of this year, she and her friends can even drive themselves.
But at the end of the night, D still picks out a little patch pumpkin.