My son and I love to explore our local farms, and one of our favorites is Ticonderoga Farms in Chantilly, VA. We’ve been going there for years, and they’re our preferred non-fruit-picking farm for a number of reasons: 1) They’ve got tons of fun activities for kids to enjoy, and they keep adding new stuff each year; 2) They offer different “fests” each season, which keeps things fresh and new; and 3) Unlike some of the more popular local farms, it is relatively undiscovered by the masses, so we usually have the place to ourself.
There are lots of fun activities at Ticonderoga, but the jumping pillow tops our list — obviously.
These guys are not timid — right after I snapped this they got up on my son and he turned and high-tailed it out of there.
The goats are a bit more docile, and appreciate being fed the fresh bamboo you can purchase for $1. (Or you can just pick a handful for free from the bamboo maze across the trail. Not that we would know anything about that.)
If you go on a weekday, you’ll practically have the place to yourself. Weekends are a bit more crowded, but not as bad as most other local farms.
The slides are always a big hit…
… as are the firetrucks (especially if Grandma is co-piloting).
Of course, the main reason to go this time of year is for the pumpkins. There’s a great hayride that takes you over the river and through the woods — literally — to the pumpkin patch. Unfortuantely, many of the growing pumpkins had been picked when we visited, so they had a pseudo-patch set up with trucked-in pumpkins. I don’t think the kids care whether the pumkins are growing or just sitting in a field, though. My son was thrilled with his enormous pumpkin — it was so large that he had to rig his fleece into a sling to haul it around on his back.
If you haven’t been to Ticonderoga Farms, we highly recommend it. It’s great for all ages, and they have year-round offerings. We will head back in a month or so for their Christmas Tree Fest, complete with hot chocolate, bonfires and s’mores. For now, though, we’re enjoying our pumpkins — some for carving, some for eating. Check out some of our recipes here and here, with more to come in the next few weeks.
Happy pumpkin season!
Photo credit: Kathleen Flickinger