This is a guest blog post by Hydaway ambassador and blogger Meghan Angle. Follow her on Instagram @randommomlife.
Every season in the upper Midwest has something special to offer, but Fall is definitely my favorite! There are SO many things to do, or not do in some cases. For people like me who simply tolerate a Minnesota Winter because the other 3 seasons make it worth living here, Fall is a great time to soak up a bit more outside time before hunkering down. It’s also a great time to perfect your soup and chili recipes. One of my favorites is an Ethiopian inspired chicken and lentil stew. Throw something in the slow cooker before heading out to enjoy some of these activities!
For the Runners
Fall race season has many fun things to offer. Routinely voted one of the most beautiful marathons in the US, the Twin Cities Marathon happens on the first Sunday in October. They also offer a 10 mile “Shortcut to the Capitol” on Sunday. The lottery for the 10 mile happens in July, so mark your calendar and get in next year! There are also Saturday events for the whole family; everything from a Diaper Dash to a 10k.
If you’re looking for more of a fun run/walk, check out the Run for the Apples at Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake, MN. This is a 5 mile event through the orchard. There is also a kids’ run. The best part of this event are the post-run treats! There are delicious bakery-fresh cookies, fresh picked apples, and apple cider to wash it all down. Because the real reason for running is being able to eat more, right!?
Stick around after the run/walk to enjoy the rest of the orchard’s offerings, including a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and wagon or pony rides. There are countless other orchards offering much of the same throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Mississippi River Valley is actually home to some of the best apples in the world thanks to the University of Minnesota developing a number of new varieties. This year’s newest is First Kiss, which just debuted at the Minnesota State Fair.
Other fun family activities include Halloween events. Haunted houses are fun, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, check out the William A Irvin in Duluth, MN. The Haunted Ship is closed for 2018 while it’s being restored, but it will be back in 2019. Anoka, MN claims to be the “Halloween Capital of the World”, so if you’re a parade kind of person, be sure to check it out. If you go, don’t forget to stop by Hans Bakery to get some sustenance (the specialty is the Beehive), as it’s a long parade!
Along for the Ride
If you’re wanting to sit back and relax while enjoying the beauty that Fall in the Midwest has to offer, check out some of the paddlewheel rides up and down the Mississippi and St Croix Rivers. For a full day, go on an afternoon cruise of Lake Peppin, then head towards Maiden Rock, WI to Vino in the Valley for dinner and a glass of wine.
Leaves are the hallmark of the fall season. Some of the best places to take in great scenery are along the North Shore, beyond Duluth, or in Door County, WI. I also highly recommend day hikes through any number of the State Parks (I can speak personally to the beauty of Itasca State Park and Interstate State Park). If the crisp evenings don’t bother you, pitch a tent and enjoy some fall camping. The skies seem more clear, campgrounds can be much quieter (and cheaper), and a campfire is even more enjoyable as temps dip.
Something for Everyone
While all the above things are just a sampling of some of my favorite fall activities, there is truly something for everyone. With all the German heritage in the Midwest, there is no shortage of Oktoberfest celebrations. Fall brings some delicious beer samplings from most of the craft breweries. If brats, sauerkraut and beer aren’t your cup of tea, check out a Harvest Festival, like the one in Clear Lake, IA on October 6. Small towns across the Midwest stomp grapes, roll pumpkins, and celebrate the end of a hopefully abundant growing season.
While there are so many more great things to do in fall, don’t forget to turn loose your inner child and jump into a pile of leaves. (Preferably one that your neighbor raked up)