Even though it’s nearly 80 degrees today — and will be for the next couple weeks — fall is coming, we swear. Mother Nature clearly isn’t aware of the human calendar, because September 22 is the first day of fall, and it’s coming at us fast.
Despite the fact that you could probably go swimming on September 22 without catching a chill, it’s really important to get into the ~fall spirit~ and jump in some leaves (even if they’re still green).
Fall is very important. You get to wear sweaters, drink warm beverages, sacrifice your life to the Pumpkin God, and walk two blocks without sweating through your shirt. We can’t wait for it to start, and we’ve compiled a short list of some of the best things to do to kick off fall.
1. Go to Oktoberfest (well, Snallygaster)
Although the major festivities are happening in Germany, D.C. has its very own versions of the beer-loving festival. Oktoberfest is a misnomer, mainly because it actually starts tomorrow in Germany and in D.C.
Snallygaster, D.C.’s largest craft beer festival, is happening on Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. at The Yards. The festival, hosted by the National Restaurant Group, features more than 350 craft beers and ciders for the tasting selected by NRG beer director Greg Engbert, as well as live music and games.
Tickets are $35, and the money goes to Arcadia, a nonprofit for sustainable food production in the District.
If you can’t make Snallygaster, Wunder Garten is hosting its own Oktoberfest Sept. 22 to 25 with live German music and a massive beer selection.
2. Go Apple Picking
Picking your own crispy apples is a fall activity perfect for all ages. Though there aren’t any apple orchards in D.C., Maryland is home to some really awesome orchards for the pickin’. One good place is Milburn Orchards in Elkton, Md. Before picking your fill of 40 different types of apples, the orchard provides free wagon rides through the apple trees. They also have a farm with pigs and goats, and a bakery with delicious apple-themed goods.
Kelly Shortlidge, who works at the orchard, said that Milburn is the perfect place for families.
“It just has a welcoming environment,” Shortlidge told FamousDC. “A lot of people say we have a friendly staff and they like coming here because everyone’s so nice. The apple cider donuts are a plus, and it’s very aesthetically pleasing for fall.”
Another excellent option, Weber’s Farm in Parkville Md., offers apple picking and apple cider.
3. Go on a Ghost Tour
Fall means Halloween, and Halloween means spooky ghost stories. Hear the story of the Exorcist steps in Georgetown and the ghosts at Embassy Row on a D.C. ghost tour! DC by Foot offers some good ones; even if you don’t buy into the whole “ghost” thing, the tours provide you with some really interesting history about local haunts like Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Embassy Row. Ghost tours cost $20 a person, and can be reserved here.
4. Watch the changing leaves at Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island is a beautiful, 88.5 acre island right across Key Bridge. There are tons of walking trails that traverse the island and lead to beautiful views of Georgetown and the Potomac. Although it’s gorgeous all year round, the island really shines in the fall, when the leaves turn colors and the whole place turns golden.
5. Sacrifice yourself to the Pumpkin God
If you don’t die at the hand of pumpkin spice, you’re not doing fall right. You can consume pumpkin in the form of lattes, pies, and breads, but showing your real pumpkin dedication means taking it an extra step.
There are some great fall pumpkin patches in Maryland, including Gaver Farm in Mount Airy. They’ve got a hay ride, a corn maze, and as many pumpkins as your heart desires.