Great Autumn Excursions, Drinks included!

T.S. Eliot wrote in The Wasteland, "April is the cruelest month". He had obviously never spent January in Chicago. Bone chilling winds, blizzards, and icy roads are just a few months away. However, here in the Midwest we are lucky to have the brief interlude of autumn before we hunker down under our blankets sipping red wine until the spring thaw. What better way to spend those golden sunny days of fall than at a pumpkin patch or apple orchard? Since my son has turned 2, I am excited for him to enjoy all of the fall family traditions I grew up with.
There are many places west of Chicago to take your kids to pick pumpkins and wander through corn mazes.
A favorite place of mine growing up was Sonny Acres. It always seemed so far away, but it's actually a little country oasis right on North Avenue in West Chicago. You can pick pumpkins there, as well as buy fresh farm stand produce and kid's Halloween costumes.
Another great fall destination is Kuiper's in Maple Park, west of Geneva. This family run farm has a 160 acre apple orchard where you can pick your own apples every Saturday and Sunday in the fall. They have a ripening schedule on their website, so you can plan your visit around your favorite apple variety. The corn maze at Kuiper's is legendary and it's design changes each year.
If you are in need of a drink after chasing your kids through a pumpkin patch all afternoon, check out Sunset Winery in Waterman. Yes, a real, functioning vineyard right here in northern Illinois.They offer an impressive selection of wines including "Barbed Wire Red", a tribute to the invention of barbed wire in nearby DeKalb.
So before the dark days of winter are upon us, let's get out and support our local farms and make some unforgettable fall family memories. In the meantime, I'm getting my blanket and Cabernet ready!

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  • Great list, Amanda! Kuiper's is awesome. If anyone is up for a drive south, I also strongly recommend Dollingers' Family Farm in Channahon. They do not charge admission and there are loads of activities - my kids loved it there!

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