Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall, or at least that’s what the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald was quoted as saying.
The crisp weather, striking leaf colors and spooky evenings make for America’s favorite season. In the Queen City, students can treat themselves to a number of beautiful hikes, pumpkin patches and corn mazes — not to mention the various sporting and cultural events that define the region’s autumn season.
Here’s a look at some of the best things to do in the fall, from The Spectrum staff:
Hollowed Harvest — Altamont
If you don’t care for the frightening productions that usually define Halloween season, fear not. The Hollowed Harvest, open on select dates through Halloween, features thousands of jack-o’-lanterns arranged on breathtaking landscapes. At night, the Hamburg Fairground transforms into an ornate display you won’t want to miss. If you are looking for a festive daytime trip, the Mayer Bros. Cider Mill is a great place to stop for fall treats, decorations and more.
- Jack Porcari
Chestnut Ridge Park — Orchard Park
Chestnut Ridge Park is a hub for all your favorite outdoor activities for the fall and winter seasons. You can bike through the woods and watch the leaves change colors in September, and then head back in December for some cross-country skiing. There are mapped paths ranked by difficulty, making an afternoon hike accessible for enthusiasts of all ages. You can even visit the Eternal Flame, a natural gas leak causing a near-constant flame to burn in a cave. Chestnut Ridge Park is the perfect place to visit for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors — even in the colder months.
- Reilly Mullen
Letchworth State Park — Castile
While its moniker, “The Grand Canyon of the East,” is a bit of an exaggeration, Letchworth State Park is one of the best places in New York State to enjoy the fall foliage. Students who make the one hour, 15 minute drive from North Campus to Castile can enjoy 66 miles of hiking trails through the hanging leaves, breathtaking views of the park’s three waterfalls, picnic spots and even overnight camping. Visitors can also stop in the neighboring town of Mt. Morris, featuring a Main Street that offers various local shops, mom-and-pop restaurants and small-town fall aesthetics.
- Grant Ashley
Bills games at Highmark Stadium — Orchard Park
Take one step into your local Wegmans or the Student Union during the fall, and you’ll be greeted by Bills-themed products and a plethora of people wearing Bills apparel. Cheering on the Bills at Highmark Stadium on a breezy Sunday afternoon is an experience you’ll never forget. From fans jumping through tables to legendary tailgates to hearing the stadium erupt on big fourth-down conversions, there are few venues around the league that can match this atmosphere. Buffalo is known for its unpredictable weather, so if you’re heading to a game in Orchard Park, fall is the best time to do so — avoiding those miserably humid September games and freezing January contests is the way to go.
- Hunter Skoczylas
Smith’s Orchard Cider Mill — Lockport
Apple Picking is in full swing in Erie County, especially at Smith’s Orchard in Lockport, home of the cider slushie. Just a 17-minute drive from North Campus, Smith’s is a family-friendly farm that doesn’t feature the usual gimmicks. The orchard is open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and currently has the Cortland, Empire and McIntosh apple varieties. It’s free to traverse the grounds and take photos with friends and family. Better yet, apples are only $1.25/lb. After you're done picking apples for the day, don’t forget to grab an apple cider donut and freshly pressed apple cider — or have it as a slushie.
- Dan Eastman
Corn maze at The Great Pumpkin Farm — Clarence
Nothing screams fall like deliberately getting lost in vegetation with your friends, or, as it’s otherwise referred to, going to a corn maze. The Queen City’s must-see labyrinth of kernels is at The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence. This year’s five-acre maze fittingly depicts a Buffalo Bills player rushing into the end zone, but past designs have paid homage to Jurassic Park and Batman. Looking for a bigger challenge — or trying to terrify your friends? Check out the maze’s “Zombie Nights,” when actors wander the maze for some added terror. Finally, celebrate completing the maze with a hard cider from The Witch’s Brew, the farm’s bar and baked goods store, before resting your feet on a hayride. Don’t forget to pick out a pumpkin on your way out!
- Natalie Doller
Devil’s Hole State Park — Niagara Falls
Roughly a 30 minute drive from North Campus, Devil’s Hole State Park is the best local hike for viewing the fall foliage. Devil’s Hole runs parallel to the Niagara Gorge and has scenic overlooks and stairs running down to the gorge that brings hikers adjacent to the undulating currents and rapids. The gorge is the political border between the U.S. and Canada, and Canadian hikers can often be seen waving to their American counterparts on the opposite side. Devil’s Hole is located next to Whirlpool State Park and is only a few minutes from Niagara Falls. When hiking Devil’s Hole, be sure to bring lots of water, good shoes and a willingness to tackle lots of stairs — all worthwhile for the quintessential fall views.
- Julie Frey
Transit Drive-In Theatre — Lockport
To me, fall means one thing and one thing only: Halloween. The holiday is my favorite of the calendar year, and inspires trips to Transit Theatre to watch horror movies on crisp fall weekends. The drive-in is the perfect place to watch your favorite films, especially at night, with the stars overhead. From “Scream” to “Us,” Transit Theatre makes flicks come to life better than any indoor theatre can.
- Jenna Quinn
Shopping for fall clothing
Fall means crisp weather in the Queen City. The shorts and tees that define the summer are quickly replaced by heavier and cozier September clothing. The sudden change in weather encourages natives to go out and buy some new, snug clothes. Perhaps the best part about shopping for fall clothing is getting to buy all variations of layers — from turtle necks, to oversized sweaters, to scarves and gloves. And this type of shopping doesn’t need to break the bank — there’s great options for all your autumn needs at thrift stores like Savers and Goodwill, the perfect places to get all your bundling wear without making your wallet cry.
- Kara Anderson
Few things can affect a writer’s process more than writer’s block. Whether it’s a bad day, or a day you can’t even put the pen to paper, this feeling is the worst. But do not fear — few things can solve writer’s block like a positive change in scenery. For me, chilling on a friend’s roof or on a grassy field, the warm sunlight beating down on me with a cool fall breeze mixed in, is the perfect antidote to my writing woes — and a great way to get much-need serotonin. Be it for class, a journaling session or a personal project, I implore any self-proclaimed writer to change it up with some natural scenery. You can thank me later.
- Alex Falter