Thursday, October 01, 2009

Out & About in the Pacific Northwest in October

I'm going to try to provide a monthly roundup of upcoming things to do, places to go in the Pac. NW.  I meant to start this last month and give you all the lowdown on area Oktoberfests, but you'll have to wait until next year for that (yes, Oktoberfests are always in September.  It makes no sense, I know).

October.  Month of harvest festivals and All Hallow's Eve.  And so I'm told, Football :p  Traditionally it's when we head up to the Gorge area for some R&R.  See all those lovely links to B&B's/romantic inns on the right hand side?  We've stayed at almost every one.   Usually in Sept/Oct to celebrate our anniversary.  You can't drive a mile in Hood River County in October without coming across some fabulous open farm, winery, pumpkin patch or harvest festival.  The wild huckleberry harvest is over, which makes it the perfect time to pick up some syrup or jelly. Grapes and hops are in.   That means wine and beer festivals.  Apple/Pear/Pumpkin harvest is on.  And don't forget the Fall Foliage!!  Last year two Oregon scenic drives made Forbes Magazine's list of the Top 15 Most Awesome Autumn Drives: The Columbia River Hwy and Hwy 126 through Central Oregon.  It's like driving on a river of gold.

September/ October are my favorite months to travel in the NW.  The temps are typically in the 60's and 70's during the days, with crisp cool nights that make you dive for the down comforter in front of a warm fire with a hot toddy or glass of wine.  The summer out-of-state tourists are all gone and it's party time for the locals (see above... wine and beer festivals.  Also? Weird but lovable football fans).  And when it's not divinely sunny, it's fabulously stormy.  The wind whips the crunchy red and orange leaves around.  Rain showers followed by blinding sun breaks set the whole world asparkle.  Perfect days to watch old movies (or if you're into that sort of thing, football)  and watch the trees dance in the wind.   Notice the trend.... cozy blanket, fire, glass of wine.  Wet or dry, you can't miss.

I do love the football fans.  Mostly because they hole up on weekends either in a stadium or living room watching whatever big game is going on and leave the roads clear (except for I-5 south to Eugene/Corvallis on Saturdays), beaches empty and parks/festivals less crowded.  I actually enjoy a little football on occassion.  I just don't understand giving up every Saturday for three months to catch **.  I think I still have issues from being forced to watch every home football game in high school from the "Pep Band" section of the bleachers.  I was in Concert Band.  That, I loved.  But we had no marching band, and it was a requirement if you were in Concert Band to play in Pep Band. I didn't have a lot of "band friends", though so my buddies were all out in the "regular" section of the bleachers gossipping and flirting, eating hot dogs and cheering on the home team.  While I sat lonely and bereft off to the side watching a sea of hundreds of people all having fun while I was miserable playing The Magnificent Seven over and over and over again.  

Where was I?  Oh yes, back to the Harvest/All Hollow's Eve fests....

Little Kid friendly:

Hood River Valley Harvest Fest (Hood River - on the Columbia River waterfront)  Oct 17 - 19
Rasmussen Farms Pumpkin Funland  (Hood River)  Admission Free. Nationally recognized.  Daily.
Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch & corn Maize (Portland)
Pomeroy Farms Pumpkin Lane (Yacolt, WA).  Not free.
Roloff Farms (Helvetia, OR)  (If you're a fan of the TLC channel Little People, Big World)
Stocker Farms (Snohomish, WA)

Round up of Puget Sound area Pumpkin Farms.

Halloweentown (St. Helens, OR).  Features Twilight movie filming locations.

Big Kid Friendly:

Fright Town at the Rose Quarter (Portland)   $20
Wenzel Farm Halloween Fantasy Trail (Oregon City)
Fright Fest at Wild Waves (Seattle)

I'll add more as I come across them in the coming days.   This weekend is the Honeycrisp apple harvest in Hood River.  I think maybe we'll take a trip to pick up a box direct from the farm.   Mr. Stang has this unholy adoration for honeycrisps.   We planted our own 4-in-1 apple tree in the backyard last year - honeycrisps are one of the varieties.

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