Like most kids, I was a child who worshiped the summer. Ice cream trucks, swimming pools, no school; my birthday is even during the summer! What could be better? Now, as an adult, I’ve gained such an appreciation for the fall. I love wearing chunky sweaters and chunky boots, picking apples, and taking walks at dusk, just as the chill picks up and the leaves swirl around. We’re fortunate to live on Long Island, where there is an abundance of activities to keep us engaged in the season.
Fall fun starts at the LPL, where we strive to create dynamic seasonal programming. This year, I think we have really outdone ourselves! I am so excited to be a part of our first “Pumpkin Palooza.” Visit us on Friday, October 21st to enjoy some pumpkin refreshments and view decorated pumpkins created by the LPL staff. I’m looking forward to seeing some elaborate pumpkins from my talented coworkers. If you decide to get a head start conceptualizing your own pumpkin designs and want to avoid the muck of pumpkin carving, here are some “no carve” pumpkin decorating ideas, via Longisland.com.
A great hands-on activity that we will be offering is our Fall Ceramic Workshop on Tuesday, October 25th (registration begins Tuesday, September 20th), where you can tap into your inner artist and paint a decorative pumpkin or an adorable candy corn. If you’re more of a party person, consider registering for one of our always popular cooking classes. On Friday, October 14th, Chef Joe Ciatto will show you what to prepare for a spooky Halloween party. Lastly for adults, our Sunnyside & The Blaze bus trip is sold out, but you can still call to be placed on the waiting list. Even if you can’t join us, I still highly recommend attending The Blaze. Last year was my first time there and it was an amazing experience: enormous dragons, butterflies in trees, a giant grandfather clock. All made from pumpkins! It was incredible!
Our teen programs for the season appeal to the full spectrum of fall lovers: teens who seek the thrills and chills of Halloween (Zombie Scavenger Hunt on October 25th) and those teens looking for a tamer experience (Haunted Gingerbread House on October 27th). Our littlest readers can partake in Halloween and Fall themed cooking programs (Little Chefs on October 24th) and crafting programs (Fall Craft on October 18th and October 25th), culminating in our yearly Halloween parade for ages 1-5 and a visit from Matt the Musician, all on Halloween day, October 31st. See our newsletter or call the appropriate department for more information.
Another reason to love the fall is that it ushers in the “Season of the Street Fair.” Who doesn’t love a street fair? Some of us go for the food (roasted corn, candy apples, food trucks, deep-fried EVERYTHING), some go for the interesting craft vendors, and others just enjoy a nice afternoon out with family and friends. The good news is that this year you won’t have to travel far to attend a great craft fair, as the Levittown Library Foundation will be hosting a craft fair on Sunday, October 2nd from 10:00-5:00 in Veterans Memorial Park (directly across the street from the library). A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the library, which in turn will help to support the many services we provide. Longisland.com, which I mentioned previously, is a great resource to keep you up to date on local festivals and fairs.
The quintessential fall activities are pumpkin and apple picking. One of my favorite blogs, Mommy Poppins, has a great list of Long Island pumpkin picking farms and corn mazes. Standouts on the list include:
- Harbes Farms, which has three locations (Mattituck, Jamesport, and Riverhead).
- Lewin Farms, famous for its vast year-round variety of u-pick offerings (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, gourds, pumpkins, and more).
- Schmitt Family Farms. On Saturdays and Sundays until Halloween, the farm hosts a Fall Festival, featuring a firetruck slide, bouncy house, cornstalks, rides, games and plenty of our favorite fall comfort foods.
Now that we have our pumpkins, we can’t forget to pick our apples. Some of the farms that offer pumpkins also offer apples, like Harbes and Lewin Farms. Here are a few other locations on the Island:
- Seven Ponds Orchard. Visit their Facebook page for information about apple varieties and best times for picking.
- Wickham’s Fruit Farm, where you can also pick pumpkins, strawberries, cherries, and other fruit.
- Woodside Orchards, which provides apples, pies, apple cider and apple cider donuts. The Aquebogue location is a personal favorite. There, hard apple cider tastings are available and visitors can opt to purchase a growler for future use.
For more apple picking suggestions, see Michael Bakshandeh’s Long Island Press post, “Apple Picking on Long Island 2016: Where To Pick Your Apples.” If you have baskets and baskets of apples at home with no clue how to use them or even the types of apples you have, visit New York Apple Association, which has an A-Z guide of apple varieties of New York State. My personal favorite apple dessert to bake is Fort Davis Apple Cake (I usually skip the glaze, and because I’m a chocoholic, I add 1 ½ cups chocolate chips to the mix).
Finally, don’t let the pumpkins, apples, and hay stacks distract you from your reading! Make the switch from beach reading to cozy reading with the 2016 Fall Reading Challenge.
Happy Reading and…