Best Of Chicago

Fall Favorites Off The Beaten Path

September 15, 2011 3:45 PM

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AllSeasons400

As September rolls in and autumn overtakes the Chicagoland area with its warm sunlight and crisp air, fall festivities kick into high gear. Apple orchards, corn mazes and pumpkin patches are all easily found right in our far-suburban backyards. Here’s a list of some to-good-to-pass up destinations that are family friendly, fun and a little off the beaten path.

Susanna Farms

www.susannafarms.com
24153 Town Line Rd.
Lake Villa, IL 60046
(847) 838 – 0798

Susanna Farms is the perfect way to celebrate all things autumn with small child. Perfect for younger elementary kids, preschoolers and toddlers, Susanna Farms boasts a short hayride around the grounds, a pint-size corn maze where the little ones are easily viewed throughout the course and, of course, pumpkins.

Little ones enjoy seeing a real working farm through the eyes of their real-farmer guide and on their own terms as well: tractors are in plain view and horses, chickens and other farm animals live in the barns right next to the already-picked pumpkin rows. Parents will also enjoy the tour, as the farmer explains in kid-friendly terms how pumpkins come about each season – truly a place where little eyes and big one alike can get a taste of reconnecting with the land during harvest.

All Seasons Orchard

www.allseasonsorchard.com
14510 Rt. 176
Woodstock, IL 60098

Just west of Crystal Lake and south of Woodstock lies a farm with rolling hills, an abundant orchard featuring delicious apple varieties and enough fun to entertain the kiddos all afternoon long.

A small petting zoo, go karts, a corn maze and a cow train pulled by tractor allure little kids as well as big ones. Moms and dads will get a kick out of the photo-booth cutouts where kids can become cows or farmers. And the whole family likely will enjoy apple picking in the orchard. Even children as small as three and four can reach and pick their own apples from the lower branches of the trees, gleaning an entire bag of lovely, ripe apples.

Vanas

(credit: Vanaspumpkinland.com)

Vanna’s Pumpkin Land

Vanaspumpkinland.com
7705 W State Rt. 17
Kankakee, IL 60901
(815) 939-2000

Located in Kankakee, a short drive off of Interstate 57, Vana’s Pumpkin Land boasts a vast array of pumpkins grown on the local farm grounds. From small gourds to enormous, deep orange pumpkins, each member of the family will walk away with his or her choice of gourd. {We’ve never gotten a pumpkin we couldn’t make a masterpiece out of from this farm in all of my family’s 16 years of picking pumpkins!}

Additionally, Vana’s, an authentic farm in the middle of the countryside, often offers a small but fun trail that isn’t very scary and a quaint onsite store with fresh-made fudge. {You must try the pumpkin fudge if you are a pumpkin fan!}

Didier Farms

www.didierfarms.com
16678 W. Aptakisic Rd.
Prairie View / Lincolnshire, IL 60069
(847) 643 -3291

Well known for its PumpkinFest, Didier Farms in Lincolnshire features a great display of harvest-time activities with a straw maze for the younger kids, a five-acre corn maze for the older ones and pumpkin picking and hayrides for the entire family. Additionally, the farm offers pony rides and houses an on-site café.

Like Vana’s, there is something for the sweet-tooth lover, too: Anderson’s Chocolate shop sells its famous fudge and nuts on the weekends.  And be sure to check out the Pig Bin to get a glimpse of any new piglets that might have been recently born.

Hyacynth Worth writes about all things family, faith and fall {during autumn, at least} at Undercover Mother.

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