Is that an autumnal chill in the air? Do you have the sudden urge to drape yourself in velvet? Can you feel yourself starting to get a little… spooky? Fall snuck right up on NYC, and now it’s time to break out your Ouija board, plan your dog’s Halloween costume (mine is going as Maria Butina), and wear your coziest flannel to the pumpkin patch. While the five boroughs don’t have a lot of farmland left, there are tons of spots to pick your pumpkin in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island -- all within two hours of the city.
Each of these patches is rich with a selection pumpkins for your picking pleasure, and plenty of hayrides, maize mazes, and haunted houses to inspire your jack-o’-lantern carving plans.
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Watermill, NY As the name suggests, Hank’s got u-pick-’em pumpkins on the vine, off the vine, and any other way you’d like them. This year, 48 acres of the farm are dedicated to pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. They’ve also got straw bales, corn stalks, mums, and gourds, so you can create the autumn tablescape of your hayfever dreams. You can pick pumpkins every day through Halloween, but the corn maze and hayrides are only open on the weekends. By public transport: 2 hours (From Jamaica Station, take the LIRR towards Montauk to Southampton, then take a taxi for the remaining 1.8 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Ridgewood, NJ Ward’s been slinging pumpkins from this New Jersey farm stand every fall since 1940. There are no vines here, but they’ve got every shape and size and type of gourd for jack-o’-lantern carving. (They also offer painted pumpkins in festive themes for those of you who hate the pulp or have no business being near a bunch of knives.) By public transport: 55 minutes (From the Port Authority Bus Terminal, take a Greyhound bus toward Albany to Ridgewood Park and Ride, then walk for the remaining 2 minutes.) By car from Grand Central: 50 minutes
Huntington, NY This Long Island farm grows their own pumpkins, making it one of the few places where you can pick them right off the vine. It’s on the smaller side and super close to the city, so pick your pumpkin, take a hayride, and then spend the rest of the day leaf peeping in beautiful Caumsett State Park half an hour away. (P.S. Plan ahead and bring cash for pumpkin purchasing, since they don’t take credit cards.) By public transport: 1 hour and 20 minutes (From Penn Station, take the LIRR towards Port Jefferson to Huntington, then take a taxi for the remaining 4.5 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Little Neck, Queens With a 3-acre corn maze and a haunted house on October 27, Queens is working hard to get you into the Halloween spirit. Admission to the museum is free, so choose your pumpkin from the patch and then spend some time wandering the grounds and posing for the perfect rosy-cheeked profile picture. It’s almost cuffing season, after all! By public transport: 1 hour and 10 minutes (From Penn Station, walk to Sixth Avenue/W 37th Street and take the QM6 bus to Union Turnpike/252 Street.) By car from Grand Central: 45 minutes
East Fishkill, NY This sprawling farm is just 20 minutes outside of Beacon, New York. It hosts a Harvest Festival every October weekend, featuring live music, an outdoor grill, and hayrides. The wide variety of decorative gourds and specialty pumpkins for sale at the store include all-white offerings, if you’re going for that minimalist Halloween vibe, along with a patch for a more authentic picking experience. By public transport: 2 hours (From Grand Central Station, take the Metro North Hudson Line towards Poughkeepsie to Beacon, then take a taxi for the remaining 12 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Granite Springs, NY This quaint family farm -- which has been in operation since 1828 -- offers the quintessential autumn experience. Choose a pumpkin from the patch, pick some apples from the orchard, and have a picnic among the changing leaves. Stop by the farm store for an apple pie and cider donuts for dessert. There are no flashy fall festivals or haunted mazes, but it’s the perfect way to get that cozy fall feeling. Stuart’s is cash or check only, so do come prepared. By public transport: 1 hour and 30 minutes (From Grand Central Station, take the Metro North towards Harlem line to Purdy’s, then take a taxi for the remaining 11.7 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Easton, CT With 20 varieties of squashes and gourds to choose from, you’ll have the most festive fall stoop on your block. If you can guess the weight of your pumpkin within 2 ounces, it’s free. (Just hope it’s easier than guessing what you’ll pay for the salad bar at Whole Foods). Every weekend at the farm features food vendors, face painting, tractor rides, and a “cereal bowl” -- a gigantic pool of dried corn and hay bales to play and pose in. By public transport: 1 hour and 30 minutes (From Grand Central, take the Metro North towards New Haven to Fairfield, then take a taxi for the remaining 8.9 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Melville, NY At Schmitt’s, October is all about pumpkins. They don’t have an apple orchard, so the farm is totally dedicated to Halloween fun. The patch is full of pumpkins, the hayrides are hosted by the family farmers, and this year’s corn maze is zombie-themed. If you like to get scared, they also host an adult haunted mansion and corn trail on October weekends after 7pm. By public transport: 1 hour and 45 minutes (From Penn Station, take the Metro North towards Port Jefferson to Huntington, then take a taxi for the remaining 4.8 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Kerhonkson, NY Every fall, Kelder’s grows thousands of pumpkins in over a dozen varieties. On weekends, they offer hayrides straight to the patch. They also boast a jumping pillow, a corn maze, a milking cow... and miniature golf. It might not be seasonal, but their putt-putt course has been named “one of the 10 most unusual in the USA" (same), so it’s definitely worth a swing. By public transport: 2 hours and 5 minutes (From Penn Station, take the Amtrak towards Albany to Poughkeepsie, then take a taxi for the remaining 27 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Wading River, NY With a big ol' patch of pumpkins on the vine, this family farm is the real deal. The patch is only open on weekends, and you have to buy admission to the Fall Festival to pick ‘em; tickets are $15 for adults and $17 for kids 3-16. The Fall Festival features plenty of countrified entertainment for all you citified folk -- think calf roping, pig races, a corn cannon, and a pumpkin slingshot. By public transport: 2 hours and 30 minutes (From Penn Station, take the LIRR towards Ronkonkoma to Riverhead, then take a taxi for the remaining 9.6 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 30 minutes
North Salem, NY While “outhouse” might not exactly put you in the mood for autumn magic, it doesn’t get more romantic than the Hudson Valley in October. All their pumpkins are off the vine, so you can pick your favorite from their big patch and then head straight for the hayride. While you’re there, place an early order for your Thanksgiving turkey, pies, and pumpkin cheesecakes. By public transport: 1 hour and 20 minutes (From Grand Central Station, take the Metro towards Harlem to Purdy’s, then take a taxi for the remaining 3 miles.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Brooklyn, NY A farm? On Flatbush Avenue?! Kind of! This event space on Brooklyn’s Barren Island is transformed into a farm and petting zoo with a pumpkin patch every weekend in October. Admission is $9 and includes a pumpkin, hayrides, a kid-friendly haunted house, and -- the real draw -- the chance to sit on a bulldozer. It might not be a working farm, but it’s the perfect place to take the kids without a meltdown in the car. By public transport: 30 minutes (From the Flatbush Avenue Station, walk to Avenue H/Flatbush Avenue and take the Q35 bus to Flatbush Avenue/Gateway Sports, then walk the remaining 7 minutes.) By car from Grand Central: 1 hour
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