Autumn is a time for family fun, harvest traditions and holidays. None of it would be complete without a visit to a pumpkin patch. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect jack-o-lantern, a unique gourd for an autumn display or a sugar pumpkin for a pie, you have several options for finding just what you need to make this fall a memorable one.
1. Chapman Farms
This local farm truly comes to life when the days begin to grow shorter and the leaves begin to change. When you arrive the seasonal sight of the red barn and rows of pumpkins, you know you’re in for a good time. The pumpkin patch is only the beginning at Chapman Farms. They also offer many varieties of squash and gourds to decorate your autumn table. There’s also delicious sweet corn available. The kids will can get out some energy playing in the the corn maze, on the antique tractor or in the barn. There are plenty of spots for photo ops, so grab your camera and make some memories.
Chapman Farms are open daily throughout October from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and are located 239 Brady Loop Road East in Montesano. Look for the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze signs along highway 12.
2. Shaffner Farms
Shaffner Farms is a wonderful place to visit throughout much of the year. You can count on their delicious berries and other fresh produce in the summer. However, starting on October 1, the mood shifts to a decidedly more autumnal theme. Nos is the time for a covered wagon ride to the pumpkin patch and playtime in the corn and hay maze. The farm store makes a good stop for tasty gifts as well. They carry plenty of jams, jellies, preserves and pickled items. Shaffner Farms is located in Montesano, at 158 Geissler Road. They are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily in throughout the month of October. Both Shaffner and Chapman Farms make a perfect destination for school and group trips, too. Be sure to call ahead and plan a group outing to celebrate the season.
3. The Great Pumpkin Carving
Do you have some fantastically talented carvers among your friends or family? If so, consider heading to Seabrook on Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16 for their very first Great Pumpkin Carving event. Professional pumpkin carver Eric Hawley will be entertaining guests all day Saturday carving of an 1100 pound pumpkin that will be on display at Seabrook for the remainder of the month. Try your hand at carving, too. Sign your family up by emailing the event coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org and see if you win one of the many awards given out on Sunday. Enjoy other fun fall activities, too, including pumpkin bowling and a hot cider station. Bring a pumpkin you picked up at the pumpkin patch or purchase one on site (supplies limited).
4. Cranberry Harvest
Pumpkins are iconic fall produce all over the country, but coastal Washington harvests its own special treat in the fall—cranberries. Cranberry farms, or bogs, are an important part of our local area. Many people do self-guided driving tours of the bogs, but in Grayland on October 8 and 9, you will have the special opportunity to tour a bog at the Cranberry Harvest Festival. This event includes music, a cranberry cook-off, vendors, a Jog the Bog and Beach 10k, 5k, and 3k walk/run, Saturday evening parade, and more. Add some local flare to your fall celebrations this year, and make the Cranberry Harvest Festival a tradition. A full schedule of the weekend’s events can be found here.
5. Razor Clam Digs
Another autumn activity unique to our local area is, of course, razor clam digging. Razor clam season kicks off in the fall, and the first dig of the season will be October 14 – 16 at Copalis and Mockrocks with beaches opening at noon. Seasoned diggers know that the best time is a few hours before low tide so be sure to check a tide chart. Friday’s low is at 5:55 p.m. Digging for clams is fun for all ages, and tradition for so many in our area. Get out your favorite clam chowder recipes and head over to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for more information on licensing requirements, times, locations, and dates of digs.
6. Mushroom Festival at Lake Quinault
It’s not only our farms and beaches that provide in abundance in the fall. Local forests come alive with fungi of every sort. To celebrate this other local specialty, join the annual Mushroom Festival at Lake Quinault Lodge. This event has everything from mushroom identification classes to tastings to mushroom hunting outings with experts. The weekend will be chock-full of mushroom education and interesting people as well. If a visit to this festival is on your Grays Harbor autumn bucket list, read more about the event here.