fall listWell folks, somehow or another we’re already starting our second week of September.  The kids are back in school, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are being served up at Starbucks, and everywhere you look you see sweaters, jeans and riding boots…on display.  Because yikes, it’s still 90 degrees outside.

We’re a little less than two weeks away from the official start of fall, and still deep in our warm Carolina summer, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting excited about the season. September, October, November and December are the months I look forward to the most: college football!  Cool weather!  Fun holidays to celebrate with family!  It also happens to be the busiest time of the year, between all of the fun holidays to celebrate with family to all of the prep involved with celebrating the holidays with family.  Blink and it’s January 1.  This year I started a “Bucket List” for the fall, with all (or at least, SOME) of the things I want to see and do with my family before the season rushes by like it usually does.

Fall Bucket List

1. Go Apple Picking 

I love Windy Hill Apple Orchard.  You can pick your own apples, enjoy fresh, hot homemade pumpkin and apple doughnuts, sample some hard apple cider, and soak up the atmosphere while chickens roam wild at your feet.  We visited for the first time last year and had a blast, despite the fact that an early picking season meant we missed all of the apples and had to come home with some pre-picked ones instead.  (And OK, despite the fact the roaming chickens terrified our then-18-month-old.  In his defense, they did walk up and steal some of the doughnut he was eating…he should be over that by now, right?)

2. Take a Hayride

Hall Family Farm is my favorite place to play in the fall (and spring, during strawberry season).  Featuring a corn maze, huge play area, giant sandbox, funnel cakes, apple slushes, and fields and fields of pumpkins, it’s a fantastic place to spend the cool fall days.  We go every year and play, pick pumpkins and snack, yet we always skip the hay ride.  Not this year!  It’s so quintessentially fall, and I think our oldest son is finally old enough to appreciate and enjoy it (or not.  I may say the exact same thing next year.  And the year after.  One of these years he’ll be old enough!)

3. Ride the Rides at the Blakeney Boo Bash

The Boo Bash is one of our regular holiday traditions.  The Blakeney shopping center transforms itself into a Halloween bash with fun for the whole family, featuring free things to see and do, a train ride, games and rides for the kids, face painting, and more.  This year our oldest is old enough to ride some of the rides; I can’t wait to ride the scrambler or slide down the huge inflatable slide with him.

4. Carolina Balloon Fest

Celebrating its 40th year, the Carolina Balloon Fest is a big deal.  Featuring arts and crafts, live entertainment, local wines and beers, and of course, hot air balloons, this festival draws a crowd of 30,000 every year.  We’ve never attended before, but I’m dying to go and see what it’s all about.

5. Carve a Pumpkin or Two

Confession: I hate the smell of the inside of pumpkins.  Ugh.  I have an iron stomach, but that?  It is my kryptonite.  But carving pumpkins is what you DO, right?  Especially with little kids at home.  This year we’ll finally carve the pumpkins we bring home and put to use all of the pumpkin carving kits we seem to accumulate yearly (or at least, Dad will.)

6. Bake lots of Pumpkin Goodies

Thanks to Pinterest I’m flooded regularly with amazing and delicious recipes my friends pin featuring pumpkin, one of my favorite flavors.  I’m looking forward to baking so many delicious things this fall, like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin scones and pumpkin cheesecake.

7. Trick or Treat with the Kids

This is the first year I feel like we can really go out and trick or treat now that our oldest is, you know, talking and can say “Trick or Treat” (or something sorta, kinda close to it.  We’ll get there…we have a little while to work on it!)  I look forward to trooping around the neighborhood with the boys for a few houses at least, until the novelty wears off.

8. Carolina Renaissance Festival

Another Charlotte staple we’ve yet to attend, the Carolina Renaissance Festival just looks like so much fun.  Jousting knights, turkey legs, archery, games and fun for the whole family?  Yes please!

9. Play Outside

Summer is a rough time to play outside, let’s just admit it.  It’s too hot, too humid and too unpleasant.  The kids get hot and sweaty just riding in the car to the playground, the sun bakes everything so the slides burn the backs of legs, and you’re miserable standing in the heat watching them play.  I am so ready for cooler days (or at least cooler mornings) so my guys (and me!) can once again enjoy the great outdoors.  From playgrounds to parks to the greenways, I’m ready to get outside again.

10. Escape to the Mountains

I’ve always wanted to take a drive to the mountains to enjoy the beautiful views and fall colors from Grandfather Mountain.  I hope this year we can make it happen!

What do you think?  What am I forgetting?  Come on, Fall!  Let’s do this!