With countless acres of gently rolling hills, rocky vistas, and sprawling farmland, one could argue that anytime is the right time to come soak in the Blue Ridge beauty of Northeastern Maryland, but when our fingers start aching to wrap around a steaming mug of cider and our breath hangs frosty in the morning air, our hearts can’t help but turn to Frederick. Whether you prefer to pass the autumn season in the Technicolor patchwork of a mountain trail, amid the cheerful glow of a pumpkin patch, or cozied up to a brewer’s potbellied stove, we know you’ll find the perfect way to celebrate the season’s splendor in Frederick.
- Celebrate with a FestivalLocal farms in Frederick celebrate the season with tours, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and hay rides (photo courtesy of Friendship Baptist Church)
Fall is a season of celebration on the farm, signaling the twilight hours of harvest and a long-overdue exhale into a season of rest. It should come as no surprise, then, that Frederick—home to the largest number of farms in the state—sends off the summer with a slew of fetes worthy its bounty. When the days grow short and the nights chilly, dozens of local, family farms throw open their gates and welcome the public to join in their celebration of a season’s end. Take a drive down a country road in any direction, and you’ll be sure to find a fall festival of some kind, featuring hay rides, corn mazes, or the opportunity to scratch the resident mule between the ears. In for something a little more off the beaten path? Pop on by the Maryland Pumpkin Festival and vote on the Pumpkin Princess (or see candy shot from a pumpkin cannon!), or swing by the Schifferstadt Oktoberfest celebration, complete with sausage, strudel, and oompah musik galore.
- Get Back to Nature
Big Hunting Creek has been popular with angling Presidents, noted authors, fly fishing enthusiasts and park visitors who enjoy viewing trout in a natural mountain setting (photo courtesy of Tourism Council of Frederick)
Nestled between the Blueridge Mountains and the Piedmont Plateau, Frederick is a leaf-watcher’s paradise, offering both sweeping panoramic patchworks and lofty peaks from which to view them. Color-seekers can visit Cunningham Falls State Park, where brilliant blankets of orange and gold flank the state’s largest cascading waterfall, a sparkling rush that tumbles from seventy-eight feet overhead. Others can make their way to Catoctin Mountain Park, an area once famous for its iron forge and bootleggers, but now a scenic destination that offers twenty-five miles of trails to hike, streams to fish, and sun-drenched summits to take in the views. Hungry from the hike? Stop by the Catoctin Mountain Orchard on your way back to town. Here, visitors can pick their own apples and pumpkins or stock up on homemade preserves, syrup, cider, and baked goods perfect for squirreling away for the long, snowy nights ahead.
- Drink in the Season The Frederick Wine Trail, together with the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail, is responsible for half of Maryland’s wine production (photo courtesy of Tourism Council of Frederick)
Frederick’s rich soil and rolling hills make for more than growing good apples; they’re also prime inspiration for dozens of local wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries—even meaderies—many of whom offer patios and porches where visitors are encouraged to sample spirits and drink in the view. The Frederick Wine Trail—nine boutique wineries covering 120 acres—are home to some of the most sippable wines around, and offer a handful of drier iterations alongside the syrupy-sweet vintages often found farther South. Don’t have the vinter spirit? No worries, there’s ample opportunity to enjoy the autumnal display beyond the vineyard. It’s just a short drive to find one of the area’s so-called farmhouse brewers, who craft their seasonal beers using ingredients harvested on site.
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