Ah, autumn. The skies are bright blue, the air is refreshing and crisp, the leaves are all shades of gold, and the squirrels are chipper. What’s not to love about fall, other than the hints of a bitterly cold winter? Fall is the real season to be jolly, so don’t let it slip away, especially because this campus (and Connecticut, really) is such an ideal location for fall festivities and fun. In case you didn’t know that, listed here are just a few of the many wonderful opportunities to take advantage of this great season at and around Wesleyan.
Long Lane Farm
Long Lane, Wesleyan’s student-run organic farm, teaches students about sustainable agriculture and allows them to harvest their own crops. Long Lane provides organic food to Middletown residents as well as to local soup kitchens and food pantries. Long Lane is non-hierarchical, which means that all students, regardless of their agricultural background, may use the resources at Long Lane in order to realize a farming project. Official work days are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the fall, but students also work on the farm throughout the week.
As if the weekly opportunities at Long Lane weren’t enough, coming up on October 25 is Long Lane’s Pumpkin Festival. The idea behind the Pumpkin Festival is to celebrate the harvest season, and it has occurred every fall since 2004. The festival features pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, turnips, potatoes, squash, herbs, and many more vegetables.
“The Pumpkin festival provides an opportunity for learning about local organic farming, the politics of food and a chance just to enjoy an afternoon on the farm with a bake sale, organic produce, locally produced honey, face and pumpkin painting, music by local bands and of course the pumpkins,” read an October 7 article from the Wesleyan Newsletter.
Come out at the end of the month for the Festival’s food offerings (including a bake sale, organic produce, and local honey) and entertainment (including face painting, pumpkin painting, and music by local bands). Attending the event is free (though the food is not) and there will be pumpkins to satisfy everyone!
Spend a day at Lyman Orchards, which has been growing fruit and boasting countryside charm near the Connecticut River since 1741. You may have missed the late September peaches, nectarines, and Asian pears, but there’s still plenty of time to get those last apples and pumpkins.
The website advises visitors that before coming to pick, they should always call the 24-hour hotline for information about the availability, condition, and prices of the produce grown at Lyman. The message is updated often to help potential customers best arrange their trips and avoid bad weather.
The Apple Barrel
In addition to orchards for actual apple picking, Lyman has a very special market called The Apple Barrel. Every day, the invigorating aroma of fresh pies, apple cider donuts, muffins, cookies, breads, pastries, and more desserts floats through the Farm Kitchen Bakery. The Apple Barrel has a specific interest in environmentalism and eco-friendly harvesting techniques.
“We grow Eco Apples by combining old fashioned agricultural methods with leading edge technologies, and our progressive growing techniques help make us leaders in ecological orchard care,” the Apple Barrel section of the Lyman Orchards website says.
Instead of pesticides, the farm uses natural pests, such as ladybugs, to keep their produce insect-free. Plus, they have a good-looking deli lunch menu if the fresh apples aren’t enticing enough.
Picnic on College Row
The trees are looking mighty fine. Take advantage of this opportunity for photos, so you can remind yourself that the world is pretty when we get to January and the snow looks ugly and depressing. It could be fun to be fancy and bring microwaved food from Weshop, or you could just get take out from Usdan or Summerfields (where you can get lots of free fruit). Plus, it’s a prime location for squirrel-watching and people-watching alike.
Most weekends, the Wesleyan Outing Club offers a variety of trips and activities for Wesleyan students. For nature lovers, Outing Club offers biking, hiking, canoeing, and even rock climbing at various locations around New England. Over break, longer trips are available, such as backpacking part of the Appalachian Trail. For those who wish to stay closer to home, Outing Cub also occasionally offers outings to Lyman Orchards or Indian Hill for some nighttime yoga. If you can’t make it to their hikes, you can always just steal their ideas and go on your own time with friends (or by yourself, as a peaceful decompressing afternoon).
Special Usdan/Summerfields Yummies
Bon Appetit hosts several special fall-themed events at the dining halls on campus. Below is a schedule of them.
Tuesday, October 14: Make-your-own Whoopie pie night at Usdan Marketplace.
Tuesday, October: 21: Make-your-own Caramel Apple night at Usdan Marketplace.
Wednesday, October 22: Pumpkin-carving contest at Summerfields.
Friday, October 24: Hot cider bar at Usdan Marketplace.
Monday, October 27: American Beer Day: get a hand-made root beer float at Usdan Marketplace.
Life has never been sweeter!
Halloween Dorm Decorations
Spruce up your dorm with some fall-themed décor and get your hallmates involved. Fake cobwebs, mini pumpkins, fake spiders: decorating your dorm with these is a foolproof method of procrastination.
Halloween Movie Marathon
You could go right in so many different ways with a Halloween-themed movie marathon. Think of all the routes you could take: nostalgic (think “Hocus Pocus” or “Casper the Friendly Ghost”), classic horror (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Shining”), comedy (“Young Frankenstein,” “Beetlejuice”) or contemporary horror (“The Cabin in the Woods,” “The Conjuring”).
Jump in a Pile of Leaves
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Spend a Sunday afternoon procrastinating with friends, gathering some leaves together, and indulging in their satisfying crunch.