While the weather doesn’t adhere to any schedule and will likely continue to be wildly absurd for some time, the calendar says we are fast approaching one of the generally agreed upon most wonderful times of the year: fall.
And when the weather does in fact cool down, there will be all the things we love about autumn: fresh days, cool nights, coloured leaves, scarves, plaids, and pumpkin everything. It’s that time of the year where you can select cute and fun outfits without being completely dictated and destroyed by extreme humidity or frigid wind chills. We can go outside and breathe easy, layer up without bundling up, and all around look comfortable and content in the world. That window where you can walk outside comfortable is a narrow one, and best to take advantage of as much as possible.
With that said, here are some of the more enticing outdoor excursions you can enjoy this fall season in Buffalo - aside from, you know, all the many, many beer and wine festivals. We’re really good at that.
1. A Mid-Autumn Night's Scream
A beloved summer staple takes a frightful turn in October, as Shakespeare in the Park becomes Shakesfear! Get it? It’s a walking tour through Delaware Park that will take on a scholarly and scary tilt; we assume the frights will have to do with experiences and stories by William Shakespeare, and not instead stories from school about having to study Shakespeare.
The event is one night only on Friday, October 12 - well before Halloween times really get intense, so no excuse not to check it out. Tours leave every 15 minutes, and the $15 ticket will also get you a couple drinks at the Terrace (Terror) at Delaware (Hellaware) Park. And who’s to say how many other scary puns there will be!?
ShakesFEAR in the Park
2. Apple and Pumpkin Picking
It’s time to make pie. And drink cider. And both of those ever-enjoyable items can come fresh this season as you go farm-hopping across Western New York. Blackman Homestead Farms is now open for apple picking seven days a week, offering 15 varieties from which to choose - they also offer a guide as to which ones are the best for baking, eating, and making sauces. There is also Smith’s Orchard Cider Mill, Becker Farms, and Hall’s Apple Farms, among others, for all your seasonal needs.
Make it a weekend of harvesting culinary delights and grab some pumpkins too. Wheatfield Pumpkin Farm is among the more popular go-to places for your eating and decorating needs; if you’re down south, the aptly named Pumpkinville can also cater to your gourd demands.
3. Take a Hike
Actually, though, with all that food coming your way, you will (or should) want to try and stay active. There are more than a handful of picturesque locales in Western New York perfect for a fall hike. Check out Devil’s Hole State Park along the Niagara River to hike down to the gorge and gain a view of the rapids. Chestnut Ridge offers a chance for hikers to peer the eternal flame if they’re lucky. For those with more time and a little more experience in their pocket, Zoar Valley offers great beauty - but also well known dangers.
4. Get Lost
Not to be paired with hiking! There are a slew of mazes coming to a vast, outdoor space near you this fall. Corn mazes are wonderful. And terrifying. On the surface, they have this childlike quality to them, because having fun outdoors in nature is strangely associated more with kids than adults. But then you remember how horror movies utilize mazes, and soon realize that kids enjoy them more because they have an enviable ignorance of youth. So embrace the irrational fear and discomforting beauty of getting lost in the cool of fall.
Abbott Farms, Cambria Corn Maze, and Long Acres Farms (which has a Maize Maze!) are just a few of the many around Western New York that offer autumn labyrinths to explore and get lost in.
5. New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Now, Bills games at the Ralph always have a certain kind of appeal, but this is no ordinary Bills home game. They will likely be double-digit underdogs against their most hated rival, and they will likely lose (this is no news), but lo, we’ve on our hand the rarest of Buffalo football events: a night game at home. And not just any night game - a Monday night game. It’s the first in ten years, and only the third since 1994! The Bills have not won on Monday night (home or away) in two decades, but in their last three, including against the Patriots, they’ve lost by less than a field goal. So it could be close!
Even more exciting is that it’s only two days prior to Halloween, and a chance to showcase their pride and absurdity on Monday night football to the entire nation, the BIlls fans are likely to be jubilant and dressed up. It will be a ridiculous, wild affair recommended for adults alone, and may be one of the last times this year people get really excited for a home game. Alas.
Buffalo Bills Football
We all know what’s coming in a few month’s time. No matter how mild its predicted to be, no matter how quickly it may come and go, winter is coming. And it’s going to, as usual, be generally disheartening and frustrating. So take advantage of one of the loveliest times of the year. Get outside, look sharp, and embrace the season. Because it won’t last long.