Ah, fall… can there be a better season to get out and do things as a family in Boston? The draining heat of summer is behind us, back to school jitters have subsided, and the threat of winter’s cold and snow is hopefully still weeks away. The beauty of nature surrounds us, and family fun is plentiful, whether you want to experience a little culture or frolic on a farm.
A shared fondness for Renaissance Faires brought my husband and I together years ago, so we were excited to be invited to King Richard's Faire this fall. For my family, the fun began weeks before the fair actually opened for the season, with trips to the fabric store and internet searches for costume ideas. Of course, fancy costumes are not required. A pair of home-made fairy wings will do, and street clothes are totally acceptable as well (though less fun in my opinion!). Renaissance fairs are a strange mix of theater, music, and circus. King Richard's Faire is no exception, with everything from a multi-act story performed on the main stage to jousting, tiger shows, and fire-eaters. There is no real loyalty to historical era or national culture. Belly dancers perform on stage with bagpipe players in kilts.
Larger-than-life corn mazes offer families the challenge of finding their way through winding paths to solve a mystery, claim a prize, or just make it to the other side - a perfect fall activity that gets kids and parents working together. Choose a farm with a corn maze to take your apple picking and pumpkin patch excursions up a level, plan an unforgettable birthday bash for your child, or just have a blast as a family. Here are four of the Boston area's best corn mazes for an outdoor autumn adventure.
Nothing says fall in New England like a family excursion to the apple orchards. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Boston for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in early September through mid-October.
We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite places to pick apples near Boston, but with over 50 farms in the area offering apple picking, there are many more to choose from. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer. You can also plan your child's fall farm birthday party at some of the farms.
And if you're looking for some ideas for what to do with all those apples, we've put together some of our favorite apple recipes for inspiration!
We know, we know (sigh).The arrival of Labor Day means the end of splashing in the Frog Pond Spray Pool, visiting area attractions on Free Fun Fridays, and jamming with favorite local bands during free outdoor concerts. But it is not the end of the summer! Technically, we still have almost a month left of summer, and gosh darn it, we're going to milk it for all it's worth. Although we must wait until next year to enjoy many of summer's pleasures, there are plenty of ways to stretch summertime bliss into autumn:
One of my favorite things to do in Boston in the summer and fall is to browse the SoWa Market, New England's largest outdoor weekly bazaar. May through October, this three-block section along Harrison Avenue (South of Washington Street = SoWa) turns into an open-air crafts and art market featuring amazingly talented local small business owners and their wares. What better way to expose your children to the arts andthe outdoors...for free? I get it: Tightly packed toddler-height tables displaying potential breakables may not seem like the kid-friendly activity you were going for, but it can be done, and it can be fun! Here is a top 20 list of helpful tips to browse these sought-after "mini" shops with your mini people:
There are certain must-do activities for Boston families during these magically long days and warm summer nights. Somehow it all seems to come to a halt once Labor Day arrives and school starts: Bedtimes are once again enforced, the swimsuits are packed away in the closet, and every day is scheduled down to the minute. It’s time to seize these summer days before they start slipping away. Here are 25 Boston summertime experiences to have with your kids before it turns colder, because that's where it ends. (Are you hearing Summer Nights from Grease now? You’re welcome.)
After a morning of hiking, swimming and treasure hunting on Spectacle Island, hop on the ferry. It’s a sort of time machine that will take you and your kids back in time to the Civil War era on Georges Island. The island's Fort Warren once held Confederate soldiers as prisoners during the war. Now, it gives visitors a fascinating glimpse into a time long past and ignites the imaginations of kids (both big and small). There is much to do and many areas to explore on the island, from the museum-like visitor center to the top of the lookout tower. Take the kids on an adventure and challenge yourselves to do everything on this list. (Fair warning: It may take a few visits.)
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara