Fall512: Things to do this Fall

omething’s different.  Can you feel it?  It’s no longer boiling hot outside, you’re not restricting your activities to indoor and/or aquatic, and the air is getting…like, crisp?  Perhaps you’re finding candy corn and pumpkin seeds in everything you eat and everything you drink is magically changed into apple cider.  What’s going on?? Bingo!  We’re entering the fall season!  And you know what that means: pumpkin spice lattes, Oktoberfest beers, apple picking, jack-o-lantern carving and chilly evening strolls!  We’ve already hit this year’s equinox, and now it’s time to get outside and do fall things.

Here’s a top 5 list of things we recommend you do to properly celebrate fall in Austin/central Texas.  We’re including the surrounding areas of Austin because to truly get out and see fall, you’re going to have to travel a bit.  Here goes:

5.  Pumpkin Beer

Autumn is the craft-brewer’s playground, and boy do they love to play.  Spicy, nutty pumpkin/pecan/cranberry infused beer is a perfect way to bring in your fall mindset.  Here’s a couple of brews available to you at HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods and most likely, elsewhere:

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
Shiner Oktoberfest
Samuel Adam’s Oktoberfest
ShockTop Pumpkin Wheat
Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale
Breckenridge After Rakin’ Autumn Ale
St. Arnold Oktoberfest
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
Abita Pecan Harvest Ale
New Belgium Kick (Cranberry Pumpkin)

To get a delicious fall brew on tap (because beer on tap is best,) try one of these local bars:

Draught House Pub and Brewery
Billy’s On Burnet
Whip In (<–They’ve got that New Belgium Kick, that sounds delicious!)
Dog and Duck Pub
Ginger Man

4.  Coffee Drinks/Apple Cider

When it’s getting colder at night, alcoholic beverages pretty much rule, but so do warm, spicy coffee drinks.  This fall, it’s your duty to push your own boundaries and try out some drinks that you don’t normally get.  Take the Pumpkin Spice Latte: An Autumn/Winter seasonal blend of steamed milk, espresso, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, topped with foam and a pinched pumpkin pie spice.  Most coffeehouses have them year round, but fall is the time to get them.  Hot chai is another good option.

A delicious alternative to the caffeinated drinks this fall is apple cider.  Available at grocery stores, some coffee shops and farmers markets, you can drink cider straight up, or with some delicious flavors: maple, caramel or cinnamon.  Heat some up on the stove, throw some cinnamon sticks and cloves into it, and you’ll turn into a scarecrow.  Not really.  But…well yes, really you will.

3.  FOOD

Fall is the time to load up on delicious dishes.  Pies, bread, corn, sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce and turkey aren’t just for Thanksgiving.  They’re for NOW.  There are plenty of resources for cool fall recipes online like this one, but also check out our local grocery stores, they’ve got what you need to make yourself a fall feast:

Central Market has some autumn-appropriate items from their produce section and bakery:

Whole Foods is not only selling fall food, but they’re celebrating with a couple of events, and you can check them out here.  They’ve got an Apple Fest, a Pumpkin Party, AND a Harvest Fest that benefits Urban Roots!

Whole Foods Apple Fest – Saturday, October 22nd – Sunday, October 23rd (12pm – 3pm Free)

Whole Foods Harvest Festival Benefitting Urban Roots – Thursday, Oct 27th (6pm-9pm $30 donation)

Whole Foods Pumpkin Party – Saturday, October 29th – Sunday, October 30th (12pm – 3pm Free)

2.  Pumpkins and Apple Pickin’ – Visit Local Farms!

You’re going to need an awesome pumpkin for Halloween!  Why not go out and get one from a local farm to pick your own plump, round pumpkin right from where it was grown? (Sounds more fun than getting a fungus ridden one from Walmart, right?)  Check out Sweetberry Farms, just West of San Antonio.  They’ve got tons of fall activities, including their pumpkin patch, and pumpkin flavored ice cream, apparently.  Uh, yum.

Another great place to find pumpkins is The Jersey Barnyard, located in La Grange, TX.  They’re primarily a milk and cheese farm, but they’ve also got pumpkins to pick and an awesome hay maze.  And who doesn’t love hay mazes?

Picture yourself strolling about an apple orchard with a basket and a group of friends.  You see a ripe one and pick it right off the branch and take a bite.  Sound tasty?  For apple picking, a very appropriate fall activity if you ask us, check out Love Creek Orchards in Medina, TX.  They’ve got 11 different varieties of apples to choose from, and get this: you pay for what you pick only.  No entrance fees or parking, you literally just show up, pick apples and pay for them.  Awesome.

1.  Lastly, and most important: Go out and SEE FALL

Autumn is known for it’s bright foliage.  Trees can no longer go through photosynthesis because the days are getting shorter, and so they shut down and live off their stored food for the winter.  As a result, their leaves lose their chlorophyll which causes all the colors to change from green.  Pretty cool, right?  And you thought we were specifically an entertainment site…heh!

Texas isn’t known for its abundance of fall leaves around this time, but there are a few places to see cool fall colors.  Drive out to the Lost Maples State Natural Area (it’s a bit of a drive, but totally worth it!) and check out their collection of maple trees.  The last weekend in October and the 1st in November are the best times to see the leaves!  Get more info here.

You can also check out a couple of Texas’ Parks for possible fall trees:

Pace Bend Park

Garner State Park

Pedernales State Park

Of course, you can always stroll about Zilker and the Greenbelt, because who knows?  Maybe you’ll find a cluster of oaks and maples all crimsoned out for fall.

Hot-Damn!  We’ve covered a lot of ground here.  Now, these are mere suggestions, and if you have suggestions of your own what to do this fall, by all means, we’d love to hear it!

Tweet @Do512_Matt and hashtag #Fall512 if there’s something extremely fall-like we missed that everyone needs to know about!

For more fall fun, check out this list of fall events!

Until then, Happy Fall!  Now get out there are enjoy it!

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