Fall weekends are here, and the cool weather usually means you’re either watching football on the couch or hitting the road to enjoy the crisp autumn colors.
The following fall activities are for those in the latter camp. (And, did we mention booze will be served at a few of these autumn options?)
Keeneland’s fall meet: Located about 90 miles from Downtown in Lexington, Ky., Keeneland is a non-profit betting track surrounded by the most beautiful rolling hills and horse farms found in the Bluegrass. The fall horse racing meet runs Oct. 1-26. Sip some bourbon, savor some Southern cuisine and enjoy the fall colors, all while dressed to impress.
The Bourbon Trail: If betting on thoroughbreds isn’t your thing, but the bourbon is, plan a drive on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. The Commonwealth recommends taking three to four days to savor all nine distillers on the trail, which runs from Louisville to Lexington. One long day can give you a bit of flavor, though. I’d recommend checking out Four Roses. Just pick a designated driver before you go.
Renaissance Festival: Travel a few hundred years back in time to enjoy an annual event of a different sort. Open weekends through Oct. 25, the Ohio Renaissance Festival is full of cod pieces and damsels in distress, as well as mead and roasted meats. Don’t worry, though: It manages to remain a family affair.
Halloween Haunts: Speaking of family, there are quite a few options that blend friendly scares and fall fun. Kings Island transforms into a Halloween Haunt now through Oct. 31. Closer to Downtown, there’s Coney Island’s Fall-o-ween each weekend from Oct. 10-24. And the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opens its gate for HallZOOween on weekends from Oct. 3-24.
Fall fairs and festivals: There are a lot of them within a short drive, and most serve up homespun crafts alongside fall favorites such as sauerkraut, candied apples and homemade preserves. Here are a few of the bigger events coming up soon: Metamora Canal Days (Metamora, Ind., Oct. 2-4); Kentucky Woolfest (Falmouth, Ky., Oct. 2-4); Sunflower Festival at Gorman Heritage Farm (Cincinnati, Oct. 3-4); Black Walnut Weekend (Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve, Oct. 10-11); Ohio’s 46th Annual Sauerkraut Festival (Waynesville, Oct. 10-11); and the 33rd Annual Salt Festival (Union, Ky., Oct. 16-18).
Farms: If you want something a little more rustic, here’s a bushel full of local farms that sell nature’s bounty and/or will let you pick your own produce depending on the time of year and supplies: Blooms and Berries Farm Market in Loveland; Irons Fruit Farm in Lebanon; Shaw Farms in Milford; Niederman Family Farm in West Chester; and Country Pumpkin in Dry Ridge, Ky.