Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp, cool weather; the weekend bonfires; football games; apple cider; Halloween decorations; watching the leaves change from green to orange to red. And, I've gotta say, autumn in Ohio is just about perfect.
Ohio may not be a top vacation destination during the fall months, but I'd argue that maybe it should be. It has a lot to offer those who love the season like I do.
Fairs and Festivals
Come September, Ohio is rife with fairs and festivals of all sorts. Whether it's Cincinnati's authentic Oktoberfest, a harvest party, the Pumpkin Show in Circleville, a cheese festival, or anything else in between, no fall weekend goes by without some sort of seasonal celebration.
For me, autumn has always been kicked off with the Canfield Fair, the largest county fair in the U.S., which just happens to take place in my home town over Labor Day weekend each year.
Then come the fresh apples and apple cider festivals (my favorite cider comes from White House Fruit Farm). Mmm.
Soon after that are the haunted hay rides, corn mazes, pumpkin carving, and all manner of Halloween-themed events that really capture the fall season.
Move over, New England. Ohio has some pretty awesome fall foliage, too. Just in my backyard we see the gamut of colors — greens, yellows, oranges, reds, purples — all mixed in together. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to take a stroll through one of Ohio's many parks on a cool, clear fall day, crunching leaves beneath my shoes as I go.
Driving along Ohio's flat highways usually means seeing a lot of fall foliage. But if you're looking for a truly unique experience, why not try ziplining through the changing leaves at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours? This outdoor attraction tops my list of “must try” things this fall.
Friday Night Football Games
When I think of fall, I inevitably think back to my high school days: donning a band uniform, marching into the stadium under the lights, and cheering on our team to victory (at least, most of the time). High school band was a blast — band dances on the field, inside jokes, high-stepping halftime shows, pepperoni rolls, thundering bass drums when we scored a touchdown…
My high school — small though it was — had a great football team, and an even greater band. With about 400 students in our high school, roughly 150 of them wore band uniforms. And, being a small country school, our fans were fierce.
I still love going to Friday night games in my hometown. The atmosphere is similar all over Ohio in the fall, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to get enough of it.
Halloween is often the highlight of fall for many people. I myself love the holiday (though not necessarily all the spooky aspects of it), and am happy to report that Ohio has plenty to offer to those who enjoy a bit of fright in their lives.
Or, check out the “Haunted Prison Experience” at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield (a haunted house inside an eerie old prison). If you're brave enough, book an overnight ghost hunt in the historic jail, where you will be able to roam the haunted halls and cells at your own risk.
If you know me, you know that I'm a sucker for sunsets. Ohio has some pretty memorable ones year-round, but there's something about autumn sunsets that really take my breath away.
Couple a cool evening with a blazing sunset, and you couldn't ask for better bonfire weather. S'mores, anyone?
Have you visited Ohio in the fall? What are your favorite things about it?