Campfires are a favorite activity in fall. (ROBIN CASEY PHOTO)
Fall foliage: While the summer’s warmth is fading, boats have been hauled onto shore, and jackets have been retrieved from closets, there are still grand adventures to be had in beautiful Harpswell and its surrounds. Exploring Harpswell’s beaches, trails and forests remains a magical experience during the fall, so pick up a Harpswell guide at town hall or online at tinyurl.com/yvawxrjd and get out there as often as you can before the snow arrives!
Admittedly, there is also much autumn beauty to be found beyond Harpswell’s borders, if you are willing to drive a bit and your younger passenger(s) can be distracted from continually asking, “Are we there yet?” Cool as a Moose, Target and other stores have inexpensive driving games for kids. Older kids can “compete” with each other by counting out-of-state license plates.
Hopefully, the lure of pumpkin or apple picking will make a longer drive appealing to all. Helpful information and recommended drives to see the fall foliage can be found at tinyurl.com/3ks9vyy7 or tinyurl.com/n8j56bm2, and you can subscribe to weekly reports on the first site.
If it’s October, it must be time for picking pumpkins and apples! Kids love picking their own pumpkins and apples and many pumpkin farms offer additional fun things, including hayrides, corn mazes, apple cider tasting and baked goods. To find the pumpkin and apple farms closest to Harpswell and see what other fun adventures they offer, check out tinyurl.com/3c3zw8rs.
And speaking of pumpkins, the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest will be held Oct. 8-11 this year. If you’ve never gone to Pumpkinfest, you’ve missed a very special experience. Giant — and I mean GIANT — pumpkins that have been painted and decorated by local artists are placed all along Main Street. This year, due to COVID-19, other festival events won’t be held, but the giant pumpkins are still the main event and the town itself has charming stores and good restaurants. See mainepumpkinfest.com.
Another fun fall experience for families is visiting a corn maze. There are many corn mazes in Maine, but the one closest to Harpswell is at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, only a 45-minute drive away. It’s open until Oct. 31. Pre-registration is required: tinyurl.com/ybnzn38n. If you want to make a day of it, check out their calendar for other fun things to do there.
Midcoast Maine Rocks: Painting rocks with children and grandchildren is a time-honored tradition in Maine. Whether you use acrylic paint, markers, crayons or Sharpies, you and your grands can create rock art they can take home, or perhaps hide for someone else to find.
A friend told me about a Facebook group called Midcoast Maine Rocks, where people post pictures of painted rocks they find. The site urges rock hiders to decorate (and then seal) their rocks to brighten someone’s day, and to include a note on the back of each rock to “post a picture to the Facebook page Midcoast Maine Rocks.” Remember, no rock hiding on private property or in state or national parks.
Escape Room Brunswick offers a variety of indoor one-hour adventures designed to solve a mystery using puzzles, clues and problem-solving skills. Each adventure is limited to small groups of six to eight people. While most of the adventures are for ages 13 and up, there is one for ages 6 and up. I have not personally been there but want to go next time my grands visit. They have COVID-19 protocols in place. For details and home games you can download, see escaperoombrunswick.com.
Please send me your suggestions for fun winter family activities so I can include them in my December column. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.