The temperature is dropping, the smell of bonfires lingers in the air and the colors of autumn are slowly falling from the surrounding trees.
As local farmers prepare for the harvest, it is only natural for the rest of us to start making plans to enjoy the wonderful crisp weather.
Jill and I decided on an impromptu trip with friends to visit my Aunt and Uncle's Pumpkin Patch in Independence, Kentucky. They own a large cattle farm about 20 minutes south of downtown Cincinnati in Independence, Kentucky.
What I love about the Independence area is that our dad's side of the family grew up in that part of town. Moffett Road, just down the street, is named after my grandmother, Jo Ann Moffett's family. Independence is what we call God's country -- it's way out there with green, rolling hills and colorful trees -- creating the perfect backdrop for an afternoon outing.
We picked a beautiful warm Sunday to visit the Pumpkin Patch. We parked in the grass near the gravel driveway, and our first stop was the gift shop where we said hello to my cousin Abbey and tried some warm apple cider. The scent of homemade candles lingered in the air as we tried on knitted gloves and scarves crafted by another extended cousin. I flipped through the book about Independence that my Uncle Gailen and Aunt Debbie wrote and curated in their spare time. It's fun to see many family members make appearances occasionally throughout the pages. See their book at Barnes and Noble.
As more of our friends started to arrive, we gathered near the picture cutouts of farmers and few of us decided to get our faces painted by yet another cousin, Amber. We then gathered the troops to head into the old dairy barn from the 1800's that is now used as a petting farm. Jill was reminiscing about a party she and my cousin Ashley threw there in high school and how scared they made themselves when placing all of the Halloween decorations. We peered up inside the open-air silo where Jill described how they hung a dummy on a noose complete with strobe lights. That would be enough to give anyone the creeps.
My Aunt Debbie gave us a brief history of the old barn and we obtained some feed to give to the baby chicks chirping inside the makeshift cage. Next, we entered the hay maze that is great for younger children to enjoy. We also got a chance to feed the miniature horse (our friends jokingly named Sebastian) along with two goats, a calf and couple of cute pigs.
Brushing the dust off our feet, we headed for the field near the parking lot. We heard the roar of the tractor returning groups of families from their time picking pumpkins. My uncle Gailen (the tractor driver) was kind enough to snap some photos of us on the hay ride before we took off. Once we were all secure in spots, he fired up the engine and slowly pulled away towards the patch.
Admission is $3.00 per person and includes a hayride, petting zoo and children's games. Pumpkins cost $1.00-$6.00 a piece -- please don't forget your cash as there are no ATMs on the grounds. We took in some great scenery as we descended the hill to the patch. Once the tractor came to a halt, we all disembarked to pick out our favorite pumpkins amongst a green field of tall flowing grass. Everyone inspected the varying squash until they came up with their perfect match. Amber, who is also a photographer, managed to get some scenic shots of our friends. Gathering the troops, we resumed our positions and the tractor slowly made the ascent back to the dairy barn.
We all enjoyed a perfect fall day out on the farm. I was glad to see the place full of smiling people and even some kids dressed in costumes enjoying this great family-run operation for the harvest season. If you're thinking of making the trip out to Independence, please take a moment to view their website.
If your group is comprised of adults, add another stop to your fall adventure. Continue further down KY-17 to Atwood Hill Winery where you can relax on the veranda and enjoy a bottle of vino from this former tobacco-farm-turned-winery.
Pumpkin Patch Details:
Open every weekend during the month of October.
Call 859.356.9401 for more information
Admission: $3.00 per person
Pumpkins: $1.00-$6.00 CASH ONLY please
Interested in scheduling a photo shoot with Amber Bridges at the farm?
Check out her website: www.amberbridgesstudios.com
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