Apples and pumpkins and corn mazes, oh my!

The crisp air of October brings back idyllic childhood memories of climbing apple trees, roving through cornfields, and bumping along on hayrides. Living in downtown Hamilton it can be easy to feel cut off from that world – with traffic and people and busy streets. Luckily, one doesn’t have to travel too far to recreate the pastoral lifestyle. Hamilton is filled with fun fall activities, perfect for families, couples, or groups of friends looking to escape the city for a few hours.

One such place is Carluke Orchard, a pick-your-own apple farm located at 2194 Shaver Rd, Ancaster – about a twenty-minute drive from the downtown core. Carluke Orchard is a family-owned apple orchard and bakery that has been in the Hamilton area for over 200 years! The place is quaint and homey with a small shop featuring their homemade baked goods like pies, cookies, and muffins, as well as preserve items like applesauce, jams, jellies, and chutney. You can visit the bakery to pick up artisanal and gourmet food items as well as any fall decorations you may need – gourds, pumpkins, and corn. There are even frozen food items like lasagna and shepherd’s pie.

The apple picking season at Carluke Orchard runs until mid-October so be sure to check their website for which varieties of apples are available. If you prefer not to pick you can of course purchase some prepicked fresh apples as well. Apple picking is a great way to teach your children about where their food comes from, or it can be a romantic excursion for couples who want to make the most of the outdoors. Once you pick your apples you can have local fresh fruit, applesauce, and enough apples to make your Thanksgiving pies!

But apple picking isn’t the only fun fall activity that Hamilton offers. Corn mazes are great ways to use both your mind and your body while experiencing the outdoors. The Hanes Corn Maze, located at 1001 #, ON-5, Dundas is an excellent place to bring your whole family. The 20-acre corn maze featuring ten-foot-high corn stalks contains exciting challenges. As you travel through the maze you must look for various checkpoints with a code on them. Once you complete the maze you use the code to figure out this year’s secret phrase.

You will be sure to get plenty of walking in, as the maze takes about two hours to complete. Get lost inside the maze with clear blue skies above your head and rows and rows of corn all around you. Or, you can participate in the corn maze after dark, where you need to use your flashlights to find your way and spooky Halloween music plays around you. The corn maze is open every day in October from 10 am to 9 pm.

Hanes Farm also has a bakery where you can purchase homemade pies, scones and other baked goods, as well as soup, chilli, and warm apple cider. There is ice cream available and burgers, hot dogs, and fries. There is a small petting zoo as well, called Farmland, where you can meet baby animals like miniature ponies, donkeys and goats. There is even a pumpkin cannon!

Of course, these aren’t the only two apple orchards and corn mazes in the Hamilton region. Lindley’s Farm is a local favourite family-owned farm that has been in the area for over six generations. Lindley’s Farm, 900 Fiddlers Green Rd, Ancaster has a focus on sustainable practices as well as providing fresh, local foods. It features a corn maze, as well as pick-your-own pumpkins on a 20-acre field! With hayrides around the pumpkin field and over 50,000 pumpkins to choose from, you’ll be sure to take home a future jack-o-lantern or two.

The Hamilton region also boasts Myers Apple Farm, The Apple Orchard, Bennet’s Apples and Cider, and many more. So start exploring so you can experience the best of the city and the country in Hamilton. Go apple picking, get lost in a corn maze, go for a hike amongst the changing fall leaves, and get a last look at Hamilton’s many waterfalls before the paths become too icy. Don’t let this glorious October pass you by!