As many of you may already know, the fall season is arguably the best season to visit San Mateo County and Silicon Valley. From a sea of orange pumpkin patches and farms to delicious pumpkin-inspired menus, there are countless ways to experience autumn in the Best of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Luckily for us, things have improved compared to last year and our region is more than ready to come together and celebrate our favorite season of the year! Plan a visit and indulge in all your favorite fall activities and pumpkin-flavored sweet treats. Whatever your interest is, here are five reasons to start planning your fall getaway!
1. PUMPKIN PATCHES & FARMS
Here is where the fun begins! Open from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm is one of the most popular pumpkin farms in Half Moon Bay and offers more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and squash that are perfect for carving or cooking! Meanwhile, Lemos Farm specializes in family-friendly activities, which turns this farm into “Halloween Palooza” with a haunted house, Ghost Train, and tons of pumpkins from which to choose!
Want more options? Also located in Half Moon Bay, Arata’s Pumpkin Farm is another great farm to visit this fall. Arata’s allows you to lose yourself in their six-acre corn field and pumpkin river! Or plan a visit to Andreotti Family Farms. This family-owned farm produces almost every winter vegetable you can imagine and during the fall season, they offer a pumpkin patch and their sunflower field is turned into a fun corn maze! By the way, if you’re brave enough, visitors can even go at night and experience the haunted corn maze in the dark!
2. FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES THIS FALL
Plan a visit to the beautiful Filoli Mansion & Gardens! Located in Woodside, Filoli is offering a wide variety of events this fall including their Orchard Days every weekend from September 25 - October 31, from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Every year, Filoli’s fruit trees produce pears, apples, grapes, persimmons, and more! Additionally, by visiting on Orchard Days, you’ll gain special access to the Gentleman’s Orchard where hundreds of heritage fruit trees grow!
Orchard Days at Filoli
Now, if you’re feeling adventurous, then you must plan a visit to Roaring Camp Railroads! Although they are located just outside San Mateo County in Felton, CA, they are worth the drive. Their Harvest Faire is taking place every weekend until October 31. Jump aboard and take the Redwood Forest Steam Train to Bear Mountain. Pick a pumpkin from the town’s pumpkin patch, and have fun with COVID-safe children’s heritage activities.
3. FALL-INSPIRED MENUS
Over in Half Moon Bay, the HMB Brewing Co. is offering their popular Pumpkin Harvest Ale. This full-bodied Amber Ale is made with locally grown sugar pie pumpkins roasted with a secret blend of spices, which result in a subtle pumpkin pie spice flavor balanced by a biscuit of maltiness. Their menu also offers seasonal favorites such as pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, and other specials made from local squashes. They are open for take-out and outdoor dining on their beautiful patio overlooking the Pacific!
Pumpkin Harvest Ale at HMB Brewing Co.
Also located in Half Moon Bay, Sam’s Chowder House is a seaside restaurant that is cooking up many seasonal dishes including their house-made pumpkin gnocchi with butter and sage, savory lobster bisque with red Kuri pumpkin, and yummy pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin cocktails are available as well! Sam’s is open for take-out and outdoor dining.
Any cheese lovers out there? Harley Farms in Pescadero is home to award-winning goat cheese! This fall season, Harley Farms is offering a seasonal Pumpkin-Spice Fromage Blanc, a slice of deliciously creamy cheese with a pumpkin flair. This is a must-have! They are open daily from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Have a sweet tooth? You’re in luck! Caramel Caravan Co. is bringing back their Pumpkin Spice caramels! These delicious treats combine their rich, creamy caramel with puréed pumpkin and fall spices like Cinnamon and Nutmeg. One of our favorite autumn treat! You may place your orders online.
4. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF
Although the 2021 Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival has been postponed until next year, the 48th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off is still happening! Pumpkin growers will gather for an opportunity to compete for the heaviest pumpkin at this annual event in the World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay.
Once again, due to COVID-19, the weigh-off will be virtual and will be live-streamed on Facebook. The winner will take home a $9 per pound reward for their champion mega pumpkin and a special $30,000 grand prize will be awarded if a pumpkin breaks the world record, which is currently 2,624 pounds (2016 weigh-off in Germany).
The 48th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off will take place on October 11 from 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off
5. VISIT A GLASS PUMPKIN PATCH
Are you looking to take home a beautiful glass pumpkin? Plan a visit to Half Moon Bay Art Glass this fall and check out hundreds of one-of-a-kind glass pumpkins available for purchase, each one personally handcrafted by owner, Douglass C. Brown, who works year-round to create this spectacular display. Interested in making your own pumpkin? You can make your own Glass Pumpkin or one of 18 different other hot glass projects at Half Moon Bay Art Glass. Classes are on the weekends and sometimes Friday based on demand. Prices are as low as $40 and children 6 and above may make a holiday ball or a molded heart. Also, be sure to mention LEMON40 for a 40% discount!
Douglass C. Brown, owner of HMB Art Glass