21 Things to do This Fall

We’ve got your autumnal to-do list covered

The season of corn mazes and pumpkin patches, hayrides and ghost tours is here. Let us help you navigate the options with a few suggestions.

Ride the Castle Trail Along C&D Canal
Between Delaware City and Chesapeake City, Md.
The Branch Canal Trail, which is the section of recreational trail winding through wetlands connecting Delaware City to the Michael Castle Trail, was completed in June after a few years in the making. The approximately 14-mile Castle Trail runs along the canal from Delaware City to Chesapeake City. Just a small portion near Chesapeake City is left to be paved, and should be completed any day. In the meantime, that section is easily cycled on a mountain bike. Closer to Chesapeake City, the trail is varied in terrain with a few challenging hills and wildflower-filled meadows, while it’s a smooth ride in the direction of Delaware City.

Fort Delaware Ghost Tours
Pea Patch Island, Delaware City
Various October dates
destateparks.com/ghost
Join the Diamond State Ghost Investigators and park staff for three-hour (6:30-9:30 p.m.) recreational paranormal investigations each Friday and Saturday this month. Be part of an actual paranormal investigation using electronic magnetic field detectors, data recorders and other techniques. Tickets are $40 per person, but Saturday, Oct. 29, is for hardcore ghost hunters only, from 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Tickets are $100.

topiaryNightscape at
Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square, Pa.
Now-Oct. 29; 8-11 p.m.
longwoodgardens.org
Back after a successful show last year, the light and sound experience by Philadelphia’s Klip Collective is back for nighttime adventure across a magical landscape transformed by light, movement, color and original music. The expansive gardens are a backdrop for new music, new displays and a heightened cohesive experience.

U-Pick at Milburn Orchards
1495 Appleton Rd., Elkton, Md.
Various dates now-Oct. 30
milburnorchards.com
Family-owned and operated since 1902, Milburn Orchards is a local mainstay for families to gather handpicked peaches, cherries, apples, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, nectarines, plums, and of course, pumpkins. U-Pick Apple, Berry & Grape Adventures are Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For additional hours see the website.

Corn Maze at Ramsey’s Farm
330 Ramsey Rd., Wilmington
Various dates now-November
ramseysfarm.com
Travel around the world at Ramsey’s Farm’s eight-acre corn maze representing each continent, emphasizing the international importance agriculture. It’s open weekends 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 1; for other dates and times, visit the website. Meanwhile, the pumpkin field is 10-12 acres of gourdy bliss, yielding approximately 20,000 pumpkins each season.

Coverdale Farm Preserve Adventures
543 Way Rd., Greenville
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; additional dates on website
delawarenaturesociety.org
Coverdale Farm Preserve, a working farm that hosts farming, gardening and cooking classes and camps, is a definite autumnal destination. Self- and staff-guided tours, U-Pick fields of flowers, herbs and vegetables, lawn games and more are available. The special theme on Saturday, Oct. 15, is Pumpkin Celebration & Hayrides.

Brandywine Village Riverfest
Brandywine Village, Wilmington
Saturday, Oct. 1; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
oldbrandywinevillage.org/events
The annual event is a fun-filled community day with music, children’s activities (mad science, tennis in the street, mini golf and more), artists and food vendors.

The Inspire Lot Series
215-219 W. 7th St., between Orange & Tatnall, Wilmington
Friday, Oct. 7; 5:30-8 p.m.
creativedistrictwilm.com
The 7th Street Arts Bridge Inspire Lot Series, held during the First Friday Art Loop, features poet and songwriter King Zimm this month. Also enjoy live music by Gable Music Ventures, assorted food trucks, hands-on art activities and more.

dsc_0907Vendemmia at Bellevue
Bellevue State Park,
800 Carr Rd., Wilmington
Sunday, Oct. 9; 2-6 p.m.
societadavinci.org
The region’s biggest celebration of the Italian grape harvest, the da Vinci Society of Delaware’s 13th annual Vendemmia da Vinci, will take over Bellevue State Park. The event includes fine Italian wine, beer and catering by Italian restaurants. Admission is $50 in advance and $60 at the door.

Grainfest 2016
Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen, 270 E. Main St., Newark
Saturday, Oct. 15; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
grainonmain.com
This will be a fall celebration of craft beer and live music, featuring five bands on Grain’s new outdoor stage in the back lot, providing the perfect backdrop for the new beer garden, featuring more than 15 breweries and two food trucks. Chef Bill will be cooking up something special for the day. There will be kids’ activities as well.

Delaware Wine & Beer Festival
Delaware State Fairgrounds, 18500 S. DuPont Highway, Harrington
Saturday, Oct. 15; noon-5 p.m.
delawarewineandbeerfestival.com
The 7th annual festival features national acts Sam Grow and the Dueling Pianos. Local and regional wines, beers and spirits will be available. Painted Stave, Evolution Brewing, Bellefonte Brewing Co., and Dogfish are just a few.

Musikarmageddon Finale
the baby grand, 818 N Market St., Wilmington
Saturday, Oct. 15; 8-11 p.m.
outandaboutnow.com/musikarmageddon
Who will be champion of the area’s biggest battle of the bands? Arden Kind, Hoochi Coochi, The Susquehanna Floods and TreeWalker are the finalists for the Musikarmageddon X showdown.

Delaware Splatter Dash
Oberod Estate, 400 Burnt Mill Rd., Wilmington
Sunday, Oct. 16; 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
cffde.org
Benefitting Children & Families First, this fundraiser is for anyone who wants to walk, jog or run for a cause – and plow through seven color stations to get splattered by non-toxic, biodegradable powder en route to the finish line. The course covers 1.5 miles of off-road grass trails through trees, with a few inclines, but nothing difficult.

Pirate FlagHeavy Seas Party
Kalmar Nyckel & Riverfront
Dravo Plaza, Wilmington
Thursday, Oct. 20; 5-8 p.m.
Hosted by O&A, the Heavy Seas Party on the Riverfront includes tours on the Kalmar Nyckel (5-6:15 p.m.) and live music on the Riverfront with beers from Heavy Seas. This will be a fundraiser for the Delaware Children’s Museum. Featuring fresh pours of the Pounder Pils, Loose Cannon IPA, and the Partner Ships Terrapin Rye Wit, the event includes appetizers and live music by the Brad Newsom Trio (6-8 p.m.). Those 21 and older are welcome, and tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door.

The Ultimate Tailgate
Sheraton Wilmington South
365 Airport Rd., New Castle
Thursday, Oct. 20; 6-9 p.m.
mealsonwheelsde.org/ultimate-tailgate
The event will feature the best of area restaurants serving unique interpretations of tailgate food. This sophisticated yet casual event also will feature wine, spirits and a beer garden curated by 2SP Brewing Company. VIP admission is at 5:30 p.m.

I Want My CTC
– A Tribute to the ‘80s
World Cafe Live at The Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington
Saturday, Oct. 22; 7 p.m.
worldcafelive.com
Joe Trainor assembles some of the area’s finest musicians and City Theater gathers some of its finest singers, traveling back in time to when video ruled the airways. Focusing on the golden age of MTV, this production brings some of the enduring ‘80s classics live to the stage for just one night. Tickets start at $20.

Halloween Blue Jean Ball
222 Lake Dr., Newark
Saturday, Oct. 22; 6:30-10:30 p.m.
fbdbluejeanball.org
This year’s event will take place at the Food Bank of Delaware’s new Newark building. To help combat hunger in the state of Delaware, the Food Bank is holding its 11th annual event, complete with a seasonal Halloween theme—come dressed in a costume or casual blue jeans (there will be a costume contest). A small plate menu prepared by students from the Food Bank’s Culinary School will be featured, led by the team at Iron Hill Brewery (also the presenting sponsor). Tickets are $75.

Beers & Gears at Delaware Park
777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington
Saturday, Oct. 22; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
delawarepark.com
Rev your engines for this annual seasonal favorite for area car enthusiasts. It’s open to all years, makes and models for participants, and of course, anyone is welcome to stroll through the colorful rows of sheet metal, chrome ad steel. Rain date is Oct. 23, rain or shine, and trophies will be awarded in all categories (rat rods, muscles, exotics, hot rods, tuners, pro street, classics, imports, and trucks). Rolling Revolution food trucks will be around for lunch and dinner.

DTC’s Wine Feast and Auction
Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington
Friday, Oct. 28; 6-9:30 p.m.
delawaretheatre.org/winefeast
Wine lovers rejoice! The Delaware Theatre Company announces the return of the successful Wine Feast and Auction for another year. Enjoy a night of tastes from local restaurants like Caffé Gelato, Harry’s Hospitality Group and Domaine Hudson, and wine from purveyors like Branmar Wine and Spirits, Collier’s of Centreville and Frank’s wine at this intimate evening of philanthropy at the Delaware Art Museum. Beer will also be available from Dogfish Head and other breweries. All proceeds benefit the artistic, education and community engagement programming of the Delaware Theatre Company. Tickets range from $75-$250.

37th Annual Halloween Loop
Various Wilmington venues
Saturday, Oct. 29; 8 p.m.
outandaboutnow.com/halloween-loop
The Halloween Loop is a citywide party in which club patrons pay a one-time cover charge of $10 to visit more than a dozen nightspots throughout Wilmington. It (almost) goes without mentioning: wear a costume! Buses start running at 8 p.m., and stop their regular routes at 12:45 a.m. with last-visit stops at 1 a.m.

Auburn Heights Fun
3000 Creek Rd., Yorklyn
Various dates
auburnheights.org
During Steamin’ Days at Auburn Heights, visitors can climb into antique automobiles or board a train to experience what it was like to travel at the turn of the 20th century. Guests can also tour the magnificent 1897 mansion that was home to three generations of the Marshall family. Steamin’ Days this fall are Oct. 2 and Nov. 6, plus Steamin’ Halloween on Oct. 30 and Steamin’ Thanksgiving on Nov. 26. Other events take place throughout the month.

Coverdale: On the Grow

From Farm to Fork to a CSA to barn dances, the historic Greenville land is host to a cornucopia of creative and often delicious events

As stars flicker over the panoramic 352-acre sweep of Greenville’s Coverdale Farm, strings of lights illuminate a hill overlooking woodlands where 160 people are seated at long tables laden with courses of farm-grown vegetables and family-style servings of salad, ratatouille and Angus steak. Glasses tinkle lightly as guests make new acquaintances and pour each other paired tastings from Dogfish Head bottles—Midas Touch, 61 Minute, 90 Minute IPAs.

The occasion is Coverdale’s autumn Farm to Fork, a display of community in celebration of the harvest.

Coverdale Manager Michele Wales, who envisioned the now annual event seven years ago, describes the late-September experience as an evening of engagement and mindfulness of what’s on people’s plates.

“Sitting and dining on the land where so much of what’s on your plate came from—that makes my head want to explode,” Wales enthuses. “It’s so beautiful for me. I’m hoping for people to experience just how powerful a meal can be with other great people. We nourish folks with this beautiful food that we’ve worked so hard for throughout the year, and fall is the perfect time to celebrate what we’re growing and raising. To see our food transform to art on a plate is really exciting.” Note: the food was prepared by Susan Teiser of Montrachet Fine Foods, located on Kennett Pike.

The heart of Farm to Fork is aligned with all of Coverdale’s happenings and programs: creatively teaching the community about the sources of their food.

Guests are welcome to traipse through the farm's U Pick field for flowers and veggies. (Photo courtesy of Coverdale Farm Preserve)
Guests are welcome to traipse through the farm’s U Pick field for flowers and veggies.
(Photo courtesy of Coverdale Farm Preserve)

The farm, which dates back to William Penn’s time, was owned for years by the Greenwalt family. In the 1990s, the family turned the land over to the Delaware Nature Society, which also oversees Ashland Nature Center, the DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Abott’s Mill Nature Center.

In 2000, Wales became one of the first full-time farm staff members. “We transformed sallow fields and empty barns into a classroom where we were charged and are still charged with educating others,” says Wales.

The DNS, which recently celebrated its 50th year, is a private nonprofit environmental organization that promotes environmental education, advocacy and natural resources conservation—and is what Wales calls the gateway to connecting with the natural world.
This makes Coverdale wildly popular for school field trips, summer camps and more.

“We’re all so very passionate and dedicated to the mission of connecting people to the sources of their food by growing and raising food, and engaging and inviting everyone that comes down our driveway to get as excited and passionate as us about what we do,” says Wales.

She says an exciting seasonal change has come to Coverdale.

Aside from its dozens of events and programs, Coverdale has typically been closed to the public except for Wedneday afternoons during the season. But on Wednesdays and Saturdays this past May-September, the farm was open to the public on a more frequent basis. On these days, guests who visited could choose to stop by early in the morning to help with farm chores like bottle-feeding calves, collecting eggs and tending to pigs. They also were invited to forage in the farm’s U Pick field for tomatoes, peppers, flowers and other vegetables. For a more relaxing afternoon, guests were welcome to pack a lunch picnic at any of the tables beneath the oak trees along the driveway. Staff members were on hand to “teach you whatever you want to learn,” says Wales. She says these days are excellent low-key ways for families to enjoy the farm at their own pace.

“It’s been really successful, so we’re looking to increase activities and more opportunities for the farm to be open in 2016,” says Wales.

HolsteinCalf_drinking_milk
School children feed milk to a Holstein at Coverdale. (Photo courtesy of Coverdale Preserve)

A mainstay for Coverdale is its Community Supported Agriculture program, in which members are signed up to receive a select amount of produce from June-October each week. Free cooking classes are offered to CSA members, who may sometimes be in a creative stupor—when, for example an Oh, No, Not Another Week of Lettuce class might be of use. At the end of each season a party is thrown, and everybody brings homemade food to celebrate.

Coverdale’s education program—school field trips, programs for children, families and adults—runs year round, with dozens of classes for everyone. This includes an upcoming family hayride series in October and November featuring pumpkin carving on Oct. 18 and learning about the cider-making process on Nov. 8.

Then there’s what Wales calls the “big event”—the annual Harvest Moon Festival, Oct. 3-4. The weekend, free for members and nonmember children under 5, and $5 for nonmembers, is filled with artisan demonstrations, children’s activities and crafts, hayrides, music and food trucks.

For adults, a basket weaving class (Oct. 10) and a cookbook club are offered. The Cookbook Club, hosted by DNS and the Hockessin Book Shelf, serves up an evening of cooking and eating on Oct. 8 and Nov. 12. And for people interested in raising and butchering their own meat, there’s the two-day Pasture To Plate: Poultry Processing & Cooking, Dec. 12-13.

The key to knowing what kinds of events to host, Wales says, is implementing options that are connected to food, the farm, and the landscape at Coverdale. She says one important theme is “putting culture back in agriculture,” which was the inspiration for a new barn contra dance series. The dances are slated for Oct. 23 and Nov. 6, and will continue on various dates in 2016. Led by an experienced contra caller, the evenings will be filled with bluegrass, and guests from beginners to experienced will learn traditional dance steps from contra to square dancing.

With so much going on, Coverdale certainly utilizes its four full-time staff members, says Wales, but as she puts it, a lot of dedicated people are necessary to make all the moving parts move fluently. That’s why volunteers are so helpful, she says. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Qualified people are invited to work in almost any area: program instructors, educators, animal husbandry, vegetable production, and more. For more information on how to get involved, visit the website.

Ultimately, sharing ideas and encouraging others to do so is what keeps Coverdale so fresh and creative, Wales says. While she and the other fulltime staff members are behind the scenes planning, they are constantly listening to ideas from instructors and volunteers.
“We’re part of a community,” says Wales. “We know each other so well, and people have ideas, so we share.”

Visit delawarenaturesociety.org/CoverdaleFarmPreserve for more.