By Anna Hazard
Here are a selection of festivals, markets, and other events & activities taking place within the Maryland region during this fall season. The focus is on senior and family friendly gatherings and outings that have easy accessibility and are suitable for those with more limited mobility or other health concerns.
While most events have an autumnal theme based around harvests, in-season foods, leaf viewing, fall flora and fauna, and other seasonal happenings, events with a more general or different focus (such as the yearly Renaissance Festival or Baltimore Light City exhibits) that take place during this time of year have also been included.
Please remember to check beforehand for accessibility and availability of seating, shade, suitable drinks & food, and other potential requirements in all locations for those seniors who may have more severely limited mobility or those with special health conditions and requirements.
Pick Your Own Produce
Autumn is harvest time and in Maryland is particularly well known to be an excellent time to pick your own fresh apples, pumpkins, and other fall vegetables, fruits, herbs, and even flowers at your locally available farms before they close for the winter season. Here are a selection of orchards, nurseries, and farmsteads that allow the public to gather their own produce fresh from the vine, tree, or field.
While this is a great activity for taking in a bit of sunshine and fresh air before the winter chill descends, keep in mind that pick your own outings tend to require more mobility in order to properly navigate through open fields and potentially uneven paths outside. Most pick your own locations will also have attached markets for those who still want fresh produce without having to go through the trouble of manually gathering it themselves.
Autumn Farmer's Markets
Farmer's markets are still in plenty supply this time of the year with autumnal produce before many start closing down for the winter season.
As fresh, locally grown produce tends to be more flavorful and nutrient dense compared to produce that needs to be picked early and shipped longer distances, visiting a local farmer's market is a good compromise for those who would like to take in a bit of fresh air along with their fresh fruit & vegetables but lack the mobility or stamina to grow or pick produce directly from the fields.
Both interior and exterior based markets can be found throughout the Maryland region to better suit the physical & health conditions of any shoppers.
Fall Festivals & Bazaars
Here are a selection of Maryland based festivals, bazaars, and other public gatherings & celebrations that have a general focus on autumn themes such as fall colors, harvests, leaf viewing, bonfires and other nature based events. Most festivals take place partially or entirely outside to take advantage of the milder weather before the incoming winter (and thus keep in the mind potential changes in dates and timing due to rain or other weather complications).
While most events are targeted to the whole family and thus are suitable for the more delicate conditions of younger children and seniors, accessibility of a particular event should be checked beforehand for those with more severe health & mobility issues.
Fall Food Events
Many fall festivals have a specific focus on food due to the prevalent harvesting theme this time of year. In particular, there are many Maryland region festivities that are based around apples & cider, pumpkins & other gourds, autumnal produce including flora such as sunflowers, as well as the final honey harvest of the year.
Seafood such as oysters also come into season during October and November to mark the end of their spawning which includes several festivals as well. Keep in mind that raw seafood has a higher risk of food poisoning and thus should be passed over for steamed, broiled, and other cooked versions by seniors and others who may have more fragile health.
These parks, trails, and other spots of nature in the Maryland region are known for providing a good view of brilliantly colored foliage while remaining accessible to those in wheelchairs, scooters, or other mobility aids. Roads such as Skyline Drive feature views that can be enjoyed from within a car while providing accessible accommodations for those who wish to stop along the way.
Eastern Neck is also particularly known for their migratory bird watching of flocks heading south for the winter during this time of year. For those who may have mobility or health problems that make walking along trails problematic or who do not have access to automobiles for the road based leaf viewing, there are also leaf viewing tours that can be taken via railroad for a nominal fee.
These seasonal events have focuses outside of the normal autumn themes but are still a potential source for senior and family appropriate outings. Many events take place outdoors to take advantage of the milder autumn weather, but some include more indoor based gatherings that would be suitable for those with more limited mobility or health requirements.
A few adult oriented (those requiring participants to be 21+) have been included for seniors who would enjoy a more mature theme or would like to indulge in a bit of alcohol consumption (for those who do not have potential medical or medicine related conflicts).
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