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Visit Upstate New York This Thanksgiving Weekend: October 8 & 9

While Canadians are giving thanks and celebrating the Thanksgiving weekend on October 8 and 9, Americans are welcoming in the autumn season with numerous fall festivals and events!

This is one of my favorite weekends in Upstate New York. Everywhere you turn there is some sort of festival, event, party, or pumpkin-related celebration – and it’s almost impossible to choose which one to attend! I can’t make your decision for you, so here’s a roundup of some of the best activities to check out while visiting Upstate New York this Thanksgiving (our Columbus Day) weekend:

Apple Tasting Tour's Tasting Weekend in Wayne County, October 7-10, 2016

Wayne County is the largest apple producing county in New York State - and to celebrate, they host an Apple Tasting Tour each year, working with local farms, farm markets, and wineries to give visitors everything apple-related on one great trail. Thanksgiving weekend doubles as the tour's “Tasting Weekend,” when the stops on the trail bring out the best in apple tasting (apple wine anyone?), food samples, door prizes, and activities that both kids and adults will love.

(Pro Tip: Long Acre Farms has an Amazing Maize Maze that you have to check out. It isn't fall until you've gotten lost in a field full of corn!)

Bristol Mountain's Fall Festival, Sunday, October 9, 2016 | 11 - 5pm

The Fall Festival at Bristol Mountain puts you up-close-and-personal with the fall colors on the highest vertical mountain between the Adirondacks and the Rocky Mountains. The festival is free to attend but plan on carrying some cash so you can enjoy the fall sky rides up the mountain, grab some grub at the food trucks, and take home treasures from the arts and craft vendors that set up shop at Bristol. Live music, a bubble ball, an alpaca petting zoo, and beer, wine and spirit tastings will also make an appearance at the festival.

(Pro Tip: For those with kids seeking a little adventure, check out the kid's scavenger hunt and obstacle course at Bristol Mountain's Aerial Adventure Course. It's a great way to play through the fall colors!)

Fall Color, Food, Wine and Birds on Chautauqua Lake, Saturday, October 8, 2016 | 9 - 5pm

Head down to Chautauqua Lake for a more peaceful day of fall exploration. This event is a day-long history tour of the natural areas near Chautauqua lake with commentary about the fall season and a banding demonstration of migratory birds. Lunch is served at a general store, followed by an afternoon stop for cider, wine and hors d'oeuvres by award winning Hess winery chef Cesca Wellman.

(Pro Tip: Reservations are needed. Call 716-499-9077 or send an email to [email protected] to reserve.)

Fall Fest at Peek'n Peak Resort, October 8 & 9, 2016 |10 - 5pm

This year is Peek'n Peak Resort's 29th annual Fall Fest. The grounds of the ski resort will be inundated with activities, including a craft show, farmers market, pumpkin cannon, children's crafts, live entertainment, ski lift rides, horse-drawn carriage and pony rides, and a petting zoo.

(Pro Tip: This festival is the perfect time to start preparing for the winter ski season. The resort's Annual Season Ski Pass Sale and snow sports equipment swap will also be happening this weekend.)

Fall Fun Festival at Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo, October 8 & 9, 2016 |10 - 4:30pm

This Festival is full of hands-on family fun with special kid-friendly activities like fall crafts, a hay bale maze, pumpkin painting, pedal tractors, oat-filled activity station, pony rides, wagon rides and more. While some of the zoo's more delicate animals will be transitioning into their winter habitats at this time, others in the zoo's care will remain on show - including deer (you can feed them!), bunnies, barnyard species, and the daily wolf and otter shows. Fort Rickey's concession stand menu also goes “fall” for the harvest season, serving hot cider, donuts, hot chocolate, chili, fresh baked pies, and homemade fudge.

(Pro Tip: Admission is only $5.00 per person, and children under two are admitted free. Each kid receives a free mini pumpkin with admission to decorate at the pumpkin-decorating table!)

Guided Walking Tour: Cobleskill Battlefield, October 8, 2016 | 10am

For those interested in the history of some of our beautiful fall sites, I would recommend checking out the guided walking tour of the Cobleskill Battlefield. You can learn about the Revolutionary War as it took place in Upstate New York, where Mohawk War Captain Joseph Brant and a sizeable Loyalist force drew Continental soldiers and local Cobus Kill militia into a bloody encounter during an important regional battle of the American Revolution on May 30, 1778. Guides dress up in period clothing to set the scene. The tour is $10 for adults and $5 for students, and allows you to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage as you step back into history!

(Pro Tip: If you love this tour, check out the Village of Middleburgh and Village of Schoharie walking tours for more local history.)

Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show, October 8 - 10, 2016 | 10 - 5pm (10 - 4pm on Monday)

The Letchworth Arts & Crafts Show is ranked in the top 50 art festivals in the USA. And it's no surprise, with over 300 vendors setting up in the gorgeous Letchworth State Park - voted the #1 State Park in the country, in 2015 by USA Today. Admission to the park is $10 per car, and you will need a car to bring home all of the unique treasures you find throughout the day!

(Pro Tip: Arrive early and plan to spend several hours browsing vendors. There is so much to see, you'll be grateful you planned for extra time!)

Treleaven's Harvest Fest at King Ferry Winery, October 8 & 9, 2016 |10 - 5pm

You must love wine, beautiful fall foliage, delicious food, and live entertainment to attend Treleaven's Harvest Fest at King Ferry Winery. The two-day celebration includes numerous festival activities like traditional grape stomping, pumpkin painting contests, wine and craft beer, lawn games and live entertainment, and local food trucks to fill up empty stomachs.

(Pro Tip: Admission is free, and there is no age limit - so bring the whole family!)