If you live on Long Island, you eagerly await the coming of each new season - because with each new season there's always something new and exciting to do - many of which revolve heavily around good old fashioned family fun!
Winter brings sledding (when we're lucky enough to get snow), ice skating on ponds (or at the outlets), and crisp walks around the state parks (for free); Spring brings strawberry festivals, bike rides, and the re-opening of outdoor farmers markets; Summer brings the beach - and lots and lots of time spent at the beach; and Fall brings pumpkin and apple picking, corn mazes, and oodles of hokey fall harvest fun!
It's with this in mind that Autumn is my most favorite season of all. I love the crunch of the fallen leaves underfoot, I love the smell of wood burning in our fireplace, and I love waking up to the chilly morning air knowing that I get to wear a sweater each day. But most of all, I love that with Fall comes a sense of familiar comfort - our family cuddles more, we decorate the house, and we spend a lot more time together.
And as much as we love pumpkin and apple picking, sometimes, we just want to go somewhere to play. Sometimes, however un-Long island it may seem, we're just not in the mood to traipse through another pumpkin patch. This is where Gabrielsen's Country Farm, in Jamesport, NY comes into play.
Over Columbus Day weekend, our kids were itching to go "Out East", but my husband and I just didn't want to go pumpkin picking. At least not that day; it wasn't chilly enough and nothing spoils a good pumpkin picking day like warm weather. In our opinion, the weather needs to be quite brisk to get the full experience.
So we headed "Out East" without a particular destination in mind and stumbled across Gabrielsen's Country Farm. It was exactly what we were looking for - it had a solid 11-acre cornmaze, some adorably clean barnyard animals, a great musician, unlimited hay rides through the "creepy forest", a sensory corn crib, a bounce house, and...no "pick your own" pumpkin crowds. In my kids' eyes, it was perfect. In our eyes, it was an ideal way to let them run free and inhale the fall air and all of its goodness.
We spent several hours running around Gabrielsen's Country Farm. The neat thing about this experience is that there is just so many things to do there. You get to take in traditional fall harvest activities - like the corn mazes and hay rides - but then when the kids tire of those things, you can just walk over to the side of the field and start up a game of soccer - seriously, they have nets and balls all set up for you!
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that if you're looking for a nice way to spend an afternoon - without all of the pumpkin picking hubaloo - give Gabrielsen's Country Farm a try. If anything, you're kids will get a healthy dose of fresh air and be super tired afterwards!
Here’s what else you need to know:
Pros: This Country Farm is a wide open play experience where kids can run around and expend all of their energy! Since it's not an actual "You Pick" pumpkin farm, there aren't many crowds. Two bounce houses ensure that your children can get ample time to play. Plus, the farm stand was chock full of beautiful fall mums, montauk daisies, and ornamental cabbage and kale. P.S. The grounds are beautiful - make sure you take a look at the pond!
Cons: It's not an actual "You Pick" pumpkin farm, so if you're looking for a traditional pumpkin-picking experience, this isn't it. The farm stand line does get long - so plan your escape wisely if you're buying fall plants.
What to bring: your camera; anti-bacterial hand cleanser (there wasn't a drop around); extra toilet paper / wipes (just in case!).
Admission: Gabrielsen's Country Farm is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm through December 24th. Admission on Weekends and Holidays is $8.00 per person (children 2 and under – No Charge). Admission on Weekday is $5.00 per person (children 2 and under – No Charge). For more information, click here.Location: 1299 Main Road, Jamesport, NY 11952.