As Sonoma Wine Country sets into the fall mood, the mornings have a crispness in the air but the days still turn warm. Summer warm. The leaves are just starting to turn, the grapes are being harvested, apples are still being picked, and picturesque fields are given over to pumpkins.
Family farms feature a variety of gourds for your autumnal mood and Halloween creations. You could find a kid fest, a down home farm experience, do a little wine tasting, and find the perfect pumpkins for your seasonal decor.
Most pumpkin patches are open through October. Check their websites for different September start dates.
Here are some ideas for 2015:
Tolay Fall Festival, Petaluma
At this fun family event, you can take a hay ride to a giant pumpkin patch and expore a "creatures" barn full of sankes, spiders, and birds of prey. Seasonal acitivites include a straw maze, farm crafts like candle-dipping and wool-carding, and a pumpkin seed spitting contest. Stroll through a replica Native American village. Local vendors offer a fine selection of food and refreshments.
Oct. 17-18 and 24-25
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tolay Lake Regional Park
5869 Cannon Lane
Eastside Seasonal farm and Pumpkin Patch, Santa Rosa
Have fun picking pumpkins, winding through the corn maze, petting goats and ducks, and playing games at this family farm located between Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park. (Closes early on Saturday Oct. 10 and Oct. 24 for special events.)
Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from noon to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
5834 Petaluma Hill Road
Grandma's Pumpkin Patch, Healdsburg
Lots of fun can be found at this family farm. Stroll through the pumpkins, pet farm animals, climb the hay stacks, run through the maze, and check out vintage tractors. Take along lunch and linger at one of the shaded picnic tables.
Open daily from 10 a.m. until dusk
17740 Healdsburg Avenue
McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
During the month of October, this family dairy farm offers a big selection of pumpkins along with tractor rides, a petting farm, a haunted hay house, and a hay maze. Lunch and snacks can be purchased and farm tours are available.
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6475 Bodega Avenue
Muelrath Ranches, Santa Rosa
This pumpkin farm offers lots of fun, with a corn maze, hay pyramid, tractors to sit on, and sustainably grown pumpkins and gourds. An amusingly spooky room will entertain and you can take a hay ride, too. Take a picnic and enjoy the season. On Friday and Saturday nights through October, join in the fun of the "Campfire in the Corral" and roast hot dogs and marshmallows, sip hot cider, and take a night time hay ride.
Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
3800 Walker Avenue
Papa's Pumpkin Patch, Sebastopol
Pick your pumpkin straight from the vine at this family run patch. You'll find seven varieties in a pretty setting beneath the redwoods. Taste fresh apple juice from next door's Ratzlaff Ranch and even stop by there to pick your own apples.
Open daily from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
13110 Occidental Road
Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze, Petaluma
More than five acres of home-grown pumpkins, squash, and gourds present a huge selection to pick your own variety. Have fun with seasonal activities like the huge straw mountain and corn kernel sand box. Try to find the single exit out of the four-acre corn maze - it can take 45 minutes to complete! On Fridays and Saturdays, take a flashlight to try the maze at night.
Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
450 Stony Point Road
Peter Pumpkin Patch, Petaluma
At this rural working dairy and farm, you'll find all kinds of varieties of pumpkins, baby animals, farm activities, hay rides, and a hay maze. Spring Hill makes wonderful cheeses you can taste and their homemade ice cream will also be available.
Open daily from 9 a.m. until dusk.
4235 Spring Hill Road
Preston Organic Farm and Winery, Healdsburg
Each October, the pumpkins are ready for you to pick at Preston Winery in Dry Creek Valley. Take a picnic, taste some wine, and browse the other delicious farm goods on offer. The setting is just right for a few, no groups more than eight are permitted. The Preston Harvest Festival is Oct. 4, featuring hay rides, cider pressing, pumpkin painting, and more. Purchase your tickets in advance.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
9282 West Dry Creek Road
Punky's Pumpkin Patch, Santa Rosa
50 Mark West Springs Road
Families can enjoy fun activities and choose from a generous selection of pumpkins, squash, and heirloom winter squash - grown by the Gutzman Family. This pumpkin patch is located at Santa Rosa's Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
Oct. 4 - 31
Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
50 Mark West Springs Road
The Santa Rosa Patch, Santa Rosa
This family run pumpkin patch has eight acres of pumpkins and a huge corn maze with short or long routes to follow. They celebrate the Halloween season with a variety of fun activities.
Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
5157 Stony Point Road
Find more info about things to do in Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Jennifer Jones.