(Originally published on 9/18/17 in Step Out Buffalo: https://stepoutbuffalo.com/best-quintessentially-fall-dates-to-go-on-in-wny/)
If an apple falls in an orchard and no one’s there to Instagram it – did it really happen?
Here in Buffalo, we fall hard for fall. We’re lucky enough to experience all four seasons and for many, fall is their favorite. Perfect temperatures, crisp air, the faint chant of the shout song by Bills fans everywhere. And all of these seasonal changes brings a whole new list of adorable dates to go on before #winteriscoming (don’t worry- these are friend and family “dates” too).
Visit the Cider Mill and have a picnic at Knox Farms
1540 Seneca Creek Road, West Seneca // Website
Mayer Bros. Cider Mill is an iconic fall destination to Buffalonians. This adorable shop smells like fresh apples, hot mulled cider, cinnamon doughnuts and pure happiness- and sells all of those things as well (happiness free with purchase). Drink a refreshing apple cider slushy on warmer fall days or warm yourself up with hot homemade apple pie. This stand also sells locally made artisan goods like pure maple syrup and many flavors of jams.
After you’re done buying your goodies, stay for a hay-ride or pumpkin patch stroll then take a 10-minute drive to Knox Farms. At Knox Farms, you’ll find picture-perfect plains as far as you can see surrounded by beautiful fall foliage. Lay a blanket down and feast on cider doughnuts and hot chocolate.
Spend the day appreciating Letchworth’s beauty
It wouldn’t be a fall guide without a Letchworth shout-out. Letchworth is one of the area’s greatest gems and while it’s beautiful all year round, it’s hard to find a place more full of autumn coloring. Letchworth is only about an hour away from Buffalo (it’s a scenic drive, just do it) and once you get there you can choose many different paths to hike and even stay the night cuddling under the stars at their campground, under many blankets of course. Real campers camp in the fall (we’ve been told).
Visit their annual Crafts festival over Columbus Day weekend. This show is huge- and a great place to buy unique, handmade early Christmas presents.
Tour the Niagara Wine Trail
For all wine-lovers out there, the Niagara Wine Trail is full of wineries and breweries with many wines just waiting to be tasted. Bring a bunch of friends and head up north either on a tour or with your most fun designated driver friend. There are over 20 wineries on the trail and you should try to hit up as many as you can. Liten Buffel, a new winery in Middleport, has a great assortment of reds and whites and a beautiful tasting room. Marjim Manor, located right by Lake Ontario, is known for its delicious wine, friendly charm, adorable cats roaming the ground, and even ghosts. That’s right- this winery is allegedly haunted, which can check another box from your fall bucket list.
Find the Great(est) Pumpkin
Pumpkin patches are quintessentially fall. From the cozy hayride to the search for the perfect pumpkin (or at least most perfect to you), to the post-ride hot chocolate you have earned, pumpkin patches are the ultimate date. For a pumpkin patch / apple orchard / winery combo, visit Becker Farms. Becker Farms is the ultimate all-in-one destination and has events going on pretty much every day of the week. Kelkenberg Farm in Clarence is a hidden gem. A little less crowded, this pumpkin patch has a full petting zoo, small shop, and hayride. The bustling Great Pumpkin Farm is another great choice. If you’re really into fall- visit all three, we dare you.
Zipline through Holiday Valley
6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville // Website
For the more adventurous couple, Holiday Valley’s Aerial Adventure Park is the ideal date. Get your climbing/zipping on in their climbing forest or show your bravery and skills in their aerial park. If you don’t want to dive into one of those right away, they also offer more mild chairlift rides and a mountain coaster. There’s something for every level of adrenaline junkie and you’ll love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a day on this course.
Cheer on the Bills and Tailgate
1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park // Website
Everyone loves Bills games. Even if sports are not your thing, the energy of Buffalo coming together to cheer on their favorite team is enough to put anyone in a good mood. Tailgate before the Bills game with a big group of friends, hopefully you don’t see someone jump through a table, and enjoy the game. Hey, you never know, you might be their good luck charm – in which case we ask you to continue going for as long as you live.
Scare yourself silly at Fright World
800 Young St., Tonawanda // Website
Nothing eases first date nerves like screaming, right? Fright World has five haunted houses, with at least one sure to scare even the most jump-scare immune out there. Try all five and you win Halloween.
Pro tip: make this one a double or triple date. The more people you have, the easier it is to laugh it off and it won’t be quite so terrifying.
Dinner and a show in the Theater District
Downtown Buffalo // Website
Buffalo’s theater season has officially begun and is brimming with talent. We are fortunate to have many awesome theater options including Shea’s, which is always a classic with high production quality shows and more well-known musicals. Not to mention, the theater itself is stunning. If you’re looking for something a little different, try a play featuring the talented actors and actresses at the Irish Classical Theater. For pre-show drinks, check out Matinee, a quaint hidden gem located just a block away from Shea’s on Main Street. Matinee has a charming atmosphere, a magician, a full list of beer and wine and plays old black and white Charlie Chaplin movies on loop. For dinner, check out Kaydara Noodle Bar or Lucky Day Whiskey Bar.
All aboard: go on a fall foliage train ride
530 West Avenue, Medina // Website
Fall dates are supposed to be cozy and nothing is cozier than a romantic train ride through beautiful fall foliage. Head up to Medina to enjoy a 2-hour long old-fashioned train ride featuring views of rustic fall woods and the picturesque Erie Canal. You don’t even have to eat before, as lunch is offered along the ride.