PLEASE NOTE: This post is about the 2011 event. It is possible that it may contain some outdated information. While this post should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, please be sure to check the Rose’s Berry Farm website for details about things like dates, hours and pricing.
Several weeks ago, we wrote about our delicious breakfast at Rose’s Berry Farm. While we were there, we learned all about their upcoming fall festivities. Of course, we just had to go back to see it for ourselves (and our readers!).
Since it was Sunday (breakfast with a view day!), Mandy and her crew couldn’t resist heading over early (around 10:00) to grab another scrumptious morning meal. (My sleepyhead family decided to sleep in.) Mmmmm. Apple pancakes. It all looked just as good this time!
Although, take a look at these before and after pictures of the breakfast line.
On their way TO breakfast around 10:00:
Inside the eating area:
Whoa. That’s a little different than last time when we got there at 8:00 on the dot and didn’t have to wait at all for a table. Mandy thinks the only reason they got in so fast was because technically they were only two people (isn’t it funny how babies never “count” but between gear and diaper bags and high chairs they seem to take up more room than us grown-ups?!). Bottom line: If you are not prepared to go super early, looks like you need to be prepared to wait!
When my gang finally made it over there around 11:00, we immediately realized that this fall-ready Rose’s was a completely different scene than it had been only weeks ago. First of all, we had to park at the TOP of that giant hill in another small lot to the left of the entrance. Fortunately, there were plenty of Rose’s staff members directing traffic, so we didn’t have any trouble finding a space.
Of course, this meant we were going to have to walk quite a ways to get to the main attractions. I didn’t want to bother with the stroller since I knew we would be trying out the wagon ride at some point and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a good way to tote it with us (or a good place to leave it behind for a bit). Fortunately there were two of us (me and hubby) to share the carrying (and the chasing after Boo when we put him down). I also didn’t want to have to return to the car for anything since that would be quite a hike. So I packed the diaper bag full of all those “maybe” items that I usually leave in the car like back-up teething toys, a bulky baby sweatshirt (even though you will notice that hubby is wearing shorts so obviously it is probably not sweatshirt weather–that just shows you how much I did NOT want to have to walk back up to our car), bug spray (don’t worry, we didn’t need it), and the extra Ziploc bag full of Cheerios.
Quick photo opp in front of some of the new fall decor. Although, those look a little like miniature palm trees to me. Maybe they were going with a “tropical fall” theme this year.
At the bottom of the hill my jaw dropped to see the giant parking lot full to capacity. There were a TON of people here! (And this is only the lot to my right; there is another whole parking area to the left too!)
This man was on a walkie-talkie letting another Rose’s employee up the hill know when spaces became available in this main lot.
I thought that was really nice because if you have special needs or want to drop someone off or wait for a spot to open up, etc., there was a way for the Rose’s crew to work that out for you. Although, I will admit that I was a bit grumbly when we got down to the main lot and all kinds of spaces were being filled by lucky patrons who had the good fortune to arrive just as those spaces were freeing up. Hmph. Oh well, more exercise means less guilt when we get to the eating part.
We didn’t have any trouble meeting up with Mandy and her crew because all the foot traffic funnels through one area near the store. (At the end of the parking lot, head right for breakfast, left for the festival.) This tented area outside the store with the hay bales, corn stalks, and row upon row of pumpkins is a fun place to take some fall-themed pictures.
This was a new installation since we’d been here for breakfast back in September. Another big change? The whole playground area is fenced off with access only for those who have paid admission to the festival. So if you’re just going for breakfast, don’t count on the play area to keep the kiddos busy while you wait.
Near the store, we spotted the entrance to the festival area (you can’t miss it).
They did a great job decorating for the season. You can’t help but get into the Halloween spirit (pun intended!) when you are here.
Inside, they had so many cute things!
Out the back door, we could see the seating area where the snack bar is located. Since it was a Sunday, there was a band setting up out there too (they start at noon but only on Sundays). There’s a sign that warns you that you need a wristband for access to this area (we later discovered that when you pay your admission to enter the festival, you get a nifty orange wristband), so I just took a few pictures from the sidelines.
Okay, now we were ready for the festival! We paid with cash at the pumpkin gate, but you can also pay for your wristband inside the store and use a credit card (save your cash for the snack bar). Six dollars (per person, ages 3 and up) gets you a spiffy Halloween-themed wristband and all the other fun things listed here:
So to recap, that’s a wagon ride out to the corn maze and the pumpkin field (although, you have to pay for the pumpkin separately); face painting; and access to the fun, photo-ready cut-outs, kid’s croquet, and the playground area. Oh, and this guy:
So the big item we needed to check off our list was the wagon ride, and that seemed like the thing to do while everyone was still feeling chipper and happy. On our way in, I’d seen the wagon ride in the distance. Actually, I’d seen a couple.
Unfortunately, one wagon ride was just pulling away when we got through the entrance gate. We saw a line forming behind the gazebo, and we figured that must be for the next ride. A few minutes later, we realized that we were actually standing in the face painting line. Oops.
A staff member told us it would be about a 20-minute wait for the next ride, but it wasn’t nearly that long. With several tractors running, and plenty of room in the double wagons they were pulling, we were hopping on another one in under 10 minutes.
As I mentioned before, the wagon ride takes you out into the farm and over to the corn maze and the pumpkin “patch.” You can get off the wagon at either stop, or both. The wagons run pretty frequently between the maze, patch, and back to the main gate. I think we were told every five minutes. Although, I’m not quite sure how, logistically, the wagon can run every 10-20 minutes from the main gate, and yet every 5 minutes from the maze and the patch. But the bottom line is, don’t worry about getting “stuck” out there for long periods of time. If you miss one ride, another will be right around the corner.
And we’re off!
Along the way, there were all kinds of ghoulish Halloween decorations.
As it turns out, the hurricane and subsequent heavy rains pretty much wreaked irreparable havoc on the corn stalks this year. So as you can see, the maze was not in great shape. It didn’t even really resemble a maze.
Boo certainly enjoyed himself.
We were having such a good time that we didn’t even notice the next wagon pull up to take us to the pumpkin patch. But we discovered, thankfully, that the pumpkin patch is a really short walk from the corn maze (you can even see it from there), so we just hoofed it on over.
Since Mandy and her crew had loaded up on pumpkins a couple weeks earlier at The Pickin’ Patch, they were mostly interested in the cute photo opportunities.
Boo seemed to be mostly interested in the hay.
Back at the main gate, there were wagons and wheelbarrows you could use to tote around your newly “picked” pumpkins until you were ready to purchase them.
Hubby and I decided to split a hot dog and some fries. The apple cider comes from Lyman Orchards.
Fortunately, a spot under the shade of the canopy opened up. We cooled off with our drinks and gave all the kiddos a little snack. The band was playing Jimmy Buffett, and between the little palm tree look-alikes everywhere, the hot sun, and the guys crooning Margaritaville, it felt more like a tropical vacation setting than fall in New England. But hey, I’m not complaining!
Boo was getting tired (and heavy), so we snagged a wagon for him.
There was kiddie croquet.
More spooky Halloween props.
But calisthenics aside, what a lovely fall day at Rose’s Berry Farm! I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival.
Rose’s Berry Farm Fall Festival
295 Matson Hill Road, South Glastonbury
Get directions here:
HOURS & ADMISSION:
UPDATE September 2015: The 2015 Rose’s Berry Farm Fall Festival will take place weekends from late September to late October. Check here for 2015 schedule updates when they become available. This post is about the 2011 event. It is possible that it may contain some outdated information. While this post should still give you a great idea of the overall experience, please be sure to check the Rose’s Berry Farm website for details about things like hours and pricing.
Changing station: no
A wearable baby carrier if you are toting an infant.
Comfortable shoes (preferably ones that you don’t mind getting a little muddy) for walking around the corn maze, pumpkin patch, and play area.
Cash for the snack bar (the store and the restaurant do accept credit cards)
WHY WE LIKE IT:
A range of activities suits various age groups.
All inclusive “wristband” admission means no running back to buy tickets for anything.
A reasonably priced snack bar with a good selection of lunch choices (including chicken nuggets, a kid classic) and a shaded seating area.
A fenced in play area makes it easier to let kids roam (supervised, of course).
Super cute photo opportunities everywhere.
Check back early next week when we enroll in farm animals 101, then get ready for Halloween with our guide to trick-or-treating with the stroller set. Plus, got pumpkins? Oh yeah you do! Join us tomorrow when we’ll show you some no-carve, no-time ways to gussy them up.