he leaves are changing, the sun is setting earlier, and soon the temperature will be dropping. That must mean… it’s time for midterms! But don’t worry, tests aren’t the only things we have to look forward to. These signs also indicate one of the best times of the year: fall season!
If you come from a town where fall is barely distinguishable from any other season, then you’re in luck. Philadelphia is arguably one of the best places in the United States to live in during autumn. And I’m not saying this just because I was born here and have a biased opinion (although, this is quite true). From the city itself to the surrounding suburbs, there is an abundance of activities and scenery to explore that captures the pure essence of what fall is all about. So if you’re looking to up your autumn aesthetic, consume your weight in seasonal food, and fall in love with Philadelphia’s harvest-time attractions, then you’ve come to the right place.
Leaving the Penn bubble is very important, especially during times of stress. There’s nothing better than inhaling fresh autumn air and being surrounded by foliage of all different shades to keep your mind balanced. Therefore, during this season, photogenic fall sites are essential! And while pictures will definitely be an added benefit, the experience that comes from being immersed in such scenery is worth so much more. If you’re looking for a site that is close, free, and beautiful, Philly’s Fairmount Park is a good place to start. 2,050 acres of nature is scattered throughout the city with a plethora of trails, sculptures, and autumnal landscape in all its glory. The park’s attractions, including the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden which offers both serenity and visual appeal on a small plot of land, are just an added bonus.
A bit further from campus, but containing even more of a fall escape, is Wissahickon Valley Park. Nothing but forests, trails, and bliss can be found here in one of Philly’s most beloved wilderness spots. The orange, red, and gold tint only make the walks even more spectacular.
Lastly, If you’re looking for one of the five best U.S. gardens to visit in the fall, then the University of Pennsylvania’s very own Morris Arboretum is the place for you. With a unique treetop exhibit, the Arboretum offers the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the entire forest on a 450-foot-long canopy walk more than 50 feet above ground-level. Very few views like this can be offered in the Philadelphia area.If you’ve been dying to take a picture with a pumpkin or pick some fresh apples, then you’ll have to visit the following orchards this fall. According to the swarm of pictures that have taken over Facebook and Instagram, Linvilla Orchards seems to be a buzzing destination. Many on-campus programs and college houses are offering free rides to this family farm, which takes away the only monetary burden because admission here is free. However, if you live off-campus or can’t make your house’s trip, it isn’t that expensive of an uber ride! And if you’re looking to find an orchard that’s less travelled, then Milky Way Farm in Chester Springs is a great spot filled with corn mazes, free wagon hayrides, and pumpkin patches that make a picture-perfect fall get-away.
Another treat this season offers is Halloween, and with Halloween comes haunted houses. While it may be that an influx of tests, papers, and interviews are scarier than actors wearing faux-blood, I can’t think of a better way to take your mind off of real fears. My personal favorite is Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary. Named one of the best haunted houses in the country, this thrilling experience takes place inside the same penitentiary that Al Capone was jailed in and includes over 200 performers. Another popular location is the Freight Factory located in South Philadelphia inside an old factory building. Including three new eerily titled attractions this year, Industrial Nightmare, Silent Scream Asylum, and Fright Factory Unearthed, it sounds like a haunted house haven. If these two sites don’t satisfy your adventure seeking thirst, go to visitphilly.com for a list of the top 12 scariest places to visit this fall.
For those, rare, lazy Sundays where you can’t seem to muster the energy to leave campus, there are still numerous ways to enjoy these next couple of months from the comfort of your own dorm. An easy start is to fill your room with the alluring aroma of pumpkin and apple spice scents. Candles are a bad idea in a college house, but reed diffusers are a classy and fire hazard free alternative. Eat the season away and have a festive baking party using buzzfeed’s list of fall recipes, including treats such as apple cider donuts and butternut squash fritters. As you bake, put on some Halloween classics such as Hocus Pocus, Twitches, and all four Halloweentowns. Make it a cozy and stress-free evening!
Yes, midterm season is here and raging but that doesn’t mean you should give up your sanity and miss out on everything this autumn has to offer. Take my suggestions in stride and do what you feasibly can. If this article serves any purpose, let it be to make sure you don’t work yourself so hard that you forget to wake up and smell the pumpkin spice lattes.