Make your first stop Back Home on the Farm, an ideal autumn attraction for kids and adults alike. Between the pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm animals, hayride, butterfly exhibit, greenhouses, and carousel, this family-owned farm has enough interactive activities to keep you busy for hours.
Make reservations for dinner at Local Chop & Grill House; you won’t regret it. The dining menu features fresh, hand-selected, seasonal foods prepared by our progressive Chef Brian Bogan. A fine seasonal menu is also offered at Joshua Wilton House as well as Clementine Cafe.
Cozy up at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at night’s end. This spacious hotel is conveniently located in town, with easy access to I-81 and Route 33, and just minutes from many of your weekend activities. For a cozier and more romantic feel, try out By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast. Or, for a stay with history and charm, land your bags at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.
Rise early and head to the Harrisonburg Farmers Market at Turner Pavilion, where you’ll be surrounded with your pick of the fall crop. In addition to farm-fresh produce, cheeses, and meats, you can also pick up homemade jams and jellies, pies, sauces, breads, and more from the Valley’s best growers, artisans and producers.
Score a few tickets to see the James Madison University Dukes play at the newly-expanded and renovated Bridgeforth Stadium (a favorite fall activity for the locals and diehard JMU fans), or to see a live performance at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Before you head to one of these events, grab dinner at Taste of Thai, where authentic Thai soup and spicy entrees will warm you up or the renowned wings at Billy Jacks Wing & Dra ft Shack.
Take the short drive over to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. With a picnic in tow, find a comfortable spot to sit in the gardens and enjoy being surrounded by an enchanting 125 acres of colorful flora and fauna. Also, make sure to check the arboretum’s schedule, because you may be able to catch a workshop or artist display. Other great places to enjoy your picnic and a leisurely walk with a view of the beautiful autumn setting include Purcell Park or Hillandale Park.
If you'd rather end your trip on a more lax level, take a leisurely stroll down Main Street for shopping, museum-visiting, and gallery-hopping amidst the crisp autumn air. On your way out of town, make a stop at Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse, where you can pick from over 20 varieties of apples to take home with you and grab a few other local gifts at the gift shop. While you’re there, sneak into the Old Hill Cider tasting room, where you can taste freshly pressed sweet cider.