autumn is such a cherished season, especially in the midwest. the temperatures drop to ideal sweatshirt weather. the leaves change brilliant shades of red, orange + yellow. pumpkins, apples + cinnamon fill the air. and the world just feels cozy. it’s hard to keep yourself indoors on those “perfect fall days,” because you know what is right around the corner … (the next season, who shall not be named).
just as the rain stopped and the sun came out, I simultaneously shouted to my family “let’s go to the pumpkin patch!” beautiful fall days are fleeting and must be enjoyed. we headed west, thirty minutes, to the wills family orchard. it’s an adorable pumpkin patch + apple orchard just outside of the des moines metro. (in adel, IA). it is worth the drive just to get your hands on the apple cider donuts!
we grabbed a wagon + wandered the pumpkin patch.
the toddler + I found the perfects pumpkins. the husband cut them off the vine + into the wagon they went. we skipped the apple picking, and instead went into the store for apple cider + a half dozen apple cider donuts. unable to wait until we got home, we sipped cider + ate donuts on a bench out front. many of the kids activities were closed, due to the significant rainfall, so we promised the toddler we’d be back for the corn pool, hay ride + slide.
before heading home, I hinted to the husband “while we’re out this way.. “
we stopped by the winterset cidery. I don’t drink a lot of hard cider, but it’s fall, and therefore apple season. so, we went! (update: it is now closed for the season, and will reopen in the spring). since we do not know a thing about hard cider, we ordered a handful of samples. my favorites: the french kiss + the winterset. to pair with the cider, there are thee most gorgeous iowa countryside views to enjoy. it is absolutely beautiful out there.
the next morning, we woke up to sunshine + sweatshirt weather and went for a hike.
we hiked up to clark tower (a 25 foot tower in winterset city park). we may have been the only people that day to hike it. it’s one mile there + back. a minivan drove by and said “you’re better people than we are”. the things you do for fresh air. we brought our double stroller (that is a dream to push through most terrains) for the toddler + baby, but the toddler decided he was going to hike it. he made it all the way to the tower + relaxed in the stroller on the way back down. we worked up an appetite + had a quick brunch in town at the northside diner before heading for home.
5 places to visit for a fall weekend in winterset:
• a visit to wills farms pumpkin patch + apple orchard. don’t leave without apple cider donuts!
• enjoy fresh air + a hike up to clark tower in winterset city park
• grab a bite at the northside cafe. fun fact: clint eastwood has a reserved seat here, the one he sat in during the filming of the bridges of madison county
• go see the covered bridges. the husband + I did the hike and saw quite a few of the famous bridges while I was 7 months pregnant with our first little. see that trip here.