Plenty of fall activities are just a car ride away in Fairfield County, Ohio
By Corinne Minard
Families looking for a day trip may want to check out Fairfield County, Ohio, which is just 25 miles southeast of Columbus and is home to towns like Pickerington, Lancaster and Buckeye Lake.
“[Fall is a great time to visit] because we’re rural and that’s what fall’s all about—the trees, the apple orchards, the pumpkin patches, the authentic part of fall,” says Jonett Haberfield, executive director of Visit Fairfield County.
We spoke with Haberfield to learn more about fall in the county and what kind of activities you can enjoy there together in October and beyond.
1. Explore the Trail of Scarecrows.
Throughout the month of October, families will find 250 unique scarecrows throughout Fairfield County. Called the Trail of Scarecrows, visitors can visit 14 different communities on the trail to find fun and interesting scarecrows. And, if you use the app to check off which scarecrows you’ve seen, you can also win prizes.
“The Trail of Scarecrows is made for families,” says Haberfield. “It’s the only one in the world that we know of that’s county wide and it lasts the whole month.”
2. Visit a farm.
Fairfield County’s rural communities also make it a great place to explore a farm, pick a pumpkin or have fun in a corn maze.
“Our Autumn Experience page on our website has a whole list of events,” says Haberfield. “We have pumpkin walks, back-country hikes, the Haunted Farm… just all kinds of amazing little events. Each community does their Halloween bashes and clown corn mazes and there’s just a big variety.”
The county’s pumpkin patches and fruit farms include Hartland Farm, Hugus Fruit Farm and Sam’s Pumpkin Patch.
3. Take a hike.
Those who want to enjoy nature and the fall weather will enjoy the county’s many hiking opportunities.
“Clear Creek Metro Park is a really good one. That’s right on the border of Hocking County. It has a lot of rock formations and streams and several different trails that you can hike on,” says Haberfield.
Other good options in the fall include hiking to the top of Mt. Pleasant in the city of Lancaster—”You can get beautiful view of the whole valley. Sometimes on a clear day you can see downtown Columbus and then you can see the Hocking Hills,” says Haberfield—and Smeck Park, a 48-acre park that’s home to a late 1800s windmill.
4. Enjoy a scenic drive.
If you and your family want to enjoy the fall colors without hiking, Haberfield suggests a driving tour of the county’s 15 original covered bridges, the most in any county in the state.
“That’s a really good activity to pack a picnic lunch and sit on the bridge and have lunch. A lot of the bridges have picnic tables and parks right outside of the bridge. Some of them have hiking right around the bridges as well,” she says.
5. Try some seasonal treats.
Fans of fall food will also find lots to enjoy in Fairfield County. Many local restaurants offer farm-to-table menus during the fall. But if you’re looking for a quick hit of fall flavor, Haberfield suggests visiting one of the coffeeshops on the Java Trail. Juniper & Ivy Coffeehouse, for example, is serving a campfire-inspired mocha that features toasted marshmallow foam. Other fall flavors can be found at local breweries and wineries, such as Ale House 1890. It partnered with a local farm to create the Ochs’ Apple Pie apple cider.