Originally published September 2017 | Updated September 23, 2020
If an apple falls in an orchard and no one’s there to Instagram it – did it really happen?
Here in Buffalo, we fall hard for fall. We’re lucky enough to experience all four seasons and for many, fall is their favorite. Perfect temperatures, crisp air, the faint chant of the shout song by Bills fans everywhere. And all of these seasonal changes brings a whole new list of adorable dates to go on before #winteriscoming (don’t worry- these are friend and family “dates” too).
Visit the Cider Mill and have a picnic at Knox Farms
1540 Seneca Creek Road, West Seneca // Website
Mayer Bros. Cider Mill is an iconic fall destination to Buffalonians. This adorable shop smells like fresh apples, hot mulled cider, cinnamon doughnuts and pure happiness- and sells all of those things as well (happiness free with purchase). Drink a refreshing apple cider slushy on warmer fall days or warm yourself up with hot homemade apple pie. This stand also sells locally made artisan goods like pure maple syrup and many flavors of jams.
After you’re done buying your goodies, stay for a hay-ride or pumpkin patch stroll then take a 10-minute drive to Knox Farms. At Knox Farms, you’ll find picture-perfect plains as far as you can see surrounded by beautiful fall foliage. Lay a blanket down and feast on cider doughnuts and hot chocolate. You can already picture the amazing Instagram can’t you?
Spend the day appreciating Letchworth’s beauty
It wouldn’t be a fall guide without a Letchworth shout-out. Letchworth is one of the area’s greatest gems and while it’s beautiful all year round, it’s hard to find a place more full of autumn coloring. Letchworth is only about an hour away from Buffalo (it’s a scenic drive, just do it) and once you get there you can choose many different paths to hike and even stay the night cuddling under the stars at their campground, under many blankets of course. Real campers camp in the fall (we’ve been told).
Tour the Niagara Wine Trail
For all wine-lovers out there, the Niagara Wine Trail is full of wineries and breweries with many wines just waiting to be tasted. Bring a bunch of friends and head up north either on a tour or with your most fun designated driver friend. There are over 20 wineries on the trail and you should try to hit up as many as you can. Liten Buffel, a winery in Middleport, has a great assortment of reds and whites and a beautiful tasting room. Marjim Manor, located right by Lake Ontario, is known for its delicious wine, friendly charm, adorable cats roaming the ground, and even ghosts. That’s right- this winery is allegedly haunted, which can check another box from your fall bucket list (visit a haunted place, duh).
Find the Great(est) Pumpkin
Pumpkin patches are quintessentially fall. From the cozy hayride to the search for the perfect pumpkin (or at least most perfect to you), to the post-ride hot chocolate you have earned, pumpkin patches are the ultimate date. For a pumpkin patch / apple orchard / winery combo, visit Becker Farms. Becker Farms is the ultimate all-in-one destination and has events going on pretty much every day of the week. Kelkenberg Farm in Clarence is a hidden gem. A little less crowded, this pumpkin patch has a full petting zoo, small shop, and hayride. The bustling Great Pumpkin Farm is another great choice. If you’re really into fall- visit all three, we dare you.
Zipline through Holiday Valley
6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville // Website
For the more adventurous couple, Holiday Valley’s Aerial Adventure Park is the ideal date. Get your climbing/zipping on in their climbing forest or show your bravery and skills in their aerial park. If you don’t want to dive into one of those right away, they also offer more mild chairlift rides and a mountain coaster. There’s something for every level of adrenaline junkie and you’ll love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a day on this course.
Pro tip: Fall is the time to do this because they reduce the pricing. Still have questions? Check out their FAQ.
All aboard: go on a fall foliage train ride
278 Main Street, Arcade, NY 14009 // Website
Fall dates are supposed to be cozy and nothing is cozier than a romantic train ride through beautiful fall foliage. Head up to Arcade to enjoy a 2.5 hour old-school train ride featuring views of rustic fall woods during peak leaf-changing season.