Fall has finally arrived. And after one hot summer – Columbia in July set a record for having 13 days at 101 degrees or more – it’s high time to look forward to fall and its (eventual) cooler temps. Here are a few ways to ring in the fall season in Columbia:
Take a walk outdoors
The leaves might not be changing just yet, but it’s a great time to take a walking tour at these Columbia parks:
Canal history tour at Riverfront Park: Join a Ranger-guided tour along the Columbia Canal and learn how it has been part of Columbia’s growth and innovation for almost 200 years. 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Participants should meet at the Riverfront Park’s south parking lot, 312 Laurel St.
Nature walk at Congaree National Park: Discover the wildlife and plant life that make Congaree National Park unique in this 2.5-mile guided walk along the park’s boardwalk. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at 100 National Park Road, Hopkins; www.nps.gov/cong
Go apple picking
There are several orchards a short drive from Columbia where you can pick your own apples.
Brysons Apple Orchard: Brysons has a variety of you-pick apples, from Red Delicious to Gala to Fuji, plus free cider samples. Open now through mid-October. 1011 Chattooga Ridge Road, Mountain Rest; www.brysonsappleorchard.com
Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill: Windy Hill is a boutique apple orchard and hard cider producer in the Upstate. Bonus: Cider doughnuts, and the 23rd annual Apple Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 15. Open every fall from mid-August until Christmas. 1860 Black Highway, York; windyhillorchard.com
Sky Top Orchard: Just over the South Carolina-North Carolina border is Sky Top, a mountaintop you-pick orchard with plenty of picturesque spots for a picnic. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 1193 Pinnacle Mountain Road, Sky Top, North Carolina; www.skytoporchard.com
Visit a pumpkin patch
Yes, you can just go to Publix and grab a pumpkin from the bins out front, but it’s not the same as scouring a field for the perfect gourd.
Clinton Sease Farm: Pumpkin patch is open now until Tuesday, Nov. 15. Check out the corn maze and pumpkin bowling while you’re there. 404 Olde Farm Road, Lexington; www.clintonseasefarm.com
Lever Farms: This family farm has strawberries in the summer and pumpkins in the fall. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every Saturday in October. 5057 S.C. 34, Pomaria; www.leverfarms.com
Northeast United Methodist Church: In the fall, Northeast United Methodist becomes “the pumpkin church.” The pumpkin patch is open Saturday, Oct. 1 through Monday, Oct. 31. Proceeds go toward youth programming. 4000 Hard Scrabble Road; www.neumc.com