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Witlox Middaugh: Fall is McHenry County’s best season for tourism

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

There is no better place for fall family fun than frolicking on the farms in McHenry County.

We have it all right here in our backyard. With abundant agritourism attractions in every corner of the county, it’s easy to plan a day of apple picking, playing in a corn maze or finding the perfect pumpkin. Perhaps you would enjoy a good old-fashioned hayride or flying through the air on a zip line, or getting lost in the world’s largest corn maze. If so, the Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove is for you.

In September, Shades of Autumn at Stade’s Farm and Market in McHenry includes hayrides, pumpkin picking and seasonal vegetables.

Twin Garden Farms in Harvard will get you hooked on their sweet, highly-sought-after Mirai corn, known to be the most flavorful corn in the world.

All Seasons Apple Orchard in Woodstock boasts a petting zoo, country farm market and indoor grill restaurant featuring seasonal favorites.

Don’t forget about the annual apple and pumpkin festivals at Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Harvard. Royal Oak Farm Orchard has a range of kid-friendly activities with shopping and dining opportunities for the whole family. It’s more than an apple orchard.

If you haven’t heard about Grace Farm Studios in Woodstock, then you certainly have been missing out. Visit them year-round to devour raspberries, run your fingers through cozy handmade Icelandic woolens, or simply stop by to snap a picture of their 1849 dairy barn. It was the first to display a barn quilt.

Hungry for some fresh vegetables? Stop by Patyk’s Farm market in Richmond for great produce, farm fresh eggs and flowers.

Be sure to include Von Bergen’s Country Market’s Plow Day or Antique Tractor Show in Hebron in your fall plans.

For a complete list of the area’s farms, orchards and markets, give the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau office a call at 815-363-6177.

Autumn events begin in McHenry County with the Trail of History, which is celebrating its 25th and final year. The Trail of History is Oct. 19-20 at Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. The event is a living history reenactment of the Northwest Territory from 1670-1850 presented by the McHenry County Conservation District.

Interpreters from across the country portray settler life and demonstrate the relationship between nature, man and cultural development. For information, visit www.mccdistrict.org.

Because it is in its last year, anyone who ever thought about or wanted to come out and experience the event will have the opportunity to do so.

The Autumn Drive is Oct. 18-20 in rural McHenry County. There you can spend a leisurely day with family and friends on a country road visiting 14 family farms. Each stop along the way offers a unique country experience. There are antiques, arts and crafts, pumpkins and many surprises to discover along the way. For information, visit autumndrive.net.

• Laura Witlox Middaugh is manager of group sales at the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She can be reached at laura@mchenrycountycvb.com or 815-893-6280.

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