By Erin Reilly ’20, Editor-in-Chief
Fall is finally here in Rochester, and with the pandemic, it’s more tempting now than ever to get out of the house and enjoy the season. The most typical October activities in Rochester usually include the city’s countless haunted houses and hayrides, but with all of the COVID-19 rules and regulations to keep every safe, most (if not all) of these attractions are closed for the season. However, there are still plenty of ways for the season to be enjoyed to its fullest, all while staying safe, healthy, and socially distant.
For this strange and uncertain fall, here are 8 locations and attractions to help you get the most out of the season before the snow inevitably begins to fall.
- 12-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 1315 Sweets Corners Rd, Penfield, NY 14526
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Wickham Farms is a family-oriented farm located in Penfield with lots of attractions to offer. Wickham offers a Susan B. Anthony corn maze, mini golf, hayrides, apple picking, pumpkin picking, sunflower and lavender fields, and more. There are also various spots for fall photoshoot opportunities, like their Great Pumpkin House, Harvest Throne and Pumpkin Creek. In addition to their many fall activities, there are various options to satisfy your appetite and your sweet tooth. Some of Wickham’s fall favorites include fresh apple cider donuts, real apple cider, homemade kettle corn, and their signature fall shake-up, which is a mixture of apple cider and ice cream, topped off with an apple cider donut.
The staff at Wickham Farms is taking extra care to make sure that all COVID-19 restrictions are followed by all employees and customers. Masks are required inside at all times and outside when proper social distancing isn’t possible, and there are numerous hand sanitizing stations and restrooms available to practice proper handwashing.
- 6-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 161 Marsh Rd, Pittsford, NY 14534
- Hours: Mon – Thurs 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 9:30 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sundays 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Powers Farm Market, another family-friendly location, is home to even more fun fall activities. Inside their main building, Powers offers a large variety of breads, pies, cookies, donuts, numerous sweets, and a variety of fall decorations. They also have fresh apple cider, locally grown sweet corn, and winter squash available for purchase. Outside, Powers offers access to a pumpkin patch, hayrides, their signature decorated door for an artsy photo opportunity. The farm market is also home to two large teepee structures, which they dub on their website as the world’s largest.
Powers Farm Market requires that a mask be worn at all times while inside, and proper social distancing is to be practiced while in line and while participating in any of the attractions.
- 28-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 656 S Rd, Scottsville, NY 14546
- Hours: Fri – Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Stokoe Farms, located in Scottsville, NY, offers a variety of fall attractions and a shop that is sure to satisfy your fall cravings. Fall activities include a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a Bee Line, and so much more. The farm also has animals available to see such as camels, kangaroos, emus and wallabies. Stokoe’s closing weekend is coming up fast, and to celebrate it, on October 25th, customers can participate in their event called “All You Can Carry Pumpkins.” Like the name suggests, any customer that can carry any amount of pumpkins for just three seconds can take all of those pumpkins home for ten dollars.
Stokoe Farms and its staff are keeping their customers safe by requiring proper social distancing and face coverings, limiting their capacity to 30%, providing hand washing stations and screening their employees before every shift.
- 5-minute drive from Fisher (or a 35-minute walk!)
- Location: 44 N Main St, Pittsford, NY 14534
- Hours: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Daily
Pittsford Farms Dairy, open year-round and another popular attraction in the Rochester area, offers fall-inspired flavors and products as well as their signature ice cream and grocery that they sell year round. Some fall favorites include their pumpkin spice chai latte, apple butter, and their seasonal ice cream flavors such as Dirty Pumpkin and Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Masks are required for all customers that enter Pittsford Farms Dairy and social distancing is required. The Dairy also limits the number of people in the building at one time in order to enforce social distancing protocols.
- 10-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 450 Highland Ave 14620
- Hours: N/A
Aside from organized fall activities, you can get some fresh air and observe the fall foliage in one of Rochester’s most beautiful parks. Highland park is large and allows for plenty of open space to walk, run, or even to sit and study. In the peak of the fall season, Highland is a beautiful place to take in the colors of the trees and the cool fall air before winter sets in.
Social distancing is strongly encouraged while at Highland Park.
- 13-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 1133 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, NY 14620
- Hours: Gates Open 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Directly across from Highland park is Mt. Hope Cemetery. This cemetery was founded in 1838 and was the first municipal cemetery in the United States. Mt. Hope is home to the gravesites of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, and offers a variety of different roads and paths to walk or run on. Perhaps a rather morbid suggestion for fall activities in Rochester, Mt. Hope is a beautiful place to take in the fall colors, utilize a quiet study space, and learn some of Rochester’s history.
Social distancing is encouraged (and very possible) while visiting Mt. Hope Cemetery.
- 14-minute drive from Fisher
- Location: 280 Union St N, Rochester, NY 14609
- Hours: Tues/Thurs 6 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sat 5 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Rochester’s Public Market, open year-round, is perhaps one of the city’s most loved attractions, especially during the fall. Vendors from all over bring a variety of produce from their respective farms and sell it to the public every day. The vendors also offer pumpkins, gourds, flowers, kitchen utensils, and decorations that can help any customer get into the spirit of the fall season. The Public Market offers a relatively inexpensive experience for any student or person looking to enjoy fresh food and a variety of produce.
With respect to COVID-19 protocols, all vendors are required to deeply clean their market areas and sanitize their hands frequently while selling products. Customers are required to wear a facemask, wash their hands frequently, and stay six feet apart from others at all times.
- 8-minute drive Rochester
- Location: 3300 Monroe Ave Suite 320, Rochester, NY 14618
- Hours: Sun-Thurs 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Since most (if not all) haunted houses and attractions in the Rochester area are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the urge to get out and be scared must be satisfied in some other way, and the Breakout Games in Rochester is the perfect way to satisfy that need. Though there may not be any ghosts or goblins, Breakout Games offers a selection of thrilling breakout rooms where you and your private party race against time to escape a locked room. Breakout Games offers five escape rooms in Rochester: Island Escape, The Kidnapping, Museum Heist, Operation Casino, and Hostage. This type of activity might not elicit October’s typical haunted house type of scare, but it’s sure to give customers a thrill and perhaps even a new favorite activity.
Breakout Games is taking numerous precautions in order to ensure the safety of both the guests and their employees. The games are restricted to private parties only, so that no guest will come in contact with anyone that isn’t from their party. Employees are required to wear masks at all times and are screened before every shift, and the breakout rooms are deeply cleaned and disinfected between every game.