PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family this fall, look no further than Linvilla Orchards, a 300-acre family farm in Middletown Township, Delaware County, dedicated to agriculture, entertainment and education.
“The orchard has been around since 1914. It was started by Lydia Linvill and her son Arthur,” said Judi Novak, with Linvilla Orchards. “It started out as a dairy farm and since then Arthur planted some trees, and the rest is kind of history.”
Novak says now is the perfect time for a visit, with the farm’s annual Pumpkinland taking center stage now through November 6.
“Pumpkinland is kind of an institution around here,” she said. “What we do is we have several characters that come to life out in the yard, as well as thousands of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. We offer hayrides, both evening hayrides, hayrides during the day and also hayrides to the Witches House.”
Did she say something about witches? No worries. Novak says it’s a family-oriented hayride good for young children up to 11 years old.
“The hayride to the Witches House is a friendly witch who lives out in the orchard,” Novak explained. “She tells stories and jokes, gives the kids a treat, and at the end of the hayride there’s a campfire where we provide a sample of our cider and we roast marshmallows. The jokes are kind of corny, but they have fun.”
Up for a challenge? Venture your way through Pumpkinland’s unique straw bale maze or try to find your way through the bigger, more puzzling cornfield maze.
“That’s about five acres of corn planted — and you can get totally lost in there. We’ve had people who even called the office and said ‘can you get me out’ because they couldn’t find their way to the end. So it’s a lot of fun,” Novak said. “And then for the little ones, there’s a hay bale maze, and that might be better because it’s not quite as difficult to get through as the cornstalk maze is.”
Visitors also can enjoy live music and entertainment, train rides, pony rides, face painting and games for the kids, including pumpkin ring toss and an apple sling shot.
“We have these great big, old slingshots and all these targets that are out in the field,” Novak explained. “We give you some of the older apples that have been on the ground, so some of them are a little bit mushy and they’re great to stick in a sling and whack them at your favorite target, like maybe an old scarecrow or a bullseye.”
Finally, on the last Sunday in October, Linvilla Orchards holds its annual Costume Parade. Participants in a number of age groups show off their fun and creative costumes for a chance to win great prizes.
“The annual costume parade, every year, is judged by the witches and Makin’ Music, who comes out and helps to judge the parade, as well,” Novak said. “All the kids come out in all of their costumes and the first-prize winner wins a gift certificate to Linvilla Orchards.”
There’s no trick here, Novak says, Pumpkinland is simply a treat.
“It’s really great fun, especially for the little ones,” she said. “They come in and they’re in awe at the figures that are in Pumpkinland, and they want to pick out that perfect pumpkin. They want to get their cookie and they want their caramel apple. You know, it’s all that really good homey, autumn feel kind of stuff.”
For more information, visit Linvilla Orchards’ website.
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