There’s something about autumn. Even the words we associate with the season hold a special magic: Cornucopia, harvest moon, crisp apples, cool breezes, pumpkin spice and cozy nights.
A visit to an apple orchard is an annual ritual for many families, and creating in the kitchen with what you bring home always is a fun activity, whether it’s apple pie for dinner or apple butter to last through the winter.
Corn mazes, retail stores, pumpkin patches and other family activities often can be found as well.
Call ahead or check online for information on festivals, special events, COVID-19 protocols and other details.
Czipar’s Orchard, 8610 U.S. 52, Dubuque.
Distance from Dubuque: 12 minutes.
Hours: 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
End of season: Typically near Thanksgiving.
What you should know: There is a retail store. An apple festival is held in late September.
More information: www.facebook.com/cziparsorchard or 563-582-7476.
Gravert’s Apple Basket Orchard, 5457 U.S. 52, Sabula.
Distance from Dubuque: 52 minutes.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through October. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through November.
End of season: Sunday, Dec. 6.
What you should know: U-pick is available. Animals are on-site to pet.
More information: www.gravertorchard.com or 563-687-2298.
Sherman’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze, 412 S. Wayne St., Manchester.
Distance from Dubuque: 51 minutes.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Sunday or by appointment.
End of season: Saturday, Oct. 31.
What you should know: There is a play area with a wooden train, a pirate ship, a play house, tire swings and photo opportunities. No pets or smoking are allowed on the premises.
Admission: Free to enter pumpkin farm. The corn maze is $5; ages 4 and younger are free.
More information: www.facebook.com/ShermansPumpkinFarm or 563-920-2732.
Vesperman Farms, 8149 Stage Road, Lancaster.
Distance from Dubuque: 35 minutes.
Hours: 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
End of season: Sunday, Nov. 1.
What you should know: Activities include hay wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, a five-acre corn maze, a corn maze for kids, a zip line, duck races, a petting zoo, farm animals, a tire mountain, a corn box, large-size lawn games and kiddie train rides. Food and beverages — including apple cider donuts, kettle corn, caramel apples, ice cream, burgers, brats, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, hot chocolate, apple cider and soft drinks — are available for purchase.
Admission: $9.50 for ages 5 and older. Free for ages younger than 4. Season passes are available for $35.
More information: www.vespermanfarms.com, www.facebook.com/VespermanFarms or 608-723-2712.
Dittmar Farms and Orchard, 256 S. Grebner Road, Elizabeth.
Distance from Dubuque: 40 minutes.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
End of season: Sunday, Nov. 1.
What you should know: U-pick is available for pumpkins, apples and raspberries. There also are hayrides, a corn maze, a gourd launcher, a petting zoo, U-drive tractors and more. Live music can be heard most weekends.
Arrowhead Treehouse is available for overnight stays with advance reservations.
Admission: September is free. The cost is $5 in October. There is an additional charge for U-drive tractors and the gourd launcher.
More information: Visit www.dittmarfarms.com, www.facebook.com/DittmarFarmsandOrchard or 815-858-3413.
Orchard Landing, 6629 W. Beaty Hollow Road, Hanover.
Distance from Dubuque: 43 minutes.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
End of season: Mid to late November.
What you should know: A retail store is located along a grass airstrip, where there often are planes to see. Cider making events take place throughout the season.
More information: www.orchardlandingfarm.com, www.facebook.com/orchardlanding or 815-281-0773.
Michelle London writes for the Telegraph Herald.