It's finally cool enough to enjoy a day outside, so spend it doing some fall-themed activities.
Think of this as your autumn bucket list. Challenge yourself to finish before the season gives way to (ugh!) winter.
Go apple or pumpkin picking
Record rainfall left Henrietta Creek Apple Orchard without apples to pick this season, but there's more to fall than just apples. In Dallas, consider the Dallas Arboretum. In Fort Worth, check out Mainstay Farm, though it's only open for pumpkin purchases on Saturdays in October.
For adults who would rather enjoy the "fruits" of others' labor, grab a glass of hard apple cider at Bishop Cider Co. in Bishop Arts.
Carve a pumpkin at home or at a bar
Once you've picked your own pumpkin, carve out some family time for, well, carving your design into it. No pumpkin? No worries. Rendezvous at The Old Monk in Dallas any day until the end of October and pay $10 for a pumpkin, a carving kit and a pint of beer. Details on that here.
Take a fall cooking class
Learn to dice, dollop and drizzle your favorite fall ingredients so you can wow the in-laws at Thanksgiving. Sur La Table offers several autumn-themed cooking classes, such as Fantastic Fall Soups and Vegetarian Fall Favorites. Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma and Central Market offer similar classes as well.
Hitch a ride on the Texas State Railroad
If you're willing to make a trip down to Palestine, Texas, hop on the Texas State Railroad for a beautiful view of nature's changing colors. Take a ride on the Pumpkin Patch Express any weekend in October, or chow down and enjoy the scenery on the Fall Foliage Brunch Train in early November.
Sip pumpkin spice drinks
Starbucks isn't the only place to get a taste of fall with pumpkin-flavored-everything. Dallas coffeeshop White Rock Coffee makes its own version, as do Method Coffee, Murray Street Coffee and The Hospitality Sweet. If PSLs aren't your style, White Rock Coffee allows you to add its gluten-free, vegan-friendly pumpkin spice flavoring to your choice of hot or cold drinks, making the pumpkin-flavored possibilities endless.
Or, make your own spice drink at home!
On days when a latte just won't cut it, head to your liquor cabinet and concoct this heavy spiced rum cocktail. The recipe doesn't call for pumpkin flavoring; instead, it's Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, port and bitters. The drink is served cold, but that doesn't mean it won't warm you up like a latte would.
Dallas is home to a bevy of festivals that celebrate nearly everything, from a country's heritage to installation art to fried foods and giant men (I'm looking at you, State Fair of Texas). Start First Try Fridays with your friends -- essentially, try something new every week on Friday -- and kick off the weekly escapade by going to a festival outside of your comfort zone. (Here's a list you can choose from.)
Feeling extra adventurous? Road trip to an out-of-town music fest, like one of these.
Taste from seasonal menus at your favorite restaurants
Many restaurants release new menus as seasons change. Some of the fall menus have our mouths watering, like the Fall Pizza at Dallas' The Second Floor restaurant: a pizza with roasted butternut squash and peppers, arugula, ricotta and smoked mozzarella.
If you're planning ahead and don't want to cook, Seasons 52 in Plano and Dallas are making Thanksgiving -- complete with roasted turkey, herb stuffing, green beans and more -- on Thanksgiving Day -- as are loads of area restaurants, and you can check out their menus before making a reservation.
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