I know a lot of people have moved onto Christmas talk already, but I'm trying to make fall last as long as I can. And nothing says fall quite like pumpkins! If you live in the New York City or Hudson Valley area and want to get in the fall mood, you have to check out The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson!!
Adam and I visited this weekend and it was such a unique experience! Just about an hour's MetroNorth ride from NYC's Grand Central Station to the Croton-Harmon station, and then a five minute cab ride from the station to the event, it's a super accessible, beautiful activity that lasts all October and November each year.
Basically, The Blaze is located on the property surrounding a historic 18th century building called Van Cortlandt Manor. There is a winding path through the woods next to the home, and they fill it with amazing sculptures made of thousands of hand carved Jack O'Lanterns. The pictures below don't do it justice - it really felt magical, and a tiny bit spooky, walking along the candlelit path to view all of the different displays. We walked across "The Pumpkin Zee Bridge," saw a beautiful pumpkin dragon surrounded by pumpkin fish, walked under a sky of pumpkin stars at the "Pumpkin Planetarium," and even saw our two favorite animals (alpacas and sloths) in pumpkin form at the "Pumpkin Zoo." There was a field of pumpkin sunflowers, a Thanksgiving turkey made of pumpkins, and even a pumpkin "Jurassic Park" full of pumpkin dinosaurs. Each display had its own themed music, perfectly setting the mood, and some of the displays even moved!
We had a lot of fun walking through the exhibit (although it only takes about 35-40 minutes to complete unless you really take your time, so if you're traveling far it might be worth it to make a day of it and explore other things in the area), and even had some nice fall beers in the refreshments area before our tour started - they also sell classic fall treats like donuts, hot cider, pumpkin flavored coffees, and pumpkin pie. This is a great fall activity for families with kids, or even a date night for couples! We had a great time strolling through the pumpkins together! : )
If you decide to make the trip, here are some pointers:
-Dress warmly if it's chilly outside. We brought hand warmers, scarves and lots of layers. The entire event is outdoors and it's more enjoyable if you aren't shivering the entire time. Haha!
-Wear boots or sturdy sneakers. The walking path is mostly dirt.
-Bring cash! The food vendors do not accept credit cards. You'll also need about $7 for each cab ride to and from the train station (there is free parking at the event if you decide to drive).
-Don't arrive too early. You cannot enter the actual exhibit until the exact time listed on your ticket. You can, however, hang out in the gift shop and refreshments area until it is your time to enter.
-Buy your tickets early!! This event is so popular that it sells out extremely quickly. If you plan on going next year, check for tickets in September. Click HERE for the event's website.
My name is Abby Formella and I'm a 27 year-old working girl living in the lovely borough of Brooklyn, New York.