San Jose, CA

The leaves are a-changing: How to enjoy the start of fall across Santa Clara County

Grace Goes on an Adventure

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One of our favorite fall activities is to go to a pumpkin patch. Luckily for Santa Clara County residents, there are a ton to pick from.Mark Duffel / Unsplash

Do you remember, the 21st night of September?

Yes, yes indeed. And thank goodness for glorious start to the autumnal season!

Here in Santa Clara County, there isn't much to signify the change of seasons other than the date, but have no fear. If you're looking to really dive into all of the pumpkin spice and yellow and orange leaves, we've got you covered. Here are some of the best ways to kick off your fall across the South Bay Area and Peninsula.

Get your gourds galore!

While the fall colors may not be super visible to the naked eye, there are ways to spruce up your home space with natural elements. Our fall favorites, of course, are pumpkins, squashes, and gourds, oh my — and you don't have to go far to find some great spots for sprucing up your mantel and kitchen table. Grab your friends and head over to Palo Alto's Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, open Oct. 2 through 3 at the Palo Alto Art Center. The unique pumpkin patch, with free admission, offers upwards of 10,000 hand-blown and hand-crafted glass pumpkins to guests.

For less breakable pumpkins, turn to San Jose's Spina Farms, offering 25 varietals of pumpkins from Sept. 27 through Oct. 31. Other than picking your pumpkins, you can also join in on a hay ride or attempt to master the corn maze in record time.

Celebrate Oktoberfest in sunny California.

Get your steins ready — German beer is at the ready! For Oktoberfest this year, you may not want to shell out the cash (and risk any COVID-19 issues) with traveling to Europe, but local beer halls are up for the challenge. Mountain View's Stein's and Ludwig's will host special events and unique menu offerings from now through mid-October, giving you the chance to dig into a huge Bavarian pretzel and sip on your favorite German brews.
On Oct. 16 and 17, the Campbell Chamber of Commerce will host the 26th annual Oktoberfest festivities, a free event with lots of German food and drinks (of course) and the addition of live German music, dancing, costume and stein-holding contests.
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What better way to enjoy a crisp autumnal evening than with a full stein?Fábio Alves / Unsplash

Learn more about harvest season and get your hands dirty.

It's always great to eat within what's seasonal — so why not learn more about harvesting fresh produce while you're at it? The Everett N. Eddie Souza Park & Community Garden offers open and free tours to the public to learn about a variety of environmental topics, such as home composting, native and drought-tolerant plants, and the benefits of honey bees and native bees.
With everything you learn from the team at the park, look toward applying those lessons to some volunteering opportunities countywide. A great place to start is with SCC Volunteer, which lists weekly options for weeding in San Jose and monthly trail days across the 350+ miles of of trails in our Santa Clara County Parks trail system.
Follow Grace on Twitter for more Bay Area updates: @grace_m_stetson.

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Hi there! I'm Grace Stetson, an affordability correspondent and freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I recently moved back to my hometown after a few years of living in Chicago, IL, and Brooklyn, NYC, and there's a lot more to see than I originally expected. With that, I'm going out and about from as far south as Monterey to as far north as Marin to find you the best hidden gems, backwoods trails, and delicious eats across the Bay. Come join me on this adventure!

Sunnyvale, CA
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