Fall a great opportunity to take a harvest date

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Fall in Walla Walla is a busy time. It can be a tough adjustment to move from the last lazy days of summer into the grueling routine of school, practices, games and homework. But fall in the Valley offers perhaps the most glorious weather and scenery of the year. Get out of the back-to-school routine for an afternoon and enjoy it with your partner on a harvest date.

Ideas and opportunities

Downtown Farmers Market

Fourth Avenue and Main Street, Walla Walla

529-8755

Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 27

Walla Walla Valley Farm Map available at Destination Walla Walla booth

24 E. Main St., Walla Walla

525-8799

Welcome Table Farm

1812 Old Milton Highway, Walla Walla

529-0772

Walla Walla Corn Maze

853 Five Mile Road, Walla Walla

525-4798

Klicker’s

3300 E. Isaacs Ave., Walla Walla

525-8650

Your first stop should be the Downtown Walla Walla Farmers Market. Park a few blocks up Main Street, grab a cuppa joe to go and head to Fourth and Main. Fall’s bounty is gathered here for you in one lovely location. Fall produce includes apples, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, garlic, greens, pears, peppers, persimmons, pumpkins and more. The colors and scents are amazing, and the fresh flavors will make everyone happy when you get home.

While you’re downtown, stop by the Destination Walla Walla booth and grab a Walla Walla Valley Farm Map, produced by Tourism Walla Walla. Look for the label “FS” for Farm Stand, then take a lovely drive down country roads throughout the valley, stopping to visit with farmers and their families along the way. The most recent addition to the list of local farm stands is Welcome Table Farm. If you miss them at the Farmers Market on Saturday, you can go see Emily and Andy at the stand Wednesday–Friday at 1812 Old Milton Highway.

If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, add some mystery to your afternoon out. Consider a stop at the Walla Walla Corn Maze. This is a very different trip without the children. You could race to see who gets out first; you could take turns deciding which way to go at each fork in the maze; or you could get lost on purpose.

No harvest date would be complete without a stop at Klicker’s Pumpkin Patch — again, a very different trip without kids. Wander through the rows upon rows of pumpkins, then race to the top of the hay-bale pyramid. (Maybe skip the slide — even the most slender of adult backsides may find that a difficult ride.) Explore the back end of the shop: There is some interesting Walla Walla memorabilia tucked away, from a long-gone era of downtown hat shops and department stores.

End your date with a splash of fall color: a drive up Mill Creek Road to soak up the spectacular seasonal display. If the weather allows, roll the windows down and revel in the autumn aroma of smoke and leaves. The drive from town to the Oregon state line at Camp Kiwanis is roughly 30 minutes, which means an hourlong round trip of quiet beauty to share.

September marks the return of controlled chaos that is the school year. Before you know it, the holidays will be here. Make time to appreciate the beauty and bounty of fall in our valley — and your partner in all that chaos — before it’s gone.

Jennifer Northam is assistant director of alumni relations at Whitman College. She can be reached at northajl@whitman.edu or 526-4794.

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