Fall fun activities abound

ELLSWORTH — Bring on the pumpkin spice everything; fall officially begins Sept. 22.

Cooler nights and the occasional patch of red in a sea of green foliage already signal the changing of the seasons.

And while a Maine autumn is not quite as busy as a Maine summer, there’s still plenty to do Downeast.

First up, apple picking.

Johnston’s Apple Orchard in Ellsworth opened for the season Sept. 10.

The pick-your-own orchard, which is located off the Branch Pond Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Crab apples, early macs and Paula reds were ready for picking opening week.

Wight’s Orchard in Bucksport is preparing to open for the season Saturday.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Also opening Saturday is the corn maze at Homewood Farm in Blue Hill.

This year’s maze sports a Maine theme, complete with a lobster, lighthouse and moose etched in the corn stalks.

Explore the maze from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday through Oct. 30.

Families also can take a hay ride, visit with animals on the farm and shop for seasonal produce at the farm stand.

A full moon walk through the maze is scheduled for Oct. 14 and 15 from 7 to 9 p.m.

For more fall fun, pay a visit to a local nursery to stock up on hay bales, pumpkins, gourds and mums.

Coming up Sept. 22-24 in Ellsworth is the annual Autumn Gold celebration.

Sponsored by the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, most of the Autumn Gold fun will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Festivities include a chowder competition, car show, beer and wine tasting, rubber ducky race, boat rides, sales at area businesses and children’s games.

For those looking to get outdoors, the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, in conjunction with the Downeast Senior College, has organized a fall hike series.

The free 9:30 a.m. walks are scheduled for Sept. 17 (Salt Pond Preserve in Hancock) and 24 (Taft Point Preserve in Gouldsboro) and Oct. 1 (Corea Heath Preserve) and 8 (Frances B. Wood Preserve in Gouldsboro).

Call 422-2328 or visit www.frenchmanbay.org to learn more.

The 8th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is coming up Sept. 22-25. Downeast Maine’s dark night skies make the area an excellent venue for celestial viewing.

The festival showcases the beauty of the night sky through workshops, talks, hikes, viewings and parties.

For those who prefer to celebrate fall with a toast, Acadia’s Oktoberfest will be held the second weekend in October at Smuggler’s Den Campground in Southwest Harbor.

There will be a wine tasting on Friday, Oct. 7, from 4-6 p.m. followed by the 21st Annual Brewfest on Saturday, Oct. 8, from noon to 5 p.m.

As Halloween draws closer, thrill seekers need look no further than Fright at the Fort at Fort Knox in Prospect.

The annual ghoulish spectacle is slated for Oct. 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

A $10 ticket will give you access to the fort, which will be haunted by all sorts of frightening creatures.

Not a fan of being scared? No worries.

Stay home, light an apple-cinnamon candle and break into the Halloween candy.

Cyndi is managing editor of The Ellsworth American. The Ellsworth native joined the staff of The American in 2007 as a reporter.