Plan fall-tastic day trips

With fall in full swing, apple picking, haunted houses and hayrides are definitely in season. South Orange and the surrounding area offers a few great options for weekend trips with friends.

North Jersey has multiple apple picking locations. Alstede Farms in Chester, N.J. offers a pick-your-own option as well as a huge selection of special items like jams, donuts and pumpkins. It’s located in Morris County and just a short drive from the Seton Hall campus.

“Being on campus all the time can get boring, so it’s good to do something different like take a trip somewhere like Alstede Farms with friends,” senior Nikolina Zulj said.

Demarest Farms in Bergen County also offer a great apple picking experience. In addition to a wide selection of apples, Demarest Farms offers pumpkin picking, hayrides and fresh doughnuts.

These two farms are in the more rural parts of Morris and Bergen County, so there is no direct train service to either place, but both spots are only about 35 minutes away by car.

Apple picking isn’t the only fall activity to jump on this season; plenty of farms in the area also create corn mazes just for the season. These mazes are great to do with friends, and most aren’t too big, so it’s easy to get out.

However, in case getting lost does become an issue, most mazes have lookouts for people to climb up and pinpoint their location from the nearest exit. Demarest Farms offers a corn maze and so does Secor Farms in Bergen County.

Haunted houses are also a must this Halloween season. About a two hour drive from Seton Hall is Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a former prison-turned-haunted house during September and October. This haunted house was ranked the scariest in the country, and visitors must sign a waiver before entering. Although it’s a far drive, it is definitely worth the trip. Also, there is a train that departs from South Orange and gets to Philadelphia in about two and a half hours.

The employees at the Penitentiary are there to scare the guests and are willing to sneak up behind someone unannounced, grab a hand or foot of a passerby and much more. The whole event will leave you shaken up, but that’s the point of a good haunted house.

For those who do not want to travel that far or pay a hefty train ticket price, Bane haunted house in Livingston, N.J. offers a great option. The tickets are $22 each, and it is open from 7-11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Also, Livingston is close to South Orange; it’s only about a 10 minute drive.

There are only a few weeks left to enjoy these perfect temperatures and fall days, so take the time to get out of the house and step into one of these great fall activities.

Julia Mullaney can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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