This fall, celebrations of the season will look much different due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, which in North Carolina means continuance of Phase 2.5 which requires individuals to wear masks or other face coverings when social distancing is not possible. Despite restrictions, there are many ways for all of us to enjoy the season, engage in physical activity, and get out of the house while remaining safe.
This year, COVID has caused a cancellation of the N.C. Apple Festival, but many apple orchards across the state are still open. Be sure to check online if you need to book an appointment, as many orchards are by appointment-only to manage crowds and ensure social distancing.
Organizing and completing a scavenger hunt for family or whoever you’re quarantining with can be a fun change of pace, especially if you’re living with younger children. The CDC posted a guide on how to host your own at-home scavenger hunt.
An online search can lead you to a pumpkin patch near you! Pumpkin patches are usually housed in large outdoor spaces where social distancing is made easy. Some also have corn mazes available, but be sure to book an appointment before you head out. Remember to take precautions including using hand sanitizer and wearing masks while you’re out and about.
Across North Carolina, trees are beginning to shed their leaves and turn from green into beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows. Viewing the leaves is pandemic-friendly as you can easily appreciate the view from your car or bike. Enjoy watching all the colors change, bonus if you bring your family or roommates with you.
Soaking in the fresh autumn air and viewing the scenery is a perfect way to enjoy the season. Hiking means getting out of the house and getting active with an added bonus of wildlife and leaf viewing. Consider taking a short day trip to a hiking destination of your choice. There are plenty of hiking trails in N.C. that feature beautiful waterfalls, mountains, and other amazing scenery. I recommend bringing a Buff, bandana, or other face covering that you can easily cover yourself with if you come across other hikers.
Information about many different biking trails around Raleigh can be found on the AllTrails app or website. The Walnut Creek trail is one of my favorite biking trails near Raleigh, for a short or lengthy bike ride depending on your preference. Additionally, the park at the North Carolina Museum of Art is a short ride which features outdoor art exhibits for your viewing pleasure.
Fall is the perfect time to break out the flour and eggs and work on your baking skills. Quarantine means more time at home, so you’ll likely have plenty of time to do quick baking prep and watch over your dessert creations. Lately, I’ve personally been trying my hand at making pies and pizzas with homemade crusts. It’s easier than it looks and so rewarding. Many grocery stores are offering curbside delivery or no-contact pickup, check in with your store to see if they are offering these services.
Enjoy the season and be sure to take precautions and stay safe. Remember to carry PPE with you and wear a mask at all times when you are interacting with others.
Sources: nc.gov, Tina Ruff (Chief of Staff at Durham Tech)