This past weekend my family and I decided to go pumpkin picking. I had a list of places I wanted to try but it was Sunday, and some places in NJ that are closer to the city are closed on Sundays, other places seemed too far. So we decided to look on the New York side and found a couple of places only 40 minutes away in Long Island. In the town of Dix Hills, NY.
We trusted our handy-dandy GPS to take us to the chosen location, but then I was driving, and I swear, that “woman” just confuses me sometimes. Instead, I began to ignore her directions and followed the neon colored signs along the road with arrows directing us to “the pumpkin patch”.
We followed the signs all the way into a parking area for Colonial Springs Farm. It wasn’t were we had planned to go, but it didn’t seem like a bad place to get lost to. The day was sunny, a bit warmer for a Fall day, the farm wasn’t terribly crowded, and it had beautiful grounds. When you first walk in (admission $2.00 per person, 3 and under are free), you see the pony ride area ($6.00 per ride) and the play area ($1.00 per ticket, 3 and under free).
We headed straight towards the play area, which had a little ride pulled around by a small tractor The kids really liked this area. There’s room to run and a few simple slides and fun stuff little kids would enjoy. The only thing we adults didn’t like much (and a few others we heard complain) was that it was one ticket ($1.00) just to go down the slide-each time. Or one ticket ($1.00) to go through a make shift tunnel-each time. It just seemed a bit excessive to us. We think that they might be better off just charging one flat entry fee into the play area and let the kids be free to slide as often as they want. We actually had to tell our 4 year old he could only slide two times because we didn’t have enough tickets! So silly. The other thing that happened was the young lady at the ticket booth wasn’t telling parents that 3 and under were free, so parents bought tickets for their little, little ones only to later realize that they didn’t need to. That aside, the kids really seemed to be having a good time. I didn’t mind at all paying the $1.00 per ride on the tractor train. That seemed worth it to us, and the kids really loved it.
After quickly running out of tickets, we headed out towards the business of pumpkin picking. Everyone was really excited. There was a nice selection of pre-cut pumpkins to pick from. All the boys started picking their favorites. Nice big ones, cute little ones. Perfectly round, bright orange ones.
The boys started talking about pumpkin pie, and “scary” pumpkins. It was really a lot of fun to watch them get all excited as they talked about their plans.
We stopped and grabbed a quick snack at the hot dog shack they have there. You can get hot dogs, chips, water and soda, each for a couple of dollars or less. They have many activities, but we decided on letting the kids ride the pony. The smile on their little faces as they rode the pony (the first time either of the little ones has ever done so) was priceless, and I lucked out in that they didn’t insist on riding a second time (we told them the pony needed to rest).
We headed towards their market before finally leaving, each of us carrying our huge pumpkins (total for pumpkins $19.00).
Before heading home we decided to check out our original destination, Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms to see how it compared.
A lot smaller than the first location, Schmitt Farms had a bigger store, with more of a selection of Halloween and garden decorations than anything else. The pumpkin picking consisted of a short walk to a section of the lot, where pre-cut pumpkins waited to be picked. They have an indoor haunted maze for young kids, though not too young, and offer free hayrides.
We got some apples (pre-picked) which my 4 year old described to be “as sweet as watermelon”, and which I have stored for an apple pie I’m baking. They also have some of the brightest, fullest pots of mums, which to me was their biggest attraction by far.
So after comparing the two, I would say that Colonial Springs Farm has more activities, but for little kids (my 11 year old didn’t have much to do there other than pick the pumpkins and help us run after the little ones), the play area is a bit over priced for what is offered (and remember children 3 and under are free), and the selection of pumpkins, at least when we went, wasn’t vast, but they were nice looking pumpkins.
Albert H. Schmitt Farm was smaller, the things to do were a lot less, the market was bigger, but offered more decorations than anything else, and their selection of mums is fabulous.
If you are looking for a trip not too far from the city (about 40 minutes from Manhattan for both), and some Fall fun with younger ones in tow, these are some nice options to consider.