7 Great (Alternative) Fall Dates

7 Great (Alternative) Fall Dates

by Cezanne Colvin

We’ve kicked off our espadrilles, lost our tans, and posed the existential inquiry of what the world did before the advent of pumpkin spice, which can only mean one thing – it’s officially fall. Traditionally, the arrival of fall conjures up images of pumpkin patches and picking apples. Taxiing through the hinterlands on a pile of hay. Cheering on the football team of your alma mater. Regardless, it’s the perfect season to focus on quality time with the one you love most before the hustle and bustle of the holidays swallows you both up.

Whether this is your first time watching the leaves change together or you’ve been dropping hints about silver anniversary gifts, here’s a list of fall date ideas designed explore alternatives to time-tested favorite traditions while supporting our local economy and celebrating the spirit of fall in Pennsylvania.


Instead of: A Haunted House

Try: Moravian Book Shop’s Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem Ghost Tours

Although there’s a certain welcomed nostalgia invoked by pairing that familiar hallmark manufactured shriek with flashing lights and a simulated butchering scene, why not skip the same overcrowded thrill and discover a little bit more about what may or may not be lurking around your favorite downtown spots after dark this year? Led by a convincingly costumed guide and your shaky hand’s candle, you and your beloved will be thrust into a macabre journey that’ll leave even the most skeptical attendee intrigued and entertained.

Moravian Book Shop
428 Main Street


Oktoberfest Steel StacksInstead of: Visiting a Corn Maze

Try: Oktoberfest presented by Yuengling

Link arms, stroll around, and sip on Pennsylvania’s favorite staple draft as an apéritif for the food tents teeming with Bavarian goodies. If you’re in the mood to flex your competitive side, cheer each other on while partaking in the free games at the Fest, like the “Das Boot” Beer Pour (spill as little beer as possible while filling official Oktoberfest mugs) or competing in a German spelling bee. For additional fun, enjoy the Penn State-Michigan viewing party on the Levitt Pavillion Lawn, listen to live music, and be glad you’re not lost in a sea of kernels and leaves somewhere. Bonus: for the first time this fall, admission to Oktoberfest is free (previously $10 for adults) thanks to Yuengling & Son.

Yuengling Oktoberfest at SteelStacks Campus


Instead of: Visiting a Pumpkin Patch

Try: Chambourcin Weekend Wine Tasting

Whether your current knowledge of wine is Bordeauxing (one pun and I’m done) on elementary or your palate is so refined that your friends reflexively look to you as the resident Sommelier, you can certainly appreciate a good swirl and sip (or several) with the one you love. The Chambourcin weekend wine tasting event will focus on the French-American hybrid Chambourcin grape, the only wine grape grown by all nine locally owned and operated wineries of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail. Each winery will feature specific wine-related events centered around this versatile grape. 

Chambourcin Weekend is October 18 and 19. Visit lehighvalleywinetrail.com for more details.


Instead of: Picking Apples

Try: Taking a Cooking Class at Northampton Community College

Even if the words “midterm” and “fall break” haven’t meant anything to you in years, you and your sweetheart can still go back to school this fall without worrying about a report card. Choose from classes like “Biscotti,” “Tapas,” “Paleo Cooking,” “Appetizers! Appetizers! Appetizers!” or “Winter Soups” for a one-time three-hour date. As an added perk, it’ll set you up for the inevitable follow-up cook-off – or, if you’re feeling more collaborative, a future relaxing evening of making dinner together.

Visit northampton.edu/lifelearn for more details.


Instead of: A Hay Ride

Try: Going on a Fall Hike

This fall, forego the wheels and step into the landscape instead of just observing it by taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s perfect setting for crunching leaves (and calories!) with a romantic hike. Depending on your skill level and/or ambition, choose between trekking trails at nearby sites like Jacobsburg State Park, Glen Onoko Falls or Bushkill Falls. With options spanning leisurely 15 minute walks to half-day excursions, there’s a path for everyone to get some fresh air and exercise while enjoying the gilded scenery. Pack a picnic lunch if you plan on working up an appetite, or just stroll through and take in the view together. 


Instead of: Watching Your Favorite Scary Movie

Try: An Independent Film at Frank Banko Alehouse

It’s Friday night, you’re tired, and it’s tempting to just pop in an old faithful Hitchcock while you absentmindedly shuffle through your stack of bills and call it Date Night – hey, you tried. We’ve all been there. But this Friday, why not venture past the couch to enjoy a film from Frank Banko’s eclectic selection? If you’re wondering where the “alehouse” part comes into play, the theater is the only one in the area that allows you to savor wine, beer, or a cocktail from the concession stand as you enjoy the flick from your stadium seat.

Frank Banko Alehouse
101 Founders Way
610.332.1300 or artsquest.org/film


Instead of: Another Football Game

Try: The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

Get off the bleachers, grab your Lord or Lady, and spend the day jaunting through an Elizabethan era together. With provisions ranging from skewered haunches of meat to Scotch Eggs, artisan merchants peddling everything from puppets to kilts, jousting, a human chess board, and cast members determined not to let the presence of cell phones and digital watches disrupt your immersion peppered throughout the Shire, it’s hard to not let your excitement for the day runneth over.

Visit parenfaire.com for more details.

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