On the road again…

Photo: East Coast Balloon Adventures

Autumn should fill you with a surge of energy to explore our beautiful province before the death of winter sets in. Happily, I’ve spent the last few years having a blast as I researched my new book, Day Trips From Halifax. I’ve extracted five fun fall day trips especially for Halifax Magazine. Check out Facebook.com/HalifaxMagazine and @HalifaxMagazine on Twitter for a chance to win a copy of the new book.

Pumpkin People

Take a leisurely drive down old Highway 1 across the province to enjoy the fall foliage en route to Kentville. From October 4 to 26, enjoy the extravaganza that is Pumpkin People 2014. More than 350 orange plants will be transformed into royalty, celebrity or eccentricity at a dozen spots throughout the town. Bonus: veer off the road when you see a U-Pick sign and pull apples from the trees. Afterwards, head to the Port Pub (980 Terry’s Creek Road in Port Williams) to drink and dine at this sublime gastro pub.

Dawn to dusk

Start with a dawn hot air balloon ride over the Annapolis Valley with East Coast Balloon Adventures. Rise with the sun over the misty farmlands and vineyards, enjoying the aerial nature tour over forests. The balloon soars up, offering views from huddling Wolfville to the expansive Bay of Fundy. Land in a field and celebrate with the customary glass of champagne (pilot Seth Bailey brings the bubbly). Pop over to Wolfville and join Grape Escapes for a guided tour of the Valley’s vineyards. They’ll take you to three wineries for tasting and learning, followed by a lunch at one vineyard, or a cheese tasting elsewhere, depending on which tour you book. So much fun.

Scarecrow Festival

My wife and I had our third date at the Annual Great Scarecrow Festival and Antique Fair, so it holds a special spot in my heart. Gather your special someone and amble along old Highway 3 for a scenic coastal drive to Mahone Bay. Between October 3 and 5, you’ll find fun family activities (live entertainment, music, crafts and Disney-inspired scarecrows), a candlelit jack-o-lantern walk, and an antique show.

Kayak the East Coast’s east coast

I’ve gone kayaking with Scott Cunningham at Coastal Adventures a few times, and I always learn new things about the ocean, land and creatures around Tangiers. He’s been in business for 33 years and can day trip you through the Eastern Shore Islands. This trip works for beginners (use a double kayak if one of you is more experienced) and experienced kayakers who want a guide to show them the terrain.

Wildlife, wild time

Head to Shubenacadie Wildlife Park on October 25 for a Wild Halloween Party. Between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the park will be decked out for tricks and treats. Wear a costume and let the wolves, bears and reindeer ogle you for a change. The park offers a beautiful fall walk, and it feels like a bonus when you spot a moose.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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