October's bright blue skies
The blue of the sky is never bluer or more beautiful than when you see the color weaving in and out between golden leaves and bright orange pumpkins.
It's even better in the country and better still if it's the setting for a day of fun and celebration of autumn.
We are particularly fortunate here in central Ohio, because there are so many farms, corn mazes, straw bales and pumpkin patches that welcome visitors throughout the harvest season.
One such farm is in Hebron on 96 acres of prime farmland. It is Devine Farms, owned by Carla and Ralph Devine. The couple bought the place in 1994 with the idea of making some extra money by selling cornstalks, pumpkins and various autumnal items. They found that people wanted to visit the farm and they began opening it to the public. Both held down jobs and ran the farm with the help of their children. It became so successful that in 1997 it was time to quit their day jobs and spend the year adding buildings and activities to their "harvesting fun."
The Devines' story is fascinating. Read about it at www.devinefarms.com.
They refer to the farm as "the home of the barrel train ride." It has to be seen to be believed and riding it is a delight for children. There are tons of activities for the kids, families, school groups and thrill ride lovers.
There are acres of pumpkins and gourds and a wide variety of harvest goodies, Indian corn, squirrel corn, honey, cornstalks and crafts. Many special weekends are planned for the season, such as a free hotdog day, a scarecrow-making day, and the annual kiddie pedal tractor pull.
New this year is the Conestoga wagon ride. Charla Devine said that many people have asked to see the "back 40" at the farm, "so this year we will have an open air van with a canopy over it to make it look like a Conestoga wagon. It was built just for us."
Some of the special October activities include the Sweet Corn Festival parade, airbrush art for designer pumpkins, Pumpkins and Bees Day, a pumpkin egg hunt with prizes, the Hebron Homecoming Parade, and a day honoring active military families. The Devines are donating five percent of their gross revenue to the Licking County Food Bank and Pantry.
There are five buildings brimming inside and out with games, activities and delicious food. Add to all that a straw mountain, the straw crawl, a beautiful 54-foot pumpkin mural, pumpkin and ornament painting, a delightful corn maze, and an area to observe a working bee hive.
Devine Farms has special times and rates for corporate, school, church and group outings. There also are facilities for parties of all kinds.
Don't forget to visit the newly expanded gift shop where visitors will find pumpkin butter, apple butter, honey, candles, coloring books, arrowheads, pumpkin pins and kids' novelties galore. The whole family will find something they just can't live without.
Devine Farms is open seven days a week during the fall season. Monday through Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 6 p.m. I can't recommend the farm's website enough. It gives a detailed description of the farm, plus a map and directions to help your family enjoy your own piece of October's bright blue skies.
Mildred Moss is Columbus Parent Magazine's travel writer.