Learning to love fall at Allegheny

Fall is a lovely time for this area. It clears your head, is shockingly beautiful and offers pumpkins, apple cider, Halloween and spice and sharpness in the air.

Since it’s that time of year, I thought I’d recommend some great fall events. The first is the Dinner Theatre at the Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs. Dinner theatre has so many things I love: food, quaintness, theatre, mystery/humor, hilariously bad acting, over-the-top premises and goofy singing. On tap for this year: the annual medieval feast, a murder mystery, “Whatta Wedding” and the soon-to-be-classic comedies “Drinking Habits” (Featuring nuns! Nuns are comedy gold) and the “Roaring ‘20s Speakeasy,” where you can mingle with mobsters.

Buttons and Bows is a thrift store with lots of random and unique used clothes. Halloween is coming up — maybe they will have that top hat you’ve been looking for.

Conneaut Lake Park is a combination amusement park,  picnic grounds and step into yesteryear. I love all festivals, amusements parks and circuses because I always enjoy an atmosphere of festivity. If everyone comes determined to have fun, then how can you not have fun?  Conneaut Lake Park has lots of community and history as well as a pretty sweet location, right on Pennsylvania’s biggest natural (glacier) lake. They have a Fall Pumpkin Fest (Oct. 8-10th), which includes such novel activities as celebrity cow milking and dropping a 1,000-pound pumpkin on a mountain of motorcycles. These things don’t make any sense, which I’m sure will only make it more entertaining.

Visit a winery! They are classy places. Really, it’s much more fun to get wine from a winery than going to the liquor store (they let you taste the wine). Wilhelm Winery, Angeli Winery and Deer Creek Winery are all in the area. You can also check out a local brewery like Sprague Farms or Blue Canoe Brewery.

Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe. You can read their story on their website and drag each page of the story across the page. It’s really quite cute, and it amused me for more than a few minutes. They name their chocolates after family members or employ puns such as Toe Foo, Santa’s Barbell, Mammo-Grahms. Charming.  Oh, Finney’s Chocolate Shoppe. You had me at the extra “pe.”

Also check out Campbell Pottery Store, especially their glassblowing demonstrations. I could watch glassblowing for hours. Apparently almost all of their stuff is arm-and-a-leg expensive, but it’s pretty cool to look at nonetheless.

Applefest in Franklin from October 1-3. It is a festival dedicated to apples, and I love apples. They aren’t the flashiest fruit. They don’t have the over-the-top punch and flavor of, say, pineapple. But an apple is reliable. Sweet, crunchy, delicious, apples can be made into cider, covered in caramel or dressed up in a doughnut or pie. But an apple is also perfect in and of itself. What a glorious, versatile fruit.

The Halloween Spooktacular at Pymatuning State Park. I think the word ‘spooktacular’ is an abuse of the English language as well as the art of creating portmanteaus.  Their website is all that is wrong with the Internet, with its animated GIFs, cheesy graphics and background, weird fonts, poor browsing and a lack of actual useful information. But I’m willing to overlook all of this because it seems just right if you are looking for cheesy Halloween activities, like hay rides, bonfires, and spooky walk in the woods. And cheesy Halloween activities are totally a fall tradition.