New York Pumpkin Picking (PHOTOS)

If you are looking for an autumnal day trip but can't take the time off to go to, say, Vermont or New Hampshire, then consider a jaunt to a nearby pumpkin patch in Long Island, Queens or upstate.

Whether you are searching for the perfect pumpkin to carve, are hunting for seeds or merely interested in soaking in the beautiful fall foliage, a trip to one of these farms is the perfect escape.

The largest tract of undisturbed farmland left in New York City, the Queens County Farm Museum can trace its roots back to 1697. The grounds, which include vineyards, planting fields and livestock, are serene and beautiful. On weekends you can also tour the historic farmhouse and learn more about agrarian life in New York. During the month of October, the farm offers a pick-your-own-pumpkin program that allows you to stroll through the planting grounds and choose your own squash. While you're there celebrating the season, check out the Maize Maze, hayrides and later in the month, a Halloween haunted house.

How to get there:

This farm can be reached easily by subway. Take the E or F Train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station. From there, take the eastbound on Union Turnpike, Q46 Bus to the Little Neck Parkway Stop. Cross Union Turnpike and walk North on Little Neck Parkway three blocks to the entrance.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, New York 11004; (718) 347-3276

The Schmitt Family Farm is truly a labor of love for Albie and Dottie Schmitt. Alongside their three children and grandchildren, they have kept the farm alive even as development (and the Long Island Expressway) encroached on the land. For a serious escape from the city, the farm offers a plethora of fall activities not limited to picking pumpkins. They also have hayrides, an indoor haunted maze, fresh apple cider, candy apples and bales of hay, cornstalks and Indian corn.

How to get there:
Though you feel like you've been transported to a farm in the Midwest, the Schmitt Family Farm is only and hour from the city by car (it is only a 1/4 Mile North of the Long Island Expressway, Exit 50) and an hour and a half using public transportation. We recommend renting a car for the day and enjoying the scenic drive.
6 Bagatelle Rd, Dix Hills, NY 11746; (631) 385-1033

If you are serious about pumpkins, then you must visit Stakey's Pumpkin Farm. The farm, located on the Eastern end of Long Island, has a pumpkin patch that stretches over 26 acres, with over 18 different varieties. Stakey's is also the the place to go for fall and Halloween decor with its extensive country store and flower house with mums, flowering cabbage and kale, gourds, window box plantings and fresh straw bales.

How to get there:
The drive from NYC to Stakey's can be a speedy hour and 45 minutes without traffic. If you are taking the the L.I.E., take Exit 73 (Route 58) heading East and drive for about 5 miles. Make the first left onto West Lane after the Modern Snack Bar restaurant, then drive for about one mile. Definitely stop at the Modern Snack Bar on your way to the farm or home for its old-fashioned feel and fantastic lobster salad.
270 West Lane, Aquebogue, NY 11931; (631) 722-3467