Finally Fall: Get Outside and Enjoy the Fall in Northeast Mississippi
By Jennie Bradford Curlee
At last, the summer heat has subsided and the cool, crisp fall has arrived. Perhaps Northeast Mississippi’s best season for spending time outdoors, the fall not only offers spectacular views of changing leaves, but presents families throughout the area with a plethora of opportunities to spend time together outside.
Explore the Natchez Trace Parkway on Two Wheels or Four
Did you know that one of the country’s top ten national parks is headquartered right here in Tupelo? The Natchez Trace Parkway spans 444-miles from Nashville, TN, to Natchez, MS. This scenic byway offers families the chance to explore history over 8,000 years in the making, from Native Americans who first inhabited this land to Civil War soldiers who fought here. Whether your family enjoys hiking, bicycling, or just taking a beautiful drive, the Trace is the perfect fall outdoor family activity.
The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at milepost 266 is the ideal starting point to learn where to see fall foliage, where to find hiking trails, and to pick up a map of all of the parkway’s pull-offs. Check out the Pharr Mounds at milepost 286.7. These eight large dome-shaped mounds cover 90-acres, the equivalent of 100 football fields.
Apples, and Pumpkins, and Corn Mazes, oh my!
Move over pumpkin spice. Apples are the original flavor of fall and there is no better way to enjoy them than by taking your family to pick them straight off the tree. Cherry Creek Orchards in Pontotoc offers apple picking in their abundant orchards. Take a Saturday to pick away and plan all of the scrumptious ways your children can help consume the bounty of your hard work.
While you’re picking, stop by a local farm to pick up pumpkins for all of your fall décor needs. Many local pumpkin patches offer hayrides, petting zoos, ziplines to accompany your pumpkin picking. The Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo not only houses 260 exotic animals, but also has one of the best pumpkin patches and corn mazes around. They offer a haunted trail every Saturday night in October and horse trail rides each Saturday and Sunday through the end of October.
Find a Fall Festival
With mild temperatures, fall festivals are among the most enjoyable. Whether your family enjoys listening to live music, exploring the arts, or getting a little exercise, Northeast Mississippi offers an abundance of fall festivals in which to delight. Tupelo’s Oren Dunn City Museum hosts the annual Dogtrot Heritage Festival October 12-13, offering participants at look at what life was like when Tupelo first incorporated. Activities include Bluegrass music from the front porch of the Dogtrot House, pumpkin decorating and pumpkin chunkin’ contests, a scarecrow exhibit, crafts, and many kids’ activities.
Down, Set, HUT!
Nothing says fall quite like a night under the lights. Whether it’s your local high school team or your favorite collegiate squad, enjoying a bout on the football field is the consummate fall activity. In Tupelo, each of the elementary schools have a special night where they get to be on the field as the Tupelo Golden Wave run out before the game. The Tupelo Community Tailgate is October 12 at Tupelo High School. Put up a tent and tailgate with the Golden Wave prior to the game. Many other Northeast Mississippi high schools tell fans what color to wear each game. Get in the game with your family by supporting your school. Kick it up a notch by attending a collegiate game. Complete the experience by tailgating, buying team gear, and cheering on the home team.
With so many opportunities to explore the outdoors, enjoy the fall with your family and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Jennie Bradford Curlee is the director of public relations and international sales for the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has been counting down the days until fall since summer began and loves nothing more than attending SEC football games with her family