Fall is hands down the best time of the year. Mostly because my birthday is in the fall, but also because it means we have all finally escaped the infamous “Davis summer.” Before long, it’ll be winter and we all know that once the California snow comes in, we’d rather just stay huddled up in bed. So take advantage of your newfound freedom to actually go outside without melting or freezing. Fortunately, the Davis area is full of classic fall activities to help you distress after midterms and keep a healthy mind throughout the stressful quarter. After all, the great outdoors is the perfect place to relax and be around friends.
UC Davis Arboretum
The UC Davis Arboretum is one of the most beautiful spots on campus and a great place to unwind all year. During the fall, you can see the leaves change colors, making it the perfect place for a stroll or picnic. The Arboretum is right on campus and is the most convenient way to get into the fall spirit. Besides the scenery, there are also Fall Plant Sales going on in the Arboretum (Saturday, October 22 and November 5) where you can find seasonal and local plants to brighten up your home. Be sure to stop by between classes, or make a day out of it! It might even be your lucky day and you’ll see that elusive river otter.
Challenge yourself and your friends to a Guinness World Record corn maze. Cool Patch Pumpkins is located in Dixon, less than 6 miles away from campus. If you have gone before, no worries! The maze design is changed every year. If you haven’t, get ready for 43 acres of corn. Before you panic, there is an intermediate path and an advanced path to choose from. Although Cool Patch Pumpkins is open throughout the day, the most popular time to go is at night to up the thrill level, but be forewarned: the maze gets very crowded at night and it is recommended to bring a flashlight. (I went a little earlier in the afternoon and preferred it more, though, since my group essentially had the entire maze to ourselves. Tradeoffs, you know?)
Of course, it’s not fall without Halloween, and it’s not Halloween without pumpkins. Don’t settle for Safeway pumpkins! Treat yo’ self to fresh pumpkins at the many pumpkin patches around Davis. These include Impossible Acres Farm in Davis, Bobby Dazzler’s Pumpkin Patch in between Davis and Woodland, Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon, and Uncle Ray’s Pumpkin Patch in Sacramento. For anyone without a car, Impossible Acres Farm is not an impossible patch to get to and is a bike-able 3 miles away from campus, and Bobby Dazzler’s is just a little farther than that. Cool Patch Pumpkins is a good two-birds-one-stone patch to also experience the world record corn maze. Uncle Ray’s may be worth the drive to Sacramento for its free admission, hay rides, and corn maze (sadly, the pumpkins aren’t also free). There is a pumpkin patch for every need so don’t miss out!
Spend a day with the pumpkin’s biggest fall-time rival: the apple. Apple Hill is filled with orchards, farms, and all sorts of activities. Whether it is eating fresh apple cider donuts at Rainbow Orchards or eating every other apple variety you can think of and more (apple tasting, wine tasting, juice, cider, pies, jams, syrups, etc.) at Boa Vista, you will have all your college student food cravings satisfied. And yes, you can pick and eat your own apples! For a more active day, Sly Park and Jenkinson Lake offers a picnic area, hiking/bike trails, kayak rentals, and camp grounds. Although Apple Hill is an hour away, there is more than enough to do to occupy you for an entire day or weekend.
A big part of making yourself feel at home in Davis is exploring its surroundings. Before long, you’ll basically be a local. I finally felt like a real UC Davis student when I began to experience things outside of school and was able to recommend activities and places to visiting friends and family. Being happy and comfortable in Davis is important to your mental health and success at UC Davis. Start the school year off strong and make the most of everything our community has to offer. Good luck, and have fun!
BASC Peer Adviser
Third Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior Major