Thursday, October 11, 2018

Our Favorite Pumpkin Patch

If you want a pumpkin, there are hundreds of options around town. If you want a pumpkin-picking experience, there are dozens of choices nearby. But here's our favorite patch for picking our own gourds and having some fall fun at the same time.

Riverbend Farm, located in Midland, NC, is just 30 minutes east of Uptown Charlotte. And, while they've got an abundance of pumpkins for the choosing, it's the other simple attractions that make it a magical experience.

Our favorite part: The slides. Riverbend offers a pretty amazing play area with a collection of impressive slides, some two stories and higher. They've built these around actual silos and other wooden treehouse-like structures. Kids could easily spend the majority of your visit in this area.

But there's more to see and do!

Take a stroll across the covered bridge that runs over one of a couple of bucolic ponds on the property. Take pictures with giant farm animal replicas. Visit the live farm animals in the barn, including a pony, turkeys and (when we were there) a baby pig. Or peruse the goods in the old country store (they have ice cream!).

And, of course, pick a pumpkin. Bonus: You get to take a giant, tractor-pulled wagon to get to the field, so no paying extra for a hayride around the grounds. The pumpkins have been cut from the vine, but remain scattered like Easter eggs in the field, which adds an element of authenticity to the experience.

The people who run Riverbend are kind and helpful. They make the visit all the more enjoyable.

The farm hours are 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays, and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sundays. If you can swing it, I highly recommend going on a weekday afternoon. Weekends can get pretty crowded.

Admission is $5:50 per person. Pumpkins are $0.40 per pound (which makes them some of the less expensive among pick-your-own farms).

There are outhouse bathrooms on the farm (well kept and clean!) and picnic tables if you want to bring snacks or lunch.

If you're really looking to make a day of it, consider a short, 0.9 mile (one way) hike along the Riverbend Farm Trail, part of the Carolina Thread Trail.

How to get there:
Riverbend farm is located at 12150 McManus Road, Midland, NC 28107.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Money: For admission and your pumpkin. They take both cash and credit cards.
  • Comfy shoes: It's a great place to stroll and play. After a heavy rain, consider boots.
  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: There's very little shade on the farm, especially in the pumpkin fields.

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