Last minute Halloween hacks for ghost seekers and leaf peepers

There’s still time to plan fall forays

By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva


Halloween is less than a week away.  How are you celebrating the Day of the Dead? Maybe some simple leaf peeping plus visits to spooky spots? Read on.

Did  you know that leaf peeping tours are now the hottest travel ticket in town? More folks than ever are booking tours or driving their RVs in search of the changing leaves. Many eager to witness the autumnal phenomena are heading to  Williamsburg, Virginia?  It’s ideal for an Eastern Seabourn  fall escape  with its  true treasure trove of autumn colors,  exciting events , festivals and more.

One of its best kept secrets is Kingsmill Resort, the only AAA Four Diamond resort in town, and the only one on the majestic James River. The 2900-acre facility features a massive indoor pool, a million dollar spa, two championship golf courses. There is also miles of hiking/biking trails.

Leaf peeping sites

The best places to view the changing leaves is along Colonial Parkway to Waller Mill Park to the Island Loop around Jamestown Island.  That’s where to witness a pageant of blazing reds and vibrant yellows blazing from various trees, goldenrods,  asters, tickseeds, and thoroughworts.

Hiking trails

Soak  in the season’s majesty by hiking on one of many trails through forests, wetlands, and fields.  Start on the scenic four-mile walking path that winds its way through Kingsmill itself. Then head to The Greensprings Greenway Interpretative Trail. The trail spans five miles (with several loop options) in Jamestown Settlement. Explore a different landscape on the dozen short trails of the coastal estuary at York River State Park.

Sample the Bounty of the Season

Feast on local  produce at the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Merchants’ Square Saturday mornings from 8 to Noon. Pick up scrumptious  bakery goods at Yorktown Market. You will love seasonal favorites of kettle corn, and caramel apples and pumpkin pies.  There’s also  hay rides, pumpkin painting, and live music. Then on Nov. 20 Harvest Market offers log-carving demonstrations, bluegrass music, hayrides, and more.


Of course you must leave time to taste the grape. And Virginia wines are famous. You can sample them during Yorktown Wine Festival on Riverwalk Landing, Oct. 2 from noon to 6 p.m.

Wine is also available at the Virginia Living Museum’s 9th annual Oyster Roast on Nov. 13, where you can enjoy all-you-can-eat local Virginia oysters, fried seafood, chowder, craft beers, live music, raffles, and more. Slurp, slurp!

Commemorate the foodways of 17th- and 18th-century America during Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia, Nov. 26-28. At this two-day event, explore colonial cooking techniques and what the settlers gathered, preserved, and prepared on land and at sea at Jamestown Settlement. Meanwhile, at the Yorktown Victory Center learn about the typical grub served to soldiers during the Revolution.

Find Your Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Orange rules the day in Pumpkinville in Toano. Pick your own pumpkin or choose from those already harvested on this family farm. Shop for seasonal specialties such as gourds, winter squash, and fall flowers and decorations, including bundles of cornstalks and bales of straw. During the Halloween season, hop on a free hayride that circles the field or get lost in the corn maze.

 Halloween thrills and chills

Haunted houses and ghost walks, and creepy carriage rides happen in Greater Williamsburg. There’s  a one-hour candlelit Haunted Williamsburg tour at 7 each night, with exclusive access to historic outdoor spaces and costumed storytellers who share their unnerving tales.

Screaming is an Olympic sport during Halloween and the blood-curdling horror happens at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Sept. 10 to Oct. 31, five haunted houses, four terror-tories, four sinister shows, two party zones, and surprise horrors await at every turn. Go ahead, start shaking in your boots now. Little ones can celebrate not-so-spooky fun with a costume party and trick-or-treating at The Count’s Spooktacular.

Listen to tales of paranormal activities on a guided tour through the 1726 Berkeley Plantation mansion in Charles City followed by a lantern-led walk through the gardens, grounds, cemetery, and corn maze. The Twilight Ghost Tour of one of Virginia’s most historic plantations takes place Oct. 9 and 22.

Jamestown Settlement hosts Family Frights, a Halloween-themed program for the whole family on Oct. 23 and 24 featuring trick-or-treating, ghostly tales, haunted houses and ships, and grisly games.

Come back soon as we’ll be giving more ideas for fall fun. And, be sure to contact a Pavlus agent to help plan any tours, trips or cruises.


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