Fall foliage update
We’re finally feeling the cooler temperatures here in the DMV, which means it’s time to reluctantly turn in your sleeveless shirts and flip-flops for thicker jackets and well-worn boots.
The summer heat lingered this year into the early weeks of October, shattering a 96-degree record from 1941 for a new 98-degree record on Oct. 2 in the nation’s capital.
And as those steamy, hot days faded, you may have been wondering, when is peak fall foliage this year?
Typically, fall foliage in Northern Virginia is at full glory this week (Oct. 20 to 27), but as of The Department of Forestry’s Oct. 19 update, we’re still fairly green. Higher elevations are seeing patches of color, but nothing widespread just yet. The bright oranges, reds and yellows that are to come are still teasing us with no definitive timeframe on when to expect full color.
If you’re eager to keep an eye on it yourself, be sure to check out The Department of Forestry’s webpage devoted solely to the color changes with weekly updates, and tune in to the Shenandoah National Park’s Mountain View webcam to get a peek for yourself in real time.
Another purchase, another park
On Sept. 19, Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors approved a $1.2 million purchase of 105 acres in Round Hill, which will be dedicated to parkland. The sale is set to be finalized in December, and Blue Ridge Supervisor Tony Buffington (R) confirmed 105.96 acres of the land will connect Sleeter Lake and Franklin Park.
There are currently no updates on what amenities or features the 100-plus acres of parkland would include, although the county’s most-recent Comprehensive Plan identified the community’s desire for more bike trails and open spaces for a variety of uses. (Loudoun Times-Mirror)
5 Hallo-weekend parks events
Pumpkin Pool Patch
Don’t put away your kiddo’s bathing suit just yet! Children 6 months (with a parent) up to 12 years old are encouraged to partake in this one-of-a-kind pumpkin patch, by swimming off of the park’s beach area to grab a pumpkin and haul it back to shore. Children can then decorate their pumpkins and take them home with their unique pumpkin hunting experience. // Oak Marr Recenter: 3200 Jermantown Road, Oakton; Saturday, Oct. 26, 2 p.m.; $10
A twilight walk through the forest, a take-home craft and a campfire with spooky stories are all in store for this Halloween-inspired night at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Two different programs will be held, one for ages 3 to 6, and another for 6 to 12. Not-so-scary stories will be told around the campfire for the younger group, and spooky stories will be told in the last 30 minutes of the campfire for older children. // Hidden Pond Nature Center: 8511 Greeley Blvd., Springfield; Saturday, Oct. 26, 5 p.m. (ages 3-6), 8 p.m. (ages 6-12); $10-$12 per child
Historic All Hallows Eve
Looking for a bit of a different Halloween experience? Learn how Virginians celebrated the holiday in the 18th and 19th centuries through storytelling, fortune telling, fall foods and family gatherings. Enjoy these activities and more as you tour the house and grounds by lantern light. // Sully Historic Site: 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly; Saturday, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.; $10
This adults-only event is all about the ancient superstitions and misogynistic beliefs that led to the fear of women as evil-doers and to their eventual persecutions in several villages for suspected witchcraft. Learn all about how “witchcraft is decidedly a feminist issue!” // Green Spring Gardens: 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria; Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m.; $15-$36
The Frightful Science of Mary Shelley
Whether you’ve read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for an assigned school reading, or you’re an excited fan of her work, this event can be a great way to celebrate the spookiness of Halloween. Dean Howarth, the Natural Philosopher, will demonstrate Frankenstein’s animation of the dead, and beverages and refreshments will be provided. // Historic Huntly: 6918 Harrison Lane, Alexandria; Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.; $22
For more parks news, events and more, subscribe to our Parks & Rec newsletter.