Ways to avoid pumpkins and still enjoy fall in Philly

Photos – local – septcal04-p
The Pumpkin Playground at Longwood Gardens, which also has non-pumpkin options.

Pumpkins, once primarily associated with Halloween jack-o’-lanterns and Thanksgiving pie, have taken over.

The omnipresent gourd is the centerpiece of harvest festivals and coffee shops, grocery stores and weekend outings, fall decorations and all manner of crafts.

Don’t get lost in the pumpkin-spice haze. There are plenty of things to do in Philadelphia this fall that have nothing to do with pumpkins.

Read more: I tried all the pumpkin spice things. It was basic(ally awful)

Not every fall festival is about pumpkins

Clover Market, which will set up rain or shine on Oct. 22 and Nov. 5 in Bryn Mawr, features dozens of vendors selling handcrafted and antique items.

Likewise, the Fishtown Flea will be open for local, artisan shopping on Oct. 21 on Frankford Avenue.

The Chatsworth Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth celebrates one of the other great flavors of fall. It features craft vendors from across the United States, a car show, and live music. But cranberries are the star, stuffed into everything from jams to breads to ice cream.

People may not go out in bogs for cranberries the way they would pick their own apples or pumpkins, said Melissa Camiscioni, one of the festival chairs, but there is no denying the fruit’s popularity — tens of thousands of people attend the festival.

See a different side of classic sites

Florals for fall are groundbreaking. To enjoy autumn blooms, head to Longwood Gardens, where thousands of colorful chrysanthemums shaped into orbs and columns are on display through Nov. 19 during the Chrysanthemum Festival.

Or skip pumpkin carving and embrace the scary side of Halloween with a trip to Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary through Nov. 11 or the Haunted Halloween History Tour at Laurel Hill Cemetery on Oct. 20 and 21.

Take advantage of the outdoors while you still can

For fall foliage and scenic overlooks, venture an hour or so outside the city, said David Mildenberg, owner and operator of the guided wilderness tours company Valley to Summit.

Some of Mildenberg’s favorite spots for an autumn hike are French Creek State Park, Hawk Mountain, and Ralph Stover State Park. While it is hard to predict when you can enjoy the most fall color, he said, the last two weeks of October are often the peak.

You also can enjoy the last of the good weather and get some exercise right here in the city. The Delaware River Waterfront Corp.’s Free Yoga on the Pier continues through Nov. 12, with a special twilight class at 6 p.m. on Nov. 4.

The Fishtown Beer Runners take off at 7 p.m. every Thursday from different spots in the city for a three- to five-mile run that concludes with a chance to socialize with the other runners over a beer.

Speaking of beer…

Since the market is saturated with pumpkin ales, many local breweries are thinking outside the orange rind in terms of flavors, said Hope Corry, general manager of The Foodery in Philadelphia.

Some of Corry’s fall picks include Sly Fox Oktoberfest Lager, Victory Black Forest Cake, and Manayunk Rise & Grind Imperial Stout.

Then there is Weyerbacher’s Dallas Sucks, a beer made for tailgating that was meant to be a collaboration — if any breweries in Texas found the name funny. Weyerbacher made nice, though, by donating a portion of the proceeds to Hurricane Harvey relief.

The Vault Sweet Potato Ale is kind of a cheat, Corry said, but a delicious one; she described it as reminiscent of the sweet potato casserole that graces many a Thanksgiving table.

Other tastes of fall

The specialty grocery Green Aisle has plenty of alternative fall flavors from local purveyors, including its own line of preserves.

Apples are always a good bet, especially in a Weckerly’s caramel apple and oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich or a pint of Zsa’s Caramel Apple Crisp.

Maple can be found in Pequea Valley Farm yogurt, Dad’s Hat Maple Syrup, Keep Well vinegar, and Green Aisle’s walnut butter.

Inspired Brews has a reminder that it is also grape season, with its Harvest Grape kombucha.

Still, customers love the novelty of pumpkin, co-owner Andrew Erace said. The La Colombe pumpkin draft latte has been extremely popular.

It’s OK; even if you promised yourself a pumpkin-free fall, you can cheat once or twice.

Clover Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 5, 7 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, theclovermarket.com
Fishtown Flea, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, 1220 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, fishtownflea.us

Chatsworth Cranberry Festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 and Sunday, Oct. 22, 3980 Main St., Chatsworth, cranfest.info

Chrysanthemum Festival, through Sunday, Nov. 19, Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

Terror Behind the Walls, through Nov. 11, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org

Haunted Halloween History Tours, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21, Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, 215-228-8200, thelaurelhillcemetery.org

Valley to Summit, 215-543-6171, valleytosummit.com

French Creek State Park, 843 Park Rd., Elverson, 610-582-9680, dcnr.pa.gov

Hawk Mountain, 1700 Hawk Mountain Rd., Kempton, 610-756-6961, hawkmountain.org

Ralph Stover State Park, 6011 State Park Rd., Pipersville, 610-982-5560, dcnr.pa.gov

Free Yoga on the Pier, through Nov. 12, Race Street Pier, delawareriverwaterfront.com

Fishtown Beer Runners, 7 p.m. Thursdays, fishtownbeerrunners.com

The Foodery, 324 S. 10th St. and 837 N. Second St., Philadelphia, 215-928-1111, fooderybeer.com

Green Aisle Grocery, 2241 Grays Ferry Ave. and 1618 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, 215-465-1411, greenaislegrocery.com