In 2023, the first day of fall is September 23, and Cumberland Valley is celebrating with a collection of fall-themed events! We've curated a colorful weekend escape filled with festivals, food, fun, and more.
Don't forget to sign up for the FREE digital Farm Fresh Trail passport during your visit, check-in at participating locations, and earn prizes. Visit farms and markets to discover a bounty of fresh produce and find delightful farm fun experiences. With locations spread throughout Cumberland Valley, you'll always find a nearby spot to pick a bushel of fun. The passport runs from August 17 through November 20, 2023.
Cumberland Valley is a short two- to three-hour drive from Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Baltimore, meaning that you can leave work a little early on Friday and arrive here by dinnertime.
Get into a spooky Halloween spirit when you register for a Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise aboard the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat.
Or visit Grand Illusion Hard Cider in downtown Carlisle, where you can combine their delicious ciders and delectable food with a fun-filled experience in one of their Escape Rooms. Choose from 1313 Mockingbird Lane: A Munster's Mystery or Teddy Ruxpin's Revenge.
If you're a race fan, catch Friday night racing at Williams Grove Speedway. The schedule on September 22 will feature the 410 Sprints World of Outlaws Tune-Up and the 358 Sprints Hoosier Diamond Series (tickets required).
The comfortable weather in early fall is ideal for al fresco dining. With over 300 restaurants in Cumberland Valley, you'll find varying cuisine types, including Belgium, Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, and more, mixed with favorite American classics. Pictured: Dockside Willies
Start your day with a delicious, seasonal treat. Cumberland Valley is bursting with farm markets and bakeries serving up fresh produce and mouth-watering baked goods, including many apple and pumpkin-flavored treats.
On the West Shore, check out the West Shore Farmer's Market. This 60,000-ft facility is home to 50 vendors selling a delectable and delightful array of produce, meats, cheeses, spices, and baked goods. If you have time, check out the upstairs shops for home decor, gifts, clothing, and more. Or, check out the Dillsburg Farmers' Market, the Downtown Shippensburg Market, New Cumberland's Farmers' Market on 4th, and the Farmers' Market on the Lawn in Newville. The seasonal open-air markets feature locally-grown produce, baked goods, and other delightful treats.
Sweet Velvet Macarons in Camp Hill sells uniquely sweet and delicious handcrafted French macarons. Choose from the monthly flavor menu, which features 20 curated options.
Nearby, the Pennsylvania Bakery in Camp Hill is a local favorite for all things sweet. Find monster cookies, seasonal cupcakes, rotating flavors of scones, and everything in between in their large selection of bakery cases. Camp Hill is also home to Sweet Velvet Macarons. They offer a monthly flavor menu featuring 20 curated options of these delightful French treats.
Talking Breads (pictured) in Mechanicsburg mills their own flour and makes many baked items, including Old World European bread, scones, turnovers, and hand pies in an open-concept bakery.
Although it's not a bakery, Fay's Country Kitchen in Carlisle is a crowd-pleaser. This vintage cafe serves breakfast and lunch in a Coca-Cola-themed dining room. Diners will be delighted by the massive pancake menu, showcasing seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice topped with homemade whipped cream. Be sure to bring cash, as they do not accept credit cards.
If you're staying in Shippensburg, stop by the Art of Pie Cafe and be tempted by their rotating display of sweet delights, crepes, and breakfast sandwiches.
Today's lineup of fall festivals means a full day of eating, drinking, shopping, and entertainment and showcases all the reasons why Cumberland Valley is a wonderful place to live, work, play... and visit. Choose one or two of your favorites, or if you're feeling ambitious, hit all four stops.
Harvest of the Arts & Meeting of the Marques (September 23)
Harvest of the Arts is a downtown Carlisle staple and includes juried crafts, an emerging artist market, entertainment, kids' activities, and food vendors. Parts of West High Street and Pitt Street are closed for the event, giving visitors plenty of room to stroll the street, shop downtown's unique boutiques and galleries, and admire the architecture of this pre-Revolutionary War town. Meeting of the Marques is a display and appreciation of the art of vehicles, featuring British and American-made cars. Event Hours: 10 am-5 pm Event Cost: Free
Sunflower Festival (September 23 & 24)
Stroll through 50 acres of sunflowers at Meadowbrooke Gourds' Sunflower Festival. This unique farm is the largest gourd-crafting facility in the country, and visitors will love exploring its grounds. There are several gourd-shaped houses that make the perfect backdrop for photos, and the two-day festival includes an Oops! sale, craft vendors, food vendors, trolley rides, music, and nearby pumpkin picking. Visitors are encouraged to cut and take home the sunflowers. Event Hours: 10 am-6 pm Event Cost: Free
Shippensburg Beer & Wine Festival (September 23)
Sample your way through breweries, wineries, and cideries at the annual Shippensburg Beer & Wine Festival. The day also includes live music, cornhole, and food trucks. Event Hours: 1 pm-5 pm; VIP Admission at 12 pm Event Cost: $10-$35, tickets required
Pennsylvania Tea Festival (September 22 & 23)
This two-day specialty tea event begins on Friday and continues on Saturday. While strolling the fragrant herb gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances Tea Room in charming downtown Mechanicsburg, you will be introduced to a wide variety of specialty teas to expand and enhance your knowledge of tea and tea culture. The festival features guided tea tastings and tea samplings offered by many tea experts, a variety of merchants and vendors, a range of teas and herbal tisanes, informative programs, musical entertainment, and peace and tranquility in the herb gardens. Event Hours: 9am-4pm Event Cost: $15/advance; $18/at the door
The fun continues Saturday night. Race go-karts, play mini-golf, compete in laser tag, and enjoy arcade games at the Carlisle Sports Emporium or catch a movie under the stars at the Cumberland Drive-In Theatre. Old-fashioned fun continues at Midway Bowling. Rock 'N Bowl occurs (Friday & Saturday nights) from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am. Or test your skills on their axe-throwing lanes. End the evening with a drink on their outdoor patio, where you can relax around the fire pits or play corn hole and other lawn games. Click here to read more about other axe-throwing venues in Cumberland Valley.
Tap, tour and try a pint on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail. Sign up for a free passport, and visit over 30 breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries spread out over the Valley. Check-in at participating locations and earn prizes. With so many flavors to explore, you'll want to make a return visit. Pictured: Molly Pitcher Brewing Co.
Start Sunday morning with peaceful Yoga on the Terrace ($10 donation suggested) at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center. Afterward, stay around to take a free self-guided tour of the mansion and hike some of the 25 miles of trails. The park has numerous overlooks and picnic areas.
Or, enjoy a complimentary one-hour yoga class at Hemauer Brewing Co. and stay for brunch afterward. Please note that pre-registration is required.
If you signed up for our Beer Trail passport, several locations along the trail offer delicious Sunday brunch options.
Or, begin your morning with a hunt for treasures at the Farmers Flea Market. Taking place every Sunday morning at the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Society grounds, you never know what you will find. If you are looking for more antique or vintage gems, follow our Antiques & Vintage Trail to find the perfect Cumberland Valley memento. Pictured: Carlisle Antique Mall
Fill your Instagram feed and capture the spirit of Cumberland Valley with images of downtown murals, tucked-away covered bridges and other scenic spots when you explore the Cumberland Valley Photo Trail. Along the way, you're sure to find other happy surprises.
Early fall is the perfect time to take a hike in Cumberland Valley. Whether you're taking a day-hike on the iconic Appalachian Trail or ascending to an overlook for sweeping views of the Valley, you'll want to make sure you packed your camera. Pictured: Waggoner's Gap Hawk Watch
MAKE A RETURN VISIT
If you enjoyed your early fall visit to Cumberland Valley, you'll want to make sure to return later in the fall. Upcoming fall festivals include:
Look for additional festivals to be added to the schedule as we get closer to October.
Peak fall foliage typically occurs in mid-late October. Whether you prefer to drive or hike, find the best viewing spots. Pictured: Kings Gap Environmental Education Center