Autumn officially begins on September 22 in 2021, 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. Whether you're traveling as a couple or with family or friends, you'll find something for every taste and preference.
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 the fall spirit with a 1.5-hr East Side Ghost Tour of historic downtown Carlisle (tickets required), or if you're a race fan, catch Friday night racing at Williams Grove Speedway. The schedule on September 24 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.
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.
Talking Breads (pictured) in Mechanicsburg not only mills their own flour, but they make their large selection of baked items including Old World European breads, 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 up 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.
New Cumberland Apple Festival (September 25)
New Cumberland's Apple Festival is an annual event that celebrates all things apple. Set in the riverside New Cumberland Borough Park, visitors will find music, 200+ craft vendors, 70+ food vendors, and family activities. Event Hours: 9am-4pm Event Cost: Free Events Happening Nearby: New Cumberland Farmer's Market
Harvest of the Arts & Meeting of the Marques (September 25)
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: 10am-5pm Event Cost: Free Events Happening Nearby: Fall Harvest Apple Weekend
Sunflower Festival (September 25-26)
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 their grounds. There are a number of 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: 10am-6pm Event Cost: Free
Shippensburg Beer & Wine Festival (September 25)
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: 1pm-5pm; VIP Admission at 12pm Event Cost: $10-$35, tickets required Events Happening Nearby: Jam in the Park
The fun continues Saturday night. Catch southern rock legends The Outlaws at the art-deco Carlisle Theatre (tickets required). Or, explore downtown Carlisle on a 1.5-hr West Side Ghost Tour (tickets required). If you brought the kids, race go-karts, play mini-golf, compete at laser tag and enjoy arcade games at the Carlisle Sports Emporium or catch a movie under the stars at the Cumberland Drive-In Theatre.
Tap, tour and try a pint on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail. Sign up for a free passport, and visit over 20 breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries spread out over the Valley. Win prizes for 5 and 15 check-ins. 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 Mountain ($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 Yoga Sundays at Ever Grain Brewing Company. Please note, pre-registration is required for this by-donation class. Afterward, stay and enjoy a beer.
If you signed up for our Beer Trail passport, there are several locations along the trail that 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:
Oct 9-10: East Pennsboro Pumpkin Festival
Sept 29-Oct 3: Fall Carlisle
Oct 15-17: Destination Carlisle's Halloweekend
Oct 16-17: Fall Furnace Festival
Oct 16-17: Fall Harvest Brewfest
Oct 22-24: Fall Fest
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