As the weather cools and days get shorter, Sanford, NC heats up with all sorts of fun seasonal activities and experiences. Here are a handful of things truly worth “falling” for.
Spend Time Down on the Farm
Gross Farms to be exact. Start by visiting the farm’s pumpkin patch to choose from gorgeous gourds of all shapes and sizes to accent your Halloween or add a touch of fall to home décor. From there, get lost in the largest corn maze in all of Lee County. Test your mettle with over 4 miles of winding pathways and various puzzles and checkpoints to keep things interesting.
Once you’re free of the maze, close out your visit with a memorable fall hayride or a leisurely stroll through the sunflower patch which is sure to brighten your day even more. Local tip: To enjoy the corn maze, pumpkin patch and hayride, you must purchase your tickets online. Tickets for the sunflower patch are available here.
And that’s just the beginning! Gross Farms is also home to live music starting in October. Get your toes a-tappin’ to the likes of The Cliff Wheeler Band, The B-Sides Band and Faith Bardhill every Saturday starting at 2 PM.
Swing for the Fairways
Crisp autumn mornings and afternoons were made for putting around and driving home a stellar round of golf. Head on over to Tobacco Road Golf Club to try your hand at the course ranked #4 on a list of the best courses built since 1976. Additional options like Quail Ridge Golf Course, Sanford Golf Course, and Carolina Trace make it fairly easy to plan an entire trip around your golf swing.
Shop for Antiques and More
Fall is definitely the season to shop everything from furniture to fashion. Why not discover some new, old treasures on the Sanford Antique Trail? Seven unique stops await you for a lovely shopping afternoon, day or weekend. Browse furniture with character, china with charm, striking art, homey accents and much more to brighten up your personal space.
For unique gifts this fall, look no further than local stores like Added Accents – home to unique, yet hip and sophisticated gifts, clothing and home accessories. You can also scratch that itch for fall décor at Southern Charm on Wicker Street or snag a seasonal floral arrangement at Ted’s Flower Basket.
High Cotton Couture is the one stop fall fashionistas won’t want to miss for comfy sweaters, stylish boots, smart hats and more stylish duds. Great threads and accessories can also be found by browsing both 2nd Glances consignment shop and The Cotton Lily.
Peep Some Fall Foliage
Sanford has several outdoor spaces where you can truly enjoy the autumn scenery. For instance, San Lee Park boasts 177+ acres of nature complete with hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, two lakes for paddle boating and fishing as well as campsite and picnic areas – all wonderful spots for spying fall color.
For more waterfront views, consider launching a kayak or canoe on the Deep River with the help of Endor Paddle. Or, enjoy the changing leaves with a bit more history over at Ole Gillam Mill Park. The park is home to a reproduction of the original Gillam Mill constructed in 1850.
Warm Up with Something Hot
When fall temperatures dip, snuggle up with a warm cup of coffee, tea or cocoa. If you’re in downtown Sanford, pop over to Kathy’s Java Express for a quick pick-me-up, whether it’s a cup of great tasting coffee, a bowl of soup or a hearty sandwich. For another option, try Karma Boutique & Coffee Bar where in addition to sipping coffee and tea you can also shop hand-crafted goods for home and body.
Finally, for the ultimate experience of southern-style afternoon tea, wander over to Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House. Grab a table on the restaurant’s wraparound porch to savor crisp fall air and sample a range of delicious dishes ranging from stuffed potatoes and quiche to hamburgers and salads – all served with a heaping helping of southern hospitality.
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Fall in Love with Mural Art
Appreciate art even more this time of year, especially the outdoor kind. Strap on your walking shoes and take on Sanford’s Mural Art Trail – a public arts initiative that promotes the city’s rich history and values. Currently, there are 12 works on display for visitors to see. The two latest additions to the trail include a 3-D caterpillar added to the “Wings” mural downtown as well as a new art installation at Kiwanis Family Park called “Love Lock Heart.”
Spooky Seasonal Events
Downtown Sanford is downright spooky when the Boo & Brew Ghost Tour is scaring up loads of fun for brave pub crawlers and lovers of the paranormal. Come hear the tale of the late Lee McIver whose ghost is said to haunt the historic Lee Furniture Building. This self-guided audio tour takes you around to five local restaurants and bars: Libations 139, Hugger Mugger Brewing Company, Local Joe’s Tap & Grill, La Dolce Vita Pizzeria and Smoke and Barrel.
If ghost stories aren’t your thing, experience Downtown Alive Second Saturdays for awesome music instead. We also suggest sampling the seasonal produce available at the Sanford Farmers’ Market.
Happy fall, y’all!