Enjoying the fall season is still achievable, even during a pandemic.
Various off-campus activities are available in the Pittsburgh area that are safe, fun and welcoming to college students who are trying to find a sense of normalcy, despite restrictions set with the coronavirus.
To enjoy the crisp autumn air and to find a change of scenery, Duquesne students have ventured to Soergel’s Orchards in Wexford, which is 20 minutes away from campus.
According to their website, Soergel’s traditional fall festival has been modified to accommodate CDC guidelines, leaving the pumpkin patch, farmer’s market and apple picking open to customers looking to take home some farm-fresh goods; not to mention, taking fall-festive pictures while they’re at it. Attendance is limited and masks are required, but this trip could mean socially-distanced fun with friends.
Sophomore nursing major Cecelia Stroemple said she appreciated being able to go off campus and enjoy “a beautiful fall day with friends.”
“We went through a corn maze and picked some pumpkins afterward from the field, then we went to buy some apple cider and treats,” Stroemple said. “Overall a great experience where we could still socially distance ourselves from other people.”
According to Stroemple, students who “want to do something different” should consider getting away from the stress of school to “relax and enjoy the outdoors with close friends.”
Soergel’s, for one, offers just that.
Though weather-dependent, Soergel’s farm is open 12-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday., and 10-5:30 p.m. Saturday to Sunday.
Along with this, Phipps Conservatory in Oakland has opened their fall flower show, “The Poetry of Nature,” to the public. For a discounted $17.95 admission, students can walk through the autumn-themed exhibits that show off a vibrant array of gardens.
Employees ensure regular sanitization and regulated attendance to prohibit the spread of germs. Specific policies regarding mask-wearing and social-distancing can be found on their website: www.phipps.conservatory.org.
According to Phipps’ website, this exhibition is open for three weeks only – from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1.
Tickets are available for online purchase to limit foot traffic, with visitation welcomed from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
However, if you’re looking for a relaxed, inexpensive day, Schenley Park is right next door to Phipps in Oakland. Schenley has various trails and walkways that lead to beautiful fall foliage, which could call for a perfect fall picnic date.
Frick Park in Squirrel Hill also offers an escape from city life and a quick glimpse of nature, perfect for bike-riding.
Healthy Bike Ride Sharing Stations are available throughout the Pittsburgh area, where students can rent a bike for an allotted amount of time and drop it off at a station closest to their destination. Prices will fluctuate depending on the amount of time it is being rented for at a rate of $2 per 30 minutes of riding.
You could make a pit-stop at Blue Slide Park, the namesake of late hip-hop/rap artist Mac Miller’s hit single and a picture-esque playground to pass by.
After a nice walk in the park, Squirrel Hill has various cultural restaurants on Forbes Avnue. for a quick bite to eat.
Where does the fun end? The last week of October into the first week of November, the North Side is hosting Pittsburgh’s Monster Pumpkins Festival, including all sorts of pumpkin-related treats, a pumpkin pie eating contest, pumpkin sculptures and more, according to “Visit Pittsburgh.”
With October in full-spring, off-campus autumn activities are endless.
Make the most of the fall season by remembering to be safe and to keep those around you safe.