Back when we lived in Michigan, Fall meant (among other things) visiting a cider mill. There's just nothing like fresh cider and greasy little donuts to make the season special. As there were plenty of cider mills around, we could visit a different one each weekend — or pretty much whenever we wanted. When we moved to St. Louis, we were bummed to find that cider mills just aren't as much of the Fall culture as in Michigan. Eventually, though, we did find something similar. There aren't nearly as many cider mills, and the ones that are here don't sell greasy little donuts (maybe it's a Michigan thing?). But what they do offer is a chance to pick your own apples, or pumpkins, or both. In our family, we go for both.
And so it became a yearly tradition to take the kids out to pick apples and pumpkins in early October. Each year we make the treck across the river to Illinois to one of the handful of farms that are open for picking. We grab far too many apples and usually too many pumpkins, too. Interestingly, the tradition has continued even as the kids have gotten (much) older. Older, like, two are in college. But they still want to go, and we're happy to take them. As they go to two different colleges, both out of town (and one out of state), coordinating the picking trip has become a challenge. This year, we made two trips to two different farms to accomodate the college schedules.
More pictures are on Flickr (there's a link in the right column).