It's fall and my house is pumpkin-less. Last year's jeans and sweaters made their brief debut from the basement a few weeks ago, and have since returned to hibernation. It's mid-October and there's no post-hayride warm apple cider, it was too hot to go to the chili cook-off, and my albino legs are exposed to the world in shorts. Where are you, Fall? We need you to come out and play, to shed your amber leaves into our arid yards, to chill us out and for god's sake to slow us down. If ninety-degree weather is in the forecast for another October weekend, I say we escape the city and pretend anyway. Here is a list of three family-friendly fall adventures for the upcoming weekend with or without the appropriate weather.
The Mayor's Healthy Hometown Hike is scheduled for this Saturday, October 16th from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Located just 15 miles from downtown in Fairdale, Jefferson Memorial Forest is a 6,218 acre urban municipal forest (the nation's largest) and home to beautiful oaks, ponds, and wonderful trails. The family can enjoy a quiet picnic beneath the trees, join in a guided hike, experience canoeing and kayaking demos, or...decorate a pumpkin. The trails in this forest are excellent this weekend or the next and easy enough for small children. For more information, visit: www.memorialforest.com .
Berheim Forest, located 25 miles south of downtown Louisville off of I-65, is hosting their Colorfest at the Visitor and Education Center this Sunday, October 17th from noon-5:00 p.m. The festival is free to members and non-members with a $5.00 per car entry fee and promises plenty of food, music, pumpkin-painting, hay rides, crafts, and more. While coughing the dry air of our town, I often long for the rolling hills and splendor of Bernheim, an arboretum and research forest dedicated to connecting people with nature and leading the region in an inter-disciplinary approach to horticulture and habitat restoration. If I lost you there, just know it is quiet, pristine, and a lovely nature-first experience if you've never been. For more info: www.bernheim.org 
Last, but certainly not least, take the family I-71 north to the Crestwood exit and visit Yew Dell Gardens. While there is no official festival scheduled for next weekend, maybe the peace offered at this botanical garden is what your family needs more than anything. The grounds, opened to the public in 2005, offer a wide variety of plants, walking trails, and one very cool stone castle. Breathtaking and a bit magical, Yew Dell is free for kiddos 12 and under. For more info: www.yewdellgardens.org
Photo courtesy Yew Dell Gardens.