The air is crisp and menus have flipped to highlight both classic autumn flavors, as well as offerings with an innovative twist. With cider and donuts at the forefront of the season, Rochester offers plenty of spots to enjoy fall flavors while diving into seasonal activities. Or, if a craft cocktail and sweet treat meet your craving, we’ve got you covered for that too.
- At Wickham Farms, apple picking, farm yoga, a giant spider web and corn maze just touch on the outdoor experiences. After building up an appetite, the mouth-watering appearance of their “shake-up,” (it’s worth a peek on social media) is one item that won’t disappoint during an in-person visit. Served in a mason jar, the drink consists of vanilla ice cream and cider slushie layers with a fried cake on top.
- Enjoy traditional fall farm favorites like apple cider and doughnuts at Long Acre Farms, but be sure to also save room for the farm’s wood-fired pizzas, made fresh to order. Long Acre’s wood-fired pizzas will satisfy the appetite you will work up while exploring the farm’s Amazing Maize Maze or “Back 40” family-friendly activities. For adults, be sure to taste enjoy a wine tasting at J.D. Wine Cellars, the winery located on the farm.
- Play with your food at Stokoe Farms with the farm’s celebrated Candy Cannon Candy Launch. During Stokoe Farm’s Harvest Festival traditional fall flavors available for you to enjoy include made-on-the-farm apple cider donuts, kettle corn and homemade fudge with real local butter. Stop by the Old Barn Grill or the farm’s new food truck for a family meal. And of course, be sure to pick a pumpkin and enjoy a hayride before heading home for the day.
- Fresh homemade apple cider meets a vanilla milkshake to create the famous “apple frost” at Schutt’s Apple Mill. More than 100-years-old, this family farm and country store is also known for its 20-plus apple varieties and famous fried cakes, which are so sought-after, they are often shipped across the country.
- The most notable site at Power’s Farm Market are the giant teepees that welcome visitors inside to view the hundreds of glowing hand-carved pumpkins. Halloween hayrides, u-pick pumpkins (ranked as one of the best pumpkin patches in the U.S. on Yelp) and an animal petting area are additional on-site options. Don’t head out before perusing their baked goods filled with pumpkin, apple and concord grape pies, donuts, cider and more.
Prost! Enjoy Okoberfest-inspired dishes and meals from Rochester restaurants and seasonal events. Get in the Oktoberfest spirit with festive celebrations at the Irondequoit Oktoberfest Festival, Fairport Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-themed celebrations at local bars and breweries, including Sager Beer Works, Unter Biergarten and Irondequoit Beer Company.
For German food a visit to Rochester’s Swan Market is a must, with other German flavors found on the menu at Brew & Brats at Arbor Hill, Rohrbach Brewing Company, F.L.X. Wienery at ROC Brewing and Unter Biergarten.
Oktoberfest and pumpkin ales await at Rochester’s breweries in the Fall. Seasonal brews vary by brewery and by year, but plan on a visit to Rochester breweries like Rohrbach Brewing, ROC Brewing, Sager Beer Works, Three Heads Brewing, Fairport Brewing and Young Lion Brewing. Rochester’s iconic Genesee Brewery (the oldest brewery in New York State) puts out the Genesee Oktoberfest, a deep-golden lager, big on malt flavor and complimented by subtle herbal notes of noble hops. Genesee’s Oktoberfest is traditionally released in August.
Rochester wrapped its eighth annual Rochester Cocktail Revival in September, and now, area restaurants and bars are busy tapping fresh seasonal ingredients for deliciously out-of-the-box libations. Some of our favorite local spots to enjoy a cocktail include Restaurant Good Luck, Bar Bantam, Iron Smoke Distillery, Black Button Distilling, The Revelry, the Cub Room, Native Eatery & Bar and Rufus Cocktail Lounge.
Ice Cream & Sweet Treats
This time of year is ripe for pumpkin and apple-flavored everything, but these flavors shine when compared with sweet treats. The most typical autumn dessert is of course apple cider donuts and fry cakes (see our list of local apple farms and farm stands for ideas on where to grab a donut), but local creameries and chocolatiers also incorporate the flavors of fall.
- Have you ever tried fried cake donut ice cream? It’s on a rotating menu at Hedonist Ice Cream, a shop situated in the city’s South Wedge. Their team is busy hand-crafting ice cream flavors such as Pumpkin Spice, apple cider sorbet, and cider ice cream floats (made with Schutt’s Apple Mill cider) paired with their salted caramel ice cream.
- Step into Hedonist Artisan Chocolates (located next door) to grab or gift a box of their “Midnight Snacks” – a spooky milk chocolate caramel collection in collaboration with a local artist.
- Laughing Gull Chocolates, located in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, offers a number of seasonal products & bundles, including Cinnamon Sugar Apple and a Bewitched by Chocolate tasting at Union Tavern.
- The Village of Fairport is home to Moonlight Creamery and this time of year, we suggest these imaginative scoops: Great Pumpkin Pie, To Sow My Gild Wild Oats and Inauguration Day Apple Pie (apple pie filling, graham crackers, cinnamon and caramel).
- Pittsford Farms Dairy is a landmark that dates back to 1814. Today, the line of customers often snakes out the front door with eager patrons waiting to indulge in the shop’s homemade ice cream. Every fall, visitors can find bins packed with flavors such as Pumpkin Snap, Cookies & Scream (an orange-colored cookies and cream) and Caramel Apple. Mix and match flavors and then enjoy a stroll along the nearby Erie Canal.