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 some of the traditional fall flavors available 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 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 grapes; donuts; cider and more.
Prost! Enjoy Okoberfest-inspired dishes and meals from Rochester restaurants as well as seasonal events. Get in the Oktoberfest spirit with festive celebrations at the Webster Oktoberfest, Fairport Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-themed celebrations at local businesses and breweries, including Bristol Mountain, Rohrbach Brewing Company, and Sager Beer Works.
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 Fairport Brewing Company, Nine Spot Brewing, Red White and Brew, Rohrbach Brewing Company, Sager Beer Works, Strangebird, Nine Spot Brewing, Copper Leaf Brewing, Three Heads 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.
Craft Cocktails & Wine Slushies
Rochester wrapped its tenth annual Rochester Cocktail Revival in June, 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 Tapas 177, Bar Bantam, Bitter Honey, Black Button Distilling, Branca Midtown, Crisp Rochester, the Cub Room, Iron Smoke Distillery, La Bola, Locals Only, Native Eatery & Bar, Radio Social, Recreo, Restaurant Good Luck, The Revelry, Swillburger, and Velvet Belly. Head to Casa Larga Winery for an Apple Cider Wine Slushie, which you can enjoy at the Winery or take home in one of their to-go pouches!
Ice Cream & Sweet Treats
This time of year is ripe for pumpkin and apple-flavored everything, but these flavors shine when combined 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 Salted Caramel, Green Apple Sorbet, and more.
- Step into Hedonist Artisan Chocolates (located next door) to grab or gift a box of their “Magical Anatomy” – a spooky dark chocolate caramel collection in collaboration with a local artist.
- Laughing Gull Chocolates, located in Rochester’s Beechwood Neighborhood, offers a number of seasonal products & bundles, including Cinnamon Sugar Almond and Orange Chai chocolates.
- Find a number of seasonal chocolates and other sweets (including Caramel Apples!) at Stever's Candies, which you can find in the heart of the Park Ave Neighborhood.
- 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.