Autumn is drawing near, which means the days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler, and the leaves will be turning and falling from the trees -- but this is no time to hibernate! Instead, don a cozy sweater, switch to flannel sheets, and pull out your pumpkin pie recipes. It's time for some, cool, crisp, fall fun with family and friends in Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley!

From relaxing hayrides to thrilling ghost tours, here are eight essential fall activities to enjoy during your upcoming visit to Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley:

Outdoors at the Odessa Brewfest1. Historic Odessa Brewfest
Kick off the fall season at the Odessa Brewfest! This fundraising event for the Historic Odessa Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the legacy of the Historic Houses of Odessa, is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best regional and national craft beers, as well as locally produced wine and spirits. 

Vendemmia Wine Festival2. Vendemmia da Vinci Wine and Food Festival
Celebrate the tradition of the Italian Grape Harvest at the annual Vendemmia da Vinci Wine and Food Festival. Feast on delectable dishes from 25 local restaurants, sample delicious Italian wines, and enjoy a selection of live classical and contemporary music. The DaVinci Society's mission is to promote and advance Italian culture through education, service, charity, and community events. 

3. Autumn’s Colors at Longwood
With the crisp, cool mornings and golden-hued trees of fall comes Autumn’s Colors at Longwood Gardens. It’s the perfect time of year to take a nature walk in the Meadow Garden, where you’ll be enveloped by colorful goldenrod, native asters, and meadow grasses. Starting in mid-October, explore the Conservatory to see their most impressive display, Chrysanthemum Festival, which features their Thousand Bloom Mum, the largest mum in North America.

Get a FREE Wilmiington & the Brandywine Valley Visitors Guide4. Fall Harvest Market
Each year, the Brandywine River Museum of Art hosts the Fall Harvest Market, where regional artisans showcase their one-of-a-kind crafts in the museum’s courtyard. Spend an afternoon browsing the fabulous array of artistic products on display, such as handwoven rugs, quilted items, pottery, handcrafted jewelry, handmade soaps, and more.

Historic New Castle Haunted Walking Tours5. Hauntings in History Walking Tours
Looking for a ghostly encounter this fall? Join the New Castle Historical Society this October for the only ghost tour that brings you inside one of the most haunted mansions in Historic New Castle! You'll begin your journey into New Castle's supernatural side with a tour of the legendary Amstel House, where you may meet the notorious "Woman in Blue." After exploring the Amstel House, you will be guided through New Castle's darkened cobblestone streets where you will hear tales of hauntings and learn about the 360-year history of this Delaware River town.

6. Delaware Antiques Show
What began as a small event in 1964 has blossomed into one of the country’s most acclaimed and exciting antiques shows that features the best of America’s antiques and decorative arts. Sixty of the country's most distinguished antiques dealers will be in attendance to present a stunning collection of American furniture, paintings, rugs, porcelain, silver, jewelry, and decorative arts. The Delaware Antiques Show benefits educational programming at Winterthur Museum.

7. Hayrides at Hagley
What better way to admire the radiant Delaware fall foliage than on a relaxing hayride along the Brandywine? Enjoy an afternoon of family fun as you travel through the Powder Yard and learn about Hagley’s harvest history. Harvest-themed crafts and fresh apple cider add to the autumn fun!

Fort Delaware State Park8. Fort Delaware Ghost Tour
Is Fort Delaware really haunted? Find out for yourself! Join in on actual paranormal investigation at Fort Delaware State Park along with professional paranormal investigators, using electronic magnetic field detectors, data recorders, and other techniques. Whether you spot a ghost or not, you’re sure to have a spooky good time!

What are you most looking forward to doing in Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley this fall season? Let us know in the comments below!

You might also like: 10 Must-Visit Fall Foliage Destinations in Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley; or Analog-A-Go-Go: Celebrating All Things Indie