Pumpkin spice and everything nice

It’s nearly fall, which means it’s time to trade T-shirts for sweaters, iced coffees for hot chocolates and fratios for jam-packed bars.

Make the most of autumn with an outdoor smorgasbord of D.C. eats (sample at Carmine’s for $3 or less), a road trip to Busch Gardens — which has a German bier hall and a ton of spooky rides — or a pumpkin you picked up at a local farmers market. Better yet, do it all with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. Oh yeah, we went there.

Mazed and Confused
Lawyer’s Farm
3001 Creagerstown Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
Sept. 19 to Nov. 1
Hours vary, $7

If you miss carving pumpkins as a kid, Lawyer’s Farm is the place for you. Get lost in one of its five corn mazes — last year’s were epic — or check out one of the farm’s two pumpkin cannons.

There’s also a go-kart speedway and a hay maze, and you can take home pumpkins from the pumpkin patch for 50 cents per pound. The activities may seem childish, perhaps because they are, but there’s something sweet about reliving the days of face painting and playgrounds.

Besides, at the end of the day at Lawyer’s, which is open until 10 p.m. on weekends, there’s a bonfire in a teepee and outdoor movies, which makes for a pretty grown-up fall date.

District Smorgasborg
Taste of D.C.
7th Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Oct. 10 and 11
12 p.m. to 7 p.m., $20

College students are often priced out of the District’s best meals. But even if you have the dough, deciding where to spend it is daunting in this city full of award-winning chefs and pungent food trucks.

Enter Taste of D.C., a two-day event in October on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th streets. In just four blocks — and for $1 to $3 per mouthful — you can sample your way through more than 50 local restaurants’ menus.

Participating places include Rosa Mexicano and La Tasca, which serve south-of-the-border tapas, District Doughnut and Sprinkles, known for their cavity-inducing treats, as well as Plan B Burger Bar and Willie T’s Lobster Shack. Admission comes with a voucher for beer, wine or soda and a free rice, noodle or salad bowl from Shop House.

Howl-o-Scream
Busch Gardens
1 Busch Gardens Blvd.
Williamsburg, Va. 23185
Sept. 25 to Nov. 1
Hours vary, $75

Make your search for spooky thrills a road trip. Busch Gardens, which has been called the world’s most beautiful theme park, is tucked away in the center of Virginia along the James River, about a 3-hour drive from GW. It has six roller coasters, including one with a 90-degree drop, as well as dozens of other rides.

The European-themed park (think massive beer halls and faux-Alpine slopes for coasters) becomes haunted at night for all of October. Kids won’t crowd the lines, and speaking of kids, you won’t have to drink like one: Bars like Demon Drinks and Open CASKet stay open late during Howl-o-Scream.

If you’d rather not rush back to D.C. in a Zipcar or an Amtrak train to Union Station after the park closes, there are plenty of cheap motels nearby. And on your second day in Williamsburg, you could tour the Anheuser-Busch factory.

Pumpkin spice lattes
Starbucks everywhere
First week of September, $3 to $5

PSLs are now made with real pumpkin. Go get ‘em.

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