October is my favorite month of the year, hands down. And even though it’s still a week away, I thought it would be a great time to start planning! Nothing beats NYC in October, but if you live in the tri-state area here are some ideas to pack your weekends all over the place:

1. October 2nd, 2010.
Valley Shepherd Creamery Cheese Festival.

Last year I went to Valley Shepherd Creamery in Long Valley, NJ for their annual Sheep Shearing Festival (where I shot this photo of the sheep pre-haircut). We had a great time, but the thing that stuck with the most was the phenomenal cheese and butter made on site and sold in their country store. It is to die for, honestly.

So imagine how excited I was when my friend Meredith and I saw their stall at the Rutgers Farmers Market and heard about the Autumn Leaves Cheese Festival this fall. Wine/beer and cheese tastings, cheesewich and panini stations, and their incredible gelato? And it’s just $15 to get in? I will be there with bells on.

2. October 9-11, 2010. NYC Yarn Crawl.

I did the yarn crawl last year and had such an incredible time. The shops were so gracious, and it was a really wonderful day bumping into fellow crafters all along the route. In the end I did 7 shops in one day, such a perfect fall afternoon. Maybe this year I’ll actually make something out of my loot.

This year’s crawl is definitely not to be missed.

3. October 16-17, 2010. Pumpkin Picking.

This photo is from my pumpkin picking adventure with Maggie 2 years ago. We went up to Demarest Farms in Hillside, NJ, skipped all the rides and attractions, and ended up picking pumpkins right in front of the store! We hadn’t had any caffeine yet. There are, of course, a million places to go pumpkin picking in the area. But I had so much fun getting up at the crack of dawn and running around with Maggie that this one sticks out for me.

So if you need to take a break from watching Adam play 24 games in 24 hours on his live feed (plug plug plug), go get some pumpkins! We might be hosting a house full of people for the marathon this year, so I may try to have my pumpkins ready for some carving help this weekend.

4. October 22, 2010. Hereafter.

Matt Damon starring. Clint Eastwood directing. I can’t think of 2 things I like more. Seriously, when Clint Eastwood passes from this world I will need bereavement time. Unforgiven is my favorite movie of all time. And Matt Damon? Don’t even get me started. Putting the two of them together the week before Halloween in a spooky-spiritual movie with Oscar written all over it? So. There. Friday night, first in line. The trailer even has Sia’s “Lullaby” playing. She is the absolute queen of all things haunting. Listen to “Breathe Me” if you don’t believe.

5. October 31, 2010. Halloween Brunch.

It’s been just the past couple of years that I’ve started really getting into Halloween. It used to be my least-favorite holiday. Last year we went out to see Above & Beyond at Roseland Ballroom, and I started getting used to this adult dress-up thing. And especially since becoming a teacher I’ve changed my tune. I mean, I can’t NOT decorate the library for Halloween, right?

This year Halloween is on a Sunday, and I’m thinking about throwing a brunch or luncheon. Something small, nothing crazy. And maybe I’ll make Butternut Squash Risotto again (still not sure I’d use that same recipe).