Every autumn, we seek out a place to get outside and pick up some pumpkins, maybe navigate a corn maze and just try to make the most of this short, transitional season; the last gasp before winter comes and blankets us with darkness, cold and snow.
Last year, we went out twice. Once we stopped at a farm near Holy Hill -- I'm not sure I'd be able to find it again -- and another weekend we hit a place in New Berlin that had the full complement of fall family fun.
This year we wanted all that fun again but wanted to try a new place. So, we headed 25 minutes northwest to Jim's Pumpkin Farm, N124 W17781 W. Lovers Ln., in Germantown.
Set amid fields of soy beans, stands of corn and cornfields already cut, Jim's is a charming little farm -- complete with a babbling brook -- right in the Milwaukee suburbs. It's the kind of place that makes you think you could move out to the country and still get to work in a reasonable amount of time.
Parking is free and there is no admission fee. The hay ride out to the pumpkin patch is free and pick your own pumpkin (they're $5 each out in the field).
There's a small corn field path (not really a maze) that's also free. Or you can pay $2.50 for the 4.5-acre corn maze (kids 6 and under are free) and pick a pumpkin from yard next to the farmhouse. Those are priced as marked, with some big examples fetching upwards of $25.
There's also an array of squashes, straw bales, corn stalks and Indian corn for sale in the shadow of the lovely old stone silo, just across the brook from stands offering family fun like stuffing your own scarecrow ($6) and a straw jumping area.
There are also Halloween decorations galore and lots of those wooden figures with the faces cut out so you can take silly photos.
We spent just under $15 for two hours or so of fun with two adults and two kids. We took home two big pumpkins, an acorn squash to make with supper, three ears of Indian corn and a tiny pumpkin, too.
We loved Jim's and at this time next year, I suspect we'll be headed up to Germantown again, instead of seeking out a new place. This one's worth coming back to again.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.