Autumn brings so many changes to Butler County: weather, foliage, flavors, fun! As the leaves change from green to an array of oranges and yellows, crisp evenings of hayrides, corn mazes and chowing down on all things pumpkin flavored begin. All over the county our farms, eateries, attractions and towns add exciting twists just in time for fall.
These locations will give you the best look at the bursts of color throughout the county. Whether you prefer to drive, hike, picnic or bike, the scenic landscapes are a sight to see. The best part about these attractions is that you can experience the beautiful vegetation at your leisure throughout the autumn season.
- Sightseeing Saturday – Fun itinerary traversing the northern part of Butler County.
- Washington’s Trail – Historic markers will lead you through Butler County along Washington’s first military expedition. One such marker notes the spot where a French Indian attempted to shoot Washington.
- Butler County Barn Trail – Follow this self-guided tour to view interesting barns among colorful leaves. If the leaves are so beautiful you don’t want to leave, you’ll find a few bed and breakfasts and farm stays along the way.
- Nautical Nature – View the reds, oranges and yellow and learn about the area’s natural history from the Moraine Preservation Fund’s enclosed pontoon boat on Lake Arthur.
- Hiking – What a better way to enjoy the brilliant shades of the leaves than to take a hike? Jennings Environmental Education Center contains five miles of trails that are arranged in a series of loops and cover 300 acres of forest and prairie.
- Picnicking – Picnic among the prairies, gardens, ponds and woodlands offered in Preston Park while you admire the leaves as they fall. You might even consider bringing along a pumpkin-flavored treat to complete your autumn afternoon.
- Biking – For a scenic ride, visit Moraine State Park. There is a seven-mile paved bike trail that winds along the lake’s shoreline in the northwest corner of the park. There’s also a six-mile looped mountain bike trail for more experienced riders.
- This autumn season, The Meadows Frozen Custard of Cranberry Township will have pumpkin frozen custard and frozen yogurt, pumpkin chippers (pumpkin cookies with pumpkin custard in between - cookies from Tin Man Sweets), pumpkin espresso shakes, pumpkin bowl sundaes, and pumpkin and caramel espresso drinks. Mmm!
- September 17. The Old Stone House will have a Fall Entrees cooking class. As the weather begins to get cooler and fall sets in we will roast, bake, broil, and boil the heavier entrees of our ancestors. 10 AM-2 PM. Register at eventbrite.com.
- October 1st. Cooper Station Restaurant is having a Fall Sampling Event from 12-3 PM in its new banquet hall/event venue. Featuring over 25 different craft beers including seasonal favorites, a variety of wines and cocktails and food including soft pretzels with beer cheese, brats and nachos. $20 presale -- only 120 tickets available!
- October 2nd. Join The Perfect Piece Home Furnishings for OctoBEERfest. They're partnering with ShruBrew to do a beer tasting event at the store from 12-5 PM with snacks and raffles.
- October 12th. Saxonburg’s Walking Progressive Dinner on Main Street will have a “fall flavors” theme. Tickets are $55 and include taxes, gratuity and servings from seven local shops and restaurants. Tickets available by cash or check at Hotel Saxonburg.
- October 15th. Join Mars Area Public Library for their 3rd annual Autumn Wine & Brew Fest at Treesdale Community Center. Wine and craft beer will be provided. In addition, there will be music entertainment, hors d'oeuvres and a Chinese Auction. $25/advance, $30/door. 6-9 PM.
- October 15th. The Old Stone House will have a Fall Harvest Dinner cooking class. Thanksgiving comes early as we prepare our annual harvest dinner. The orchards, gardens, and fields will provide the raw materials for our cooks at the hearth. We will enjoy the meal together in the house parlor. 10 AM-2 PM. Register at eventbrite.com.
- November 26th. The Old Stone House will have a Holiday Desserts cooking class. The warmth of the hearth provides a seasonal background for the preparation of authentic 18th century desserts -- pies, tarts, cakes, "little" cakes, and creams. 10 AM-2 PM. Register at eventbrite.com.
Fall Festivals & Events
The weather may be getting cooler, but autumn is still packed with fun festivals for the whole family. Spend an evening or weekend celebrating this time of year and find a favorite fall activity at Butler County’s annual festivals. Enjoy crafters, car shows, pony rides, fireworks and more.
September 16th through 18th. Evans City Oktoberfest
September 17th. Butler Fall Festival
September 17th. Fall Flea-tique in Harmony
September 17th and 18th. Antiques & Artisans Festival at Whispering Pines Farm
September 23rd thru October 30th. Pumpkin Festival at Cheeseman Farm.
September 24th. Slippery Rock VillageFest
September 24th and 25th. Echoes from our Past Historic Cemetery Walk
Saturdays & Sundays in October. Haunted House and Corn Maze at The Beacon Hotel.
October 1st. Butler County Farm Tour
October 1st. Concordia Oktoberfest
October 1st. Mars Applefest
October 1st and 2nd. Portersville Steam Show Fall Fling
October 8th. Harmony's Sleepy Hollow Festival & Fall Flea-tique
October 8th. Family Fun Festival in Saxonburg
October 8th and 9th. Zelienople-Harmony Country Fall Festival
October 14th thru 16th. The Living Dead Weekend
October 21st. Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA Trunk or Treat
October 21st. Great Pumpkin Festival at Cranberry Twp. Municipal Center
It’s not autumn without haunted happenings around every corner. For those that dare, Butler County has a number of eerie offerings to send chills down your spine.
While some attractions are created just for the season, cemeteries with chilling history make for a mysterious visit anytime. If you’re still looking for more ghostly activities, visit some of the county’s most notable spooky stops:
- Old Union Presbyterian Church – James Glover, a Revolutionary War veteran and Butler County’s first permanent white settler, is buried in the middle of the 7th row of graves.
- Evans City Cemetery – This site served as the location for many of the scenes in 1968’s Night of the Living Dead.
- Harmony Society Cemetery – You won’t find any gravestones here! Ironically, the cemetery holds about 100 graves and features a one-ton revolving stone gate.
- Pape or Hannahstown Cemetery – Look for a monument and marker for William Andrew Smith, the man who drilled Edwin Drake’s first oil producing well.
- Moraine State Park – There are nearly ten cemeteries that lie within the park’s boundaries. Some contain only one gravestone while others contain as many as twenty. The mystery is who is buried in some of the stones that are unmarked?
- Wooden Cross Cemetery – A horrible flu epidemic in the 1800’s caused a mass amount of deaths in the area. These individuals were buried in unmarked graves here and are represented by a single grave marker.
- Deadman’s Bridge – If you stop on this bridge near Old Stone House, you might summon the ghost of couple who was tragically killed in a wagon accident.
For two kinds of spirits, stop by North Country Brewing Company or the Harmony Inn for a ‘Broo’ afterward. North Country's history ties it to being a coffin making and undertaking business and the Harmony Inn is said to be haunted as well.