Pumpkin season, known by some as “fall” or “autumn,” is upon us. And while there’s nothing wrong with the basic pumpkin latte from your national coffee chain, if you’re looking for something with a little more local spice, Charlotte’s got a whole patch full of pumpkin-packed possibilities.
Pumpkin Drinks & Eats
While Mugs offers a signature Pumpkin Spice Latte, they also give pumpkin spice enthusiasts the option to add pumpkin spice to any drink on the menu, with the option of whipped cream and cinnamon on top, of course.
HEXCoffee Espresso Bar
Over pumpkins? Try a Kabocha Latte instead. For those not up to speed on their squash varietals, the Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash with a sweet flavor that tastes like sweet potato mixed with pumpkin.
Central Coffee Co.
In celebration of the changing leaves, Central Coffee Co.’s menu now includes a Pumpkin Pie Latte made with real pumpkin and a mix of sugar and spices. Get it with a pumpkin scone on the side.
Smelly Cat Coffeehouse & Roastery
Welcome fall with a sip of a house made Pumpkin Spice Latte or a slice of house made Pumpkin Bread or Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll.
Not Just Coffee
Fill your cup with a Fall Spice Latte, a vanilla sugar latte flavored with all spice, nutmeg, cardamom and mace.
And if you prefer your pumpkins paired with a little hops, give these Charlotte seasonal beers a try:
NoDa Brewing Company’s NoDa Gordgeous
A well-balanced pumpkin ale using over 50 lbs. of pumpkin and 42 lbs. of brown sugar for every batch.
Sycamore Brewing’s Gourd Have Mercy!
Available in cans this year for the first time ever, this pumpkin amber ale is sure to please.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Mecktoberfest
An award-winning Marzen-style lager that balances malts, sweetness and a pinch of hops that has come to signal the start of fall in the Queen City.
Catawba Brewing’s King Don’s Pumpkin Ale
This complex beer uses five separate barley styles, and artistic touch of hops, spices normally used for baking, and fresh pumpkin.
Pumpkin Festivals & Fun
GUTS Carving Contest
Now in its ninth year, GUTS is an annual carving competition that brings together some of the finest creative talent in the region. Winners get cash and prizes while the final creations are auctioned off at the end of the tournament. Proceeds from the event support Make-A-Wish.
Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall
A group of community volunteers build the wall each year, which stands roughly 60 feet long and 20 feet high. The wall goes on display about a week before Halloween and the location shifts around the community. For details on this year’s wall, visit the Elizabeth Community Facebook page.
The Great Pumpkin Fest
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Hosted by Carowinds, the Great Pumpkin Fest has family-friendly Halloween attractions from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. including a costume parade, foam zone and mazes. Open Saturdays and Sundays from September 16 through October 29.
Hall Family Farm
After you pick your perfect pumpkin, hop aboard a hay ride or fill your cup with hot cocoa and your belly with doughnuts, funnel cakes and more. Open Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Hodges Family Farm Pumpkin Patch
Located on 180 acres of land in Mecklenburg County, Hodges Family Farm has been in operation for over 100 years. The farm features a “Pick Your Own” pumpkin patch along with a hay mountain and sweet treats. Open daily from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze
While the headlining attraction is the seven-acre corn maze, Rural Hill also offers hayrides, pumpkin picking, hiking trails and mini-mazes through November 5. For details on maze dates and hours, visit their website, www.ruralhill.net.
The Hunter Farm
On your way to the pumpkin patch, check out the petting barn, where you can feed the animals before finding your gorgeous gourde. Admission is $9-10 and includes a 3-5 lb pumpkin. Open Monday – Friday from 1 – 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from Noon – 7 p.m.