A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Visit a Patch Third Day Market’s Pumpkin Patch — Jefferson Twenty years ago, Third Day Market was a roadside stand selling flowers in the spring and pumpkins in the fall.

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Visit a Patch Third Day Market’s Pumpkin Patch — Jefferson Twenty years ago, Third Day Market was a roadside stand selling flowers in the spring and pumpkins in the fall.

5 Items for Your October To-Do List

Visit a Patch

Third Day Market’s Pumpkin Patch — Jefferson

Twenty years ago, Third Day Market was a roadside stand selling flowers in the spring and pumpkins in the fall. Now, you can get lost in a hay maze, explore an expansive nursery, and choose from heaps of colorful pumpkins and other gourds.

599 NC Highway 16 South
(336) 846-1089

Johnny Wilson Farm — Granite Falls

Head to Johnny Wilson Farm for an outing packed full of farm animals, corn and corral mazes, apple orchards, and, most important, pumpkins.

5163 Precious Memories Lane
(828) 217-1874

Riverbend Farm — Midland

This is Riverbend’s 29th year as a pumpkin patch. Come celebrate with the farm by hitching a hayride and browsing for the perfect pumpkin.

12150 McManus Road
(704) 622-7192

Naylor Family Farm & Corn Maze — Fuquay-Varina

Spend the day exploring a pumpkin patch, 10-acre corn maze, petting zoo, and newly opened pig pavilion at Naylor Family Farm.

6016 U.S. Highway 401 North
(910) 249-2258

Mike’s Farm — Beulaville

At Mike’s Farm, you can catch a hayride to the pumpkin patch, sip North Carolina-made wine while listening to live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, enjoy food truck faire, meet local vendors, and more.

1600 Haw Branch Road
(910) 324-3422

Briley’s Farm Market — Greenville

Briley’s Farm Market has been growing and selling fresh produce for more than 45 years. The market has duck races, slides, play areas, farm animals, and pumpkins of all sizes and colors.

5290 Old Pactolus Road
(252) 754-5029

— Liz Johnson

To find more pumpkin patches, visit ourstate.com/pumpkin-patches.

See the floating jack-o’-lanterns up close. photograph by Charles Harris

Carve a Seaworthy Jack-O’-Lantern

Pumpkin Flotilla — Cary, October 29

Clean out a soccer ball-size pumpkin at home, and carve a silly face, a ghost, a cat, or another image of your choosing into its side. Then, drop off your decorated gourd near the Bond Park Boathouse — lights and flotation devices will be provided. At dusk, grab a snack at the concession stand and watch your jack-o’-lantern float across Bond Lake.

(919) 462-3970

Lisa Oakley and other artists create glass pumpkins to sell solo or stacked at Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor. The colorful stacks can reach 18 inches tall. photograph by Eric Waters

Collect Glass Gourds

Lisa Oakley photograph by Eric Waters

Lisa Oakley is in the hot seat. She’s facing a 2,000-degree furnace — a temperature equivalent to molten lava — but she isn’t fazed. Using a four-and-a-half-foot metal rod, she gathers liquid glass out of the furnace, carefully adds colored glass to the searing, red-hot ball, and places it into a form, where she turns, blows, and shapes it into a pumpkin. When she’s finished, another gourd will join Cedar Creek Gallery’s pumpkin patch — a community staple in Creedmoor. So each October, when the breeze turns cold, Oakley rolls up her sleeves and takes her place in the hot seat. — Anna Mudd

Cedar Creek Gallery
1150 Fleming Road
Creedmoor, NC 27522
(919) 528-1041

To find more glass pumpkins, visit these galleries:

The Folk Art Center

Milepost 382
Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville, NC 28805
(828) 298-7928

NC Glass Center Pumpkin Patch, October 1-31

140 C Roberts Street, Gallery D
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-3552

STARworks Glass Pumpkin Patch, October 2-23

Reservations are required to purchase pumpkins on Saturdays.

100 Russell Drive
Star, NC 27356
(910) 428-9001

Pumpkin pancakes make a delicious treat for breakfast. photograph by Matt Hulsman

Make Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Nothing warms up a cool October morning quite like a plate of pancakes flavored with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and pumpkin. Top your stack with a dollop of whipped cream, toasted walnuts, and maple syrup. Our twist on a beloved breakfast classic is bound to put you in the fall spirit.

Find the recipe at ourstate.com/pumpkin-pie-pancakes.

Carve a pumpkin with the family — and don’t forget to save your seeds. photograph by ©MELANIE DEFAZIO/STOCKSY UNITED

Store Your Seeds

Celebrate fall by carving a grinning jack-o’-lantern, but don’t throw away the goop right away. Wayne County Extension Agent Jessica Strickland offers a few tips for saving pumpkin seeds so you can grow your own gourds or start your own patch.

1. Shop catalogs.

Do some research before saving your seeds. If you want to grow massive, award-winning pumpkins, look for varieties with a good track record.

2. Contain the mess.

When it’s time to carve, place a colander in the sink and carefully scoop the pumpkin “guts” into it. Pulling apart the pulp with your fingers loosens the strands, and running water helps separate the seeds.

3. Weed out the bad seeds.

Good seeds are orange-tinted and free of blemishes. If you find shriveled or wrinkled seeds with dark, moldy spots, discard them. Also, toss seeds that look significantly smaller — large seeds have a better chance of germinating.

4. Saving could be your saving grace.

Saving more seeds than you think you need could help if your future stock refuses to grow. It’s safe to store extra seeds for a few years, but “every year you store them, the chances of germination reduce,” Strickland says.

5. Dry ’em out.

“Avoid humidity at all costs,” Strickland says. Seeds stored in a moist environment are less likely to germinate and more likely to mold. Dry your seeds out by spreading them in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or paper towels.

6. Keep storage simple.

After one to two weeks of drying, your seeds will be ready for long-term storage in a cool and dry place. Strickland recommends storing seeds in an envelope or a paper or Ziploc bag. Seeds can also be kept in the fridge or freezer.

7. Treat yourself.

If there are seeds leftover after your storage preparations, reward your hard work with a tasty treat. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a thin layer on a baking sheet, season them with your favorite spices, and roast them in the oven.  — Meagan Pusser

This story was published on Sep 27, 2021

Our State Staff

Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.