Local pumpkin patches ready for fall visitors
By JUDY SHERARD
Whether you're a Jack-o-Lantern carver or pie baker, crisp fall mornings and falling leaves mean pumpkin time.
Two area pumpkin patches, Cottage Lane Pumpkin Patch and Candles, 101 W. 15th in Ellis, and Granny Mae's, 3871 198th St., Dorrrance, are ready to welcome visitors.
Cottage Lane opened last weekend for the season and will be open every weekend through Oct. 27. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. During the week, Donna Soneson -- who owns Cottage Lane along with her husband, Rob -- also schedules guided tours for young and old alike.
In addition to the pumpkin patches, there's a hayride, glidin' zip line and small animals to see such as chickens, ducks and rabbits.
"School kids get a learning experience," she said. "A lot of kids don't know where eggs come from."
With beneficial rains coming at the right time, Cottage Lane has a maze again this year. Because of the dry conditions the past few years, that attraction was missing.
Besides candles, the gift shop, located in a former chicken coop, features fall decor items.
Granny Mae's pumpkin patch near Dorrance opens this weekend and will be open weekends through Oct. 27. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Owner Tonya Buehler opened Granny Mae's on land formerly owned by her grandmother.
"She and I grew pumpkins, and I would sell them in my driveway," Buehler said.
The autumn destination includes five themed pumpkin patches. There's also a gift shop and the Cider House and Harvest Moon Vine for concessions.
There are hay-rack rides, bonfires, a haunted forest, carnival games, a barrel-train ride, scavenger hunt through the maze and music by Pumpkin Patch Gang. On Oct. 26, Granny Mae's is hosting "Cornstock," with several music groups performing.
To visit Cottage Lane, take I-70 exit 145 and go south to the stoplight; go west on Old U.S. Highway 40 to 110th Avenue, then south. Cottage Lane is on the left past the creek.
To visit Granny Mae's, take the I-70 Dorrance exit. Go 3 miles south, 2 miles west and a half mile north.