Fall Bucket List

by jordanfaeh

Fall is like a better New Years.

The cool breeze starts to roll in and all of the sudden you feel inspired, motivated, and giddy for the holidays ahead. Hot tea and candles that smell like home. Fuzzy blankets and warm pajamas. Pumpkin patches and caramel apples. We dust off our warmer clothes that were tucked away in the closet and it feels like we have a new wardrobe (this is especially exciting for someone like me who doesn’t shop for myself very often). As a mom, my meal plans start to look a little different, filled with plans of soup and chili and apple goodies for dessert. I’m always very sad to see Summer slip away, knowing that I have to get through a cold, dark winter before I see her again, but for right now I’m settling into the joy of making plans and dreaming of the romantic season that is Fall.

I’m a list maker. Seriously, if it were a disease, I would have it. I love making an open-ended list of things I want to experience every season. A “bucket list” for lack of a better term. Nebraska is full of fun events this time of year and here are the ones I have my eye on. I’m hoping we can make it to all (some are family friendly, some aren’t). If I’m missing something crucial PLEASE let me know! I want to soak in every bit of this season. Join me, will you?

1. Capital Jazz Society Big Band @ Vega

Wednesday, September 10 from 7:30-10PM

I love big band music so much and for some reason every time Fall rolls around I have the urge to pull out my Benny Goodman records and open my windows. Live jazz is even better. This is an event you won’t want to miss.

2. Mandolin Orange @ Vega
Friday, September 12 @ 9:00PM

Vega is going to be bursting with great music this week. I’m very excited for this show. If you haven’t listened to Mandolin Orange, I suggest you drop everything you’re doing and go here.


3. Drink Chai Tea at The Harbor

The Harbor is this coffee shop located in the Piedmont shoppes along Cotner Boulevard. They have the BEST chai tea in town. My absolute favorite is the vanilla chai. Grab a friend and go try it out if you haven’t already. Also, the Piedmont Shoppes have been getting a facelift all summer and have some exciting businesses joining soon. You can attend their Grand Opening September 11th-13th.

4. The Patina Market presented by Simply Bungalow

Saturday, September 20 from 10-4PM

I recently met Heidi, the owner and brains behind Simply Bungalow. She is so sweet and we share a common passion of wanting to support local businesses and educate the community about them. If you haven’t heard of Simply Bungalow, go visit them on 48th and Normal. It is an adorable house filled with old and new decor. The Patina Market will be held at a barn right outside of Lincoln. They will feature over 40 vintage vendors and artisans. Some of my favorite local businesses will be there (more on that later) and on top of that you can buy pumpkins. Sounds like a great afternoon with your girlfriends if you ask me!


5. Arbor Day Farm

(Nebraska City, NE)

It’s no secret that this is a Fall essential in Nebraska. Our family will definitely be visiting this year.


6. Kimmel Orchard

(Nebraska City, NE)

Kimmel Orchard was one of my favorite places to visit last year. Picking apples in the fall is like getting a Christmas tree in the winter, it just makes sense.

7. Mary Poppins at the Lincoln Community Playhouse

 My daughter has a borderline unhealthy obsession with Mary Poppins. A friend pointed out that the Lincoln Community Playhouse is performing the musical in a few weeks. I’m hesitant because expecting a 2 year old to sit quietly through an entire show is like expecting not to see Red at a Husker football game. BUT she suggested that I ask for tickets towards the back so we can exit during the times she gets impatient. It could be a disaster, but I’m pretty sure she’ll FREAK out when she hears “Spoonful of Sugar” and it will be worth it just to see a smile on her face. If you have older children, you must go.


8. Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

(Gretna, NE)

Vala’s is Nebraska’s pride and joy when it comes to fall celebrations. We don’t have amusement parks, but this is better in my opinion. The food is SO good and the options are endless. Most importantly, it is a great place for kids to have fun. There are so many creative activities for everyone to enjoy.  I’ve pretty much been excited for it to open since Spring…

9. Roca Berry Farms

(Roca, NE)

On the topic of pumpkin patches, Roca Berry Farms is another great place to visit. They are located just outside of Lincoln and offer a large amount of yummy foods and fun activities for all ages. Penny thoroughly enjoyed bouncing on the giant blob/pillow things (and so did I).

10. Husker Football Game

It’s probably silly that I even put this on here. If you know me personally you’ll know that I couldn’t tell you the first thing about football. I don’t even own many red things, but I like to attend one game a year and participate in the Husker culture. The atmosphere is fun and it’s pretty easy to pretend like I know what’s going on 😉 Passionate people are the best people and if Nebraskans are one thing it’s passionate.

11. Harvest of Harmony Parade

(Grand Island, NE)

I’m not sure that the date for this parade has been released yet, but if I remember correctly it’s mid October. I’m from Grand Island so I grew up going to the Harvest of Harmony parade. The event takes place right through downtown Grand Island. It’s full of small-town charm and community cheer. Plan on bundling up and sipping on a cup of hot cocoa and while you’re down there, pop into the antique stores.

12. Miletta Vista Winery or James Arthur Vineyard

I love the idea of sitting outside on a cool evening and enjoying a glass of wine with friends. Miletta Vista is a beautiful winery in St. Paul and has an incredible view. I’m really hoping we can make it there this season. However, I’ve never been to James Arthur and I always hear great things so I’d like to try them out! And if I’m lucky, I’ll get to visit both 😉

13. Maker’s Market

(October 3rd)

Marker’s Market is everything good about the Lincoln community. They have quickly become one of my favorite organizations because they are all about spotlighting and supporting the local artisans of Lincoln. I think it is so important to support locally and Maker’s Market gives you the opportunity to do so in a really easy and fun way. Every first Friday of the month, they meet at The Pilgrimer downtown and host a handful of local vendors. This month was their first month and it was a huge success. The music was loud, the energy was high, and the products were incredible. Buying a great product is one thing, but getting to meet and chat with the person who made it is really special. I’ll stop my rant here, but I could go on. This is something you don’t want to miss. While you’re downtown, check out the rest of the First Friday participants. Lincoln is full of creative and talented people. Celebrate them.


14. Haymarket Farmer’s Market

(every Saturday until October 11)

The farmer’s market has been a favorite all Summer, but I’d like to make a point to visit at least one more time before it ends in October. Something tells me that visiting in the Fall with different produce and vendors will make it a new experience.

15. Junkstock

(October 10-12 Omaha, NE)


Junkstock blows my mind in the best way. I went for the first time last year and was so impressed. If you enjoy thrift stores this is the place for you. Live music, great food, and a ton of vendors from all over the Midwest. This is a kid friendly event, but I intend to grab a few girlfriends and spend the day exploring. They also announced that VooDoo Taco will be a participating food vendor this year and that is reason enough to check it out. I dream about their queso in my sleep. Get on the train, Lincoln, they are truly the best.

16. Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is another fall essential if you have kiddos. It seems as though the entire town participates and I was really impressed last year with the creativity that each supporting business displayed. Our oldest was a little young last year to enjoy it so I’m hoping for a better outcome this year!


The last few things on my list are general ideas. Organized events are what build a community, but I think it’s equally important to create events and memories of your own. They don’t have to be extravagant. Gathering the people you love to experience the joys of the season is the most important thing.

17. Carve Pumpkins

18. Host a game night (complete with cider (possibly spiked), apple crisp, and chili).

19. Have a weekend away with my husband (possibly at a local Bed & Breakfast–taking suggestions!)

20. Cook a meal with girlfriends and share it around the dinner table (with good wine and music, of course.)

If you’ve made it all the way through my long to-do list, congratulations! Hopefully I haven’t overwhelmed you but inspired you. It’s time to turn over a new leaf (cheesy pun intended) and get out and enjoy what Nebraska has to offer.

Cheers to a fresh season,