It's fitting that Perryville Pumpkin Farm caters to families since the farm itself has been a part of the Koenig family's history since 1892. And though the farm has changed a lot since the days when its fields were used to raise cows, chickens, and hogs, it's still managed to remain a tried-and-true family operation since transitioning to a pumpkin farm in 2001. Take Jarod Koenig, for instance, who designed and built the farm's mini golf course himself, and who also designs the one-acre corn maze every year. Meanwhile, Ryan Koenig and his mother Dianna hand-pick every pumpkin sold at the farm stand, leaving the rest for adventurous guests who prefer to peruse the vines themselves. Even family friends contribute to the fun, providing the handmade jellies and jams sold in the farm's shop.
Besides welcoming guests to tour the farm or get lost in the twisting stalks of corn, Perryville Pumpkin Farm hosts a whole slew of autumn activities. Kids can climb on a straw bale fort, crawl through a straw tunnel, or practice their aim with the pumpkin sling. Animals also play a big part in the fun here, and guests can feed the goats and chickens, or even try their hand at milking a cow with a little help from local dairy farmer, Dan. Of course, the main event is the wagon ride out to the massive pumpkin patch where guests can pick a perfect specimen to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern or a slightly smaller pumpkin.
StarView Vineyards is home to both native and French-American hybrid grapes that flourish on the vine during breezy, sunny summers. Seven varieties emerge from those vines, resulting in 12 signature wines, from the semi-dry, citrusy vignoles to the Red Star, a semi-sweet chambourcin. Stop by the tasting room to sip samples of these blends?along with wine slushies and sangrias?or head to the cafe to snack on grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta salad.
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, a USDA–approved big-cat rescue facility, plays motherly host to a roaring family composed of five tigers and a lone lioness with a sultry swagger. Adopting philanthropists can align with their striped or unstriped spirit animal, choosing from noble felines such as the elder Mohan—a white male tiger with blue eyes, a pink nose, and a natural screen presence—or Raja—the relentlessly caring mother of sisters Gracie and Thor.
Nestled in the majestic rolling hills of Ste. Genevieve County, Cave Vineyard spans 14 fertile acres of prime grape-growing property and an on-property natural cave. This serene subterranean den—outfitted with electric lights, cozy tables, and wine casks—envelops famished blanket brandishers in a unique saltpeter picnic area. Each basket is loaded with an elegant spread of bread or crackers ($3), cheese ($5), olives ($5), and two decadent chocolate truffles ($5). Starting in May, stalagmites drip with quarter notes from cave-dwelling live music every Saturday. Guests are welcome to enjoy their picnics indoor in the event of a rainstorm or grape-juice tidal wave.
Your one-night Vintner's Getaway package includes a tour of the Crown Valley Winery, wherein a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide will lead you through the behind-the-scenes areas of the 55-acre winery, taking you step by increasingly zigzagged step through the wine-making process. Along the way, you'll get an up-close look at the massive tanks, the wine-storing oak barrels, and the bottling line before sampling the creations in their final form. You'll also enjoy a separate tour of Crown Valley's champagne house, complete with tastings of its effervescent, fizzy-lifting drinks.
Century Farm orchestrates a bright spectrum of dry wines, semisweet wines, and fruit wines in a charming country shop surrounded by acres of shady arbors and southern grape vines. Only 4.5 years old, the blossoming winery proved its mettle at the 2011 Wines of the South Competition by collecting three awards—the Best of Tennessee Fruit–William O. Beach Award for its 2009 vintage traminette; a silver medal for its 2009 Norton; and a bronze for its 2009 red muscadine. While guests peruse bottles, a complimentary tasting introduces palates to the subtle notes and intricacies of varieties such as the dry, oaked 2010 Norton ($12.95) or the semisweet 2008 traminette ($12), with fruity layers and a spicy finish. Century Farm also hosts musical performances on select Saturdays from late April to September, during which visitors may enjoy wine tastings, picnics, and slow dances with graceful vines.