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As the semester drags on, Fall Break represented a moment of relief for students across campus. That said, the possibilities are endless when it comes to filling time outside of class. Whether you’re a freshman or transfer student who is new to the area, or even a returning student or Indiana native who is just at a loss for new activities, The Torch is here to help. Here’s just a few suggestions from staff members for how to spend the upcoming break:

  1. County Line Orchard.

County Line Orchard in Hobart, Ind. is renowned around the area for being a low-stress, distinctly autumnal activity. County Line is less than half an hour from campus, and offers both a shopping area (featuring apple cider and pumpkin donuts) and apple-picking, among other activities. There’s also a “Moo Choo” train ride which I’m pretty sure is not geared towards college students, but hey, I don’t work there. You do you. 

  1. Pumpkin Patches.

Northwest Indiana is also home to a number of pumpkin patches, providing produce for pies and pastries and the oh-so-traditional jack-o’-lantern. Harvest Tyme in Lowell, Ind. offers pumpkin picking, a corn maze and a hay ride. Also, there’s a petting zoo. Who can pass up a petting zoo?

  1. Indiana Dunes.

It may be a bit late for the beach, but the Indiana Dunes are also home to a number of beautiful hiking trails. When setting out, keep in mind that some of the steeper dunes can feel like one step forward, two steps back since you’re walking in sand. Some of the best trails start at the Nature Center, which can also be a great place to visit and learn more about the park. 

  1. Self-Care.

It’s important to note that with so many things to do, sometimes the best option is to actually just do nothing. Take a nap, buy takeout for dinner. Maybe pick something you haven’t tried before. Ignore your email for at least a few hours. Whatever your method, practice self-care by setting aside time for yourself for a day. 

  1. Ignore the jokes, embrace pumpkin spice...

Or any other fall flavor. Dunkin’, Starbucks and Coffee Cabin are all good options, but there are also plenty of smaller cafes around the area that have a good selection too. Pumpkin lattes are good, but you can also put the same flavoring in other drinks, like a chai latte instead of coffee. There’s also maple, an often under-acknowledged but equally viable flavor. 

  1. Cook. 

Assuming all of the bizarre hot weather is finally done with, fall is also a great time to enjoy warm foods like soups, stews and baked goods. Take the time to explore some more complicated recipes than you normally would. Maybe you’re a new cook altogether; that’s okay, Youtube has plenty of tutorials to walk you through it. If you’re experienced, maybe it’s just an opportunity to try your hand at something with a longer cooking time, like risen pastries. Whatever your skill level, this is best done with friends.

  1. Spend time with family or friends.

Speaking of friends, go visit some. If you’re able to go home this weekend, visiting family and friends can be a good opportunity to re-connect and de-stress. (Unless it’s not, then refer back to point number four in this list.) 

  1. Movies.

The 49’er Drive-in may be officially closed for the year, but that does not mean movies are off the table. With Halloween coming up, it’s a great chance to get in the spirit of things and get started on all the horror movies you haven’t seen yet. You can also binge shows like American Horror Story or Castlevania, both of which are available on Netflix. Or, like, forget the Halloween theme altogether, if you don’t care about fall spirit. Seriously, who am I to judge? 

  1. Bonfire.

If you have a place to start a bonfire, this can be a great way to get some fresh air now that the weather is crisp and the mosquitoes are finally withdrawing for the year. Roast some marshmallows and drink hot chocolate, or if you’re really feeling dangerous, skip the work and put the marshmallow in the hot chocolate instead. The possibilities are endless. Please do not start fires beyond the fire pit. The Torch is not responsible for misplaced bonfires. 

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