Fall in love with Des Moines this season

by Rachel Peterson, perspectives editor

While Simpson College’s campus offers the beauty of falling red and gold leaves, our sister city, Des Moines, offers a good time for all with its myriad of fall activities.

For the of-age beer lovers, local breweries bring out seasonal flavored brews. Forget a pumpkin spiced mocha, just drink one in the morning and grab an Oktoberfest lager from Raccoon River Brewing Co. after a long day of classes.

Even though Oktoberfest is over, the drinks are still poured throughout the season. Other notable brews include pumpkin ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.

Anna Sherry, senior, thinks of coffee as the staple of fall.

“I always want a warm drink on cooler days. The flavors of fall are really great, too,” she said.

Her favorite concoction?

“Anything with pumpkin flavoring.”

The old standby, Starbucks, has its seasonal pumpkin spice latte back in stock, but if you want something local, head over to Mars Café, near Drake, and try their take on the fall classic.

Endurance athletes, or those wanting a challenge, can compete in the Living History Farms Road Race in November. The 7-mile course is full of hill climbing, wading through muddy streams and gawking at the costumes some of the 7500 runners don on the cold November day. After runners have battled their way through the course, they are rewarded with hot chocolate, homemade beef stew and pumpkin bars.

Simpson alum, Lindsey Borgomainerio, is a past participant in the road race.

“It’s a great atmosphere. It’s not really a race about competition. It’s more about having fun with whomever you run with,” she said.

Music lovers can rejoice with a stacked lineup at Wooly’s. On Oct. 18, Des Moines band, The Nadas, will play a 21 and over concert. In November, Bonne Finken, another Des Moines native, will play an all ages concert.

The Iowa Wild and Des Moines Buccaneers hockey teams do not disappoint with cheap tickets and beer.  The Iowa Wild home opener on Oct. 17 features $2 beers for the night. Even if hockey is not your thing, the high energy crowd and players picking fights on the ice bring a level of entertainment that can’t be beat.

Des Moines, Indianola and surrounding areas cater to traditionalists. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes are staples during the temperate fall weather.  

The Pumpkin Ranch, in Winterset, offers a 9-acre corn maze and pumpkin patch. The admission price, $8.50, gets you into all the activities.