Today (Labor Day 2020) marks the unofficial start of fall, unless it was two weeks ago when that famous coffee store released their pumpkin spice latte! Labor Day in the 90's marked the end of the summer, the end of the trips to the beach, and the end of day camp at the YMCA. The next day usually marked the beginning of the school year, the start of everything orange, yellow and in perfect fall fashion, boots, leggings and sweaters. Now it might not feel very fall like, it is still 118 degrees out in Southern California and there are at least 10,000 people at the beach today, but fall is unofficially here. If you live in New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine you are starting to see the colors of the leaves changing, slightly but it is beginning. The evening breeze is slightly crisp and the promise of autumn is beginning. Farmers across the United States are preparing for autumn festivals where agri-tourism helps to boost revenue streams from lost income throughout the year. Teachers are helping us to raise our children and employees head back to their 9-5’s after the long enjoyable weekend. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Here are a few reasons why the fall season is # 1 for me.
Leaves Falling All Around
Growing up on Long Island, we were able to take a drive up north to Vermont and New Hampshire to see the leaves changing on the beautiful maple, oak, sassafras and aspen trees. Towards the end of September, the leaves changed from a dark green color to a hypnotizing red, orange and yellow. Staying at a bed and breakfast would only be fitting to end a long weekend drive. Many states do not have the same appreciation because they do not have the pleasure of seeing the leaves changing but upstate New York and the east coast has this one in the bag.
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
You know it’s “fall” when everything becomes pumpkin spice! Drinks at famous coffee shops boast pumpkin spice flavors (some that even include pumpkin puree in their sauce) and restaurants include pumpkin spice into specialty dishes. There is something magical about pumpkin, maybe becomes it is only used for a few months of the year. The taste of pumpkin spice usually includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove, all found at your local grocery store. Pumpkin puree can be used to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pancakes, and many other dessert dishes. Growing up, my parents made a delicious pumpkin bread and pie, they even melted down a pumpkin! They used honey, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pumpkin, evaporated milk and eggs. These famous pies were brought to family gatherings, given out to neighbors and used as desserts for guests at our home.
If you are a parent and plan to go apple picking, DO NOT forget your wagon, stroller or wheel barrel! Apples get surprisingly heavy after carrying them for an hour, while walking through the rows of apple trees “out east” or in Oak Glen in Southern California. When I was younger, my parents packed us up in the car for the hour or two drive out east to the apple orchards. We spent hours picking apples and leaving with a caramel apple to go. Now that I have a new home, I no longer travel to Lewin Farms in Calverton or Woodside Orchards in Jamesport for apple picking. On the west coast we have a small town called Oak Glen. Traveling eighty miles east there is a small town at the foot of the San Gorgonio Mountain. This quiet village boasts a small community of apple orchards, restaurants, u-pick opportunities and wineries. After spending a morning looking for parking and walking up the hills of the orchards, apple butter, fresh pressed cider and warm apple pie are always nice additions to our apple collection. If you have never been apple picking, regardless of where you live, you must find an orchard and spend a day. Picking your own fresh fruits and vegetables is not only satisfying but also delicious!
Apples 100 ways
Apples are in their prime during the fall season. Apples come in many different flavors and colors as well. Did you know that there are over 2,500 varieties in the United States alone? Some of the apples that we like to grown in California are Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith and Cripps Pink. With many varieties, come many different ways of preparing apples. Some of the apple creations I have enjoyed include fresh pressed apple cider, apple pie, caramel apples, apple butter, apple pancakes, apple sauce, apple jam and apple cheesecake.
Fall brings about a unique chill that cools the air and brings a sense of comfort. After a long hot summer, evenings begin to cool down, boasting a beautiful 60 degree or cooler evening, the perfect temperature to sit on your porch and sip a nice warm cup of apple cider tea or a pumpkin spice latte.
Though Halloween has changed over the years and the desire to walk five miles to get candy that you can easily buy at the store seems less enticing as an adult, it is always nice to pick up Halloween candy the days following Halloween. Candy seems to taste different when it is on sale!
Apparently Thanksgiving is losing it’s value. It is often over shadowed by Black Friday shopping and the beginning of Christmas tree decorating, Thanksgiving needs to stand up on it’s two turkey legs and defend itself! A time for family and friends to gather together, bringing home cooked meals and warm conversation, a Thanksgiving meal should always make a house a home. After decorating a long table with pumpkins and leaves, friendly faces gather together and reminisce about past times, enjoying the time off from work and forgetting about tomorrow. College students often come home, children join their cousins and play games, while adults travel from all over the world to have a place at the table.
November (Scorpio season)
In the month of November, fall is in full swing, pumpkin season is still front and center and families are getting ready for the beginning of the holiday season. November is also special because it is my birthday month. My father and I shared this month and celebrated our birthdays a week apart. I have noticed that there is something unique about the personality of people that are born in the month of November and this could be because of our horoscope sign. Scorpios are born between October 23rd and November 21st and in my experience they are fiery, emotional, strong willed people. With these emotions you will also get a very loyal and dedicated person!
Sweaters, boots and leggings
Who doesn’t love the dress attire that the fall season brings? Sweaters, boots and leggings are the dress of choice amongst most women. The comfort of this dress brings a sense of warmth and joy to all that participate!
The nose knows best
My daughter reminded me that the fall boasts a bounty of smells as well! Most of these smells come from the leaves falling, creating a sweet sandalwood type of smell in the air. Cooler mornings also have a damp smell and a morning mist sets out over the ground. Other scents that you can find are a mix of cinnamon, pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla.
Regardless of how you spend your fall season, enjoy the colors, smells and flavors of what the fall can bring to your town. Don’t forget to pick up a few postcards as you travel!