America · Expat stories

Fall Guide For A New Comer

As I started to feel more and more at home  in the United States, I realized that it had was because of my familiarity with the seasons. Getting used to seasons is not just about getting used to the hot and cold weather nor the erratic weather that comes in between. For me, it’s about understanding what to do during that time of year.

This post is about what to do or what is “in” for Fall. 

Beginning in September fall puts an end to summer! At least in our minds it does, despite the warm weather. We get prepared for the ridiculous jump in temperature which range from 30 degrees middays to 8 degree nights in a given week! It took me a while to understand that days get shorter, until suddenly  the sun goes down at 4:30pm in December. It’s taken me a good number of seasons to get used to 5pm nights, but I quite like it now! My favorite thing to do is to turn on the fireplace, drink lots of warm apple cider or hard (alcoholic) apple cider and make travel plans to places I can cuddle up with a good book and some warm drink.

Hot drinks by the fire.

I get excited by the leaves changing color before they fall, tinting everything around with beautiful earthy hues. Everyone gets happy about wearing clothes that mimic the trees and landscape with more browns, maroons, dark greens and purple. Warm boots and dressy scarves all come out of storage.

My clothes are all in keeping with fall colors! Yay!

Pumpkins are everywhere! The lovely yellow and orange flowers called Mums decorate store fronts, restaurant and street corners. Oh! And let’s not forget haystacks.

Pumpkins, gourds, haystacks = Fall
Fall at Bryant Park

One of the first activities marking fall is the customary farm visit ‘to pick your apples’ ( or peaches if it’s early in the season) off the trees. Several farms have hay rides, corn mazes and petting zoos for the whole family to have fun. In India, I always imagined that the there were trees that grew and we would wander around searching for apples to pick. Little did I know that rows and rows of short, stout, fruit laden trees just sat waiting to be stripped! I am still a little concerned by all the fruit just wasted on the farm floor.

Pick your own, seems popular all over the county, not just in the north east where things get chilly. My farm visit this year was all the way in Apple Hill, California.

Must eat Apple Cider Donuts from a farm stall.
  • Apple picking

Despite the charm of farm visits in the fall, my favorite is going leaf peeping in the mountains. Choose a route, jump in the car and head on there to admire all the hues of the season. We’ve enjoyed driving around Vermont and the Hudson Valley in New York. Zion National Park gets some beautiful colors. But the best color and unobstructed, unique views of rust colored hills  has bee the Skyline drive in West Virginia. I imagine the Blue Ridge Parkway is just the same.

Vermont at the end of September/ 1st week of October
If you cannot go far, Central Park is wonderful for a Fall picnic.

I often plan these weekend drives, with an added bonus of visiting one of the plenty used booksales that happen periodically. Fall art shows and fairs are another delicious destination.

On my to do list is Cranberry picking. I wonder if it’s jinxed for me! I plan and have made reservations to go, but hurricanes to bad health have all somehow managed to cancel the experience!For overnight trips, I’ve enjoyed a stay at a cabin, enjoying a bottle of red wine while warming by a fireplace.

As Halloween rolls around, adults are as excited to dress up as are children. Stores like abracadabra in Manhattan and packed on the days leading up to the holiday. This year I was lucky enough to be invited to a halloween dress up party, but most years, I walk around ogling all the costumes and decorations at a Halloween parade. Definitely save sometime to carve a pumpkin into a jack o’ lantern.

Halloween- FamilyCostume Party Day

Of course Thanksgiving a family holiday also finds its way in the fall. Usually a time to visit and be with family. I always remember my initial Thanksgivings in this country, a new immigrant here, I felt lonely and unable to be a part of this tradition. I am so grateful to be a part of my friends tradition and glad I get to celebrate with her and her family on this day.

Thanksgiving table- Sharing a meal with family and friends.

For someone who grew up thinking Autumn, aka fall, was just about falling leaves, I am much more in the know now. All in all, weekends in fall can get really busy and are a lot of fun.

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