Celebrate Autumn

October 15, 2017 | Patricia Wuest

It’s the season that celebrates football, Halloween and scenic fall foliage!

Autumn is a season of harvest and reflection in many cultures around the world. The traditional celebrations held this time of year can be religious or secular, but they all have one thing in common: they are marked by festivities that are fun. Here are some ways to celebrate fall! 

Make traditional autumn meals and desserts. Soups, meat pies and baked apple pies will fill your home with delightful aromas — and are sure to satisfy even your hungriest family member or guest. 

Decorate your home. Fill a woven basket with colorful fall-colored leaves, autumn produce such as apples, or loaves of baked bread.   

Take nature walks. After the “dog days of summer,” the cooler air can be delightful. No matter where you live, autumn offers a chance to see what grows this time of year.  

Make s’mores with the grandkids. All you need are graham crackers, marshmallows and plain chocolate bars like Hershey’s. You can make them over a grill, campfire or in the oven. Here’s the oven method (preheat oven to broil): Break the graham crackers in half, place the halves on a baking sheet, place a jumbo-sized marshmallow and 3 chocolate squares on each graham cracker, and heat for about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Yum! 

Visit a vineyard for a wine-tasting event. In some “wine country” regions, it is harvest time. It can be busy, but often it’s a delightful time to enjoy being outdoors. Hire a car or have a designated driver. Chances are you will drink more wine than you expected to — those little sips add up.  

Make a fall-themed drink. Apple cider is the perfect way to celebrate this season of harvest. And it’s easy to make at home. Place apples in a large stockpot and add enough water cover by at least 2 inches. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 hour. Strain apple mixture though a fine-mesh sieve. Discard solids. Drain cider again though a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Refrigerate until cold. Want a festive party cocktail idea? Make a Stone Wall, which mixes rum with ginger beer and apple cider. Garnished with a lime wedge and apple slice, it’s the perfect party drink to offer guests. 

Go to a pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins with the grandkids. Most pumpkin patches have a place — usually blocks of hay that have been decorated with colorful leaves and pumpkins — where you can sit with your grandkids and have someone take your photo. It’s a lovely keepsake memory of what’s sure to be a fun-filled day! Let the kids choose their own special pumpkin, and then carve them at home. 

Go to a free fall festival. From Oktoberfests to apple fests, each one celebrates the local crops and culture unique to an area. For example, in Wareham, Massachusetts, the town celebrates its local cranberry harvest. An apple harvest festival has been held in Biglerville, Pennsylvania, every year since 1964. It’s also a great time to visit a place you’ve never been. For example, head to Winterset Iowa, and tour Madison County’s six covered bridges — five of which are on the National Register of Historic Places — and also see a parade and local entertainment. 

Plan a leaf-peeping tour. Go to northern Georgia to see the changing of the leaves from green to glorious hues of red, orange and yellow. You can see beautiful fall foliage via a train car on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s four-hour trip through the mountains.

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