Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweater Weather

Autumn is my favorite season.  By far.  It always has been.  Of course, I attribute this to having grown up in New England, where autumn presents itself like nowhere else on the planet.  When I went to university in Utah, I was slightly disappointed by the fall season.  But then I moved to Southern California, and realized that Utah, though no Vermont, wasn't half bad.

I love crisp, cool, Canadian air.  I love vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges in the trees and crunchy browns underfoot.  I love fresh apples and apple cider that looks like cloudy tawny potion, and not store-bought juice.  I love pumpkins for carving and baking and stacking whole for decoration.  I love Halloween and Thanksgiving and cold weather back to school clothes.  Most perfect days, in my opinion, occur during autumn.

Every year growing up we'd pick a Saturday in October and drive the Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires of Western Mass.  We'd stop off first at Atkins Farms, an apple orchard with a rather large market attached, pick up apples, the afore described cider, and mini red-wax covered round Vache-Qui-Rit cheeses.  Sometimes we'd pick up a pastry, my choice always being a cheese danish.  We'd munch these as we drove the mountain highway.

The foliage on the Mohawk Trail was always fabulous.  At least it was in my memory.  I'm sure some years were better than others.  Western Mass is brimming with big old trees--maples, oaks--and as they color they create a warm toned patchwork laid across the hills and valleys.  This patchwork is as warming to my heart and spirit as a quilt of cotton and wool is to my fingers and toes.

Seven years ago, Larry and I took the girls (and the boy in utero) to Massachusetts in October.  We spent a day in Boston at the Commons,  Fanuiel Hall, and the Children's Museum.  We spent an afternoon at Yankee Candle, which even then was on it's way to becoming Disneyland East.  We hung out with my dad and step-mom for a couple of days, and of course spent time with my mother and brother.  We even celebrated #1s 7th birthday.

But, for me, the best part of that trip was the 24 hours that Larry and I spent in Woodstock, Vermont.  The fall colors were not quite at their peak in Mass, and driving up Interstate 91 we could watch them become gradually more vivid.  We stayed in a quaint B&B and toured a dairy farm, tasting cheeses and maple syrups.  We drove over to the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River, and crossed the longest covered bridge in New England.  We shopped at Basketville, a great huge store that sells just what you think.  It was a quintessential autumn vacation day.

While back east, I kept trying to convince Larry that living in Vermont or New Hampshire would be about the best thing we could do.  It has not been meant to be.  The west calls us.  I hear that this area has some pretty decent fall foliage.  We'll see.  I'm not holding my breath.  I do happen to know, however, that sugar maples will grow well here.  So you'd better believe we'll be buying some sugar maples when we landscape.  Then at very least I'll be able to grab a sweater and crunch around in my front yard.

2 fishy comments:

Kelly said...

autumn is definitely one of the things I miss about New England. I had the same feeling at college in Indiana but realize it is also better than the South for fall colors.

Tammy said...

I'd love to drive through New England during the vibrant autumns there.'s always someday!!!