“AUTUMN, THE YEAR’S LAST, LOVELIEST SMILE.” – William Cullen Bryant
Today’s blog post fits perfectly with today’s weather…the temperatures have dropped, the air is cooler and crisper…fall is definitely pushing it’s way in. I’ve been slowly pulling out some fall decorations to make our home feel warm and cozy for the season, and pumpkin foods are already in full force! (I will be doing a blog post soon with a roundup of my favorite pumpkin foods/products, stay tuned!)
Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, and it’s also our last opportunity to spend ample time outdoors before winter sets in. Last year, Matt and I did quite a few fall activities (mostly outdoors) and by the time winter rolled around, I felt like we had really made the best of the season. I thought I’d share a list of fun things we did last fall, that we hope to do again this year. I’ve also added in a few other activities we’re hoping to cross off our 2017 list.
FALL ACTIVITY WISHLIST
Apple and Pumpkin Picking:
Matt and I have gone apple picking since our early years as a couple (college days), so this activity has definitely become our little family tradition. Now, we love going to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana. This orchard is less than an hour from Chicago, has a great selection of juicy apples, and lots o’ pumpkins to take home! Another thing I love about County Line is the wide array of fall goodies they sell! The moment you walk into the main barn, you’re greeted with the aroma of pumpkin and apple donuts. We never leave without buying a dozen…but, it doesn’t stop there. You can find fudge, cider, and sweet caramel dipping sauce, too!
Just a fun tip for those in the Chicago area…Last October, when Matt and I drove out to County Line, we decided to make it a full day of fall festivities. Following the orchard, we drove to New Buffalo, Michigan (about 40 minutes from Hobart) to enjoy a mouth-watering cheeseburger from Redemak’s. We sat on the screened-in porch, so we could feel that autumn air seeping in as we indulged in burgers and some local brews. After Redemak’s we walked along the lake and then ended the afternoon at the Stray Dog for rooftop libations.
Walk the Lake Geneva trail:
Another of my favorite memories from last year…driving up to Lake Geneva to walk the trail around the lake. We packed lunches and ate our lunch in the grass overlooking the water. Then, we spent a couple hours walking the path, stopping every once in awhile to capture photos of the trees. This is a perfect place to admire fall foliage, colorful trees at every turn.
I love decorating our porch for fall…we plan to do our mum planting this weekend. We’ll also probably scoop up a few pumpkins for the porch, since we don’t plan on going to the pumpkin patch until further into the season.
Wine tasting in Michigan:
This is an activity I’ve added to our list because I think fall weather and wine tasting are the perfect match, am I right? Just envision being wrapped up in a cozy sweater, sipping on a glass of Pinot as you gaze over the vineyards. Definitely an activity high on my priority list!
Attend a Nebraska Husker football game:
Luckily, we’ve got this one set up already…we’ll be heading to Nebraska in October for a long weekend, specifically to attend a Husker game. Football is such an integral part of fall (at least in our house) and there’s nothing quite like a Husker game. The energy of the Nebraska fans, the buzz throughout Lincoln, tailgating and sipping ciders, beers, and hot chocolates. No matter where you live, or what team you cheer for, football is definitely a fall staple.
Host a football gathering:
Staying along football lines, I would love to host a football viewing party at our apartment. I love making chili, fall dips, stocking the fridge with beers, and enjoying a good game with great friends. Even though we live in a tiny space, I love, love hosting. I can’t imagine what a crazy lady I’ll be once we have a house…I’m a Martha Steward wanna-be.
I think cooking classes are a blast anytime of year, but I’d love to try and find an option that specifically teaches how to serve up a cozy, fall dish. I envision soup or stew, paired with wine, obviously.
Visit the Botanic Gardens:
My girlfriends and I took a trip out to the Chicago Botanic Gardens last year and it was beautiful…My mom used to take us there all the time when we were young, and I forgot how stunning the grounds are, particularly in fall. They also have a lovely cafe where you can warm up with some soup and coffee!
This is something we haven’t done in years. We always go to the pumpkin patch, but rarely carve our pumpkins. I think this would be such a fun date-night in idea…the perfect activity to do while a stew simmers away in the slow cooker. Follow it up, curled up on the couch, with a scary movie.
Make a new soup or stew:
Every year, trying a new soup, stew, or chili recipe is on my fall bucket list. I could live off soup in the winter and love experimenting with different flavors to keep things fresh and exciting. Truly, the slow-cooker is my right-hand man during the fall and winter.
- Make homemade apple cider
- Go on a brewery tour
- Make pumpkin bread (multiple times)
- Make s’mores
- Go on a hike (we did the trails at Swallow Cliff last year and loved it)
- Weekend getaway (we’ve stayed at the Herrington Inn in Geneva, IL and spent the weekend riding bikes along the Fox River Trail)
There you have it- both things we’d like to repeat from last year, and a few other new activities to tackle! Make sure you soak in every moment of fall, breathe in the aromas, pause to admire the foliage, sip on warm, apple cider, eat a pumpkin doughnut (eat all things pumpkin for that matter), watch some old Halloween movies, carve a pumpkin…Fall is magical, and it’s over in the blink of an eye…cherish it, savor it, and make some beautiful, fall memories.
What’s on your fall bucket list for 2017?