When fall begins, exactly, is debatable. For some, it’s Labor Day weekend, when the beach house is secured for the winter and there is a scramble to get the last swim in the ocean. Yet, it's the arrival of the school bus on that first day of school that often marks the advent of fall for children (and their parents). And for others, like me, it’s that first cup of apple cider and the vibrant, patchwork of colors on the trees.
Regardless of what camp you’re in, fall is officially here as September 23rd, the Autumnal Equinox. Whether you’re lucky enough to still have the backyard pool open, or have already swapped out shorts and dinner parties on the back patio for wool sweaters and brisk evenings gathering around the fireplace (or fire pit), it doesn't matter. Now is the time to pull out the cider press or spend an afternoon at the corn maze, then invite friends and family back home for a get-together to celebrate the season.
With the leaves beginning to fall and the apples red and ripe on the trees, get outside and enjoy the brilliant hues of fall foliage before it all disappears.
• Head out to your local park for a walk in the woods or challenge friends with an afternoon spent at a corn maze (trying not to get lost).
• Locate a pick-your-own orchard nearby and take the family to go pick a bag or two of apples. Warm up with mugs of cider and pick up some cider doughnuts for the ride home.
• Using leaves gathered outside, make your own leaf-printed place mats for the table — all you need are some plain linen placemats or even construction paper. Paint one side of the leaf with fabric or tempera paint and press down firmly. Let the mats dry before using. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Angela K. Severn)