As far back as I can remember, Columbus Day weekend has been my official start
of fall. True, it may get cool earlier or we may have had an Indian summer, but weather aside, Columbus Day weekend is when it starts for me.
My family has spent nearly every Columbus Day weekend upstate for the past 20 years or so, so that Friday before is the time to break out the boots and light scarves and get ready to enjoy autumn.
What is it about the fall that is so evocative, anyway? Is it the in-between weather (just right for wearing a t-shirt with a light sweatshirt or flannel over it), when it’s too cool to be uncomfortably warm, and too warm to need to bundle up? Is it the thoughts of pumpkins and apples, hayrides and cider? Is it the smell of cinnamon baking or
crackling fires that does it? Autumn has always just felt right to me – a very cozy, homey season.
While we Long Islanders sometimes complain about the weather (the humidity!), I feel that we are fairly fortunate when it comes to climate. We are south of the New England chill, but close enough to enjoy what the northern states offer. We have four real, distinct seasons, and while sometimes in the extremes of winter or summer I wish we didn’t, I know I would miss them if I lived elsewhere.
As Long Islanders we have the added benefit of being in a great central location. Head a little bit west and you get to the city, head a little bit east and you can easily reach beautiful farmland. The eastern forks of Long Island, with their farms and wineries offer old fashioned entertainment with a number of fall festivals in October and November. A couple of hours east may find you apples and pumpkins to pick, farm stands to visit, and local products to taste.
A fall excursion wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory “oohs” and “aahs” over the beautiful foliage as it changes colors. As the weather cools, the trees cease producing food and begin to live off their stores – causing the chlorophyll in the leaves to fade, revealing the reds, yellows, oranges and browns we so look forward to seeing.
The timing and vividness of the foliage change depends on the weather, but it is a good bet that if you visit the east end or head west to visit Upstate New York, you will find yourself some incredible fall foliage to enjoy. And why not? September is over and everyone is settled into their school and work schedules. It’s not yet late enough to start fretting over the December holidays. Take some time to enjoy what nature, and Long Island have to offer this fall.
- Visit www.handmadelongisland.com/longislandlocal for more information on everything Long Island!