Our Autumn Bucket List
And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” — Oscar Wilde
Fall officially started last week. The temperatures are starting to drop. The leaves are beginning to color and fall. The air is turning crisp and thin in the morning dawn.
Before you miss it, take a minute from your busy job, the bustle of school, and your everyday errands, to stop, take a breath and look around.
If we don’t take that time, the seasonal autumn winds will have blown through and we will have stumbled upon the holiday season in just a blink of the eye.
In our house, this is our very first fall in the Shenandoah Valley, and we couldn’t be more excited. For those who are not from the United States or for those who generally do not know, the Shenandoah Valley is famous for the beautiful yellow and crimson colors that spread across the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains in autumn.
My sister and I have always lived in coastal towns (except or my stint in South Korea, which had an AMAZING fall). Both of which had disappointing autumns. Fall in Savannah, GA truly did not exist. In Annapolis, it came and went before we knew it. We mean to make the most of our first true fall season all together in a gorgeous mountainside town.
So here is our fall bucket list! We will be checking it off as we go through the season!
1. Apple Picking
We actually already crossed this one off our list! The area surrounding Charlottesville is famous for its breweries, apple cideries, and vineyards. All three of which need produce to make their products! There are quite a few apple orchards in the area. The most famous is Carter Mountain, right next to Monticello.
Apple picking is fun for multiple reasons: exercise, vitamin D, an inclusive group activity for all age groups, and the ability to eat what you pick!
There are other perks to apple picking. Depending on the orchard, there may be a cidery attached or other products for sale.
We also bought apple cider donuts (which I watched my husband devour. Sadly, they aren’t gluten free), peach cider (sweet and smooth down the throat on a hot, late summer day), and a beautiful basket to use while picking. (It is an African basket. These baskets help support a community in Africa through fair trade practices).
After apple picking, we sat and chatted with our friends at the cidery. Carter Mountain sells Bold Rock cider, which is all naturally gluten free. My favorite is their IPA.
Carter Mountain is one of the highest elevation hills surrounding Charlottesville. It looks out over the town and is famous for its Thursday night “sunset series.” Definitely family friendly and such a fun time!
2. Baking for friends and family
This season, I cannot wait to start making seasonal treats for all my family and friends. Think of all the autumnal flavors available to work with:
Thankfully, I picked enough apples from apple picking (too many) to make endless amounts of fall treats. Just think of all the apple cakes, apple sauces, apple butters, apple pies, apple crisps… the list goes on and on.
3. …And for the Neighbors
I am making it my mission this fall to meet all my neighbors in the apartment complex. We have seen one another in passing, but have not interacted. Delivering seasonal treats is the perfect segway for getting to know everyone! Not to mention, its spreads a little bit of joy!
4. Carving a Pumpkin Picked from a Pumpkin Patch
I haven’t carved a pumpkin since I was a small child. I probably haven’t picked a pumpkin from an actual pumpkin patch in just as long. Even more shockingly, my husband has NEVER DONE IT. Being from South Korea, pumpkin carving is just not part of his culture.
Thankfully, we have Elizabeth, who studied architecture in college, to help us make the pumpkin carving of our dreams. (Question: does experience with an exacto knife and making architectural models actually help you carve a pumpkin. We will keep you updated when we find out.) Project time!!!
Which leads to our next item:
5. Decorating for Halloween
Probably one of the reasons I haven’t carved a pumpkin in so long is that I have never been a halloween person. Elizabeth is. Elizabeth is in charge of the Halloween fun around here. Proof is her alcoholic caramel apples based on the witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
I am joining in and trying it out this year. (Oh gosh, I need to think of a costume.)
This year there will be:
Candy in a bowl for trick-or-treating
Some Halloween themed treats
We have a lack of storage in our apartment. Our decorations will be easy, cheap crafts that are cute, but take little storage or can be thrown away at the end of the season.
6. Hang a fall wreath
Elizabeth and I always talk about making a beautiful seasonal wreath to decorate our door. The days go by, and then, all of a sudden, it’s the next season… and then it’s the next. We never actually get it done. This year it is on the blog. It will hopefully hold us accountable.
We will hang a wreath and decorate our front porch in beautiful fall fashion! Who knows, we may have carved pumpkin attempts piled high. How do you decorate your house for fall?
7. Actually Try a Pumpkin Spice Latte
Are they worth it guys? Seriously, are they actually worth it? Let me know in the comments below.
8. Hike for Leaf Peeping
The Blue Ridge Parkway is in our backyard. There are countless trails along the parkway which lead to scenic views (if you are not a hiker, there are plenty of viewpoints along the road. You just need to pull over!)
We are taking the time to go leaf peeping this year. Yes, that is an actual term used. Honestly, it makes me giggle to type. I cannot wait to lookout and see all the fall foliage!
Where do you go to see the leaves changing? Do you take a drive to a favorite place?
9. Have a Small Bonfire Party
When the weather turns crispy it’s time to build a fire. Our apartment complex has a beautiful outdoor wood burning fireplace perfect for small get togethers. Taking a moment to celebrate the beauty of friendship is a worthy cause.
Get a group together, take in the beautiful weather, enjoy the conversation, listen to the crackle of wood, and let the laughter of good company wash over you.
S’mores, hot drinks (Hot toddies, chocolate, cider, mulled wine, etc…), and seasonal nibbles get everyone in the mood.
There is nothing better than cozying up with the family and friends you love the most.
10. Attend a Fall Activity or Festival
Small towns love festivals. The fall season seems to have an abundance of them. Pick a few to attend.
This year, we are heading over to Monticello on October 12th for the Fall Open House. The Thomas Jefferson Center opens the heirloom garden three times a year to view the historic plants and to take tours. Though not a festival, it is such a fun opportunity to see something in our community.
Look on your local town website to view all the available festivals in your area. You will find there are more than you even knew! We are still looking into what we want to attend on the Charlottesville website.
What festivals have you attended and loved?
Hopefully, we will make it through our fall bucket list. Everything listed will give more joy to our lives. What is your bucket list for this season? Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below!
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