It’s about this time of year that I remember why I live where I live. Summer is winding down, yet no one’s brought out their dreaded, hideous, necessary, puffy coat and guarded themselves against the weather and each other. The nights are chilly, the air smells like leaves, and the trees look like they’re on fire. The world is just righter this time of year.
So, clearly, Fall is my favorite time of year. I don’t hate Winter, mainly because I still appreciate the novelty of it, Spring has it’s own thing going with all the flowers, and to tell you the truth I could take or leave Summer. But Fall. It’s magical. There’s a buzz in the air; everyone feels it, and it makes you snuggle up a little tighter, crave things like chili and pumpkin mac and cheese, and get outside to soak in the beauty because we all know what’s coming next.
Which brings me back to my original statement: my love affair with Fall is why I live in Boston. There is no other place in the world that I’ve seen in my limited scope that is as beautiful as New England in the Fall. Sure, there are trees. And oh my, the trees. But there are also pumpkins, and decorations, and farms, and these little pillows of heaven called apple cider donuts, and apple picking.
I didn’t grow up in a place with orchards. I grew up in a place with ranches. And cattle. And sunsets like you wouldn’t believe. But apple orchards that actually let you come into their farm and pick their apples and look at their little goats are new to me, and now, quintessentially Fall.
A couple of Saturdays ago, I uncharacteristically hopped out of bed by 8:00am and made the decision to seize this day of mine and take in the joys of the season. By 10:00 we were on the road, destination Northborough, MA, to find Tougas Family Farm. The weather was a brisk 55 degrees, and bundled up in a cozy sweater and the obligatory riding boots, I sipped my tea, ate my bagel, and let my driver take me away to where the Pretty lives.
We arrived at the farm before the crowds did. I immediately scarfed down my first apple cider donut, which tastes like a cross between an apple cinnamon muffin with streusel on top and a churro. So, yeah, I’ll let you take that in for a second.
We then walked to the orchards, we encountered rows and rows of trees which were laden with what seemed like endless varieties of apples, some of which I’d never heard of. We spent the next few hours walking lazily through the trees and sampling various apples, which were themselves cold from the crisp Fall air.
I learned that it doesn’t take long to become an apple connoisseur and even less time to forget every single apple variety I picked. In the orchards they’re as nuanced as wine. At home, they all taste like apples.
We filled our peck with different apples then wandered over to the Country Store and met these guys.
That one got his head stuck. Horns are cumbersome, I’m sure.
By the time we got back into our car to head home, I was about 20 apples and a pumpkin richer, and it was lunch time. We went to my version of Grocery Store Heaven for lunch and some light shopping, then went to a place called Kimball Farm, which sounds quaint but is really a complex offering mini-golf, batting cages, an arcade, a driving range, a chip-and-putt 9-hole golf course, and, of course, farm animals. After a round of mini-golf which I lost and about 57 pictures of roosters, we headed home.
It was the perfect Fall day; the weather was beautiful, the foliage was breathtaking, and we spent the majority of it outside. Whether you are in a place that looks like New England during this time of year, or you’re in a place that still looks green, is still 89 degrees, but has some really killer sunsets, I urge you to get outside, bundle up in your coziest scarf, and breathe it all in. Fall doesn’t last very long, but while it’s here, it’s perfect.