“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
~ John Howard Bryant
Autumn is a time for celebration, for harvest, and for family and friends. It is a time of vibrant hues that warm the soul, though the days grow crisp and cedar-scented sweaters emerge from our winter storage closets. Fall is not the end of summer. It is a beginning in its own right. With its canvas of colour begging to be admired, can anyone truly deny that we owe it to this inspiring season to get outdoors and become one with the landscape that mother nature has painted just for us?
Well, that’s all well and good, you might be saying. We tell you to “get outside and experience fall,” … but what do you actually do once you’re out there? Not to worry. We have a few ideas to round out your autumn colour adventure. Give these three tips a try, and we are sure you will have far more than just a seasonal colour palate to look back on—you will have a bona fide colour experience to add to your wonderful memories of everything autumn.
Country Drive Challenge
Scenic drives are good for the soul. They are a chance to take in surroundings that you wouldn’t otherwise see by just going for a walk. In York Durham Headwaters, we have vast stretches of country roads that border century farms and wooded terrain. You could drive all day and still not see everything in our region. But we understand what you must be thinking: there is only so much driving and looking you can do in one trip. To turn your basic autumn vehicular escape into a full day of exploration, we invite you to give our Country Drive Challenge a try.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is as follows—on your rural fall colours drive, make three stops to round out your day trip:
- Stop 1: Find a historic downtown district (we have plenty in YDH!), park for an hour or so, and go for a stroll. We guarantee you will find shops and people as colourful as the trees.
- Stop 2: Find a quaint shop in a quaint village, and poke around for a while to see what they have. Travelling YDH’s back roads means you are bound to come across timeless little hamlets. If you take a moment to talk to the owner, the chances are good that they will be able to give you a unique perspective on the town or village in which you accidentally find yourself.
- Stop 3: Find a cozy café. With all that automotive adventuring, you and your travelling companions must be peckish by now. Our independent purveyors of beverages and handmade goods put a whole lot of love into what they serve. And let’s be honest—is there anything better than the scent of leaves and crisp country air mingled with hot, rich coffee and oven-baked sweet treats?
Nature Walk with a Twist
Nature walks are awesome… ’nuff said, right? There is something so pure about tromping beneath a canopy of colour along a dirt path strewn with fallen leaves, or through a dew-laden meadow while breathing deep the fall-fresh air. Nature walks awaken our natural senses. If you have kids, we encourage you to help them awaken one more: their sense of creativity.
Make your nature walk with your wee ones about discovery. Task them with finding their favourite fall leaves. Are they all red or all orange? Do they have interesting shapes and patterns? Are they crunchy and dry, or soft and pliable? When you are all nature-walked out for the day, bring your fall leaves home and have your little people make a collage from them. A bottle of glue, a white piece of paper, a picture frame, with a touch of imagination, and you have a permanent reminder of your fun-filled day.
Here’s a bonus tip: fall leaf collages make excellent (and inexpensive) grandparent gifts for the upcoming holidays.
Bring the Harvest Home
Fall colour doesn’t have to be only about the trees. Fall colour is also about the produce. It’s about the deep reds of the apples, and the fiery oranges of the squash and pumpkins. Make your day of fall colour about exploring the rural roads of YDH to create your perfect culinary adventure. Go for a fall drive… and bring home the makings of a meal.
We have an extraordinary collection of passionate farmers who provide their products at their on-farm markets. Find your seasonal favourites fresh from farm country—everything from beets and potatoes to parsnips and brussels sprouts. Visit a local orchard for ruby-red apples to add a dessert of fresh-baked crumble. Stop in at a local winery or one of our many craft breweries for your hand-crafted beverage. Preparing a fall feast is the perfect way to commemorate your day spent reaping the colourful harvest that our YDH farmers and craftspeople have to offer.
We want to hear from you! Don’t forget to share your photos and stories from your day spent enjoying the fall colours in YDH. Tag us on social media at @VisitYDH with your very own autumn adventure.
Keep in mind that due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the activities may not be fully available, as well, you may need to purchase tickets online – make sure you check the locations website for more information to ensure a safe visit for all.
Story by Katherine Ryalen
– Ryalen is a Durham-based author and lifestyle blogger. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.