HIT UP A GREENMARKET
Summer berries and peaches may have already peaked, but autumn is definitely the best time for checking out your local farmers’ market. Seasonal fruits and vegetables like apples, sweet potatoes, squash and turnips are great this time of year, as well as more exotic options like tomatillos, quinces, sunchokes and kohlrabi (a tasty cabbage that ripens in late fall).
TAKE A HIKE
Whether you’re a nature- girl or city slicker, there’s no denying that a leisurely hike in the crisp autumn air is good for the old spirit--and calf muscles. EveryTrail (for Web or mobile) is a cool way to discover nearby trails. You can search by distance, elevation or difficulty and track your progress via GPS as you go. All you need now are the perfect boots.
GET LOST IN A CORN MAZE
Butter churning, apple picking, pumpkin patches: We’re total suckers for fall-time farm activities. Even if you’re not rurally based, it’s worth a one-day excursion to find that totally authentic hayride or spooky haunted house. This website is a great resource for finding corn mazes across the country.
VISIT IN THE OFF-SEASON
Take advantage of cheap flights and thinner crowds by coordinating your fall vacation with an off-season destination. Beach towns and ski resorts like Block Island (Rhode Island), La Jolla Cove (California) and Vail (Colorado) are all quiet and idyllic in October and November. For more of an adventure, try Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, where you can experience some of the best bird-watching in the world.
PLAN A ROAD-TRIP
Fill the gas tank, grab your shades and pop in that proverbial mix-tape: Life is a highway and the autumn road trip reigns supreme. Discover fun stops along the way by checking out the new website Roadtrippers, which offers personalized recommendations for roadside detours. Hello, World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
LEARN TO KNIT
Enough with those ugly hats and half-finished mittens! This is the year you are finally going to learn to knit properly. Stitch N’ Bitch is still our favorite guide for learning the ropes (by which we mean yarn) and trying basic patterns, but more advanced crafters might want to try books like Knitting the Perfect Fit, which helps you master technique and avoid boxiness (nobody needs a square sweater).
BAKE A PIE
Does anything say “fall” more than the smell of baking pie? If so, we don’t want to know about it. Channel your inner June Cleaver by whipping up a piping-hot autumnal dessert. A Year of Pies by Ashley English has seasonal recipes like Rosemary Bourbon Sweet-Potato Pie and Cranberry Mince Tart, as well as overall tips and advice. Can’t decide which pie to commit to? Use the Split Decision pie pan and bake two!
MAKE A WREATH
Tis the season for dried flowers, succulent greens and fiery leaves of orange and red. Decorate your home the sophisticated way (no cardboard turkeys, please) by trying your hand at floral arranging and wreath-making. For an alternative to all the lush Christmas greenery, go for something like this simple and elegant bark and straw wreath.
HOST A PUMPKIN-CARVING PARTY
Stir up some cider, don your coziest sweater and get the gang together for some competitive pumpkin carving (hint: the winning artist gets out of cleanup duty). While you should clearly encourage total creativity, these handy stencils might get your guests inspired.
MAKE A BREAKFAST DATE
Never have enough time to meet your girlfriends for dinner? If your evenings fill up as quickly as ours do, we suggest waking up an hour earlier and having your best pal over for a hearty fall breakfast--think pumpkin Belgian waffles and sweet-potato omelets. You’ll catch up on your gabbing and feel extra-ready to face the day.