It’s Fall!—or Autumn, if you prefer. The leaves turning beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow before gracefully falling to the ground. The sound of the leaf blower or old-school rake, bundling them into piles, and the laughter of children happily jumping into them, scattering them once more. The cool, crisp air; no mosquitoes; fall vegetables; hearty meals that warm your soul—there is so much to love about this season.
One of my favorite recollections of Fall was traveling to a wonderful resort in the Blue Ridge mountains of Maryland. My family and close friends traveled up and spent long weekends where we each had our own cabin. I loved going on hikes, the scent of fires burning in the cabins’ fireplaces, gathering what I considered to be the prettiest leaves of Fall; but most of all, I loved walking around the property and hearing the dry leaves and sticks crunch and crack beneath my feet.
As much as I loved those days, the ones now are just as special. This is my daughters’ favorite time of year. They embrace everything about this season. Gone are any vestiges of summer decorating their homes, all replaced by autumnal colors and objects—which I do, as well. There is something so heartwarming in seeing your children finding the same joy in things that you do and then imparting it to their children.
Just like in my childhood adventures, our family takes a long weekend fall trip. Since the arrival of grandchildren, we have stayed in a number of different places that have not only the right accommodations, but fun things to entertain the kids on-site, too. We also consider areas around where we might stay, looking for family-friendly restaurants, playgrounds, trail rides, gem mines, and other sources of entertainment. With a wide range of ages, we need to find places that work for our varied interests. The very best aspect of this trip is having everyone together. It is a relaxed time that makes for many stories, games, and laughter.
Another great thing about this season is all it entails—pumpkin selection is high on the list. I love going with the different families and watching as my grandchildren search and search for the perfect pumpkin. The pick-your-own pumpkin patch can be a daunting place, with what seems to be an endless supply of every size and shape imaginable of these orange gourds. The smiles on their faces are priceless, as their eyes spot just the right one they want to take home that will later be turned into a jack o’ lantern.
Fall is also the time for apple picking. A trip to the mountains makes for another special family time. Apple orchards usually have several varieties of apples to pick, along with other treats to enjoy after the children have helped selecting enough to make delicious pies and applesauce. Apple cider and apple-cider doughnuts are quickly consumed with more to take home and enjoy.
Whether this is your favorite season or not, there are so many opportunities to be with your family. It’s a wonderful time for bonding, getting to see the many sides of your grands, learning more of their likes and dislikes, what new experiences they are willing to try, and what amuses or frightens them.
A major event of the Fall season for most children is Halloween, but it is important to remember that Halloween is not for everyone. When trick-or-treating with youngsters, be aware that some decorations and costumes may be upsetting to them. Forcing them to wear a certain costume or go up to a home that has scary decorations will only make the event miserable for all involved. Plan your time and route, keeping in mind their ages and attention span.
Now go out and embrace the season and all it has to offer—but take your grandchildren along to make it even more enjoyable by experiencing it through their eyes.