New for 2017: My fall fun list

Last week I shared how I did on my summer fun list. Since fall also has very strong seasonal associations for me, this year I decided to create a fall fun list to help me really enjoy autumn. Those weeks when the leaves are at their peak always seem fleeting. Here are a few things I would like to do before the leaves are all down from the trees.

Pick apples. We already did this. In past years I've forgotten that my favorite kinds of apples actually peak in late August/early September, not late September/early October (which I think of as fall apple picking season). Since the kids didn't start school until after Labor Day, G and I took them last week. We are now flush with Galas and Honeycrisps! We may go again later, but not until we work through the massive baskets of fruit on the counter.

Go to an Eagles game. I won a pair of really good seats through our preschool's silent auction in March, so I'm taking my second kid for his 8th birthday. Since he will also be going to a Texas A&M game in College Station with my husband (and his older brother), he will be having quite the football fall!

See the bird migration in Cape May. My husband and I went to Cape May for a 24-hour anniversary trip, and enjoyed walking through a nature preserve right by the tip of the peninsula. Many migratory species stop here on their journey south for the winter, so we want to go back and check it out (plus the changing colors of the coastal landscape). We may do this as a family, but I have also identified a day I will be speaking in New Jersey (and thus will be halfway there) as a good possibility to go solo.

Visit Jim Thorpe plus the Lehigh Gorge. This is such a beautiful place to see the changing leaves, and it's less than 90 minutes from our house. We may hike or bike there (or both!)

Go on a hike somewhere else too, during the colorful foliage. I am currently planning on taking the big kids on an overnight trip in northern PA in late September, when they have Rosh Hashanah off from school.

See the chrysanthemums at Longwood Gardens. They always have a great seasonal display, and it's a good excuse to go see the grounds during autumn. Speaking of autumn flowers, I also want to get lots of mums for my yard. Some neighbors really do it up with large pots of mums and I love the colors. I tend to think of this as something other people do, but there's really no reason we couldn't visit a garden or hardware store, and exchange money for consumer products such as giant flower pots, as other people do. I'm actually working on a blog post on my complete blind spot on realizing that I can make purchases to improve my physical surroundings. I caught myself looking at my bed yet again this morning and thinking "hmm, I wish I had nicer pillows" as if they were going to appear via the pillow fairy.

Order Halloween costumes by October 15. The kids can be what they want and I won't need to pay rush shipping charges. I have left this until the last minute a few years in the past, and given my non-crafty nature, it's not pretty.

Go to the elementary school's Halloween parade (twice). This is always really cute, and since the afternoon session kindergartners parade separately, I'll be going to multiple parades. This sounds slightly maddening, but since I know it will happen, I've just marked it on my calendar and I will embrace the reality. My husband also cleared the 31st on the calendar. We are prepared!

Go on a hayride.

Do at least one community Halloween activity. Not sure yet if this will be Boo at the Zoo, or the Please Touch Museum's Halloween festivities, but we will do one!

Read a very fall feeling book. If you're looking for such a tale, the first half of The Cortlandt Boys (my novel) takes place in the Poconos in fall, with all the landscape and color described. I welcome suggestions of another book for me to try. Cozy, maybe just slightly spooky (but not too scary — I don't do horror or must-turn-page suspense), thick on the description and the character development. Ideas?

Go for at least one >10 mile run through the fall foliage. Autumn is a wonderful time for running. Cooler temps, beautiful scenery. I am not signed up for any races because I realized I can run 13.1 miles without the drama if I want, but I do want to nudge myself to do some longer runs, and maybe this list will help with that.

What makes fall feel like fall for you?

In other news: Please sign up for the 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge! I will be posting my time logs on this blog all next week, and I hope you'll play along. You can comment here or on social media with discoveries from your tracking. A lot of people like the moral support of knowing lots of people are tracking at the same time. Several hundred people have signed up, but there's plenty of room for more! Together, we can find out where the time really goes.

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15 Responses to New for 2017: My fall fun list


  1. Jenny says:

    “I caught myself looking at my bed yet again this morning and thinking ‘hmm, I wish I had nicer pillows’ as if they were going to appear via the pillow fairy.”

    That made me laugh out loud and I can’t wait to read that blog post. When we sold our first house and moved to a new one three years ago, this was a major takeaway for us: I was awestruck (and not in a good way) by just how many little things we’d lived with that had annoyed us for TEN YEARS. It sounds so simplistic, but we put off doing tons of home improvement projects (even small ones, I think refreshing bed linen counts!) for years and years, feeling that we were never in a good place or couldn’t afford to for whatever reason, only to wind up doing them ALL AT ONCE in order to go on the market. After that experience, having realized that the majority of projects are not actually as hard or expensive as they seemed, we swore that we would not defer our family’s comfort and enjoyment of our next house to such a degree.

    • @Jenny- oh, I know. If we ever sell this house we’ll have to fix all kinds of things for the next resident. Possibly we should fix them for ourselves, right?

  2. Katherine B says:

    Inspired by your summer fun list I did an autumn fun list last year and it worked really well. One thing we have in the UK is Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night on 5th November, celebrating how the Catholic Guy Fawkes didn’t manage to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605! It ‘s just an excuse to get together for a big bonfire, lots of fireworks, hot soup and hot dogs or burgers all gathered together in the dark really! Because it gets dark here by about 5 in the evening in November no one has to stay up late either.

  3. Ruth says:

    Just how would this pillow fairy thing work? Would you put your pillow under your pillow? How would she know which pillow to take? Sounds confusing for the fary!

    I admit I wait WAY too long to replace pillows. Guess what I just put on my list!

    • @Ruth – in my case, she should just take all the pillows. And burn them.

  4. Tana says:

    Fall books: Last year in November I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – perfect fall read. The b&w movie based on it is actually pretty accurate to the book and is also excellent. Frankenstein is also a great fall read – I don’t find the book that scary but the movie would freak me out (and thus I haven’t watched it).

    • Meghan says:

      Ooh, good suggestion! I’ve been trying to work my way through classic gothic and scary books, too. Last year I read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, and have been considering finally picking up James’s The Turn of the Screw. I love Jane Eyre, and Margot Livesy’s retelling, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, is deliciously bleak — perfect for November.

  5. Diana says:

    Such a good idea! I made a list for summer and need to do one for fall now! I always assume I’ll get things done but a list makes it so much more likely!

  6. Caitlin says:

    I am right there with you on realizing that some fall things have to happen while it still feels really warm and not much like fall, and also that I can purchase mums just like the ones I admire in others’ yards! Also cornstalks 🙂

    For good fall reads, I love The Secret History by Donna Tartt if you haven’t read it already.

  7. Emily says:

    Fall books: the first Inspector Gamache book, Still Life is full of crackling leaves and fall colors and is cozy and has amazing characters and other literary virtues for a mystery.

    • @Emily- interesting! I just ordered this one and will give it a whirl.

  8. Meghan says:

    I made a fall list after your suggestion on the summer fun post. Ours is a little different, since we’re in Georgia, but it includes camping (yay for fewer bugs) and heading to the mountain-ish area in north Georgia where the Appalachian Trail begins. We also need to get the kids’ passports!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, Laura. Since I’m in the same metro area, I can copy many of your ideas. 🙂 I’d forgotten about the nature preserve at Cape May–I think I visited it as a child but haven’t been back since.

    Just a warning about mums–they’re very high maintenance about water. I love to buy them every year, but mine inevitably die early because I never remember to water them enough.

    Have you read Middlemarch? That’s one of my favorite “curl up indoors with a big, engrossing classic” books. And speaking of reading and indoor improvements, number one on my fun fall list this year is getting a gas insert installed in our living room fireplace. I have many daydreams of reading by the fire on rainy days and cool evenings.

    • @Elizabeth – I’m pretty sure ours die annually too, which is why we have to buy them each fall. But that’s fine – we have annuals that are spring flowers too.

      I have not read Middlemarch, but have had several people suggest it – I will look into it!

  10. Kathleen says:

    Somewhere recently (newsletter?) you said you realized you spend more time in the car than you’d thought. If you want to make the most of that time, have you tried WhisperSync? It allows you to toggle seamlessly between reading a book on Kindle and listening to the audiobook version. Pretty clever!

    As for a “remainder of 2017” fun list (because it bleeds into winter):

    – Take kids on their first trip abroad (Prague!)

    – Bake an apple pie with “help” from kiddos

    – Take kids on nature walk during peak leaves; try to sneak some colorful candid photos

    – See the Ford’s Theater version of A Christmas Carol with the younger kid (did it last year with the older; smashing success)

    – Spend at least 2 chilly Friday evenings on the porch with a book and a hot drink, reading under a thick blanket

    – Host a “mom’s night in” for a handful of friends (on Friday… 7 bottles of wine + too much cheese already purchased!)

    – Maybe do one of those fall harvest festivals? They always sound more fun in theory than they are in reality, and I hate paying $100 to be mildly irritated for a few hours and receive a small pumpkin as a consolation prize.

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