Nothing makes me happier than when the leaves begin to change. Shades of gold, red, orange and yellow blanket the ground, crunching under my feet as I would rush off to class in university in Massachusetts or hiking around my parent’s home in Virginia.
Without a doubt, autumn is my favorite season. I love fall, when the nights get chillier, when the air gets crisper and smells like a fireplace. I look forward to breaking out sweaters and scarves, and finally getting to wear my favorite fall colors again, cranberry reds, burnt sienna oranges and golden yellows, mimicking my favorite trees.
I love what fall symbolizes, change, the end of summer and the beginning of the harvest. I love the back to school themes and seeing the yellow buses around town filled with smiling and screaming children with big backpacks.
At the risk of sounding like a complete tool, or at least revealing what a total nerd I really am, I always think back and reflect on one of my favorite sonnets by Shakespeare when October hits (forgive me, I am feeling poetic tonight.).
“That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.”
I love cloudy, overcast fall days, tucked away in a cafe reading and writing, sipping hot pumpkin spice lattes and people watching. Even better, I love those perfect fall days where the sky is a vibrant blue and cloudless, with the landscape painted bright in all my favorite colors. I’ll go hiking and walking outside, camera in hand, trying to take it all in, basking in the glory of the end of summer and the beginning of winter. I love apple picking and pumpkin hunting, trying to get in the spirit for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
The spectacular east coast autumns are one of the my favorite things about America. And one of the things I miss the most when traveling the world.
When I lived in southern Spain, we didn’t get much fall at all. Those olive leaves don’t like to change colors. Last year I moved to Logroño, in La Rioja in the north of Spain after falling in love with the landscape on a train tide during the fall of 2007. Though Spain doesn’t have the lush forests and bright leaves like back home, fall is just as beautiful in it’s own way. In La Rioja the best time to visit is in the fall because all of the leaves on the vineyards change color during and after the wine harvest. Last year I would spend my weekends hanging out in the medieval villages around La Rioja, like Laguardia, walking amongst the vineyards and munching on grapes.
Fall comes later in Europe, even in late November you can still find it lingering around, especially in places like London or Italy. One of my favorite parts of Milan wasn’t the beautiful architecture or the glamourous shops, it was spending time in the numerous parks around town, walking along creeks and lakes under yellow trees.
Over the years I hoard fall tree photos like treasure. It’s one of my quirks. Between October and December I take my camera with me everywhere. I’m that person that pulls over on the side of the road just to take 20 pictures of a tree. I even plan my trips now around the seasons, trying to be in a certain places at the best time, especially when it comes to the changing leaves.
Here are some of my favorite pictures over the years of autumn around the world, of places that have a truly spectacular fall that I’ve been to, as well as a few places I want to go to.
What is your favorite season? What is your favorite thing about fall? What places has the best fall for you? Are you a secret poet too?
New England (USA)
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, where I went to university.
Washington D.C, Virginia and Maryland
La Rioja, Spain
Driving in the Sierra de la Cebollera
Ortigosa de Cameros
Now these are the places on my autumn travel bucket list: