Good bye long days, warm weather, light clothes and the great outdoors. All around the Northern hemisphere schools are reopening, thus marking the unofficial end of the summer. This change of season can be saddening, if not traumatic (yes, we know a few beach animals!), for some, that’s why we put together a few ideas for short eco-friendly trips and activities to beat the end of summer blues.
Fruit Picking season
Sugars are always great mood boosters, and they can be healthy too if they are natural and one has to work to get them. During the months of September and October, apple picking is a major tradition across the US. From pick your own to full scale apple festivals, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate this popular fruit in all its varieties. The AppleJack Festival is an excellent excuse to visit Nebraska City between September 15 and 17, 2017, but if that’s too far or your taste buds do not appreciate apples there are plenty of alternatives: from cranberry to pumpkins, chestnuts and mushrooms, this season has a lot to offer. PickYourOwn.org, offers plenty of info on fruit and vegetable harvest and related events.
Grape harvest festivals
Pick, stomp, taste. The end of summer is THE season for wine-making and that’s why we are dedicating a separate section to it. Since the times of Bacchanalia, there are plenty of celebrations for this special harvest throughout the world. Wherever there are vineyards, there are events and festivals. Some vineyards let you pick and stomp the grapes like in old times, most wineries have special events besides the usual tour and tastings. In the US, two regions are particularly renowned for the vineyards: the Finger Lakes in New York and Napa Valley in California, check out those links for all the events and addresses:
Remember moderation is the key to enjoyment!
If the end of summer gets you down, a balloon ride can definitely bring up your spirit again. On the East Coast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival (Sept. 21-24) in Glen Falls (NY) will fly up to 100 balloons, including some special shapes to wow the crowds. The craft fair, the activities for kids, several musical performances and a special breakfast in the hangar will easily fill the weekend for the whole family!
Take a train ride
The changing color of nature are the season’s hottest ticket and one of the most eco-friendly way to enjoy the show is from the train. In the last few years Amtrak has been deploying the vintage dome car on the Downeaster line between Boston and Brunswick, Maine. Thanks to its glass dome on the top of the car, passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. On the West Coast of the US it is possible to tour the Napa Valley vineyards by train. Guests will board the Wine Train’s beautifully renovated 1915 Pullman railcars and enjoy fine dining while transported to Napa’s top wineries for an evening of wine tasting, culinary delights and live musical entertainment.
Immerse yourself in art
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” said Picasso. Leave negative thoughts behind and let art transport you to new horizons of creativity and cultural discourse. One of the best places to visit in this season is the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley. Every weekend this open-air art gallery offers yoga classes to start the day, beekeeper tours to learn about the art of honeymaking and events for the whole family. The Agrisculpture workshop is one of the most popular events. Led by Agrisculpture founder Amy Lewis Sweetman, participants use natural and recycled materials found on the grounds to create their own installation. This year the workshop will be inspired David Smith’s outdoor sculptures currently on display on the center’s grounds.
Those on the opposite corner of the US, should head down to Taos, New Mexico, on September 23rd to catch the Paseo Project celebrations including installations and performance art. For the last 4 years, this project has brought together art and technology, international artists and STEAM youth programs to create immersive artistic experiences.
Home decorating is always one of the best remedies against the blues, -especially in view of all the time to be spent indoor in the next months, and antique hunting is the fun and sustainable way to do it. Get out of the city and stop by the roadside country stores, browse their knick-knacks, find the perfect deal, take a break to re-energize by eating fresh food from the local farms. If driving around is not an option, head out for the big antiquing events that bring together hundreds of dealers. On the East coast Adamstown, Pennsylvania, boasts the title of Antiques Capital of the USA thanks to the weekend extravaganzas that bring together thousands of dealers three times a year. The Fall event takes place over the last weekend of September (9/28 to 10/1).
On the Pacific Coast, the Ventura Flea Market and Swapmeet on September 24th is the perfect occasion to enjoy the oceanside location while hunting for that unique vintage piece of décor your home has been missing.