If I am being honest, I usually get a little depressed during the autumn season. I love summer sunshine, long hours of daylight, and being outdoors in the heat, so once things start to cool down and change, I start to panic. Winter is coming. Thankfully I don’t have to have the back-to-school blues anymore, but the feeling in the air still lingers.
To counter this seasonal sadness, I am making it a goal of mine this year to take advantage of each season and get into the spirit no matter what. Summer will come again next year, so I might as well enjoy the good and bad of every season instead of denying it and falling into hibernation for the next…(gulp) six… months…
Here are some fall bucket list ideas of things I tried this year, and that you still can too in these final weeks we have before the snow flies. A lot of these activities were inspired by this blog post by Lizanne Lately, an awesome Minneapolis blogger & Instagrammer.
Make (or go out for) a Maple Latte
Real maple syrup, espresso, and some steamed almond milk might be the most heavenly way to start your day. While it’s not cheap, I think it’s worth it to splash out and spend some money to get the REAL stuff once in a while, not maple-flavored corn syrup. Maple syrup made painstakingly from tapping trees and a long boiling process has complex flavors and a delicious sweetness that will brighten your morning or be the perfect pick-me-up when you hit a caffeine slump.
Make a fall cocktail
Booze and fall flavors – what could be better? We had some fun creating these simple drinks before embarking on a night out. It’s stupidly easy – cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, apple slices, and cinnamon sticks (for garnish, if you want to get fancy).
Drunk Apple Cider – Serve hot or cold
1 Honeycrisp Apple
Fresh Apple Cider
Cinnamon Whiskey – think Fireball or if you’re cheap like me, try “Catch Fire” from Total Wine.
I heated the cider in a crockpot on low with the cinnamon sticks for extra flavor and then used them as a garnish. I didn’t add the whiskey until mixing it all up to serve. For the cold version, shake with ice and serve in a martini glass, or serve it on ice too. Whatever you want. It’s a sweet and delicious way to taste some fall flavors and warm up.
Visit an Apple Orchard & Pumpkin Patch
In the state famous for creating delicious apple varieties like the Honeycrisp, Zestar, Sweet Tangos, and many more, going to an apple orchard to pick a few of your own is a must. Going earlier in the season is always better as you’ll have more to choose from, if you wait until Halloween weekend it will be too late and everything will be picked over. Aim for late September to mid-October. Enjoy picking apples, trying apple creations like cider donuts and caramel apples, and pick out some pumpkins if you’re excited to decorate. Nayda and I went to Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Minnesota.
Visit a Local Winery
For a Sunday Funday, we drove to St. Croix Winery in Stillwater, which is connected to Aamodt’s Apple Farm. For $8 you can get a tasting flight of 5 wines all made at the winery from Minnesota grapes grown at the facility. Minnesota isn’t going to be known worldwide for its wine anytime soon, but it was fun to taste some local creations.
I hate the term leaf-peeping but it’s something that people search for, so here we are. When the leaves start changing colors, take a drive out of the city, either up north or somewhere with vast expanses of woods to see these marvelous colors igniting the trees. Check a fall color map by the DNR to see where you should go to see the best colors.
Ok so this is not a photo of a soup I made, we went for pho at Quang’s in South Minneapolis (if you haven’t been, what TF are you waiting for?!) but we’ve also been making soups and it’s been a great way to stay warm as the temperatures cool down. On this note – if you have any bomb soup recipes, please send them to me! Soups are a great way to experiment if you aren’t big into cooking, I think generally they turn out well and there are lots of delicious soup recipes that are “souper” (ugh sorry) simple.
Admittedly I’ve never fully watched a football game in my entire life, and I really don’t intend to change that this season. HOWEVER – it is a fantastic way to spend time with friends and family, or if you’re me, get them to visit you at work! Looking to enjoy $2 pints of craft beer in the Twin Cities during Vikings Games? Head to Birch’s on the Lake and watch it on a massive screen in the brewhouse.
Listen to a Creepy Podcast
Need some True Crime in your life? Complimenting the change of season are a host of fantastic podcasts to spook you out while you’re working or working out. I don’t like horror movies, but a well-told, dramatic crime story is the perfect autumn listen for me to get into the spooky season. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve listened to during the past month.
Root of Evil
All about a very messed up family that believes their grandfather was the murderer of the famous Black Dahlia in Los Angeles. It’s dark, twisted, and heartbreaking.
This podcast shares the story of the daughter of serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards, and her journey to uncover murders that he never confessed to but was suspected of being the perpetrator in. The journalist does a fantastic job sharing her story and putting together this podcast.
Dirty John is also a series on Netflix starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana, this disturbing true story of a woman who falls victim to a romantic con artist is a gripping tale, with an unexpected ending. Listen to the interviews with the actual people who lived through the harrowing events of this tale.
Up next – winter! What unique activities and excursions should be on my “Winter Things to do in Minnesota” list?