Fall foliage in upstate New York

Despite mourning the passing of summer, I am enjoying the onset of autumn — meteorological vacillations between mini-monsoons and temperature peaks and plummets by some 40 degrees in a day notwithstanding. The chilly evenings make for excellent slumbering, the crisp mornings spark the senses awake, and the need for an extra layer of clothing is far from the onerous layering to follow. The coat of many colours in the fall foliage is always a visual feast.

We’ve been lucky to get out of the city on consecutive weekends, heading out to Stone Barns Farm in Westchester for their annual Harvest Festival. (One day I *will* get to dine at their much-acclaimed Blue Hills restaurant… ) The brisk yomping across the fields past pigs, cows and this Thanksgiving’s turkeys was refreshing to the soul, and complemented by some great family sessions on beekeeping, composting in your kitchen (a momentary worry that we were going to have an in-home composting situation when Calvin waited for 10 minutes to get the ‘How to’ handout!) and the utterly brilliant kids improv group, Story Pirates. Plus you can’t go wrong with food options like Luke’s Lobster rolls and bespoke ice creams from Van Leeuwen.

Calvin and Clea converse on the joy of apple eating right off the tree; and thanks to the height-advantaged Pete... reaching those tempting pommes up high was no problem.

The day-saster, for which I certainly spiked my stress level, was that we missed getting on a hayride. I felt awful as I’d promised one to C at the highlight of our trip. (The first promise I’ve broken.) Fortunately, more-than-salve was spending time with a family we enjoy and hadn’t seen in… too long. The boys hung out, or rather rolled out, spending loads of time rolling down a steep hill. Really. A highlight was H’s Razor Spark Scooter, which was not only the right colour (silver and blue), but had wheels with lights and a cartridge at the back that creates sparks as you brake. It just so happens we’ve been in the midst of researching a new scooter for C — who had laid claim to mine temporarily. No surprise that we now have one of these in our home, and spent this weekend partially circumnavigating our island on it.

Jay and Calvin do the Strom King dash... alongside an arching sculpture.

So… a hayride make up was a must, and happily intersected with our annual apple picking outing two hours north of the city in Warwick. We ended up on a mule wagon, so extra points for authenticity. We got to spend the morning with our intrepid friends P, K and C (who impressively dashed back to the city in record time), sadly missing our other friends L&J, and then braved traffic past the n-th circle of hell otherwise known as Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall to follow the wacky Google Maps directions to get to Storm King Art Center. The hour or so we spent striding, racing and stopping in amazement at the massively-scaled sculptures on this wonderfully undulating property was well worth the trying drive back. We were lucky to have the ever-amazing Jay chauffeuring us on our adventures.

This weekend has been rather laid back, enjoying the Fall Festival held on our island complete with participatory musicians (rapping the alphabet, learning to salsa and playing the percussion), decorating a pumpkin (now glitteringly installed on our dining room table) and scootering up a storm.


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