Monday, August 24, 2015

Ready for Fall

I don't know about you, but every year at about this time I start to crave fall. The middle of August feels tantalizingly close to September and I am ready for the crisp and cool weather of the upcoming months. And right now we are in the middle of a heat wave. Although the weather continues to be hot here in September, the month brings shorter days and with that comes a sense of the changing seasons. So even in Los Angeles we start dreaming about pumpkins and apple pie.

But in my opinion, there is no place more beautiful in autumn than New England. One of my favorite things to do in October is travel to the east coast and stay at a country hotel such as The Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vermont. This year we are going to New York -- we got tickets for Hamilton! -- and then on to rural Litchfield, Connecticut for some leaf peeping and all the other things that go into a New England fall. We were there many years ago and loved it. I remember gorgeous gardens, antique stores, great restaurants, Federal style architecture and country walks. Every porch is decorated with chrysanthemums and pumpkins. I can hardly wait!

With fall on my mind, I began to think of my favorite things to do at this time of the year.

So here goes:  

Ten Things About Fall That Make Me Very Happy

1. Traveling to New England

Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts
Photo via here

One of my favorite places to visit in New England, especially when we are staying in the Berkshires, is Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts. The village consists of one street lined with 18th and 19th century houses that have all been restored to their original condition. Each one is like a little museum.

Here are some other things I like to see and do in New England in the fall. The list is far from exhaustive and in no particular order, but includes some of my favorites.

Shop at the antique stores in Woodbury, CT
Visit the covered bridge in Kent, CT
 Go to The Mount, Edith Wharton's home, in Lenox, Mass
Drive the beautiful Mohawk trail in Western Massachusetts and admire the stunning fall foliage of the Berkshire mountains
 See art in Williamstown, Mass. The Williams College Museum of Art and the Sterling and Francine Clark Museum have stellar art collections
  Visit Stockbridge, the idyllic Berkshire village painted by Norman Rockwell
 While in Stockbridge, stop at the Norman Rockwell Museum
Explore Woodstock, VT, one of the prettiest towns you'll ever see 
Go to nurseries in the area, such as the White Flower Farm in CT
Visit my alma mater Bates College in Maine and walk on the Quad which is carpeted with fall leaves
Eat a bowl of clam chowder at M.C. Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine
 Admire the fall displays of mums and pumpkins that are everywhere!

2. Fall Cooking

There's nothing like cooking up a Wild Mushroom Risotto such as this one from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One to get you into nesting mode. This is a great dish for a cozy night at home. Go here for the recipe.

3. Flowers

I love the colors of fall flowers. These are from a flower arranging class I took last year. 

4. The beach

I have always thought that the beach is at its most beautiful in the fall and winter months. This photo was taken on a gorgeous day in November. There is something about the light at this time of year that makes the air crystal clear and the water glisten.

5. Sinking into a classic novel

I have just started rereading "To the Lighthouse" and am swept away by the beauty of the writing.

6. Adding some tartan to the house

I think that tartan looks especially good in the fall. It has the same crisp and tailored feeling of the season. These dishes finally arrived from Scotland and they remind me of my wonderful trip in June and my visit to the Anta store in Edinburgh, which has to be the the mother lode for all things tartan. I love the way the dishes look on the kitchen table!

7. Pulling out my favorite cookbooks

There are certain cookbooks that do seasonal recipes really well and Nigel Slater's Notes From The Larder is one of them. His pork chops with pears and cream is one of my favorites. Go here for the recipe.

8. Taking out fall table accessories

I have been collecting table ware with fall motifs forever and it's so much fun to take them out once October arrives. This table runner is from Italy and the leaf candle holder from a trip to Paris almost 20 years ago. The amber tea lights I bought in bulk one year for a party.

9. Lighting the candles at dusk on a fall night

As the days get shorter, candlelit tables bring a glow to the house and make staying inside feel very  cozy!

10. Wearing my Bloomsbury poncho

 Having lived on the east coast for so many years, I have been guilty of buying too many sweaters and coats for L.A. But it does eventually get cool enough here to wear some of them. This year I can't wait to bundle up in the Bloomsbury-inspired poncho I bought from Burberry last year. It was part of the Fall/Winter 2014 The Bloomsbury Girls collection and I got it on sale. After learning about the literary and artistic heritage behind this collection and Burberry's support of Charleston, the country retreat of the Bloomsbury Group, I was so happy to have one of these pieces. It will be perfect for a crisp day in October.

Have you travelled to any of the beautiful New England Inns during the fall months? 
I would love to know your favorites!


  1. Nigel is perfect for autumn evenings - although his recipes don't half pile on the pounds if you're not careful. He does occasionally refer to evenings when he dines off a bit of steamed broccoli and nothing else - but I think I must have skipped that bit!

    1. Mary, I know what you mean. He is perfect for a autumn evening, but you have to watch the cream!

  2. Oh, you've picked out so many of my favorite things too - esp. Litchfield, The Mount, risotto and To the Lighthouse. I keep telling myself that we can't have too many more heatwaves before it's crisp and cool.

    1. So glad you are a fan of Litchfield. Isn't it lovely? Reminds me of Vermont. There's nothing like it on fall day!

  3. As always, I enjoyed your blog so much Sunday and it makes me yearn for autumn. We have had such a hot summer here in the south.
    My favorite place to stay in New England is the Woodstock Inn, in Woodstock, VT.

    1. Doris, I stayed there many years ago and loved it. Woodstock, VT is such a quintessentially New England kind of town.

  4. Of course I love New England and would like to spend more time there in the Fall. I cannot wait to try the wild mushroom risotto recipe. It sound perfectly delicious once our long hot summer is over. I too can't wait for the chill, crispness of autumn.

    1. Janet, we've had a really hot summer here as well. Can't wait for the first cool days of autumn!

  5. I would love to visit New England at any time of year. It seems like the perfect state and I read nothing but good reviews about it. Looking forward to lighting candles when it gets cooler. Right now the only candles that get lit are citronella ones in the garden.

  6. I grew up in Virginia but have lived in upstate NY for 22 years. Autumn has always been my favorite season and I enjoy every second of it here! For the last few weeks I have been looking longingly into the cedar chest where I keep my sweaters...

    Woodstock, VT is one of our favorite places and so is Burlington. In fact, it's hard to find an unattractive place in New England in the fall!

  7. Born and bred in Massachusetts and living in Rhode Island, I love Longfellow's Wayside Inn the best (Sudbury, Massachusetts). Longfellow wrote his famous stories there and it harbors a ghost. Henry Ford restored it and hauled Mary's schoolhouse from Mary Had a Little Lamb to just outside the property line. It looks just like Anne Shirley's one room school room from Anne of Green Gables. Across the street is an operating grist mill. The environs contain a small white chapel seen in many New England post cards called Martha Mary Chapel. Ten minutes away is Concord Massachusetts, home to Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, where she wrote Little Women. You can also tour Nathanial Hawthorn's home. Concord Main St. is charming with petite shops and restaurants. Ten more minutes away is Fruitlands, the Utopian farm and museum. Barns, apple orchards, yarn shops, antiques shops dot the road that leads you through this historical area. By the way, the 1994 film Little Women was made in Deerfield.

    1. Donna, thank you for all these great recommendations. I can't wait to visit some of these places. I knew about Little Women being made in Deerfield. It's the perfect setting for that film!

  8. I love the fall, and we always go to New York and Greenwich, Connecticut sometime in autumn. Rarely do we drive around though, and I would love to. I do hope we get a real fall in Los Angeles - such a hot muggy summer. That Bloomsbury poncho looks amazing, and how wonderful to see Hamilton when you're in NY. Love your tartan dishes!

  9. Sunday...a beautiful post! You're going to have a wonderful holiday....enjoy as I know you will.

    That architecture, those colours, flowers, mushroom risotto etc etc etc....not to mention that poncho!

    All fab.



  10. Savoured every word of this.
    I am so ready for fall.
    Leaving Friday!!

    1. Dear Pamela, have the best time! I know you will. Try to go to the House of Bruar if you get a chance. Shop their wonderful Scottish products and eat lunch in the incredible food hall. You will love it!
      xx Sunday

  11. It sounds like a lot of us have been suffering through unbearable heat this year. Phoenix is just awful this time of year and I would love to escape to New England. Your post has already made me feel that relief is in sight - even if only in my head!

  12. We are having some late sunshine in the UK but autumn is in the air. I'm going to make it a priority to walk around our Victorian park regularly this autumn to enjoy the changing seasons.

  13. Washington Depot near Litchfield has the best place to stay..Mayflower Inn. Gorgeous rooms and the best spa room overlooking a lovely a tranquil pond. There is also a very successful independent book store there known as The Hickory Stick. West Street Grille in Litchfield is a great place for lunch or dinner.