Fall is a special time in Virginia. Finally, you can go outside again without feeling like you might melt. The leaves change from green to brilliant golds, yellow, oranges and reds. The apples and pumpkins are ripe for picking. And the smells of bonfires waft through the air on crisp autumn nights. We all celebrate the changing season in our own ways, but here are just a few of the things that you’ll find most Virginians doing this time of year.
1. We start planning for Thanksgiving.
We tend to have big families here. Which means that trying to get everyone in one place can be like trying to plan a UN Summit. From figuring out who's going to make your great-grandmother's rolls to who's in charge of finding a turkey big enough to feed everyone, Thanksgiving planning can never start too early.
2. We get very, VERY serious about football.
Whether you support your local high school team, have season tickets to your college alma mater or you're a fantasy league champion, fall weekends in Virginia are made for football.
3. We go apple picking.
Local orchards are at their peak this time of year. All you have to do is get out there and find the best fruit on the tree. That fresh apple pie or homemade apple butter isn't going to make itself, after all.
4. We find Fall and Harvest Festivals - and make the most of them.
From events at the local schools to full-blown fall fun madness, fall festivals are worth waiting a whole year for. Seasonal foods, fall decorations and a crisp breeze are just a good excuse to spend the day outside.
5. We hunt down the most amazing fall foliage. Fortunately, it's not hard to find.
From the Skyline Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway to Colonial Parkway - Virginia's fall foliage is a Sunday driver's dream come true.
6. We set out to pick the perfect pumpkin.
Pumpkin patches are plentiful - and even with all the recent rain, you can still find that perfect pumpkin at one of the many local pumpkin patches throughout the state.
7. Remember that bit about fall foliage? It doesn't stay. So, we rake. And then rake again. And usually at least once more.
A few weekends of raking, a handful (or two) of blisters and another years' vow that NEXT year you'll buy a leaf blower.
8. We change the thermostat from "heat" to "cool" and back again in a 24-hour period.
We've all done it. Freezing cold in the morning to boiling by afternoon. That's the beauty of fall! Don't worry, we'll find ourselves doing it all over again in spring.
9. We get ready for bonfires, oyster roasts and pig pickings.
These are the things backyards were made for.
10. We undergo excruciating decisions every day…at least until November.
Every day becomes an exercise in strategic decision making. Will my feet be too hot? Will they get cold? Aaaaaahhhh…just pick one already!
11. We remember that there's a right way and a wrong way to wear leggings. (Here's a hint: This is the right way.)
Actually, waaaayyyy too many people forget this. So, maybe it's just me, but LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. I felt like it needed to be said.
12. We find our favorite apple cider donuts…and buy in bulk.
That's why we have freezers.
13. We head out to wineries and breweries for seasonal treats.
Many of our local wineries and breweries (and there are MANY to choose from) offer special seasonal brews, ciders and wines. What better way to keep warm as the days cool down? (Devil's Backbone in Nelson County, pictured here, is a great place to start…)
14. We wonder if the kids' Halloween costumes will be warm enough…or too hot?
There's nothing worse than sweating your way through trick-or-treating but a jacket over the best costume EVER? That's not gonna happen either. All I can say is this: spend two weeks making a costume for a 3-year old who won't hold still for fittings and they're wearing it - no matter what the weather.
15. But most of all…we soak in every moment, because there's just nothing else quite like a Virginia fall.
Gotta love fall in Virginia…it’s kind of hard not to. What are your favorite things about Virginia fall? Did we leave any of your favorite fall traditions off the list? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!