Escape to the Country
Autumn is the perfect time to escape the city and explore the countryside. Rural landscapes display their full autumnal glory, and farms and orchards open their doors to visitors. The rural areas surrounding Portland, Oregon offer plenty of choices for day trips. My favorite by far is the Hood River Fruit Loop, and October is one of the best times to go.
Wherever you live, I encourage you to plan your own escape to the country. A day, or even an afternoon, in the countryside can improve your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Here’s a few things to enjoy during your day away.
Pick out a pumpkin and enjoy an autumn festival
Skip the supermarket this year and enjoy selecting your pumpkin right from the field. Harvest festivals are in full swing. You’ll have more fun and save money on your pumpkins and gourdes. Take a hayride too. And if you live where corn is grown, find a corn maze to get lost in.
Savor nature’s bounty
October is harvest season for apples and pears. Many farms and orchards welcome you. Try a “you-pick” orchard if you enjoy selecting your fruit fresh from the tree. Others have produce stands where all you have to do is fill your bag. Nutrient-rich apples and pears inspire me to try some seasonal recipes like cobblers or crisp. Or just core and fill with butter and brown sugar and bake them.
Partake in seasonal specialties
Seems like cider donuts have become a traditional harvest-time snack at many farms. In Oregon we also enjoy pumpkin milkshakes, pear hand pies and caramel apples. Autumn is my time to stock up on the preserves and jams sold at local orchards, especially the ones made without added sugar.
Enjoy the fall foliage
Take a long drive and witness the transformation around you as the landscape morphs into a colorful show of brilliant reds, oranges and yellows — a rainbow of autumnal colors. This time of year feels more like the start of a new year to me than January 1. The change of season can inspire new beginnings and personal transformation.
Explore a rural hiking trail
Seek out a country trail to explore. It’s a great way to commune with nature and get in your steps. If you’re hiking alone, text your location to a friend before you go and promise to check back in when you’re home.
Embrace the seasonal changes
Being closer to nature provides the opportunity to witness the change of seasons with all your senses. For me, the fall is a nostalgic time. Perhaps that’s because a dynamic change is taking place (depending on where you live) and our senses, especially the sense of smell, are deeply tied to memory.
Experience it for yourself. Hear the crunch of dried leaves beneath your feet. Breathe deep and take in the cool, crisp air with the heady scent of autumn. There is something truly magical in this metamorphosis.
Relax and unwind at a local winery
If there are wineries in your area, stop in for a tasting. It’s a wonderful way to end a lovely day in the country. Relax, bond with friends and appreciate the beauty around you.
No matter how busy you are, take time to escape to the country to fill your lungs with fresh air, clear your mind and replenish your spirit.