There’s no denying it, Fall in New England is perfect- the air is crisp, the leaves are brilliant, and the flavors are delicious. It’s truly beautiful, and probably the season I miss the most since moving to Southern California. ‘Fall weather’ in Southern California may surprise you a day or two during any time of the year, but it doesn’t go much farther than an overcast day, or maybe a few rain showers. There aren’t any big piles of crunchy leaves to play in, it’s hard to find fresh apple cider in the grocery store, and you can’t count on being able to wear a sweater and boots.
It was time to get some real authentic fall in our lives, so this year Baby Flyer and I were lucky enough to spend almost three weeks in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley during the peak of the season, and boy did we soak it up!
We hit the highlights- apple picking at Cold Spring Orchard, made apple crisp and crazy crust apple pie, drank pumpkin beer (just me on this one, not Baby Flyer) and apple cider, visited a pumpkin patch, went on multiple hikes through the woods, drove to the top of Skinner Mountain to view the foliage, enjoyed the cooler temperatures; perfect running weather, went on a farm tour, stepped on as many crunchy leaves as we could, and wore sweaters and boots as often as possible. We planned to go on a hayride, but we ran out of time. Next year!
Next up- what to do with all those apples from our apple picking? If you love apple pie but don’t have the time to make the crust, this Crazy Crust Apple Pie is a perfect option. You essentially put the crust on top of the apples. Very easy and equally as delicious. We got this recipe from the apple farm and I thought it was too good not to share.
|Crazy Crust Apple Pie
Approximately 3lbs or 5-6 medium sized apples; peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (*See note below)
¾ cup butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 egg (beaten)
Nuts (if desired)
Fill pie plate 2/3 of the way full with apples then sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Add nuts, if desired.
Melt butter then add sugar, flour, and beaten egg.
Pour over apples
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until browned.
* Using a variety of apples and even adding one pear make for a nice flavor. Empire, Macoun, and Cortland are all good if they are available where you are. Otherwise, a combination of Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Gala, and Fuji is an option. I don’t recommend using Granny Smith apples as they are too tart. Adding one pear can be a nice addition.
On top of the fun activities the weather was amazing, with only two rainy days during our whole visit. I probably commented on the beauty daily, and it was perfect to be able to get outside with BabyFlyer as much as possible.
The Pioneer Valley is also a great place to eat any time of year. For a special night out, we get a table at Chez Albert, one of our current favorites. I’m probably late to the party, but I had my first pumpkin beer with a brown sugar rim at Judie’s in Amherst. Holy yum (and decadent). I’ve tried to replicate it at home out here but it hasn’t been quite as good. I’m still looking for the perfect pumpkin beer. The one I had in New England-Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale- was local and isn’t carried ‘out west.’
Baby Flyer seemed to really enjoy our walks in the woods. She was so peaceful, both in the Ergo 360 and the BOB Revolution Stroller. She barely made a peep, and spent the time looking around. You could tell she was taking it all in. We tried to get outside in the woods daily to enjoy the trees.
Living in the city, there’s little things you don’t realize you get unaccustomed to. It’s odd but since living in Southern California I’m not as used to hearing (or seeing) squirrels. Whenever we would be out on a walk, I would get startled when I’d hear ‘something,’ which was always a squirrel, rustling in the leaves. This might have something to do with the prevalence of lizards and rattlesnakes in SoCal. We certainly have squirrels here too, but I don’t come across them in the same frequency as I do in the woods in New England.
There are a few iconic fall things that it just seems like you ‘need’ to do with family. When we booked our tickets for this trip, I imagined visiting a pumpkin patch and taking some fall themed pictures of Baby Flyer among the pumpkins. We did in fact, visit a pumpkin patch, but it was later in the day and Baby Flyer wasn’t in one of her moods where she smiles all the time but was still very interested and curious about the pumpkins. So, while they may not be perfectly posed, they are real life and this is what we captured-
Overall, we feel so lucky were able to enjoy so much of the fall season this year on this trip. It is by far the longest I’ve been back during that time of year since moving to Southern California.
No better way to end than a shot of the woods on our last walk in the woods before flying back home!
Thanks for reading!
This post is linked-up! We’re joining Budget Traveler’s Sandbox for Travel Photo Thursday this week. Be sure to head over there and check out some great end of the year travel posts!