Sunday, October 27, 2019

Savoring Autumn - Week 5

It's hard, and a little sad, that we are at or near peak this week, but it certainly made for a beautiful trip to the mountains. Autumn being my favorite season, like so many others I am completely enthralled with the changing colors. My only complaint is that it passes a little too quickly to suit me.  Though the season itself stretches from September 21-December 21 each year (give or take a day or two), the transition of the leaves passes quickly. Thankfully for me, winter is a close second, and I look forward to the barren woods and dry crunchy leaves beneath my feet, as well.

For over twenty years now we have taken a trip the mountains for at least a few days, a few years were even longer, and this year was no exception.  Bill and I were reminisicing on the drive back, sharing special memories of when the girls were younger. Sometimes my heart is lonely for those days, but there is a sweetness in this season of life that is precious, too. Since we were a blended family from the beginning, there was never a time before now that it was just the two of us. You might say we are finally getting our "honeymoon". :)
Having heard so much about the beauty at Grayson Highlands State Park and the wild ponies, we decided to spend a few days there. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way up and part of the way back to take in some color. The picture above is of Mabry Mill.  I have wanted to visit ever since we moved to Virginia (so for close to twenty years!), but for one reason or the other the timing was never right.  But this was the year and we could not have chosen a lovelier time to visit.  It was everything I imagined and then some!

As for Grayson Highlands, while the views were spectacular, I was a bit underwhelmed with the hike to see the wild ponies. This is one of those things I am thinking IS probably more fun if you have small children. The hike wasn't difficult, but it is above tree line, and the landscape (aside from those gorgeous views), reminded me a bit of Texas, a bit barren and scraggly, and the ponies themselves, being wild, looked a bit mangy. That's just my take. I know a lot of people love seeing them, it's just personally not really my thing.  I've discovered that I much prefer hiking in the dense forest under a canopy of trees with the occasional overlook.

But it wasn't all a wash. There is a lovely picnic area called "The Homestead" where they have a number of cabins that have been relocated from the surrounding area, and I really enjoyed touring them and reading about their history.  The picture here to the left is an actual outhouse that is part of the display. You could actually open the door and look in, and since I'd never seen the inside of an actual outhouse, I was curious. Surprisingly enough it was very similar to the portable potties of today, and something I think I could have actually lived with.                                                                            
This year was just a short trip, Tuesday-Friday, but so restful and relaxing that it felt like we were gone much longer. Bill is still off for a few days, he goes back on Tuesday, so this year is a mix of travel and some much needed leisure and down time here at home, as well.

This week we'll enjoy our traditional Halloween festivities and I have some autumn baking that I'm hoping to do this week, including Snickerdoodles and pumpkin bread.

Are you savoring the days of Autumn, and what are some of your favorite family traditions this time of year?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was hoping you'd post photos from your trip. They are beautiful! I think Mabry Mill looks right up my alley, as well as the Homestead area. I, too, like to hike in woods as opposed to a more open area, though our children would like to see the horses.

I can't believe we are in the final days of Oct. Fall is my most favorite season, and it's just flying by, sadly. Like you, winter is my next favorite season. I guess because I'm a "nester" and love all things cosy.

Our favorite family tradition during fall is visiting the apple orchard, which we did in September. We enjoy Sky Top orchard, located in Flat Rock, NC. Also, a lovely place to visit while in Flat Rock is the Carl Sandburg home and property. It's owned by the National Park Service, and you can tour the house, and walk the beautiful grounds, and there are picnic tables, and you are also able to visit the goat barn. (his wife raised dairy goats). It's really beautiful there. We always picnic there before heading to the orchard, because sometimes there can be a lot of pesty bees at the orchard which are a nuisance while eating.