As much as I welcome and readily embrace the changing seasons and all of their attendant traditions and curiosities, I think there will always be a part of me that’s quite solemn as buds bloom anew in the springtime, or when leaves of golden hues curl into themselves in the fall. I think a lot of it is practical: no longer can I enjoy a morning jog without my ears pounding from the cold, and fall farmers markets–beautiful in their own way, of course–don’t display the same veritable rainbow of colors as those in summer. Some of it, however, stems from a certain existential angst, only made stronger by the quiet pondering that fall brings. I’ve been experiencing that general malaise for much of October. So when my boyfriend suggested we take a day trip to beautiful western Massachusetts, I knew it was just what I needed to turn my spirits around.
We left Boston on Sunday morning, excited that temperatures were actually quite cool (it’s been unseasonably warm here!). Once you leave Boston proper, it becomes quite forested and impossibly gorgeous. As we drove further and further out, storybook towns introduced themselves with a combination of rustic, cozy homes, rushing rivers, and trees of red, yellow, and orange. Occasionally, we stopped to take it all in. The leaves were beckoning to be thrown, as evidenced below:
At one point, we came upon an old wooden bridge built in the late 19th century. A perfect photo opp!
When we reached French King Bridge, we were in awe of the view: perfectly autumnal trees parted by tranquil water.
After hopping back in the car for a bit, we finally reached our destination: Northampton, MA! Northampton is home to Smith College and has a palpable counter-cultural vibe. And consequentially, this meant lots of vegan options! We dined at Green Bean, a bustling breakfast joint with vegan options aplenty. I settled on the “Tempeh, Arizona”, which featured a vegan corn pancake, grilled tempeh, and steamed vegetables:
My dining companion ordered “The Big Day” which included grilled tofu, herb and onion bread with almond butter gravy, tempeh, and kale. And a blueberry cornmeal pancake on the side!
After lunch, my boyfriend and I ordered some coffee and hot apple cider, respectively. We walked around the downtown area, stopping into shops selling tchotchkes and admiring the architecture surrounding us.
When I arrived back home, I was struck by how much fun I had, and how the seemingly all-encompassing anxiety I was previously feeling had all but fallen away. I think that a day spent in nature (and eating good food) was what I needed to resurrect my feelings of gratitude. Welcome, fall!
What is your favorite season? How do you celebrate its arrival?
More fall trips: New England Charm, Hiking, and Apple Picking in CT
Photos: Molly Lansdowne