You can call me basic if you want to, but fall is absolutely my favorite season. My love affair with this season began long before the days of Instagramming PSLs.
Fall meant going back to school, buying new books, meeting my new teacher, and reconnecting with friends. Fall meant visiting the pumpkin patch with my family and planning elaborate Halloween costumes with my mom. Fall meant bonfires and sweatshirts and time snuggling on the couch with my people.
More than that, fall is a season of letting everything become quiet, of stilling our hearts in preparation for winter, of getting nostalgic and starting new endeavors and finding new adventures.
These are my favorite adventures to have in the fall, preferably with a pumpkin spice latte in one hand and Dan’s hand in the other.
1. Visiting an apple orchard. What could be better than fresh local apples, hot apple cider, and cinnamon donuts?
2. Hiking in a forest preserve. Ideally, I love to go on a mini-vacation each fall to see the leaves changing in a new place. Last year, Dan and I hiked Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin right at the peak of the fall colors and then rewarded ourselves with mac and cheese.
3. Hosting a barbecue and bonfire. Grilling out and having bonfires are not just summertime activities! Throw some maple-glazed pork chops on the grill and wash it down with a few s’mores.
4. Spending a day in the city. There are tons of amazing brunch places in Chicago, and they all seem to do their own twist on fall-themed French toast or pancakes. It also feels a little magical to stroll through Lincoln Park zoo while the leaves are changing.
5. Going on a coffee date. Because cozying up at Starbucks with a fresh PSL or visiting Biggby and indulging in a creme brulee coffee just shouts fall. (That’s baby Dan and baby Brittany, before he let his beard grow out and I had an unfortunate shade of fall-hued orange hair.)
6. Getting lost in a corn maze. But for me, this has to be done in the daylight because I am both directionally challenged and a huge scaredy cat.
7. Making a shareable pot of chili on Halloween. We’ve done this with some friends for the past few years, and it’s just one of those things that unspokenly became a tradition.
8. Cheering for college football. I love to break out my Michigan State football T-shirts, have some beer and wings with friends, and cheer for my Spartans. (Here’s a little throwback action for you—my very first Spartan football game, with a woman who would still be my best friend ten years later!)
9. Attending an Oktoberfest celebration. Is fall not the very best season for beer? Forget the light summery stuff; I want all the warm spices and caramel-y flavors.
10. Starting to dream about Christmas. Don’t judge me. I’m not saying decorate for Christmas or make sure you get all your shopping done; I’m just saying enjoy the cooler air and let yourself dream of the magic that’s coming.