December 21st may technically be the first day of winter, but let’s be real — when it gets too cold out to stroll comfortably through the park in a jacket, winter is upon you.
And that time is fast-approaching.
But before winter truly arrives, there’s something you need to do. You need to take advantage of all the unique opportunities that this Autumn has to offer. Before the weather gets too cold, before the restaurants take away their seasonal menus — get off the couch and explore.
Here are six ideas to help you get started on your fall adventure.
Visit the Local Apple Orchard
On a similar note, you can start a new yearly tradition: visiting an apple orchard. Whether you bring the kids or make a date of it, you’ll be surprised how much fun you can have walking through the orchard, picking your own apples in the fine fall weather and browsing the selection of apple-infused products and foods offered in the gift shop.
If there’s no orchard in your own town, get to Googling! You’re almost guaranteed to find one within a reasonable driving range. Make it worth your trip by planning a day around the event.
Cook Those Healthy Fall Foods
Apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes — all of these are widely appreciated fall foods. But they aren’t the only healthy ingredients that thrive in the Autumn, and Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the only meal worth putting some effort into.
This fall, make yourself feel great and seasonally inventive by embracing the healthy foods that thrive in the fall.
You can use these ingredients to cook some delicious meals or simply have healthy snacks on hand. For instance, you can throw parsnips and other vegetables in the crock-pot tomorrow morning then come home to a tasty dinner. Or you can toss some cranberries into your lunchbox and enjoy a healthy snack at work.
Take Advantage of Seasonal Menu Items
Seasonal menu items run rampant during the fall. This year, whenever you’re out for a meal, be brave and order something marked as “in season.”
Here are a few examples of Autumn-specific items sold at national chains:
These are just a few ideas to get you looking for seasonal foods, but don’t limit yourself to national chains. Your hometown has its own unique shops and restaurants just waiting for you to discover them — and their delicious seasonal items.
Embrace Seasonal Beer Tasting
Autumn is one of the best times to partake in one of adulthood’s greatest joys — beer tasting.
Breweries around the nation take real pride in creating new brews, and Autumn is an especially well-loved time of year in the beer world. Fall- and Oktoberfest-inspired brews run rampant, yet no two seasonal beers are exactly alike. It’s this diversity that makes the experience so fun.
So, get the gang together and head out to a nearby brewery or outdoor festival. Learn about the variety of seasonal beers out there and expand your palette. Find a new favorite. And, of course, let the drinks you try put you and your buddies in a festive, if not giggly, good mood.
Try out Some International Fall Foods
We tend to think only of local foods when planning our autumnal feasts, but why not try something different this year? Get adventurous with your seasonal meals by trying out a few international fall foods.
Why, you ask? Well, for one thing, it never hurts to expand your recipe book. Doing so prevents you from falling into a monotonous dinner routine comprised of the same six dishes each week. Additionally, you get to learn about the seasonal trends of other cultures and impress dinner guests with both your internationally festive dishes and your intercultural knowledge.
For example, say you look up a few popular fall dishes in Spain. Depending on what piques your interest, you may wind up making a romantic seafood dinner, a pomegranate-infused juice or a sugary stuffed donut dessert. Don’t those possibilities sound a little more fun than grabbing that same old boxed dinner off the shelf?
Go Pumpkin Picking
It’s not too late! It might not seem that original when it comes to Autumn, but when was the last time you went out to the pumpkin patch and picked a plump one yourself? It’s a lot more fun than just walking into Starbucks and ordering some pumpkin-spiced latte.
Grab a friend and make a day of visiting the pumpkin patch. Once you’ve found yourself a winner, try out a few pumpkin-centric recipes for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
Even if you yourself don’t like pumpkin, you’ll still have fun on the trip, and you can make a kind holiday gesture by giving someone you love a tasty pumpkin dessert.
Make This Autumn an Adventure
Whether you’re a beer drinker or a coffee fanatic, a health nut or a chocoholic, an outdoorsy person or a couch potato — there’s something new and fun for you to try this fall.
There’s only ever going to be one fall 2016, so don’t wait — get adventurous now. Otherwise, your Autumn adventure will have to wait for an entire year.