It’s that time of the year again. The weather is beginning to cool, the leaves are fading from green to burnt orange, and the excitement of Summer is firmly behind us. Fall is finally here and once again we’re staring down the barrel towards Winter, Christmas and a new year. Fall is a contentious season. It is loathed by some and loved by others, but whatever your feelings towards pumpkin spice season, it is the perfect time of year to rest, reflect, and reset, and there’s no better way to do that than by embarking on a cozy fall getaway.
Fall is a season sandwiched between two others that are known for their chaos, busy-ness and copious social events. For many people that makes Fall a brief period of respite between the two. Years come and go so quickly these days that it’s important to take some time to reflect on the year so far and consider how you intend to move forward. Reflection does not need to be reserved for January! The perfect Fall getaway is all about slowing down and giving yourself room to breathe, and so there are two things you must deeply consider while planning: destination and company.
The ideal Fall getaway is not about the destination so much as it is about the vibes. That being said, it is imperative that you choose a location that is relaxing. It does not matter where you go, as long as you know it is somewhere that will calm you. In this sense, you don’t even need to leave your home, as long as you feel that things are in order and you won’t feel called to tidy up, run errands, or fix that pesky shower door or something else that has been bugging you. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you have children, try and plan your Fall reset for a time when they are with friends or being taken care of elsewhere. If you do decide to leave the comfort of your own home, then prioritize somewhere peaceful, like a cabin in the countryside, a quaint nearby town that you’ve been meaning to visit, or, if you decide on a city, then choose a quieter neighborhood rather than a location in the thick of the hustle and bustle. When it comes to company, be mindful of who you invite to join you on your Fall getaway. Whether it’s a partner, a family member or a friend, your travel companion needs to be someone that is also fully committed to relaxation. This is a great time to leave your party friends at home. You should embark on this getaway with the kind of people you feel completely comfortable sitting with in silence or staying up all night nibbling on a cheeseboard, drinking a bottle of wine and sharing those intimate kinds of conversations that feel like a safe, warm hug. You also want to invite someone who can share the mental load, the cooking and the planning, and won’t leave you to wash up the dishes.
In the case of activities for your Fall getaway, less is definitely more. This is not the kind of trip that should be jam packed with plans; instead, it’s a time to embrace slow living. Ideally, don’t make any plans at all! Listen to your body and mind and spend a few days going where the wind takes you. Spend your time reading, journaling, cooking, baking, eating and going on long walks. Listen to music. So many of us naturally gravitate away from music as we get older, but there’s nothing cozier than listening to some soft jazz or lo-fi beats while you spend the day curled up on the couch. Capture special moments on a film or disposable camera and keep phone use to a minimum. Spend an afternoon browsing through bookstores, antiquing or thrift shopping. Visit a gallery or a museum but really take your time with it, rather than racing through to see the whole thing. If you do want to make solid plans, stay on theme and book a spa day, visit a winery or go apple or pumpkin picking. Bonus points if you head home afterwards and cook something delicious with your harvest! If you’re a Halloween lover and feel that your nerves can take it, then lean into the spooky season and watch some scary movies, carve pumpkins or tell ghost stories around a bonfire. In my experience, the best Fall getaways also include some meaningful outdoor time, so rug up warm and go for a long country walk, jump around in piles of leaves, fly a kite, do some birdwatching, stargaze, feed some ducks or simply sit on a park bench and watch the world go by. Your post-walk coffee and cake will feel all the more cozier once you’ve spent a little time bracing the elements.
Finally, the most important aspect of any trip is the food, and a Fall getaway is no exception. In fact, good food is more important now than ever before, and in my opinion, the ideal Fall getaway would revolve around it. Whether you cook and eat in or head out for meals, your priority should be on hearty, homely, nostalgic and indulgent foods. If it doesn’t taste as if it was made by your Grandma, then on this getaway, you don’t want it! Eat huge, delicious lunches and then spend the afternoon sleeping it off. Wake up late and eat a big stack of pancakes for breakfast. Make a cozy hot chocolate for no reason. Bake an apple pie, or a honey and ginger loaf and enjoy it with cream and a warm cup of tea. Go out to an Italian restaurant and eat an enormous portion of pasta or enjoy a traditional roast dinner with extra potatoes. Eat absolutely anything with pumpkin in it. Think pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin gnocchi or pumpkin oatmeal. Anything can be made with pumpkin if you’re creative enough. Of course, pumpkin spiced lattes, or rather anything infused with pumpkin spice is an absolute must for any Fall getaway. Make some pumpkin spiced cookies or your own warm pumpkin spiced drink to keep warm as the temperatures start dropping.
A relaxing Fall getaway is the perfect way to recharge from your Summer antics and ease into the end of the year. We all deserve a little down time once in a while. So, wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, as long as you remember to prioritize relaxation, pleasure, good food and good company, I can assure you that you will have a Fall getaway worth remembering for years to come.
Bryony Parker is a writer and artist currently living in São Paulo, Brazil and working on her Masters in International Affairs. You can find her at @par666ker on all social media.