Been thinking about Vermont. Or maybe Massachussetts. Pennsylvania? Upstate New York? I’ve been reading everyone’s posts about fall, and now I want nothing more than to pack up my family and drag them leaf-peeping somewhere slightly cooler, and a bit more colorful than here. Oh, New Jersey will have its turn for vibrant leaves and chilly days, but it’s still a few weeks away. If I took off right now for a quaint northern town, I could enjoy the season at its peak there, and still come back home to catch it here. Double the pleasure, and all that.
I drifted off to sleep last night, with thoughts of fall in the Catskills. My grandparents lived in Cairo, and my most vivid memories of visiting them seem to center around this time of year, and of the two hour ride to get there. The mountainous New York State Thruway, and the rolling countryside of Route 32 were a complete contrast to the life I lived as a kid in a small New Jersey borough, thirty minutes west of NYC.
I can still smell the Fall fires that dotted the rural landscape. They made an impression on me because you just didn’t burn leaves in a barrel in your back yard when you lived in the suburbs. That smell didn’t exist in my world.
I remember when I was a senior in college, I drove up to visit my grandparents on my own. It was late September or early October, and I still recall the two tapes I was listening to on the ride, the route I took to get there, and how drenched the mountains were in the colors of the season.
I’d go back – take the kids, make a long day trip of it – but it’s more complicated these days. With my grandparents’ property sold, there’s really nowhere for us to go in that town anymore. Two and a half hours is a long drive, just to meander aimlessly when you get there, you know?
I will find some way to indulge this autumnal wanderlust, at some point, even if it just ends up being an afternoon in the Swamp. That place looks amazing in the fall, and it’s right around the corner. Until then, pass me another pumpkin muffin, please!