Sunny beach days and summer Fridays may be over, but with the change of seasons comes autumn colors, cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice everything. Read on for all the reasons we can't get enough of fall.
Because it's wine-tasting season
One of our favorite parts of fall? The wine-tasting. On the east coast just two hours outside NYC, the North Fork is the perfect place to sample small-batch vintages. We love Jamesport Vineyards, where you can drink five flights in a 19th-century barn, the 500-acre waterfront Macari Vineyards and Mattebella Vineyards, a mom-and-pop winery with a charming farmhouse that pours some of the best Cabernet Franc around. On the west coast, Napa's Liana Estates just opened on 100 hilly acres in Carneros offering morning yoga, culinary classes, oyster-shucking lessons and romantic dinners in the on-site olive grove. JS Tip: Don’t miss crush in September and October, when you can stomp grapes at Grgich Hills Estate or blend your own Merlot at Rutherford Hill Winery.
Because fall foliage is ridiculously beautiful
Year in and year out, leaf peeping tourists get on the nerves of New Englanders everywhere, clogging scenic byways as they pull aside for endless fall foliage photos. But even the most curmudgeonly local will admit these trips aren’t without merit. Whether you’re keeping it coastal along the Atlantic, or venturing out west, no one wants to miss autumn’s killer colors. Our favorite scenic stretches include the 11-mile Green Mountain Byway from Waterbury to Stowe in northern Vermont; the 236-mile San Juan Skyway in Colorado which connects Telluride’s ski country, Durango’s Old West locomotives, and Mesa Verde National Park’s pueblo cliff dwellings; and Massachusetts’ Mohawk Trail which winds its way through the Berkshires.
RELATED: 11 Epic Fall Foliage Road Trips
Because who doesn't love apple picking and pumpkin patches?
Even if you don’t like eating apples, you enjoy picking them. There’s just something about traipsing through an orchard on a crisp fall day, paper bag at the ready, that solidifies the season’s arrival. As New Yorkers, we don’t have many farm options, but what we do have is the Queens County Farm Museum, on the outskirts of town, where 47-acres of bonafide farm mean livestock, greenhouses, herb gardens, a pumpkin patch, and a 3-acre corn maze (aka the Amazing Maize Maze). Just a heads up so you’ll know where to find us on weekends from now till November.
Because we dig a boozy autumn cocktail
There’s more to fall than Moscow Mules and hard cider. We're all about the innovative cocktail twists that come with the change of the seasons. On our radar now: The Plank-Smoked Old Fashioned at NYC's American Cut, with hints of nuttiness, spice and savory maple smoke; the By the Fireside at Up & Up cocktail bar, a mix of 10-year tawny port, chicory coffee syrup, ground nutmeg and cinnamon; The Dixie (Dickel no. 8, kola nut, baking spices, caramelized sugar) at the new Southern-themed cocktail bar 1952 1/2 Liquorette, in Chicago. Like beer better? Head to the Elysian Brewing Company in Seattle for a pint of The Great Pumpkin Ale, which is made with roasted pumpkin seeds, or Chicago's first cider pub, The Northman.
Because hot coffee is back--and it's better than ever
The second temps start to drop, our caffeine addictions inexplicably kick into overdrive. While popular seasonal varieties like the Pumpkin Spice latte dominate our social feeds (and the internet as a whole), we like to lean on local, innovative flavors. Keeping our hands toasty this season are The Rosemary Ginger Molasses latte from Rose Park Roasters in Long Beach, the Lavender latte from Upright Coffee in Brooklyn, and the Honey Cinnamon latte from the Thinking Cup in Boston.
Because 'tis the season to stuff your face
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to break out those fat pants, people! If you’re in New York City, make a beeline to Petee’s Pies for a slice of the Brown Butter Honey Pecan or the Hudson Valley Apple. Or go on a fall foliage drive through southern New Hampshire and stop for the apple cider doughnuts at Lull Farm. You won’t regret it.
Because there's nothing like autumn air
Finally, the sweaty summer days are OVER, so get out and take a breath of that crisp, autumn air. In New England, the prettiest place to hike (and leaf-peep) is the 47,000-acre Acadia National Park in Maine, while west coasters adore California’s Yosemite for the gorgeous changing colors. Down south there’s Shenandoah in Virginia. Bonus: the Shenandoah and Monticello wine trails are nearby for a well-deserved post-workout swill.
Because a fall festival gets us giddy
Fall is the season for festivals. Full weeks devoted to everything we hold dear: craft beer, comfort food, wine, and international film. We’d love nothing more than to be jetting all over the US, attending the best Oktoberfests this side of Germany, chowing down on revolutionary dishes at Feast in Portland, Oregon, and cashing in on both prime leaf peeping and fresh seafood at Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine. Sadly, our list is long and the season is always so short, so we’ll be likely be keeping it to NYC-moored events. We have our eyes set on the NYC Craft Beer Festival, Cider Week, and the 54th New York Film Festival.
RELATED: 10 Best Fall Festivals
Because our favorite holidays are now
Every year the holiday season unfolds in a flash, fresh off the heels of what felt like a split-second summer. While we’re always sad to say goodbye to sunny days and light wardrobes, we do love us some Halloween parties, Thanksgiving day parades, and holiday feasts with our families. As always, we have classics like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Village Halloween Parade on our radar, but we’re also looking forward to smaller events that’ll take us out of the city. This year we’re all about The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley, where a pumpkin promenade illuminated by 7,000 lanterns creates the perfect Instagram photo op.
Because restaurant tastings menus are drool-worthy
Some restaurants are taking seasonal, farm-to-table fare to an extreme. Park Avenue Autumn is wholly dedicated to fall from the decor to the dishes. We’re crazy about the sweet corn and truffle agnolotti as well as the roasted chicken with confit yams and pomegranate. North of New York City is Blue Hill Stone Barns, where all the ingredients are sourced directly from the on-site farm and the tasting menu is split up into greenhouse, field, pasture, forest, farm and cellar sections.
Because fall fashion is killer
After months spent sweating through our clothes in 100-degree weather, there’s no greater feeling than dusting off our trunk of fall clothing once the heat finally breaks. And one of the first fall clothing items we plan on incorporating into our wardrobe is an oversized scarf. Worn with a denim skirt, a boho blouse and ankle boots, a scarf is the perfect way to take your warm-weather basics into fall. Looking for a seasonal upgrade? Splurge on a soft wool number like the one from Acne Studios (top right).
A big knit stitch is the sartorial equivalent of a pumpkin spiced latte. Both announce the changing season while keeping us warm on crisp fall days. This year, we plan on wearing the chunky Club Monaco cashmere knit (top left) over leather pants and flirty skirts. It has tapered dolman sleeves and a rolled-hem neck and is so cozy it can be used in place of heavy outerwear.
As much as we love pedicure weather and the accompanying open-toed footwear, we can’t wait to slip on our favorite pair of fall boots when the time comes. This season, Chelsea and over-the-knee styles have been replaced by the ankle boot, which is characterized by its chunky heel and 90s-inspired shape. One option to consider? Jeffrey Campbell’s Cienega style (top middle).
If there’s one article of clothing we miss most during summer, it’s our favorite pair of jeans. Because, really— is there anything more timeless, more quintessentially cool than a perfectly worn-in pair? On every fashion girl's radar is Khaite, a New York-based brand imbued with a West Coast Sensibility. We especially love the line's Vanessa High Rise Straight Jean, with its distinctive pockets and on-trend high-waisted style (bottom middle).
After body-conscious summer, we welcome the change of swaddling ourselves in layers come fall. And the keystone of successful layering? A versatile, lightweight fall coat. Tie it around your waist, over your shoulders, or wear it over your favorite sweater for a winning, shape-shifting look. Your green military-esque jacket from last year is still in style (see: the cute suede number on bottom right), but there’s no question that the jacket of the season is the pilot-inspired satin bomber. We’re digging the embroidered detail on the Zara one (bottom left).