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  When trees blaze the color of summer sunshine, it is hard to believe winter is waiting backstage. (Photo courtesy Sue Wilder)

Fall�
In Love with the Adirondack Region

By Persis Granger

Fall is no wishy-washy affair in the Adirondacks. There's no seamless progression from summer to winter here. The seasons change with an explosion of reds, golds, yellows and oranges, with the crunch of tinder-dry leaves underfoot, with a crackle and snap of freezing nights that whisper of winter to come and sing sad songs of summer past. Activities and ambiance evolve with the seasons. Canada geese trumpet the change in their southward journeys, settling down here or there to glean a cornfield before continuing on. Residents lay in supplies of firewood, and the sharp smell of wood smoke slices the air. Cold cellaring, canning, freezing or pickling prepares beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, squash and pumpkins for winter storage. Lush garden plots fall fallow.

 

 

Fall's bounty is put by for winter.

Between the time that everyone wonders, �Where did the summer go?� and the time they start to ask �Do you think it's going to be a hard winter?� folks in the Adirondacks experience autumn. The hustle and bustle in little villages abates, and one neighbor can spot another at the far end of a grocery store aisle. �How did your garden do?� one will call. Responses vary, depending on that year's growing season, but the conversation often ends with, �I thought frost would never come!�

 

Morning mist rises off streams and ponds.

Fall is a time for biking, for hiking mountain trails, for parking at scenic overlooks along Adirondack highways to see morning mist rise into the cool air, to capture foliage and wildlife on cameras. It's a season for wandering through farmers' markets to look for fall veggies, tasty baked goods, maple products and hand-crafted gift items. In many parts of our region you can still catch a farm tour. The Thurman (Warren County) Fall Farm Tour on October 6-7 attracts hundreds of guests who visit 12 sites to kiss llamas, sample artisan cheese appetizers, munch maple treats take woods walks, hear talks, see demonstrations of sawing, sugaring, spinning, water dowsing, timber frame construction, painting, carving. Meet authors, see crafters and quilters, consume piles of pancakes or barbecued chicken. Ride the �Thurman Hop� on the Saratoga and North Creek Railway, engage in a Cemetery Heritage Hunt or grab your GPS and go geocaching. Kids can ride a pony, paint a pumpkin, decorate a totem pole, explore a giant tipi.

Hand-crafted items make wonderful holiday gifts.

 

Prefer browsing for gifts? Try the Gore Mountain Harvest Fest, also Columbus Day weekend (Saturday and Sunday), with vendors galore, live music, kids' activities and seasonal food offerings. There's more shopping, eating and entertainment at the Stony Creek Family �Fall in the Creek� from 11 � 4, October 13 th �even an apple pie baking contest. Readers and writers love �Autumn Leaves ~ The Chronicle Fall Book Fair� on November 6 th, when more than 200 regional authors, booksellers, publishers set up shop at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, offering regional books, cookbooks children's books, local history, author talks, signings, panel discussions, children's activities & more books! Featured authors this year are TV's Fabulous Beekman Boys. November and December pages of North Country calendars show a patchwork of Christmas bazaars, concerts and other special events.

On October 13 and 14 ride the �Pumpkin Patch Express� from historic Saratoga Springs to 1000 Acres Ranch Resort aboard the a vintage car on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway with costumed ambassadors �a family outing that kids will never forget. Anticipate pumpkins to pick, mazes to muddle through, hay rides, storytelling, pony rides, petting to make a full day of fun. It will be time to board the train for the return trip before you can say �Boo.� Tickets and information are available at www.SNCRR.com or 1-877-726-7245.

Saratoga and North Creek Railway provides passenger service in the southern Adirondacks. (Photo courtesy Greg Klingler)

From Saratoga and Washington Counties all the way up to Clinton and Essex Counties, apple orchards invite the fall tourist. Buy pre-picked fruit or go gather your own, crispier and juicier than any you'll find in a supermarket. Watch cider pressing, and take a gallon of liquid autumn home with you. If pumpkins are more your thing, check the web for a patch near your destination. Some offer hayrides and corn mazes, and at many maze sites a spooky flashlight trek is available in the evening.

The Adirondack vacation scene changes as the sun recedes to the South, but this mountainous destination offers no less�and perhaps more�in the fall. The pace of each day is slower, the air is fresher, and biting insects are all but nonexistent. Crowds seldom jostle the autumn tourist, and the locals have more time to visit and share time with them. All savor the last few rays of strong sunshine, knowing that winter soon will blanket the land, a time to hunker down by the fire and savor memories of the seasons past.

 

Persis Granger is a freelance writer and author of two historical novels set in the Adirondacks. She hosts writers' retreats the Adirondacks and in Florida. Learn more at www.PersisGranger.com .

 

 

 

 

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