It's the season for leisurely Saturday afternoon drives under canopies of reds and golds, the windows down and the air damp with wood smoke and maple; the season for wandering through orchards, filling paper sacks with juicy apples, some to eat, some to turn into bubbling pies and creamy apple butter; it's the season for hauling home bright orange pumpkins to carve into funny, scary, or lopsided jack-o-lanterns. Oh my.
Fall is rich with ways to enjoy the natural world before it's time to hibernate for the winter. If you're looking for an orchard or scenic drive to experience this autumn, here are some national and regional directories to check out.
Please feel free to include any places or drives you know of and love in the comments as well!
• Orange Pippin is a comprehensive directory of apple orchards across the U.S.
• Travel and Leisure featured "America's Best Apple Picking Farms" in 2009; see if your favorite is listed!
• Apple Journal's The Orchard Trail is a global listing of family-run orchards.
• The Pumpkin Directory features a clickable map to find pumpkin patches in your area.
• Pumpkin Patches and More is a very comprehensive (if a little convoluted) site listing pumpkin patches by state.
Scenic Fall Drives
• USA Today featured "Seven Sensational Scenic Drives for Autumn", all of which look stunning.
• Byways.org is a great resource for scenic byways all throughout the U.S., and also features a clickable map to help narrow your search.
• For those in the Northeast, check out Independent Traveler's article, "Scenic Autumn Drives in the Northeast".
• If you live in the Midwest, Midwest Living featured "28 Great Midwest Spots to See Fall Color".
• For those in California, Chiff.com lists notable spots to experience fall foliage throughout the state.
• About.com's Travel Guide features drives in the Mid-Atlantic region to see fall colors.
• The Foliage Network is an entire site dedicated to fall foliage reports throughout the U.S., so you can check to see when leaves in your area will be showing their burnished beauty.
(Images: 1. Flickr user Muffet licensed for use under Creative Commons, 2. Lyman Orchards, 3. Kuipers Family Farm Blog)