One of my favorite 'grammers is Kiel James Patrick (@KJP), many of whose images are sourced in New England - a lovely place at any time of year, but in autumn, they are seriously ablaze with beauty up there.
Take a look.
Now, I may not be from New England, but images like these put me in mind of my home state of Pennsylvania, with its rolling hills and clear, crisp skies and maple trees galore. You may recall that we traveled to PA last year for my sister's wedding, and I am 100% convinced that October is the best month of all in the Northeast. And with a feed like KJP's bombarding me every day with bright orange pumpkins, cozy scarves and sweaters, and more multi-colored fallen leaves than I have ever seen, I could literally smell fall just sitting here in the Cayman Islands. And it smelled so good that I convinced Nate to let me book a ticket.
I found some leaves to bury my feet in.
For the first half of my fall trip, Nate was abroad for work, so I embarked on a cross-state tour to see the VIPs in my life.
Flying into Philly, I took the train to one of the suburbs to see a long-time friend, along with her husband and her one-year-old.
Little boys love trains, and this one was no exception!
We took him on the train one day to go into Center City, which, per my request, started at Reading Terminal Market.
|Train rides are tiring.|
All the familiar local foods were found in abundance, including cheesesteaks...
...and donuts, freshly made as you waited in line.
I want one of these donut rollers!
We then made our way to Franklin Square, a revitalized historic park that features wide open spaces, a fountain, and a carousel, right in the middle of the city.
Reenergized from his power nap, Baby H enjoyed the space to run, the pumpkins, and the mums.
|He was intrigued by flowers but wouldn't get any closer than this when sniffing them.|
One day, Lorraine and I drove to Princeton for a talk she needed to attend. I took the opportunity to explore the grounds, which were covered with evidences of fall.
After leaving the Philadelphia area, I drove westward to Lancaster county, with scenes like this flanking me the moment I got off the PA turnpike.
After winding my way through the country roads, my sweet little Grandma was ready for my arrival, with a roast chicken dinner to warm my chilly bones.
We took a long walk around her beautiful neighborhood, collecting leaves and counting Canada geese as they prepared for their winter trek.
Inspired by the covered bridge in KJP's photo above, the next day we drove around Lancaster County to discover covered bridges and their charming surroundings.
I highly recommend this kind of relaxing "Sunday drive" activity. I followed the directions that I found here - there are five different routes to choose from!
Apart from losing cell service at one point (that's rural PA for you!) and wondering if I was still on the right country road, that afternoon was the perfect adventure for Grandma and me.
Kissing Grandma goodbye and traveling northward, I arrived in my hometown on a warm, sunny fall afternoon, marveling at how our little city just glows in October.
These were taken on the street next to the college I attended during freshman year. These color combos just jump off the screen!
Finally, I was reunited with THIS GUY.
|Still rocking the military winter coat, 13 years later.|
While in town, we enjoyed some good catch-up coffees and lunches with family and a few friends. Our favorite haunts: Bullfrog Brewery and Alabaster Coffee. When in Williamsport, you must visit those places.
On the weekend, Nate's family organized a day trip to Pine Creek Gorge (locally known as "the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon"). We arrived at a scenic overlook, which still boasted some remaining fall colors. (The peak week for this northern location was probably a couple weeks before our visit.)
To add even more beauty to this backdrop, I snapped a few shots of these wonderful people.
We did a casual hike down the Turkey Path Trail to the bottom of the gorge and back up - a 2 mile trek, which was just enough to get us to shed some layers along the way.
|This is me after I had shed a wool sweater.|
I am very privileged to be part of this fantastic family.
And I'm also privileged to be from a beautiful part of U.S. I may not have any plans to live there, but these autumn visits back home are the highlight of my year.