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I like Winter, Spring is Nice, Let’s Skip Summer, And do Fall Twice(Rusty Fischer)

Fall is my very favorite season. We have officially transitioned in New Hampshire. There is an invigorating crispness to the air so we’re wearing sweaters now, we sleep under down at night, it’s darker in the morning and in the evening, football is on the tube, leaves are changing, and it’s apple picking time!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at our outdoor farmers’ market in Exeter, the 2nd largest in the state, where an abundance of fall crops, meats, sweets, meals, crafts and friendly faces greeted us. We didn’t have a shopping list but browsed from booth to booth stocking up on mostly vegetable goods but, oh, how to resist the flowers!

Exeter Farmers' Market 9/29/16

Browsing the booths with fall crops was a little like walking through a rainbow!

Click to see anything up close

That was yesterday. This morning I made the 4-mile drive to Applecrest Farms, New Hampshire’s oldest and largest apple orchard. They grow a variety of goods from peaches, berries, pumpkins and all the summer vegetables. A popular pastime is Pick-Your-Own. We’ve participated and ridden the wagon to the far fields for a variety of fruits.

Here is the ancient sign at Applecrest to help customers make good buying decisions. This week I’m making an apple crisp with cinnamon whipped cream topping so today I was seeking Macs, Courtland, Ida Red for cooking and Honey Crisp for eating.

Applecrest Farm

The Applecrest weekends are filled with autumn activities: music, Pick-Your-Own, hayrides, petting zoo, pie eating contests, fresh pressed cider, and fire roasted corn, sausage, dogs & burgers….. and a bit of clam chowder for me, please. On this Friday morning, they were abuzz setting up and getting ready. Mums..pumpkins…apples galore.

Oh yes, let’s do fall twice!

 

Beating the Invasion

colorThere is something about the fall season that lifts my spirits. The air is clean under crisp blue skies and the vibrant foliage can take your breath. You just want to step outside and bask in the beauty of buttery yellows and blazing reds of the maples, elms, birches and the sumacs that front every wood line.

Fall colors are reaching their peak right now on the Kancamagus Highway, the National Scenic Byway from Lincoln to Conway NH, and I’m sure the hoards of leaf peepers have arrived. A year ago we ventured up during the peak of color and found the 35-mile road through the White Mountain National Forest bumper to bumper with cars, campers, and buses. We hardly found places to pull off and park for the perfect views. This year we thought, “Wouldn’t it be a neat idea to beat the leaf-peeper invasion?” Yes! So last weekend we jumped in the car for a pre-peeper drive on the Kancamagus Highway just to see what we could see.

We hoped to arrive just before peak color and see the emerging reds, oranges, and yellows mixed with the cool, green of conifers without the distracting flood of vehicles driving bumper to bumper along the way. The timing was perfect as we had the approaching highways almost to ourselves.

Click on photos to enlarge:

fall colors 2014 The colors were a little cooler in the distance but quite grand. It was a peaceful and enjoyable drive.

A special delight was visiting the same apple orchard farmer as last year whose truck was brimming with juicy just-picked apples and some fresh vegetables. This time we sampled and bought a bag of crisp Mcintosh.

Apples!And when we arrived home, I made this and invited the kids to come and enjoy! Life is good…

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Festivals and Fairs, oh my!

Today we decided to head toward the coast to hit a couple of fall family events. Our first stop was the 5th Annual Hampton Falls Craft Festival just a hop-skip down the road from Exeter.  Fall was in the air as booth after booth featured Halloween or pumpkin themed crafts in addition to a variety of other artistry such as hand blown glass, original watercolors, photography, soaps, basketry, and, mmmmm… fudge!

We had a fun time enjoying the food, the music, the incredible art but I was most excited to have my first ever taste of a popular Italian desert…. a cannoli. “The Original Canoli Girl From The North End” of Boston began making cannolis with her Nonni when she was 6 years old. She surprised her grandmother with a homemade sign for her business…with  cannoli spelled wrong. She said her Nonni loved it and the spelling stuck.

"Canoli Girl"Very well-known, she has taken up where her grandmother left off and takes her business on the road selling these popular sweets. I give my original and authentic cannoli an A+. Want a bite?

IMG_6301 IMG_6303On our way back to Exeter, we stopped at our second festival at Applecrest Farm Orchards where folks were there for apples, pumpkins and atmosphere. U-Pick or buy apples by the bushel, pick out a pumpkin in the fields or already lined up, plain or painted. There was also food on the grill, fresh ice cream, mums of all colors and, of course, lots of vegetables inside. We walked away with tomatoes and a smile.

………………………………….Click on any photo to enlarge