Without a doubt, fall is my absolute favorite season! It’s always been that way.
Not only is it the most beautiful season of them all, but for me, it’s a season filled with some of the sweetest memories: celebrating my birthday (Today! Yippe!!) getting engaged to my sweet husband (also on this day!), the birth of our first child, the launching and release of my first book…and so, so, so many more.
But most of all, I love fall because it’s a special time to enjoy the people I love the most. Living in Florida this year, I’ll be missing some of the things I love most about fall, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to reflect on some of my favorite activities to do in the fall.
Fall Festivals: Funnel cake, carnival rides, and romantic hay-rides…what could be more fun for a couple to do together than a fall festival? When John and I lived in Peoria, IL – we loved September, because it always meant the Pumpkin Festival was right around the corner. We’d put on our fall sweaters and hoodies, and drive downtown to Morton, IL for their annual festival where we’d enjoy pumpkin ice cream, apple cider slushies, and the all-time best: pumpkin donuts! Check out some local fall festivals near you, and use them as an opportunity for some fun and quality time with your loved one.
Apple Picking: Looking for a more rustic date? Try apple-picking! Living in the NorthEast, September always meant it was apple-picking time. Some apple orchards allow you to drive through and collect apples, others are walkable, while some provide a fun free tractor ride to get you around. We always had so much fun going apple-picking in the fall, and then coming home to bake goodies like apple pies and warm apple-sauce. Heck, anything apple is tasty- as long as you scoop a little vanilla ice-cream on top.
Dinner by the Fire: Another favorite fall memory HAS to be the evening fires. We’d get a group of friends together, bring out the fire pit, and make mountain pies for dinner and s’mores for dessert. If you don’t know what mountain pies are, it might just be a northern thing, but either way- they’re so good!! Bring blankets, and snuggle with your loved one by the fire…there’s no better way to enjoy the crisp, cold, weather.
Hot Apple Cider, Popcorn, and Game Night: If it’s raining one evening, or you’d prefer to stay indoors – grab a crock-pot and fill it with some apple cider, with slices of oranges and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pop some popcorn, get your favorite board games out, and have a special evening indoors playing games, chatting, and just enjoying each other’s company. John and I were always huge fans of game nights, because unlike watching a movie, they give you a chance to talk and interact in a really meaningful way.
A Nature Walk: If you’re looking for something physical to do, try simply going on a nature walk. Some of our favorite nature walks happened while I was living in Virginia, when John and I were dating. He would come visit me and we’d climb some of our favorite mountains and hiking trails, enjoying the sheer beauty of God’s creation, looking for beautiful leaves, trees, and views. Plus, there’s nothing like holding hands and simply just talking.
A Perfectly Packed Picnic Lunch: Maybe it’s just me, but no date is complete without food. What an awesome opportunity to pack a picnic lunch and find a cozy spot to sit. There was a park with a beautiful view of the river, where John and I would go picnic. It was fun to pack our favorite foods, and just enjoy relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. Make it even more fun by including a jar of 20 fun get-to-know-you questions to ask each other over lunch! You should try it!
Pumpkin Carving: Can I just say that pumpkin carving is so much easier in the pre-children stages of life! So do it while you still can. My latest memories of pumpkin carving involve our two children digging their hands in the messiness of pumpkin guts, squealing with delight as they smashed it on their heads, our furniture, or anything else they could get to in time! But as much fun as a mess can be, what a perfect way to spend a date night. Head to a local farm, pick out a pumpkin together, and spend a couple hours practicing your carving skills. And for a bonus, take the pumpkin seeds, toss with some spices, and put them in the oven for a yummy post-date snack.
Horseback Riding: As fun as this activity can be, let me add a disclaimer: You might be sore the next day. When John and I went horseback riding for the first time, I have to admit, my thighs were stiff as all get-out the next day. Maybe I should have stretched first or something (or maybe I just need some more exercise- yep, that’s it). But I will tell you what, it was so fun taking horses down trails and just enjoying a new experience together. Seeing your loved one in new and different settings is a great way to get to know them, and an even better way to spend clean, wholesome, fun time together.
Kite Flying: I’ll embarrassingly admit that we’ve been trying to master kite flying for the past 8 years of our relationship, and we finally got it at year #9!! Hey, don’t judge…there are worse things to be bad at, right?! I think our issue was always flying at the wrong place, or the wrong time…but when we finally figured it out, kite-flying has been so much fun! Every year we go to the store and pick out a favorite kite, and when the wind is just right, we head out and fly some kites together. Now that we have kids, they love tagging along and joining in on the fun, too. It’s a time full of laughs, cheering each other on or simply picking on each other when our kites crash and burn. Either way, it’s fun!
Star-Gazing: I have to admit that we’ve never actually been “star-gazing”, but we keep wanting to! I think fall is a perfect time to stay up late, find a perfect spot, and lay on a blanket looking up at the beautiful stars. How romantic can you get? And now that we’re living by the beach, we’re hoping to find a night and go beach-side for this activity. Pack some snacks, a thermos of hot tea, pick up a book about constellations, and enjoy discovering life together.
Hope these fall activities gave you some new ideas! But remember, whatever you do this fall, don’t forget to do it with the ones you love.
Whether friends, family, or that special someone- relationships are what life is all about. So do them well.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!