balmy, rosé-tinted evenings with friends override our
memories of sweltering morning commutes during the perpetual
heatwave that hit the UK this
summer. Consequently, we’ve been approaching autumn as a
second-rate season. Bringing to life scenes akin to a desktop
screensaver – think morning mist rising off burnt-orange hillsides
– autumn may not always be the “sexiest” of seasons, but its allure
is undeniable. If you can get past trading in your Birkens and
bikinis for cosy knits and heavy coats, you’ll soon relish in
autumn’s understated appeal.
With scenes worthy of a Nancy Meyers movie, autumn sees the
area’s forests and mountains shedding their summer greens in favour
of flaming reds, warm oranges and bright yellows. For the
archetypal American fall, rent a car and plan a
road trip to experience nature at its most colourful. Whatever
your route, be sure to include the New Hampshire Kacamagus Highway,
where you can stop along the way to partake in traditions such as
harvest festivals and pumpkin carvings.
Images of cherry
blossom in full bloom cloud our minds when we think of Japan,
but autumn offers a less-conjured herbaceous scene. “Koyo” is their
name for this season, during which common sights like Mount Fuji
and the zen gardens are framed by maple leaves in vibrant reds and
honey hues. Walk the Gingko Avenue – a path lined either side with
uniquely trimmed trees – and stop for a hot drink at a street-side
café to sample momiji tempura (sugar-dipped maple leaves fried in
tempura batter). As a bonus, this also happens to be the season of
Tokyo Ramen Show – recommended for obvious reasons.
The stuff of historical romance novels, Tuscany‘s
countryside serves up rural beauty year-round. Come autumn, the
undulating hills and bountiful vineyards acquire their usual Titian
palette; think amber leaves fusing with a burnt-orange sky. Harvest
season also means you’ll be in for porcini mushrooms galore.
the Cotswolds has long embodied rest and relaxation for weary
city dwellers. Chocolate-box cottages, winding cobblestone paths,
expansive woodlands and grand manor houses make up a landscape
reminiscent of a Wordsworth poem. At this time of year, the area’s
lushness exudes an altogether different beauty as its famed greens
turn to ochre and deep reds while the air takes on a light chill.
The order of the day is early morning walks on dewy hillsides and
afternoon tea served fireside.
Any autumn roundup needs at least one Canadian mention. The
island city of Montreal
makes the grade thanks to its remoteness and sense of adventure.
Expect all the usuals; conker collecting, coffee shop pit stops and
crisp evenings walks. Autumnal scenes aside, Montreal’s hearty food
is as seasonal as a pumpkin spice latte, but decidedly less
obvious. Apple picking is a rite of passage, so see if you can join
some locals (ideally those with a working kitchen) and head a
harvesting. Post-haul, make apple pie with the fruits of your
Sonoma gifts us with
wine all year-round, the vineyards are at their most
enthralling in autumn. Trickier to navigate than neighbouring Napa
Valley, it’s slightly less touristy. The site of California’s
earliest planted vineyards, now is the time to don some overalls
and get your hands – or rather feet – dirty with some grape
crushing au naturale. The scenic vineyards consistently churn out
some of the world’s best chardonnays. If wine isn’t your thing,
restaurants and local markets dish up their freshest produce
come harvesting season in Sonoma Valley.