Enjoying the Fall Foliage (And Cleaning Up After It)

Every year at about this time, deciduous trees start to change color and lose their leaves. The rainbow of colors is a spectacle many enjoy will viewing on a crisp fall weekend, as the changes progress southward through October alongside cooler temperatures.

Optimum viewing depends upon your location. Fall colors are already starting to peak in the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, TripSavvy says, as well as the northernmost reaches of Minnesota and Michigan. Other locations are just beginning to see the leaves turn.

While fall colors come with colder weather, the good news is that thanks to an exceptionally wet spring and summer, 2019 may have some of the most vibrant fall foliage ever seen in many locations. Most areas of the country will see a range of yellows, oranges and reds in the next six weeks, according to a fall foliage forecast.

To make the most of fall leaf-peeping, says Yankee magazine’s Jim Salge, check the timing in your area online. Plan on a doing a couple of hours’ drive to chase the peak colors, he notes, and try to sample a few other fall activities such as harvest festivals along the way.

Those stuck at home, of course, may find the leaves changing color and falling to be more of a nuisance. To clean them up effectively, get the right tools, says The Spruce. Attach a bagging system to your mower, use a leaf blower or get an ergonomically designed rake to collect all of nature’s seasonal detritus in one pile or place.

Then — instead of bagging those leaves and setting them out for garbage pickup — a thriftier and more ecofriendly option is to use the organic material to amend the soil in your garden and lawn. Use shredded leaves as mulch or add them to a compost heap to reintegrate their nutrients into new growth, the site says.

Shred leaves for the best results in composting, Compost Guide says, and turn the heap at least every three weeks to ensure that the organic matter gets the chance to break down by the time you plant again. Or simply gather your leaves in a heap and let them decay into a nutritious mulch.

Whether you like to look at the leaves change colors or want the satisfaction of getting them off your lawn and out of sight, October offers plenty of options. Enjoy the season!

The Most A-maze-ing Fall Favorite

Nothing says harvest time — and hilarity — like a corn maze. This unusual fall activity first sprang up in the Midwest, of course, and continues to thrive there. But corn mazes can now be found throughout the country and even well into southern and western states, such as Texas and Washington. Some are themed (haunted, outer space, etc.), says Red Tricycle, but none will let you get lost indefinitely if you can’t solve the interactive puzzle on your own. And many have additional attractions, such as petting zoos, food concessions, and u-pick apple orchards and pumpkin patches.

Thrift Your Way to a Festive Fall

One of the best things to do as fall begins is get ahead on upcoming events on the cheap. Thrift stores stocked with donations from ClothingDonations.org can be a valuable resource for many fall events. Need a vintage dress for homecoming? Thrift it. Building a scarecrow for your fall festival? There is no place better than the thrift to find colorful, inexpensive clothing that can be stuffed with straw. Need a creative Halloween costume, or some ideas for one? Go directly to the thrift! Your purchases will fund valuable programs that help thousands of the nation’s veterans and their families.

Festive Fall Activities for Adults

Young adults who find their social calendars full for the summer may experience a lull as the temperatures cool, says Elite Daily. But there are plenty of ways to have fun even when it’s too cold to swim. Try staging an outdoor movie night for a romantic crowd-pleaser, or celebrate Oktoberfest at a local beergarden. And if you and your friends have a few extra bucks, the site says, one of the best ways to view the autumn leaves change color is from above is on a hot-air balloon ride. Just go easy on the hard apple cider or beer before you take flight.

Budget-Friendly Fall Fun for All Ages

Fall has arrived! And along with its no-sweat temperatures, the season offers plenty of activities for young and old. Families can enjoy budget-friendly fall fun such as picking apples and pumpkins; going on picnics and nature hikes; or visiting a corn maze, haunted house or football game, Every Dollar says. And with cooler weather, there’s no worry of overheating the kitchen, so try your hand at a some fall culinary projects — like baking an apple cobbler, roasting some pumpkin seeds or making hot chocolate. You’ll be able to share the warmth with friends and family.