Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is there such a thing as "Fall" in California?

Yes, there is. You might have to hunt for it a bit, but Fall seems to be here now. Today Rich and I drove across Highway 46 from the Central Coast of California into the wine country. Certain varieties of grapes are being harvested right now and their foliage flowing across the hillsides in neat rows show off beautiful hues of reds and purples.

Jack Creek Farm located along Highway 46 is a great stop this time of year. They have displays of scarecrows and hay bales decorated with more kinds of pumpkins, gourds and squash than I've ever seen. It's fascinating to look at all of them. I even saw zucchini similar to ones I picked in my garden this summer that were close in size to a baseball bat. Somehow they hid beneath the large green leaves and I missed finding them when they were the edible size. But the giant ones here had some pretty hefty price tags on them. And I have to admit they looked pretty artsy. And I threw mine in our compost bin! I had no idea they were worth so much.

Fall reminds me of my childhood in Michigan where we romped in big, very big piles of maple leaves. There were apple stands scattered across the colorful countryside and the apple cider they served up tasted so good. I always hated that we had to wear jackets under our Halloween costumes because it was often cold and rainy by late October. It wasn't cool fashion-wise to have jacket sleeves extending beyond your poofy Cinderella sleeves. But somehow having those bags of candy stashed under our beds for weeks made it worth it.

Stopping in See Canyon south of San Luis Obispo is a reminder of those childhood days. Several of the ranches tucked back off the road grow and sell their apples and cider this time of year.

So you really can experience "Fall" in California. You might have to get off the freeway and hit a back road or two, but it's worth it.

Photo: Sheryl Bullock

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