By this point, many of you are hopefully enjoying the fall air and colorful leaves…but fall is a GREAT season to set some family traditions.
After all, strong relationships are a vital part in well-rounded wellness, so get your family involved in some fall festivities!
1. Take a Hike
Regardless of what area you live in the US, fall generally means cooler temps…I am just lucky enough to live in an area that experiences BEAUTIFUL leaf color changes. Being about an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of NC, I make frequent visits to Boone, NC during the fall months.
While I hike, I get to enjoy the seasonal changes as well as get some nice, relaxing exercise in with my loved ones. Last year, my friends made a trip to NC for my wedding, so I took them to Rough Ridge on the Parkway to experience the beauty of changing leaves…they had never seen anything like it! During this time, we were able to spend quality time together and soak up nature’s beauty.
Not up for a drive to the mountains? Visit your local park or go for a neighborhood walk for a nice after-dinner activity. Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!
2. Take a Bike Ride
Yes, you can bike all year round…but I had something specific in mind…
The Virginia Creeper Trail! If you aren’t on the East Coast, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it is a 35-mile multi-purpose rail trail that stretches from Abingdon, VA all the way to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Southwestern part of Virginia.
I have been here several times, all in the fall…while it would be pretty any time of the year, in the fall you can enjoy the pretty colors and cool air.
Not near the Creeper Trail? No worries! Hit up your local green-way and enjoy a nice stroll outdoors.
3. Visit a Corn Maze
What fun would this be! To be honest, I have never done this but always wanted to! A corn maze seems like a fun way to get your family outdoors and enjoy the season.
Not only would it be enjoyable for the group, but it would also be a great team building experience. In order to make it through the maze, you would need strong communication skills with each other.
4. Build a Bonfire
Ah, the smell of the great outdoors and feeling the warmth of a nice bonfire…that is the definition of fall! The temperatures are cooler, nights are clearer, and far less humid (in the South).
It is also super fun to cook over the fire…you could do the standard hot dogs-s’mores feast (which I am totally pro…in fact we are doing that this weekend!), or you could get a little creative! I have wrapped washed, sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and let sit in the coals for an hour or so, allow to cool, and enjoy! There is something about food being cooked in the coals of a bonfire that makes it taste so good! You could do the same method for apples, white potatoes, or any other root vegetable.
5. Carve Pumpkins
This is something I look forward to every year! If you are feeling even more adventurous, take your family to a local pumpkin patch. A few years ago, my friends in California and I went to a pumpkin patch in Oak Glen–a gorgeous mountainous land that made me feel like I was at home only I was still in SoCal.
Luckily, nowadays there are carving stencil kits available so your pumpkin comes out looking flawless. Though we do not have kids, my husband and I still enjoy carving pumpkins together as adults…quality time!
Don’t know what to do with the pumpkin seeds? Rinse them off to get all of the pumpkin pulp off and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden.
6. Visit a Local Apple Orchard
Nothing screams fall like an apple orchard! It’s even better when it’s a “pick-your-own” apple orchard. It is a fun way to get your family active and set good examples of eating fresh, whole foods. There are several pick-your-own orchards in the North Carolina mountains that have a lot of kid-friendly activities, as well.
When I was a little girl, we lived across from an Apple Orchard–and we still do…it’s just a wedding venue now instead of a pick your own apple orchard…(click here to read about “Memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue”…)
Anyway, I can remember my dad taking us up to the orchard in his tractor to pick apples. There is something about picking an apple straight off the tree, wiping it off on your shirt, and taking a bite…that is the BEST way to eat a raw apple in my opinion.
Of course you can enjoy your apples raw, but fall is also a great time to make homemade applesauce while apples are in season. Cook the apples with cinnamon and honey, and if you’re feeling spunky, can some for the upcoming year.
There are tons of things you can enjoy in the fall, but these are some great ideas to get outdoors and enjoy the season with your family. My challenge for you: Pick at least one of these six ideas to spend time with your family…I promise you will make unforgettable memories! As always, fall is a time for being thankful for what you have. While we should always be grateful, spend a little extra time over the next few months to count your blessings.
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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