Autumn People

Some people are fall people and some people are autumn people.  Fall people go through the motions of living with the change of weather.  They rake the leaves, dutifully put a few pumpkins on the porch and then go inside to stay warm.  While autumn people intentionally walk through the leaves and kick them up just to hear their crackle and reminisce about being a kid and walking to the bus stop through the leaves.  Autumn people smile as they gather pumpkins, lumpy gourds, baskets, mums, and unruly corn stocks to decorate inside and out.  Then they wrap up in a favorite sweater, light an apple scented candle and sit quietly to soak it all in.  Autumn people will go out of their way to see a forest of deciduous trees perform the miracle of changing from their green cloak to golden yellow, and blazing orange and red.  I am an autumn person.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery

I took a hiatus from my blog and social media to spend a couple weeks immersing myself in autumn.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I needed to try and slow life down a little bit.  I needed to reignite my creativity and feed my soul.  I have always wanted to see the Great Smoky Mountains, particularly in the fall.  Mr. U was a willing partner as we booked a trip to drop into Nashville and then drive through the Smokies. 

As seems to be our MO, we were a little too early to see the full-on change of colors.  This appears to be a trend with us.  The first year I retired we took a trip to Massachusetts and drove up through Vermont to do a little leaf peeping.  That trip we were a little too late to see the most robust change of colors.  When you live clear across the US, it is difficult to get over there and see it at the perfect time.  Even though we were a little early this time, it was still gorgeous, and my soul is refreshed.   

We spent a couple nights in Nashville and then headed east.   I think that every girl getting married in the next six months had her bachelorette party in Nashville on that Saturday night.  It was quite a dichotomy to go from the music venues and night life of Nashville to the serene mountain trails.  The lights, throngs of people and music scene in downtown Nashville was stimulating, but I wilted from it after 24 hours.  I needed the mountains to heal my fractured brain. 

First, we drove north through the backroads to see Cumberland Gap, with a detour for a night in Dale Hollow.  Doesn’t that name just whisper southern backroads?   Once in Cumberland Gap we booked a night at the Historic Old Mill Inn; a delightful little B & B that maintained much of the history of the area.  After a day hiking through the Cumberland Gap, we stopped at the Nineteen 19 Grill.  While it wasn’t much for atmosphere, the food was great, and the bartender created his own apple beverage that was like drinking apple pie.   So good.  

After that we took the backroads towards the Smoky Mountains to stay at Pigeon Forge as our base.  When we planned the trip, we were debating between staying there or Gatlinburg.  So glad we chose Pigeon Forge because Gatlinburg was way too commercialized.  And while I love Dolly (who doesn’t) we opted not to go to Dollywood.  We were out to see autumn in all its glory.  Our hotel had a balcony overlooking the river and we enjoyed sitting out there having our morning coffee and watching the wildlife.  The electric fireplace was cozy to come back to after a day out hiking, sightseeing, shopping and test tasting a little moonshine. 

Our next destination was Charleston, South Carolina to, ironically, see a country music concert.   There weren’t any big names playing in Nashville while we were there, but Charleston had the Riverfront Revival Festival the weekend we were in town, so we booked tickets.  I am a big Lainey Wilson fan and Mr. U really likes Darius Rucker.  Both were playing at the concert.  Apparently, Darius is from Charleston, so he had a big fan base there to see him play.  Both artists, as well as Niko Moon, did not disappoint. We have been to Charleston before and loved the architecture, trees, and seafood.   Really, what is not to love about this beautiful area packed with history? When we were there previously, we did the obligatory horse drawn carriage historical tour, walked the market and went on a tour of a southern plantation, so this trip was more about relishing in the sunshine and going to the concert. 

After a couple days in Charleston, we headed west back towards Nashville.  I would recommend a stop in Helen, Georgia.  It is a bustling alpine village set in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The entire village has a German theme, similar to Leavenworth in Washington state.  It was a fun place to spend the night, listen to music and eat some German food.  The drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains the next day was gorgeous with lots of lakes, streams, and charming country stores to poke around in. 

After 12 days of living out of suitcases, we were ready to catch our flight in Nashville and head back to our little corner of the world where most of our peeps live and we can tuck in and enjoy the change of colors that occurs in between the tall green pines. 

A few things always strike me when I travel:

  • We are just one very small, minuscule speck in a vast world
  • The United States has an amazing amount of diversity and culture within the 50 states
  • We do not have the only corner of natural beauty where we live
  • You can count on travel to open your mind and stimulate your creative side
  • There are nice people and mean people everywhere
  • There is no place like home

Today we are just reveling in being home again. I am decorating for fall, making a big pot of soup and trying our hand at baking a loaf of bread in the pizza oven. We will see how that goes. I hope you had a good couple of weeks and are taking time to breathe in the color and scents of autumn!

15 comments on “Autumn People

  1. I have never considered the difference between fall or autumn, but I think you are correct. Based on this definition I am an autumn person, too. After the brutal heat of a Phoenix summer, there is a real sense of rebirth and cherishing new experiences. It is much more than just a few months of the year.

    We were in Gatlinburg several years and completely agree: a pretty setting overrun with tourists. Likewise, we skipped Dollywood!

    1. Hi Bob –

      I would imagine that autumn is a nice reprieve after the hot summers you get in Phoenix and a welcome chance to get outside again. I do envy your warmer winter months. We will be heading to Scottsdale in a few weeks just to give us a little boost of sunshine (and eat al fresco) before the cold settles in for the winter here.

  2. Interesting distinction between fall/autumn people. Fall is another busy season with the deadlines of the first frost & snowfall pending. Garden harvest is almost done waiting on the last batch of tomatoes to ripen. I love looking at the jars of preserves in the cold room. The perennial beds have been cleaned, the garden tilled, the rain barrels emptied, the hoses put away, the stock waterer turned off. Roads are busy with farmers moving harvest equipment & hauling feed & straw bales. Cows are brought home from summer pasture & turned out into freshly harvested fields. Migratory birds are in motion. I heard a low trill the other day & looked up to see the sun reflecting silver off a line of migratory birds. The river road where the trees form a tunnel is a bed of fallen leaves. There are new shadows from the sun’s new rising/setting points. We get to wear all the seasons’ clothes in one day. It was cooler in the house yesterday than it was outside in the afternoon sun. The wood is gathered & there’s a fire in the wood stove each evening. So I would say I’m a little fall, a little autumn as I anticipate the winter when snow means slow.

    1. Hi Mona –
      What a lovely description of fall/autumn. The way you recognize the beauty and details of the season makes me think you are an autumn person. There is something satisfying about seeing things tucked away safely for the coming winter. We are in the process of gathering the last of the garden harvest as well. (Spoiler alert: my next post is about harvest, but probably not exactly what you would expect.) Thank you for your wonderful insights and description of this beautiful season.

  3. Good morning from Scottsdale, Arizona. I love your autumn post; it’s my favorite season. Are you going to be staying here this winter or just coming for a visit? We have a Blogger meetup every month. Our next one is on November 17 if you happen to be here.

    I’m Marsha from Always Write, and I host Story Chat. Are you the kind person who wrote an awesome comment on the story, Fly-By-Night, this month? If this is you, I like to link a recent post of everyone who comments on the story. I’d love to add a link to this story on our story if you are that person. Your comment didn’t have a website attached to it.

    1. Hi Marsha –

      I would absolutely LOVE to attend a Blogger meetup and talk with other bloggers. (Blogging can be a lonely hobby sometimes.) Unfortunately, we will be flying out of Scottsdale on November 8th. We do not snowbird there, but we try to come down a few times a year to escape the cold, so perhaps it will work for another future meetup.

      I did comment on Janis’s great story. Such a fun read. That would be wonderful if you would like to add my link. As you have already figured out, my website is: theretiredalchemist.com

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. Hi Melissa –

      You would have really liked it, but you would have needed some cowboy boots!

  4. I love the way you distinguished between fall and autumn. Where I live, there isn’t a big visual or temperature difference between the seasons, but I do my best to embrace autumn. We are thinking of traveling to North Carolina in the spring and, even though we won’t see the glorious autumn colors, we look forward to driving through the Great Smoky (I feel like there should be an “e,” but I know there isn’t 🙂 ) Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Highway. Maybe we’ll check out Cumberland Gap too.

    I know what you mean about the joy of coming home. Even though we enjoy traveling, walking back through our front door is the best!

    1. Hi Janis –

      I think the Smoky Mountains would be gorgeous in the spring when everything is green, lush, and all of the streams and waterfalls are full. It was so funny you would mention wanting to put an “e” in smoky because I kept doing that. I finally looked it up to confirm the spelling. Cumberland Gap is small, but we were glad we spent a night there.

      There is so much truth to the quote, “The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.” (Wendy Wunder)

  5. Hi Marian! I too love the autumn…it must be something about the light! Plus, like Bob Lowry, we live here in La Quinta (the desert) and autumn signals cooler temps during the day and lovely balmy nights. And even though it isn’t as pronounced, some trees and vegetation change then as well so there is a different “feeling” to the world.

    With that said, your photos were great and it looks like you had a wonderful time for sure. We used to live on the coast in North Carolina (a long, long time ago) but never made it down to South Carolina. Would LOVE to take that trip sometime soon! Thanks for a preview. ~Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy –

      I love your area for about 2/3rds of the year. I still think snowbirding is not a bad idea, similar (yet opposite🙂) to what you do in the summer to get away from the heat. I am already dreading the dark, gray days ahead.

      North Carolina is beautiful, it must have been a lovely place to live. Isn’t it funny how we can live somewhere, but not venture out to places just outside our back door? I would definitely recommend the trip.

    1. Hi Janie –

      We are autumn people! It is fun to try and capture all of wonders of the season in a picture.

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