September 10 2020
I love fall. It’s probably my favorite season with all the warm colors, mugs full of pumpkin spiced lattes, that blessed feeling of pulling on your fave pair of jeans, chunky sweaters, fall scented candles… the list goes on.
But I also love summer. And I miss it quickly once fall fades into winter and we are buried in months of waiting for the return of 9 hour days of sunshine.
In honor of the last few weeks of summer still shining down (though it is raining today), here are four things I’m keeping around until I no longer can.
Despite COVID, and despite the extreme temperatures, wineries were the go-to this summer and will continue to be a part of my life as we step into fall. I’m lucky to live close to some great wineries in Virginia, and luckier still to have some with amazing views of the Shenandoah mountains. One of my favorites is Three Fox Winery out in Delaplane. They make Italian style reds (which is far superior to the sweet reds Virginia is often known for).
Another few include Philip Carter (smaller than some and the perfect place to pull out a blanket and laze about). The Winery at La Grange (old historic house and plenty of room to walk around outside. A great winery for a rainy day if it isn’t the weekend to tuck yourself away in one of their lovely rooms).
I love Manassas Battlefields for a good old day of outdoor adventure. There are lots of different trail paths to walk, an abundance of open space, and a lot of history, if you’re into that. I love to bring my dog along and let her jump in the river that runs through different parts.
Shenandoah is also a great option and just a few hours by car. I recently walked the Rose River Falls trail with a friend. (We were told by a nice looking lady that the hike would be just under 3 miles and it ended up being closer to 6, not to mention that we got super turned around because we kept looking for the end… don’t trust nice looking ladies on trail paths. Get a map, consult it, and believe the wooden posts when you stumble upon them.)
Another place full of history! Did you know that trails in Shenandoah park were used extensively throughout the Civil War? Local soldiers who were familiar with the territory would lead their regiments through the many paths to stay out of enemy sight and conduct ambushes. During our hike, we came upon a graveyard that dates back to the Civil War called Cave Cemetery. Rose River Falls was originally named Rows River after George Rows (who owned the property near it). Stonewall Jackson was one of the few commanders who led his troops through the many paths.
I love watermelon. I love feta. I love mint. Put those things together with a dash of green onion and you have the most enjoyable snack.
I remember the first time I made this and was suspect of the combination. Watermelon, in my opinion, doesn’t need anything else to up its game. But this little combo does help to make watermelon more sophisticated. (Sweet, sweet memories of 11 year old me downing a slice while sitting on the burning asphalt of my driveway spitting seeds at the neighboring children as we prepared to play night games.)
Mix it all together and eat all in one sitting.
I try to grow a deck garden each summer (a deck garden is growing all things in pots). This summer, I decided to grow all my plants from seed. Only thing is, I didn't know what I was doing and started about a month later than I should have. My tomatoes just started giving me their first fruits and it’s September… So with that in mind, I will be trying to convince them to give me whatever they can before the cold sweeps in. My pepper plants finally have flowers, so we await those, too. And note to self for future gardens - don’t grow your plants from seeds. It’s just not worth the wait.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer… and then it’s time for some hardcore pumpkin carving.