When summer was drawing to a close I heard a number of people saying that they couldn’t wait for “fall” and that it was their favourite season. Honestly, I didn’t really understand why. The leaves changing colour are pretty but I never found it something to get super excited about, especially given that it’s such a short season compared to the others. It became clear why everyone was so excited pretty quickly though. ‘Fall’ in the US is full of activities and marks the beginning of quite a long festive season, stretching from Halloween to Christmas. I loved how everyone, both young and old, got so into it. Driving around the suburbs you could see houses decorated with ‘fall’ stuff like pumpkins and inside the colour scheme also based around fall colours. It was strange to go to my friend’s house and his mum was decorating for the season because I’ve not known anyone to do that in the U.K, but it was really nice. Also Western New York was a great place to be for the fall because there were lots of things to do to make the most of it.
- Cider Mill & Donuts
The first time I heard about ‘cider’ was in my first week in the US at a party. Someone asked me what I liked to drink and I responded, ‘cider’ to which I was met with giggles from a number of people. I was really confused. That’s when I found out that cider in the US is basically non alcoholic apple juice. My friend took me to try some at the mill and it was actually really nice. It tasted like super concentrated apple juice and was a slushie, though it’s not normally like that. I was also told that eating donuts are pretty typical especially during the fall so I got a cider and donut at the mill. The mill is literally just a shop but going there and getting the donuts was a whole experience on its own. The mill is cute and inside its decorated so nicely, it’s so popular that it’s only open during fall and somehow manage to keep the store for the rest of the year. The combination of cider and donut is quite sweet, I couldn’t have that too often but it was something new to try. Also the donuts in general in this part of the States taste super weird, I can only describe it as the dough being dryer so its just a bit harder to swallow. Not sure. Not a fan to be honest.
- Pumpkin Picking at The Great Pumpkin Farm
I’m not sure if I live in a little city bubble in the UK but I had never heard of actually picking pumpkins. I had just bought them from a local Sainsbury’s or something. Here it’s a whole experience, a day trip, a motive for you and your closest pals. We drove like 30 minutes to go to a pumpkin patch and find the perfect one to carve. Of course, being America and super extra anyway there’s a bunch of activities at the farm too. There’s a bar, a little hut for cider and donuts, a haunted house, a little cart/bike/train thing that goes around the whole farm, you can shoot your pumpkin out of a canon (shock) and other little fun fair type things. The day we went was rainy and cold so I tried warm cider instead, it tasted a bit like medicine but was ok. I wouldn’t have it again though probably. Naturally, we took about a thousand pictures.
- Apple Picking
This involves going to a (farm?) of some sort and literally picking apples. Unfortunately, I didn’t get round to going as it required a car and mobility here without one is quite limited. A Professor of mine told me that this is one of the best things about living in Western New York so I hope I can go before I leave after the snow passes. For now, here’s a pic of my friend apple picking.
- Visit a Haunted House
Another activity I missed out on. We were supposed to go on Halloweekend but due to unprecedented circumstances we ended up not going. However, I wasn’t too disappointed because I am terrified of all things scary, I can’t even watch a scary film so it probably wasn’t the best thing for me to do.
I LOVE Halloween so was looking forward to spending it here for a really long time because Americans do everything bigger. I had planned to go out as much as possible, have as many costumes as I could and really just make it the best Halloween ever. Unfortunately, being under 21 really limited the fun I could have. The parties weren’t that great and on one night it was shut down before I even got there. It was definitely the messiest night ever with people being pepper sprayed and numerous set backs. It wasn’t the best Halloween of my life but my costumes were cute.
This public holiday really bridges the time between Halloween and Christmas and just keeps the activities coming. In England, because we don’t have it, there’s just a random long month in between but here it was so nice because there was constantly something to look forward to every month. I was lucky enough to experience it to the maximum. Firstly, my frat had a potluck so everyone cooked and took food to a house to share, followed by some fun games. Secondly, my accommodation also hosted a ‘Friendsgiving’ where they gave out Thanksgiving food (turkey, gravy, mashed potato and stuffing), the food was delicious and it was great to share that with my room mate.
Lastly, I flew to Florida to spend the actual holiday with my family. It was great to see them again especially during Thanksgiving. It takes place on the fourth Thursday of month so I started the day off by watching the Macy’s parade in New York City. I googled it the night before and it started at 9am, it said it lasted an hour and a half so I really woke up at 8:45 to watch the parade. It lasted like 5 hours and I could have used the sleep. The beginning was quite boring, there were some children singing and it was all quite Disney. But then they showed the actual parade and the inflatables, it was so cool!!! Fun fact: the Snoopy inflatable is the longest running one in the parade. There were performances by a number of artists, including Nicky Jam (appealing to all demographics lol).
Afterwards, we got dressed and went to my cousin’s apartment as he and his girlfriend were hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Here I was interrogated about my love life by my cousins and I had never related more to people’s complaints about family dinners/questions. I’ve never been surrounded by so much family so it was really foreign to me. In hindsight, it was funny but in the moment I was sweating. We had turkey and mashed sweet potato with marshmallows melted on top, I think this is an American thing?? Not sure, but it was good. After dinner we played dominoes, it was really sweet and something nice to have after four months of living alone in a foreign country.
- Black Friday Sales
My family in Florida live really close to a huge mall so I wanted to go just to see the madness. I wasn’t supposed to buy anything, I repeatedly told myself I was just going to walk around but that didn’t go to plan and I ended buying some faux fur coats. The experience itself was horrible though. I went to 3 shops and felt completely exhausted. People were not as rude as I imagined and as I had been led to believe but there were just SO MANY of them. People came with actual suitcases to wheel around their shopping which just congested the place even more. My aunt had to drop me and my cousin off because there was no parking available, which is really quite something given that there are about a million spaces around the mall, that’s how busy it was. I would definitely never do that again.
Fall doesn’t end until mid/late December but that’s when it felt like it did. After I got back from Florida it began snowing and the temperature dropped drastically, winter had arrived. It was definitely fun whilst it lasted and I can fully understand why Americans love the season so much. I really wish the UK was so enthusiastic about absolutely everything.
- Side note:
Forgot to mention that during fall you can find just about EVERYTHING pumpkin flavoured and it honestly tastes so so bad. I tried the famous (basic) Pumpkin Spiced latte, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie and it all sucked. I can taste the pumpkin far too much and would 10000% not recommend. However, if you like cinnamon and weird tastes like that you would probably enjoy it.