Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Autumn Things to do in the NW

I love seasons. But it's funny how often I am living at least one season into the future. When it's winter I crave the warmth and sunshine and fragrances of spring. In the spring, I look forward to swimming and freedom and camping of summer. By the end of summer, I am missing the crisp mornings, colorful leaves, and Chi tea of autumn. In autumn, I think about snowflakes and Christmas lights, singing songs with my brothers, and toasty fires.

So, here is my post dedicated to Fall. As I look out my window right now into the hills and forest below, I see the alders' and cottonwoods' yellow and orange offset by the steady, relentless green of the Douglas Fir. It's time...to compile...the greatest list... of Fall Stuff ever experienced (in the greater Portland Area, by me).

Brad's Top Ten Autumn Things to do in the Northwest
10. Corn Maze: Besides the opportunity to make some really corny (yes.) jokes... ("are you stalking me?" "Man, you are talking my ear off," "I'm having an amazing time...") a corn maze is a great one-stop-everything-you-love-about-fall-topia-extravaganza. We went to the Bi-Zi Farm in Vancouver, WA last weekend and shucked the husk off that thing! Corn Maze, pumpkins, blue grass band, hay ride, they even threw in a free hot beverage! Of course Sauvie Island is another popular destination and has the first Portland Corn Maze.

9. Pumpkins: Step one, picking out the pumpkin. We all have our own rubric for what makes a good pumpkin. Small ones, tall ones, bright ones, green ones. Sometimes I wonder do we pick the pumpkin, or does the pumpkin pick us? The bring it home and carve it up (not too soon, as this sets the rotting process in motion). Kids love getting hands on, scooping out the guts, drawing faces, roasting the seeds (some pumpkins are sold specifically for the better seeds. Make this a whole fun-filled evening with pumpkin milkshakes, pie, seeds...all from your very own pumpkins.

8. Hiking: I know that some people think spring or summer, but I think autumn is the best time for hiking. Leaves, crackling underfoot, crisp mornings, leaves changing color, Fall is the best time to be in the forest, and when you are hiking in the NW, we're talking forest. A few recommendations for Autumn hikes: Beacon Rock State Park, a 30 minute drive from Portland/Vancouver has some beautiful trails, waterfalls, and overlooks of the Columbia River Gorge. The rock itself is a fun hike, but if you park in the day park area you will find even some even better hikes. Second, anywhere off the Historic Columbia River Highway in the Gorge.

7. Scenic Drives: The Historic Columbia River Highway from Troutdale to Multnomah Falls would be a perfect day trip. Don't forget to pop in to Mcmenamins Edgefield in Troutdale for a bite or a pint.

6. Parks: My favorite Fall park pick is Lewisville Park in Battleground, WA. This is the counties oldest park. It includes 154 rustic acres of beautiful deciduous trees, trails, river views, playgrounds. A second choice might be Lake Sacagawia in Longiew, WA.

5. Cedar Creek Gristmill: (Pictured Above) If you do decide to head out to Lewisville Park (which I thoroughly recommend, you can take some beautiful backroads from there to the Cedar Creek Gristmill. They open every weekend in the afternoon to show how this functioning mill works today. Powered by a mountain stream, huge belts and pulleys turn and churn to produce flour and cornmeal. And on October 29th at the Aplle Cider Pressing, they will turn 8,000 lbs of apples into fresh delicious cider.

4. Music: Jon Foreman's (of Switchfoot) Fall and Winter. It is this wonderfully understated, mellow, haunting album that somehow captures the flavors and undertones of this season without the use of any glib cliches. Or if you're looking for a great local band check out Despair by Portland band Come Gather Round Us , a folksy, indie, rock band led by husband wife team Sebastian and Catherine. Check out my concert review here.

3. Movies/Shows: Confession/Suggestion...Gilmore Girls, any season. Very Fall. Very cozy, small town. Funny, heartwarming, witty, entertaining. Seven seasons. They had a good run. Movie...Charlie Brown and Snoopy, The Great Pumpkin

2. Coffee Shops: Hmmm... My picks would be Cafe Piccolo in Camas (if you live in my hometown) and Vivace Coffeehouse and Creperie in Portland, Alphabet District. Or, you could stay home and make your own Fall/Winter hot bevies. Try this one: Heat up half or quarter cup of eggnog in the microwave. Mix that with a steaming cup of strong Chi Tea. Very yummy

1. Leaves: This one's simple. Get some young kids, a rake, and a big leafy/post-leafy tree. Make a huge pile and jump in. Also, throwing huge hand fulls and letting them fall on you is fun. Take lots of pictures!

Related Posts from Brad:
Funny Church Potluck Interviews


  1. Good ones, although Jon Foremans solo album is a bit old now. Try the new Switchfoot album, its WAY better. See ya later, bro! (p.s. good blog ya got here)

  2. I approve this blog post. Minus the fact that it fails to mention that fall is the best time to be at the coast. Which could be true or not. You be the judge.

    Glad to see that you and the family seem to be enjoying this season of life. Bahaha. I'm sooo funny.

    End comment.

  3. Season of life...get it...get it... Thanks for approving. Is Fall the best time to be at the coast? I'm not sure if I've ever tried it? Thanks for the sugg.