Skip to content

Autumn in Central New York

Photo Gallery

As the months pass and the leaves begin to change color, it becomes increasingly important to take advantage of rare, seasonally abnormal good weather.  It’s usually around this time of year that we get, every now and then, a ridiculously nice day, similar to the dozens that we have in the middle of the summer.   But with the countdown to winter already started, we sit up and take notice of these nice days and declare that we must do something.  Outdoors.

And so we found ourselves, on a beautiful day in October, strapping Justine in her car seat and heading south, to visit the annual Lafayette Apple Festival.  We had done this last year with Justine, however it was considerably easy considering that a) it was a little earlier in the season and b) Justine was a small fetus firmly ensconced inside Kim, which led to far less fussing.  This year we decided to go down a little earlier, to try and escape the massive backup of cars the clogs the one road that leads down to the thing.

We ended up stuck in said traffic jam, although it was only about 20-30 minute wait. (By the time we left folks were backed up miles on the interstate, for example).  Once parked in a field amidst hundreds of other cars, we walked over to the festival, paid for our tickets and headed inside.

The Apple Festival is a great place to go if:

1)    You enjoy the kind of carnival rides that can be put on trucks.

This is something I’m not particularly fond of. The idea that you can pack up a roller coaster and drive it around places does not instill in me the confidence I get when stepping onto a roller coaster in a theme park.  You know, the ones that are held up with steel that’s concreted into the ground?

2)    You enjoy shopping for homemade crafts

This Apple Festival boasts (?) over 400 different craft vendors, selling everything from hand knitted cat sweaters to little wooden signs that say things like “Be Naughty, save Santa some time,” and “Welcome to our Ool.  Notice there’s no P in it. Please keep it that way.”

3)    You enjoy apples or baked goods derived from apples

Now we’re talking. Imagine any baked good that you like, then add the word “apple” in front of it, and they sell it there.  Apple donuts, apple fritters, apple pies, Apple twinkies.  They have it all.  We partook of the apple fritters, and I must say, they were pretty darn good.

The main reason that we (or at least I) attended was to purchase, in bulk, my favorite variety of apples, the honey crisp.  I could write volumes about why I like honeycrisp apples, whether it be the crispness of them, or perhaps the sweet as honey taste, but I’ll save that for my column in “Apples Quarterly.”  Suffice it to say we purchased a half peck of these apples (along with some Red Delicious) and I have been happily eating them for weeks now.

We left the Apple Festival not long after we had arrived, accomplishing our twin missions of apple and apple fritter, and headed back towards the ‘Cuse.  The ridiculously nice weather remaining ridiculously nice, we decided that, rather than heading home and doing some much needed yard work, or perhaps finally taking down our 4th of July decorations, to instead picnic at a local nearby state park.  With a brief stop at the Brooklyn Pickle (a deli of some note) for some subs, we found ourselves at Pratt’s Falls.

Pratt’s Falls is one of those parks that you roll into, park your car, and wonder what all the fuss is about.  There are some pavilions, some playing fields, and a playground.  It isn’t until you walk around a bit that you actually discover the massive gorge with a waterfall falling into it.  There’s an unassuming foot bridge that crosses over a 5 foot wide waterway that suddenly disappears into thin air that, after some head scratching and a little reading, we determined was the top of Pratt’s falls.

We sat nearby and ate our sandwiches, Kim chowing down on chicken salad while I had a fabled “Brooklyn Pickle,” a classic mix of Pastrami and corned beef topped with thousand island.  It was quite possibly the best thing that was not made from apples that I had had all day.  When we finished we packaged everything up, threw our trash into the gorge (not really, but I bet it would’ve been cool to watch it fall) and then headed for a trail that led to the bottom of the gorge.

It was surprisingly short but awfully steep trail down. We found ourselves quickly at the bottom, where there was a large sign that cautioned us not to climb over their fence and jump into the gorge,  Sage advice, I thought.  Then we noticed some folks who had ignored said sign and were picnicking at the very bottom of the falls, perhaps unaware of the gorge monster that lived down there.  Regardless, we took the requisite photos, and headed back up, following a side trail (the Blue Trail) that meandered much farther into the forest.

It is a beautiful time of year, and the forest was awash in the colors of the season.  The trail was mostly covered in untouched fallen leaves, and we made quite a ruckus as we strode through it.  Not that Justine would notice – she of course was asleep in the Bjorn.  She wasn’t awake when I fended off the rattle snake, or when I round house kicked the black bear, or even when I free climbed down a sheer cliff in order to retrieve a baby squirrel that had become trapped on a small ledge.  And more than likely we will never share those stories with her, because of their terrifying nature and sizable lack of material evidence and/or witnesses.  It’s a shame.

After our traipse through the woods, we said goodbye to the Blair Witch who we befriended along the way, and headed back to the car.  We placed our daughter, blissfully asleep, back in her car seat and left for home, patting ourselves on the back for having taken advantage of the good weather.

For once at least.

Posted in First Fall Activities. Tagged with , , , .