Five Good Reasons & Mulled Cider

For some the glass is, and always will be, half empty. These pessimists are already griping about the end of summer and the cold weather to come. Thankfully, there are the optimists. Their glass will always be half (or more) full. In that spirit of optimism and goodwill, it is time embrace autumn and enjoy all that life in New England has to offer. Sure winter is coming but here are five good reasons to love New England right now:

1. Apple Picking. Or if you prefer, apple eating. There is something very special about a crisp, juicy McIntosh, New England’s favorite eating apple. I admit it; I love the tart taste of a good Granny Smith. (The apple that is, not your neighbor’s grandmother.) Still and all, nothing can compare to a just-picked McIntosh from your local orchard.

You will find a great variety of apples in the orchards right now. Not just the famous McIntosh, there are apples for baking, roasting and stewing. After you’ve picked all those apples what could be better than a delicious apple pie. It is a great time to make apple sauce, apple muffins or apple anything. The season is short, don’t miss out.

2. A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Halloween will soon be here and it is time to head down to the farm and find the perfect pumpkin to decorate your front stoop. Don’t want to futz around in the fields. Well then why not visit your local farmers’ market or farm stand. Before long they will close for the season. It may be your last chance for awhile to chat with and support your local farmers and artisans.

3. Leaf Peeping. You know the drill; gather up your spouse, your kids, the neighbor’s kids, the dogs and anyone else willing to spend the day in the car. The rest is easy. You just drive here, there and everywhere admiring the gorgeous foliage. You don’t need a destination and it’s okay if you cross a few state lines. There’s a lot to see and explore along the way to Nowhere-in-Particular.

When it comes to leaf peeping there is good news and bad news. The bad news, well you may discover that you really can’t get there from here. The good news, it doesn’t really matter. Your journey is bound to take you through some of the world’s most spectacular countryside. Decked out in dazzling red and gold our hills, forests and fields are dressed to kill.

Can’t stand to be cooped up in a car all day? Take a walk in the woods or ride you bike down an old country road. You won’t see as much but you might enjoy it more!

4. Harvest Festivals. Towns throughout New England are alive with festivals in the fall. There are street fairs and craft shows. Chowder and apple pies will be judged. Pumpkins will be weighed in hopes of entering the record books. Fun runs will take you up and down country roads. If you want a slower pace, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy a hayride or wander through a corn maze. You may even get the chance to relive a little New England history and watch oxen pull or spinners spin.

5. Hot Mulled Cider. With so much going on these days, who doesn’t need a break at the end of a long busy day? Light a cozy fire, fluff up some pillows and relax with a mug of hot cider.

Whether you wind your way through New England on a six state road trip or stay close to home, enjoy the autumn sunshine, the gorgeous foliage and, most important, the time you spend with family and friends.

Bon appétit!

Hot Mulled Cider
Serves 6-8

2 quarts fresh apple cider
2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 (4-5 inch long) strips of orange peel
Juice of 1 orange
Calvados (apple brandy) or rum – optional

1. Combine the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, orange peel and juice in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

2. Strain into mugs. Add a shot of Calvados or rum to each mug and serve.

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Feel free to visit my other, cleverly named blog, Susan Nye’s Other Blog, or website You can find more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010


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