YES! Weekly’s ten best things about fall

by Brian Clarey

The turning of the leaves

Perhaps the defining moment of the fall season is when the green summer foliage erupts in a riot of color and the multihued leaves sift slowly to the ground. Fortunately we are not so far south as to miss out on this annual experience – in fact we have one of the most picturesque fall seasons in the country. If you don’t believe me take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in a few weeks. Bring a camera.


Baseball may be the national pastime, but by the end of August we’re pretty sick of the whole thing. Come September (or August, really) the truly American game of football invades our television screens and the psyches of many, many men and women devoted to their teams. It is also the time of year that my brother-in-law reopens the sports bar he built in his garage.

Cool weather.

Not cold weather. Cool weather. As the earth begins to pull away from the sun its denizens are rewarded with a sweet, sweet drop in temperature that snaps them out of the dog-day doldrums, bringing flushes of color to their cheeks and making everyone’s hair look great.

Autumn aromas

What does fall smell like? Decomposing leaves, new clothes, school supplies, pumpkin pie, turkey, corn and a far-off whiff of burning wood. Musk and wine, sweaters pulled out from storage, earthy spices and maple syrup, all held in the cool, crisp air like smoke.

Seasonal clothes

Not everyone looks good in a bathing suit, but everyone looks great in jeans and sweaters, especially paired with boots. Fall fashions this year include plaids and platforms, thick sweaters, boots and leggings for women. And bald(ing) men can rejoice this year because hats are back. At least on my head they are. And don’t forget corduroys. Corduroys are timeless.


Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween, the Day of the Dead, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving and a few throwaways like National Boss Day and United Nations Day all take place from September to November. Whoever put the calendar together knew enough to lump in a bunch of good ones in the months leading up to the spendfest that is Christmas.

Cold-weather drinks

When the weather turns, many people switch from gin to bourbon, iced latte to hot espresso, cold bottles of soda to steaming cups of tea. And fall is the time of year that drinks like hot cider, toddies and buttered rum are made with great frequency. The best hot drink of them all: Irish coffee, no whipped cream.

Daylight savings ends

Admittedly, it’s kind of cool when the days lengthen in the spring, but by the end of the summer we’re ready for the sun to set at a decent hour. You can only take 14 hours of sunlight a day for so long. It happens on Oct. 29 this year, so when you show up an hour early for work on Monday the 30th, don’t blame us.

Fall fresh produce

Say hello to apples, grapes, cucumbers, broccoli, pecans and, of course, pumpkins, all of which become ripe for harvesting after summer ends. You can still get cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, leafy greens and maybe some late-season peaches until the end of September, but if you’re a watermelon kind of person you’re out of luck until June.


Soup is the bomb, yo. Ham with white beans and cabbage. Turkey with mushrooms and barley. Potato with cheddar and bacon. Lentils and carrots. Beef and rice. Gumbo. Chowder. Bisque. Minestrone. Your basic chicken noodle. Man, where the hell is my crock pot?