Autumn in the North

Saturday, September 27, 2008
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I write this from one of my favorite blogging holes – the Contented Cow, a British Pub in downtown Northfield, Minnesota. In Minnesota, autumn is especially wonderful this year. A local band is playing some Beatles covers (sounds nice!), and it’s very loud. A good, German, Oktoberfest beer is the staple tonight.

Though I am a summer bug, the onset of fall is the most glorious time of the year, especially in the Midwest — Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. Yeah, New England is great, too, but there’s nothing like the merging of Midwest culture/life with the smells, colors, shadows, and frosty mornings of autumn.

I’m in the middle of farm fields, and the nights are outrageously cool and uncommonly quiet. I hear nothing at night ‘cept the train, as it hurtles between the cornfields and the house at least twice during the night hours. I crack open the windows because I love the cool, autumn air, and my oversized, scottish wool shirt from Land’s End keeps me snug.

Another thing I love about autumn is the splendid retail settings. The decor, colors, and clothing styles are more inviting than any other time of year. I love fall clothes and styles – I’m always inspired to shop and buy this time of year. Ladies clothing stores become so appealing that it’s the only time of year – outside of Christmas – that I’ll shop just for the sake of enjoying the mood and presentation. Monday is my day to shop and buy clothes: the Mall of America is my destination. I have barely been shopping since the first of the year.

In the Midwest, farmer’s markets and cider mills wake from their many-month slumber and become vital, thriving venues once again. Mornings mean cider warmed in the microwave, sprinkled with whip cream, cinnamon, honey, and nutmeg. (The fufu cider.) Farmer’s markets offer up a great variety of home-grown selections – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, etc. My favorite fresh vegetable on the planet is brussels sprouts (the huge stalks, where I peel ‘em off), but I may not see those until October.

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