Fall Road Trips:  Apples, Small Town Bakeries, and Farmer’s Markets

For a similar post see, Fall Picnics: Ideas for Great Fall Picnics

This is our favorite time of year to take leisurely road trips, in the fall when the colors are ablaze, and the air is cool and clear.

When we lived in Minnesota, we would head north toward Lake Superior or maybe northern Wisconsin.  Often we had little itinerary; we explored back roads and wandered from town to town

.  We found little shops with friendly proprietors, town bakeries with artisan breads and pastries, apple orchards with crisp apples that we could find in the cities, and farmers markets.

I remember little towns like Two Harbors and Star Prairie and Ely.  I remember looking down into the clear waters of Lake Superior and trying to guess how deep the little white stones on the bottom were.

Once we fell in love with a sofa in a little town in Wisconsin and had

to have it.  And it was hard to pass any apple orchard when the apples were in season.  Occasionally, we would stumble across a farmer’s market.

When the timing was right, the colors were incredible.  Northern Minnesota has deep forests with magnificently tall pines scattered with maples.  The maples would turn crimson against the dark pines and were magnificent.  I remember driving from Ely to Lake Superior on the back roads, down a shady two-lane country road.  There was little traffic, and the road builders had the wisdom to wander the road through the trees instead of cutting a straight line.  With every curve, a curtain lifted on a new scene of greens and reds with splashes of gold.  At one point, the road detoured around a giant pine.  It was a memorable drive.

We brought back—in addition to the memories and great companionship–artisan breads from the small-town bakeries, shopping finds, and new apples that we hadn’t tried before, sometimes something from the farmer’s markets.  I treasure those trips.

If you go, take your time with a flexible itinerary that has a few highlights marked.  Make it leisurely.  Watch for apple orchards.  We’ve got an apple chart that will help you chose your apples.  It’s in need of an update, and I don’t know my apples like I once did, so consider this chart.

http://www.bestapples.com/varieties/

And farmer’s markets.  It’s amazing how many farmers markets there are.  Use this chart to find them.

http://www.localharvest.org/

Avoid the chains—you can always shop the chains.  Look for little family diners and unknown shops on main street or down by the lake.

I’ve lived in the West, the Midwest, the East Coast, and the South.  Everywhere you go, there are wonderful places to explore.  Have a great time.

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