I have done some serious thinking about this since I suspect that even I at one time believed that fall was the season of New England, Canada's Maritimes or perhaps the Appalachian Mountains. Certainly having written long ago that spring belongs to the South and even suggesting that Canadians visit North Carolina or Virginia in the spring, it might seem logical to give fall to the North.
Like lots of things, there is plenty of room for debate on this subject. Fall is a great season in the North mostly because it is very showy with gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, and lots of apple cider. But as many northerners will admit fall is nice mostly because it is a whole lot better than what follows. Winter is not much fun in the North if you are in charge of snow removal on your homestead. If the out of doors is your favorite spot, you can only love winter if you are addicted to cross-country skiing and snowshoes. Folks who love winter are few and far between.
Fall also brings the end of most gardening up North. Fall was actually a very hectic time where we lived north of Fredericton, New Brunswick. You are in a race to get everything done before snow covers the ground and whatever you have forgotten to pick up during the summer. You actually end up working so hard that when the first snow comes that it often brings a sense of relief because you have done all that you can to prepare for winter. I can remember snow coming at our Tay Creek farm at the end of October and not leaving until the beginning of May. There were far more things that needed to get done in the fall than were possible.
While my perspective might be colored by living on the farm, we did have a couple years in Maryland and a couple of decades on a mountain in Southwestern Virginia. There is no arguing how beautiful the leaves are in the mountains. It is a wonderful sight for three or four weeks. If you are lucky you can follow the fall as it unfolds and as the leaves change. I can also remember the wonderful apples, apple cider, and late fall vegetables from Jamison's Orchard and Produce near our former Roanoke, Virginia home.
Still, I believe fall was not a relaxing time even in the Roanoke Valley. It is back to school and back to work time. The shadows of the mountains accelerate the shortness of the daylight hours while at the same time, you still have to deal with the pesky but gorgeous bluegrass and fescue yards of the area. Sometimes I was still mowing our Roanoke yard the second week in December. Halloween was sometimes so cold that it was not very much fun.
Contrast the above with the coast of North Carolina. As fall comes, things quiet down here on the coast. We know that our weather is going to get better. In fact, our great weather often extends all the way through December when it is not unusual to have shorts weather. While most areas are getting busier during the fall as people go back to work, we are actually winding down and getting more peaceful.
On top of that, we are beginning our wonderful fall gardening season as we finish harvesting things from the summer. I remember one year when one of the local produce vendors had ripe watermelons and pumpkins in adjoining fields. We already have our early winter garden of lettuce, peas, beans, tomatoes, and rutabaga in the ground. Now we are just watching it grow. Our centipede yards will need at most two more mowings before they go dormant until next April.
Then there is the fishing and the beach. Fishing is usually at its peak in the fall and there is no better time to walk on the area beaches. The air has less humidity, the temperatures are nearly perfect, and the water is still warm. While we will not have the gorgeous leaves of the mountains, plenty of their apples will get shipped in and we will have sunsets that take your breath away.
While our fall weather might seem like summer in October, it offers us an opportunity to relax and really enjoy our area during the fall. I absolutely love walking in the area as the air starts to cool down. Just as you might think you will need a jacket, the wind will blow across the water and wrap you in warmth.
So that is my case that fall is actually the season for the South instead of the North. I have enjoyed both, but I know in my heart that fall is a much more leisurely season here on the Crystal Coast. While we will have our ups and down with the weather, we will not be worried about frost for a long time and our sunsets will take care of that longing for fall colors. After all, if we need to see some leaves, it does not take but a few hours to ride up to the mountains.
If you decide to visit the beach in the fall, you can start with my free online travel guide to the area.