Upstate New York at the End of Summer

Dear friends, 

There's something magical about visiting NY in early September--the weather gracefully gives way from the confining humidity of August to the romantic pull of early fall. People have returned from summer adventures. Schools have beckoned children back to the classroom. And there's a general sigh of relief that's so palpable it's almost audible--as if the community exhales one collective sigh at precisely the same time on precisely the same morning when the humidity has finally vanished.

The skies are piercing blue. The grass is piercing green. And the leaves are just starting to tell secret of the colors that are still to come--a pop of amber here, a twist of rust over there, and from ground to treetop there is a saturation that makes the landscape feel almost claustrophobic with foliage and feeling. The dramatic narrative of summer into fall has officially begun and it will not quit until the onset of winter. Oh, the romance of an East Coast autumn.


It's a stark contrast from my beloved Northern California where the hillsides have burned into a deep sandy yellow and the skies are usually a pale blue or an overcast gray until the fog officially rolls back out to the Pacific and the inland is cool enough to avoid our notoriously cold Bay Area summers. Right about now it's turning to late summer in Northern California and the sundresses and shorts will get their due arrival after months of waiting in the closet behind the cardigans and denim. September and October are summer in the Bay Area but here in Upstate NY, September and October are officially and blissfully autumn. (Enter audible sigh again here.)


So our timing has been perfect. Our trip has been filled with all the good things of an Upstate New York easing from summer into autumn. The lakes! And then the lakes. And the waterfalls. And farmer's markets. And warm summer rains. And small brick buildings. And family picnics. And antique stores. And sunflower fields. And swing sets. And bubbles. And sidewalk chalk. And blue skies. And white pops of clouds that shift shapes from the silhouettes of long-eared rabbits, to old men smoking pipes across a card table, to never ending passenger trains that span from horizon to horizon.

Oh, the weather. See you here next week, my friends. I hope you are enjoying your early September.



  1. This is beautifully written. This makes me want to jump in the car and drive until I am making the best right hand turn in the world. The one from S. Main to Adams St. I can see the burning light inside and faces in the windows and stirring from now old bodies. I would be home.
    This post takes me right to West Hill, where I am already weary from a short but hilly run. It makes me dream about taking the littles to the reservior and searching for fish and turtles, while all around me Fall is hinting at her arrival. It makes me want to waste no time getting to the Sweets house, and to sit and talk, and move on to the playground, but not until we walk by the hallowed halls where Nate and I became close friends so many years ago.
    Oh, well maybe soon. I just need a day to "sneak" from the piles of paper, quickbooks and site visits. My clients may not eve know I am gone! hmmm...(yes, they would. Damn.)

    1. beth: it is SO lovely here this time of year. i'm so happy you were able to virtually visit through this post. oh, if only we could all be in 2 places at once. or maybe 3 places. xoxo

  2. My husband and I took a trek one autumn, circling Lake Ontario. New York is indeed a beautiful state! Great blog! Thanks.

    1. Valerie: It IS such a pretty state, I agree. I grew up in Upstate and lived in Brooklyn for 3 years, though I've been in California now for over a decade. But it's still such a treat to visit. Very nice to "meet" you here.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.