But in one season, Connecticut does waste the rest of the country's claims to fame. When fall rolls around, no one beats Connecticut for colors, crisp air, apple picking from the trees in the orchards, and sweet wood fires. Since I love being warm and bundled up, I welcome the return of wool socks, sweaters, vests, and scarves. And pickle sandwiches. Somehow, I got hooked on those as a kid and the combination of cool air and woo fires still makes me want a pickle sandwich, on nice crusty Portuguese rolls with some cheese. (See how I mention the Portuguese rolls? OK, which of you on my mom's side started this?)
In the fall, Virginia falls flat. Here's how I discovered that.
I had gone to church one morning somewhere in northern VA. I was driving back on roads that wound their way through green and brown trees. The temperatures just don't snap quickly enough for the real dramatic colors that I grew up with. I was having a craving for apples when my joyful eyes lit upon a sign- "Apples! Pick your own!" I pulled right over, grabbed my canvas bag (I was being a reusable bag green geek before it was cool, so I looked really enviro-geek), and marched up to the counter.
"Hi there! I'm here for the pick your own!" Great, they said. "Where's the wagon for the trees?" I ask. They respond with blank stares. "And how will I tell which tree is which type? Do you have a map?"
They responded with laughter. "Oh, no, you don't pick them off the trees!" More laughter. "Nobody is allowed into our trees. We have to keep them free of diseases."
"But... I'm sorry, I thought I saw a pick-your-own sign?"
"Oh yes!" They wave a proud, expansive arm at the lot to the other side of the building. It was covered in small bushel baskets of apples. "You can pick out any one you want!"