Apple a Day

Did you know that the McIntosh is the national apple of Canada? It’s also my favorite apple. Crunch down on a tart Granny Smith, savor a sweet Mac, or slice up the Braeburn, anyway you cut it, apples are my favorite fruit. There are so many varieties to choose from. McIntosh is crisp, juicy, and sweet. Red Delicious is very sweet but a bit starchy and mushy. If you like them tart, Granny Smith ranks right up there and is a good baked. Rome apples are mildly sweet and good for cooking and baking. The Macoun is a hybrid of a McIntosh and Jersey Black apples. Empire apples are red, juicy, firm, crunchy, and sweet. Golden Delicious, another fave of mine, is sweet, good raw or cooked, and great juiced or as cider. There are so many hybrids too, and they all have their appeal, no pun intended.

I enjoy snacking on apples, especially dipped in peanut butter, caramel sauce, or a salad dressing. Baked apple with ice cream is a good way to end a meal. Low in calories, dependent on the size, of course, and no points for the Weight Watcher counters.

One of the reasons I love the fall so much is it’s apple picking season! Yes, you can find many orchards ripe with the red, green, yellow, or shades between.

As a youngster, I enjoyed going to a Jersey markets, especially Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck, for fresh apples, apple pie, apple cider, and apple doughnuts.

As a parent, I enjoyed watching my son pick his own apples and a pumpkin or two from the orchards at various farms in Upstate New York and in New Jersey. While some of the farmland is gone, there are still plenty of places to relive those moments and enjoy the fruits of your labor. For a listing of places to pick your own, check out the Best Apple Picking Farms and Orchards for Families Near NYC in  Time Out Kids, or go to New Jersey Family’s article on Pick Your Own Apples in New Jersey.



Autumn in New York

I inhale the burnt aroma of chestnuts and hot pretzels as I step outside the subway station. My pace quickens. I’m in a foot race to keep up with fellow travelers rushing to go wherever they need to in the shortest amount of time. The air is crisp. The foliage in the tree-lined sidewalks turn shades of green, gold, or rust.

Somehow when I get into the City, as Manhattan is often called, I feel like I’m home again. After all, I was born there, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, and I spent half of my childhood there before moving with my parents to Staten Island. I also commuted by train, bus, and even Staten Island Ferry to various office jobs in the City. So, even though I later moved with my husband to Nutley, New Jersey, where I have spent many more years, I  am still a New Yorker at heart. While New Jersey offers so much, such as great neighborhoods, beaches, entertainment, and more, I miss the City.

This weekend I travelled into the City twice. Once to see  JB Priestly’s Time and the Conways starring Elizabeth McGovern (of Downton Abbey fame) at the Roundabout Theater, an excellent drama about a family in disharmony, aging, and regrets for lost opportunities, and today to visit relatives Uptown.  Although I do not miss the daily commutes from New Jersey to work in Manhattan, I still enjoy the City, especially during autumn.





Fall is in the Air

Maybe it’s because of the coming of Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, or my birth month, November, or maybe because it’s the change of foliage, but since I was a kid I’ve liked autumn best. Oh, I miss the summer sometimes. I enjoy going to the beach, time to travel, and more free time, but I prefer the cooler temps and the feel of autumn.  While I never liked raking leaves, I do enjoy walking through the nature trails under a canopy of golden, rust, and brown leaves. I enjoy the sight of pumpkins, mum, and baskets of squash at the countryside stands or nearby nurseries. Thoughts flick back to hay rides, pumpkin and apple picking with my family, and viewing a Harvest moon light the night sky. Speaking of harvest time, I remember going as a youth to a place called Delicious Orchards, a farm and grocery outlet in Colts Neck, New Jersey, a long time ago with my maternal grandmother who loved to buy tons of potatoes, fresh-baked pies, and other produce. Before we left, we bought hot apple cider and apple cider doughnuts.  The place still exists as do others like it. Although many towns and cities now have farmer’s market days, I think it’s wonderful to be able to go out into the countryside for fresh farm goods you can either pick yourself or buy right from the farmers.

For some reason too, this time of year inspires my writing as I think about the coming of Halloween and stories I heard years ago about ghosts. My Irish grandfather enjoyed spinning a yarn or two about the ghosts back in his native County Meath, and decades later I still remember them. With cooler days ahead, I find myself wanting to both write more of my own tales and to read. My muse beckons me to both, and come November as I’ve done in the past, I hope to once again submerge myself in the task of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. No easy feat, but it’s  one I have accomplished and successfully so as I completed two novels, A Kiss Out of Time and A Dance Out of Time, in two different years.

So, with fall in the air, my muse and I will enjoy a bit of the harvest, the colorful foliage, and tales to come.