Dress head-to-toe in ‘Orange Tiger.’ Light a fragrant hickory-wood fire. Even the slightly-less-fab things are more fun with the crisp chill of autumn in the air.
1. Host a Cozy Game Night
Brew a pot of coffee and throw some chicken nuggets in the oven. The double-header: “Terraforming Mars”, where you play as a megalomaniac CEO trying to build a corporate empire on the red planet, and “Scythe”, where you vie for control of a coveted city-state in an alternate-history version of 1920s Eastern Europe.
2. Step Into the West
Maybe we’re collectively yearning for open spaces? In any case, cowboy boots have stomped back into fashion. Stella McCartney makes a faux-leather pair; Isabel Marant sells a black-and-tan embroidered style; and Celine Homme offers a metal-tipped option. Opposed to trendy takes? Consider a classic brand like Lucchese. Founded in Texas by Italian immigrants, it handmakes men’s and women’s boots in materials from suede to opulent ostrich. Downside: They can cost into the thousands. For a cheaper approach, thrift a vintage pair. They’ll already be broken in.
3. Make Foraging Fashionable
Swaddle yourself in vintage Pendleton. Hang an antique basket from the crook of your arm. Then sauté your haul with the help of “Cooking With Mushrooms,” by award-winning food photographer Andrea Gentl—a book so beautiful, merely leafing through it confers forest-bathing levels of equanimity.
4. Scent Your Blaze
Order a stack of pinon, juniper, hickory or other naturally aromatic logs to keep on hand for fragrant evenings around the fire pit.
5. Go Inside the Head of a Talking Head
Theater of the Mind, a massive installation co-created by musician David Byrne, opened in a Denver industrial complex on Aug. 31 and runs through Dec. 18. Groups of up to 16 people are guided on a 75-minute interactive trip.
6. Clean Your Desktop Home Screen
Is it littered with screen grabs of those overly-brief bikinis you briefly pondered buying and your dream lake house on that one lake that’s largely free of algae? Trash all the inessentials and get your icons in “I feel better now” order.
7. Warm Your Welcome
Change your entry mat to one that’s as burly as a St. Bernard’s fur. While you’re at it, contrive a way to dog-sit a St. Bernard. Walk your conspicuously massive “new pet” and confuse your neighbors.
8. Be a Minimalist
You’ve got enough to think about—don’t waste energy agonizing over what celebratory post-lockdown sequin top goes with which rainbow-stripe trousers. Make your re-entry painless by sporting simple silhouettes in an earth tone such as olive. Or taupe. Or brown. Then fall asleep in a pile of matching leaves because your clothing is so boring. Autumn is such a restful season.
9. Tuck and Cover
Crisp nights call for hibernation-worthy bedclothes. Layer yours with nappy-but-breathable flannel sheets and a thermal throw whose waffle texture has been fashioned into a boxy basket weave.
10. Be Spirited Away to Ghibli Park
With travel restrictions to Japan loosening, fans of Princess Mononoke, Ponyo and the rest of the Studio Ghibli anime universe can start making plans to visit Ghibli Park, which opens in November.
11. Give MoviePass (Another) Chance
For a blissful few years the service gave users access to unlimited movies theater tickets for less than $10. The new version is being piloted in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo., for those who joined a wait list. Once it launches more widely, there’s likely to be no better deal for any movie lover nostalgic for the simpler times of…2017.
12. Brown-Bag It Claes Oldenburg-Style
Somewhere the late pop artist is having a good giggle over the witty trompe-l’oeil lunch bag from U.K. brand Toast—a dead ringer for the paper model, rendered in natural cellulose and latex so it can be reused indefinitely.
13. Enjoy an Elevated, Extended Windbreaker
Add a barely-there “shell” coat to your wardrobe, like the navy calf-length version from Copenhagen label Mfpen or the gabardine Max Mara style that comes in a shade called “hazelnut brown.” Ideal for irritating transitional weather, these airy, versatile designs let you brush up on your layering skills and walk with a swish of fabric, a joy after months of skimpy summer clothes.
14. Get Set for Blue-Ribbon Pies
We recommend the granny- approved, cast-iron, hand-cranked Johnny Apple Peeler. It cores and slices, too. (Mastering a flaky crust is on you.)
15. Fly to New Zealand without Leaving the Couch
New Zealand is once again welcoming visitors, and Air New Zealand is offering nonstop flights between New York and Auckland starting Sept. 17. Staying comfortable in coach on this roughly 17-hour flight is now a little easier thanks to the airline’s Skycouches.
16. Leave Your Phone and Its Camera at Home
Snapping leaf-peeping photos with a dedicated camera still feels more authentic. Try a powerful full-frame mirrorless camera, like the Sony A7 IV ($2,698 with lens), or a fun instant camera, like the Polaroid Now+ ($150).
17. Upgrade Your Cauldron
Smithey’s new, jumbo-size, carbon-steel Party Pan, handmade in North Carolina, accommodates whatever you’re cooking up, be it a whole turkey or a coven-size batch of paella (eye of newt and toe of frog optional).
18. Repair, Reduce, Rejoice
Your worn-to-tatters handbag is not a lost cause. Repair experts at companies like Re-See can give it a second chance and welcome mail-ins from anywhere in the U.S. Anxious about revamping those quirky vintage loafers you’ve had since high school? Leather Spa offers virtual consultations to assuage your fears.
19. Soak Yourself Silly
Buy soaps so ruggedly handmade—perhaps the cold-process bars from Among the Flowers—that they look like lumpy relics from medieval history. Take very long, very frequent baths and wear the craggy bars down to polished pebbles within a week.
20. Be a Trailblazer
Join the Appalachian Mountain Club on a Trail Volunteer Vacation this fall at AMC Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins in the North Maine Woods, or in Acadia National Park where you can hit (and help) the trails by doing tasks like improving drainage and shoring up steps.
21. Train for a 10K Run
People are undertaking marathons again en masse, but rather than using that fact to fuel self-loathing, lace up some chunky sneakers yourself. Both new runners and returnees to the sport can slowly manage to work themselves up to a 10K, just over 6 miles.
22. Go Dark
As gin season gives way to whiskey season, stir up a classic brown-booze cocktail to welcome fall. Might we recommend the Little Italy? “It’s a simple, three-ingredient cocktail, made of rye, sweet vermouth, and the Italian liqueur Cynar,” writes Robert Simonson in “Modern Classic Cocktails”.
23. Treat Your Feet
Frankly, we’re tired of the chunky, scratchy, hiking style of socks that have dominated for far too long (we’re not scaling Everest). This fall try something fine and ribbed—like a dark-green, cashmere-blend pair from London brand Sirplus—instead. Or, if you want super-soft Scottish cashmere, look to Johnstons of Elgin, which makes cloudlike socks for women and men in colors with names like “thistle” (a dark fuchsia) and “dark chocolate.”
24. Crank Up the Patio
Outdoor heat lamps have gone from industrial-ugly to stylishly toasty. One cooker that’s a looker: Kindle Living’s Allison model (from $3,240) resembles a giant “I Dream of Jeannie” bottle topped with a chic pleated lamp shade.
25. Soak in Style in Oslo
This month, the 231-room Sommerro hotel opens in Oslo, featuring a 15,000-square-foot wellness center. By November, the spa is scheduled to include the building’s original Roman baths, an art deco mosaic wall, dating to 1932, and a roof terrace with a pool and sauna. From $250 per night
26. Dig It
Get a jump on a showy spring garden by planting a bevy of varieties newly available from Dutch-bulb importer Breck’s: frilly black Labrador tulips, cheery yellow Sunny Girl peonies and Amadeus daffodils—white with crimson centers.
27. Add Real Oompah to Your Oktoberfest
Polish your tuba and rock the lederhosen. Or simply serve the best wurst, from family-run, Illinois-based Stiglmeier Sausage Co. The Grilling Feast Package—a pound each of six esoteric, old-world sausages, including three types of bratwurst—provides all the giddy abundance the occasion calls for.
28. Orange Is the New…
A key hue for fall 2022, according to color expert Pantone? “Orange tiger.” It’s a daring shade: basically the beast’s coat sans stripes. But guys can dabble by getting a fisherman’s beanie from Heimat Textil, while the Row does a women’s rollneck on the right side of neon.
29. Fix Something, Anything, Without Calling a Pro
Summer’s a time to chill out. But when you’re spending more time at home come fall, the slow drip of that leaky faucet becomes unignorable. Gather up your tools in something that isn’t a Ziploc bag—and try solving the problem yourself. For 15 minutes. Then watch a YouTube video for advice.
30. Get On the Road Again
Whether or not you party like a rock star is up to you, but at Backstage at the Verb Hotel in Boston, opening this month, you’ll get to sleep like one: in one of 10 tour-bus-inspired, luxuriously appointed trailers. All the hotel’s 10 musician-themed abodes feature king size beds, rainfall showers and a turntable.
31. It’s Time to BeReal
The BeReal app is not just for GenZ. The addictive, low-commitment, weirdly dictatorial social-media app restricts all users to posting just one time each day, and only after a specific time set by a notification. And the posts can only be photos taken within the app which has some idiosyncratic framing quirks. It’s the perfect tool for delightfully unhinged compositions. As for the list of people who can see your snaps, be sure to limit it to your friends.
32. Organize Your Spices in a Manner More Maximalist Than Marie Kondo
A masala dabba, or spice tin, keeps your go-to seasonings in easy reach. The beautiful hand-spun brass dabba from Bangalore design firm Tiipoi and spice purveyor Diaspora Co. brings serious glamour to the table as well. Better still, coming this fall: a matching set of seven brass katoris ($85) that fit snugly inside to hold individual spices.
33. Conjure Some Swag
String a garland of dried blood oranges, pine cones and pine needles. Hang the witchy craft from the kitchen’s eaves for major apothecary mystique.
34. Bag Something Silly
Lighten up and submit to the bizarre-bag fad with, say, Thom Browne’s lobster backpack or Moschino’s tiny, pink hairdryer clutch. Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop.
35. Give Your Regards to Broadway
This November the curtain is scheduled to rise at New York’s first museum dedicated to Broadway. In historic and interactive exhibitions on shows like “Oklahoma,” “The Wiz” and “Rent,” breaking into song will feel as natural as snapping a selfie.
36. Become a Grill Master Finally
Exploit fall’s more accommodating conditions to explore the power of cooking with charcoal using the bounty of in-season, roastable veggies.
37. Check Out Some Heavy Stoneware
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art collected 50 ceramic objects made by free and enslaved African-Americans before the Civil War for “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina,” a new exhibit running until Feb. 5, 2023. On view: Both utilitarian and decorative pieces such as the powerful “face vessels.”
38. Spiff Up Your Trash
You know that ugly cardboard box you cram all your paper recyclables into? Replace it with a basket worthy of an antisocial craftsperson who enjoys lonely but romantic autumns on the Isle of Skye.
39. Corral Your Cables
As far as shameful secrets go, the mess of cables, dongles and wall chargers at the back of your kitchen junk drawer isn’t too big a deal. A few zip ties and wooden organizer boxes and you’re done.
40. Explore Antarctica by Submarine
The new Seabourn Venture has 132 luxury suites plus a pair of 6-passenger submersibles to let you ogle brittle starfish, sea urchins and other creatures who call these frigid depths home. seabourn.com
41. Get Crafty by the Hudson
More than 225 craftspeople and artists will gather from Oct. 7-9 at Hutton Brickyards Resort and Spa in Kingston, N.Y., on the Hudson River for the Field + Supply Fall MRKT, an arts and crafts fair that leaves kitsch at the door.
42. Replace That Busted Excuse of a Phone
If your old phone is crashing, freezing and failing you when you most need it to navigate the world, consider the just-announced Apple iPhone 14 or the Google Pixel 7 (expected in October). Or cheaper, still-excellent phones from the previous generation, which become more affordable once their replacements are on sale.
43. Get Nosy
Replace the sunny floral candles and oils in your diffusers with muskier scents such as cedarwood, clove or bergamot. One that sounds like a snoot-pleaser: the new Spices & Evergreen room spray from luxury candlemaker Here for the Burn ($29 for 3.4 oz.).
44. Make Tracks to Burlington
Leaf peepers and ice cream lovers can rejoice: Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express, which starts in New York City, now goes beyond its former end in Rutland, Vt., all the way to Burlington, birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s.
45. Embrace Age
Garden flowers like dahlias and cosmos are peaking right now, while others are giving up the ghost. Snip those spent blooms’ seed heads (or find them at flower markets) to give your fall bouquets a cycle-of-life feel. Globe thistle becomes a densely spiky sphere, scabiosa reveals a miniature of Buckminster Fuller’s Epcot Center ball and allium leaves behind a Sputnik-like orb.
46. Go the Distance
Long-distance hiking excursions can be both rewarding and occasionally lonely. Highlander, a trekking operator, organizes lengthy and multiday hikes around the world, providing logistical support and community on outings like this September’s Big Bear Lake trek through California’s San Bernardino National Forest. Depending on your ambition, you can sign up for 15-, 30- or 60-mile routes.
This article was originally published in The Wall Street Journal on September 12, 2022, and written by WSJ Off Duty Editors.
- Image courtesy of iStock
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